The Philosophy Of Tech: The Big Three
There doesn't seem to be one vision of the way to work anymore. Ten or eleven years ago if you tried to tell people that executives could run their companies from a cell phone, you'd be laughed at. Real work was done with a Windows PC, and Apple people were fringe weirdos with too much fashion sense. The user is empowered now to use what they want to do their work in most cases. Google as a company has dozens of ways for you to use the Docs suite to get work done. Even GMail has a full time alternate interface with Inbox. Each of the main companies has a distinct philosophy guiding how they approach users.
Apple takes the idea that you get one app across all your devices, but there are different interfaces based on the device. iOS is shared across the watch, phone, tablet, and TV. The interface for each is based on its usefulness, though there is some argument that the tablet has a long way to go. The new multitasking on the iPad brings a lot more functionality based on the screen size, but I think that there is still more to do. The Mac still thrives under its own OS, taking cues from iOS but still staying very much a desktop operating system. Apple's convergence is based on making your apps and documents available across all the devices, focusing on development tools to make coding for everywhere as easy as possible.
Microsoft wants one OS. Even if they have to give you one device to rule your life, they want to make sure that when you think of doing your work, you're thinking about Microsoft. They've hedged their bets with the cloud and Office as a service, but when it comes to the golden calf, Windows, Microsoft is betting on your phone becoming the main device. Their bringing Windows as one operating system to phones that just need a dock to become your PC. The Surface tablet was just as successful as the iPad, making for a Coke and Pepsi for Tablets. With that training that Windows exists to combine your tablet and laptop, I think it's a strong place to argue that you may as well combine everything into a large phone. I haven't played with any of this tech, but if it works as well as advertised, that may be what the future really looks like. (I will note that Ubuntu pitched this idea a few years back, but hasn't delivered on it.)
Google is the company that doesn't care how you work, they have a device to fit that. Same with their internal apps. (Well unless you're using Windows phone, then you're SOL) They develop apps for every stripe of device, and offer a device of every stripe. Chromebooks exist to ensure that you think of the web as your PC. Android comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes, though it hasn't really taken hold in tablets. Chrometops even look to expand the web browser model into desktop PC's. There are apps on these systems, but the bulk of the processing model is moved off to servers. There are
Each of these philosophies have merit. They're taking different pieces of the market and fitting them together. Apple seems to dominate the consumer side of things, splitting the market up with Google. A lot of the daring moves from Microsoft come from the pressure of being stuck in the middle part of the market. Especially as Google tries to make inroads into the enterprise. The mobile revolution is similar to the GUI revolution that changed PC's, and we're a long way from the emergence of Windows 95. To be honest, I doubt there will be one dominant technology. VR and AR systems seek to supplant mobile and PC's altogether, combining with wearables to make computers invisible accessories in our lives. So who knows, in a few years I might be writing about a different company altogether.