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In the Post-PC era, designing to delight customers is the currency of persistent advantage. This intensifies competition to own user experience and valuable customer relationships through it.

Last week Apple updated Logic Pro X, its high-end audio software aimed at music professionals. A big part of its new coolness is that it comes with a free companion app which allows iPads to be remote input devices to the processor-intensive audio editing program.

This means you can play an instrument or work a mixing board control wirelessly across a studio or a venue, while your Mac runs the full Logic Pro software and processes the incoming signals.

Sound familiar? This arrangement mirrors the architecture of 'client- server' computing developed back in the seventies. The cloud and mobility allow a similar separation of processing and user experience.  

In this arrangement mobile devices become untethered user interfaces, with a PC serving as the 'bus' that executes the processor-hungry work of the mixing board. And, in this arrangement its more valuable to be the driver than the bus.

Your next PC may stay in the Cloud

In the future, mobile devices could connect to a router and a Mac processor far removed in the cloud. We’ve seen both Adobe and Microsoft move to embrace cloud based services in a big way. Its easy to imagine Logic Pro X, Final Cut, or others eventually moving in this direction too.

Sure, you need processing, but Moore’s law has been relentless on delivering more, for less and faster. As broadband connections become ever present and faster, we will increasingly be able to access more than the full power of a PC remotely through mobile devices.

This shift places an increased value on user interface over processing power. After all, which is scarcer, inspired interfaces or processing power? And which is closer to the point of value creation? 

Interface + relationship = the new brand equity

What if Samsung had made the Remote Logic app for Android? Sure, this would help them sell some gear. But, more importantly they’d have grabbed the potential relationship platform that a ubiquitous user experience can provide.

That’s what eBay and Amazon have done in ecommerce, it’s what Mint did in finance, it’s what Fitbit and others are working on in personal health data. Because, when you own the relationship layer, it’s possible to interface with an evolving mix of services.

When processing and user interface are split, the high ground of value is usually toward the customer.

That makes the experience layer where firm must align their resources to earn and and direct customer preference to increase the lifetime value of their client relationships.

Dave Wieneke

Published 22 July, 2013 by Dave Wieneke

Dave Wieneke leads Digital Strategy at ISITE Design, and is a graduate lecturer on Digital Marketing at Northeastern University. He writes on the future of digital marketing at UsefulArts.us and he can be reached through Twitter and LinkedIn

 

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Comments (3)

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Jeniffer Cooper

I am an Apple fan. I just love all the new products that Apple has come up with. Indeed it is the brand that builds the clientele relationship.

almost 3 years ago

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Phil Metcalfe

Why stop at tablet devices? Why not smartphones? Cloud computing and client devices will the unifying dream of any cross device user.

almost 3 years ago

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Isobel Pearce, Marketing Director at Session Digital LtdSmall Business Multi-user

Yes, but...

I love and use Apple too, but Apple's cloud offering is not great and I find myself preferring Google Apps over the "native" Apple cloud tools and Chrome over Safari.

Apple has an advantage in the hardware space and some professional tools dating back to its dominance in the digital design market, but the cloud-based PC can be a double edge sword if Apple doesn't learn to extend the "Apple feel" to the application most users use every day.

almost 3 years ago

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