A little over a decade ago, the Mac was the center of the digital hub, according to Apple’s formula. If you were an Apple customer, everything centered on the Mac. If the Mac was a business, the iPhone would have been a vertical. But that language is pretty outdated, as is the notion that the iPhone is beholden to anything.
Apple just closed a record $88 billion quarter on the back of 77 million iPhones. Apple now revolves around the iPhone. So do many other industries.
When you buy an iPhone, you are buying more than just a handset. You are buying into an ecosystem. You also lock yourself out of other ecosystems with that purchase. An iPhone is not just a product, but a choice. And if you make that choice, there are a few other options that make sense. Here are three:
A Good Case
The very first thing you should buy for your new iPhone 8 is a good iPhone case. The best iPhone 8 cases are both good looking and protective. You need to keep the iPhone looking good to retain its exceptionally high resale value. And you need to protect it because it encases sensitive high-end electronics in what is essentially a glass sandwich.
Some companies will swap out the iPhone chassis for one that is solid gold. A 24k gold version of the iPhone 8 was up for preorder before the phone was officially available in stores. Other companies will give your iPhone a real gold coating.
You don’t have to go to those extremes. Thin cases that are design-forward can be had for a song. So, before you leave the store with your new iPhone, pick up a good case as well as a few mediocre cases for maximum personalization.
There is no smartwatch market. There is only an Apple Watch market. In 2017 Business Insider said Apple sold more watches than entire Swiss watch industry. That’s not bad for a product panned as a flop. And if you have an iPhone, your experience will be dramatically improved by wearing one of the most successful flops of all time.
If you are one of those people who wishes she could stop checking her phone all day, the Apple Watch can help by displaying notifications with full messages and emails on your wrist.
The Apple Watch even allows you to triage your incoming phone calls. You can take the call on your wrist, dismiss the call, or send a message on the back of the call without having to touch your phone.
You can even initiate calls from your wrists. And if you get the cellular version, you don’t even need carry your phone with you on short trips to accomplish all of the above. The iPhone and Apple Watch are two of the most powerful combos in consumer tech.
The HomePod is Apple’s smart speaker. But it is not really an answer to the Amazon Echo. Amazon’s speaker focuses on the digital assistant. Apple’s speaker focuses on delivering audiophile sound to accommodate your Apple Music subscription. At $349, the HomePod is the most expensive iPhone accessory Apple sells.
But if you are already in the Apple ecosystem and enjoy using Siri, it makes little sense to use another digital assistant. The HomePod is the only external speaker with Siri. It is critically reviewed to be better sounding than any of the other smart speakers. It also plays well with other Apple and HomeKit products.
The knock against the iPhone is that, more than other smartphones, the iPhone represents a lock-in. While everyone makes cases for the iPhone, you can only get the most out of the Apple Watch as a companion smartwatch. And no other smart speaker integrates with the iPhone as well as the HomePod.
You have your choice of services from all the vendors. But Apple’s services such as Apple Music and iCloud Drive work best. So understand that when you choose an iPhone, you choose an ecosystem. Things work well inside the ecosystem. Things just start to get a little weird when you start to mix and match.