Declining iOS and OS X quality imperil Apple’s future growth and retention

“The iPhone 6 has set sales records since its first week of release and led to Apple’s most profitable quarter ever. There have been some bumps in the road, but the market — and Apple’s customers — continue to have that loving feeling,” Anthony Wing Kosner writes for Forbes. “What could possibly go wrong?”

“In a word, software,” Kosner writes. “A growing chorus of developers and Apple-watchers is raising the alarm that the buggy releases of iOS 8 and Yosemite are part of a systemic decline in the quality of Apple’s software. The now-yearly release schedule for both iOS and OS X combined with the increasing complexity of the overall Apple ecosystem have put a strain on its engineers, these voices say.”

“To quickly recap, iOS 8 has had problems with Photos, ringtones, data usage, Family Sharing, iCloud syncing, cellular network connectivity, WiFi performance, Messages, Accessibility and security. Yosemite meanwhile has had persistent WiFi issues along with iCloud and UI glitches and performance problems on not-so-old Macs,” Kosner writes. “One of Apple’s biggest fans, John Gruber of Daring Fireball, wrote back in October: ‘From the outside, it seems like Apple’s software teams can’t keep up with the pace of the hardware teams. Major new versions of iOS aren’t released ‘when they’re ready,’ they’re released when the new iPhone hardware ships. On Twitter the other day, I suggested that perhaps Apple should decouple major iOS feature releases from the iPhone hardware schedule. That’s probably untenable from a marketing perspective, and it might just make things more complex from a QA perspective. But something has to give.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple needs to do better. Our expectations, some of us as users of Apple products since the early 1980s, are not being met when it comes to operating system quality. Used to be, you could pretty confidently install brand new operating systems from Apple. Recently, we’re more inclined to wait for a few point releases than not. It’s downright Microsoftian. Lately, your software seems rushed, Apple. Is “rush job” really the impression you want to give your customers?

Slow down, Apple! Getting it right is far more important than getting it out.

Frankly, Tim, we don’t need a new Mac or iPhone/iPad operating system every year and Apple Inc. doesn’t need it, either. What we really need are operating systems that are rock solid and do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. That would be good for Apple, too – in more ways than one. Simply add new features to existing OSes with continued point releases that refine and extend the experiences and services you want to deliver.

And… pause to toggle OS X Yosemite’s Wi-Fi off and on for the third time this morning… fix the fscking OS X Wi-Fi, will you already? It’s embarrassing.

Seriously. Go back to when it friggin’ worked right (prior to OS X Mavericks) and figure out WTF you changed/added that screwed it up and FIX IT. Sheesh.


    1. I’ve had no issues with Yosemite. But the article does miss how godawful iTunes 12 is, the inability to sync wirelessly, and how ridiculous iOS 8.1’s battery management is: ever had your phone shutdown with 33% of the charge left?

      1. I have not had any battery issues with iOS 8.1 on any of our 5 iPhones or 2 iPads.

        I would rather see Apple put software efforts into iWork feature additions and other software than keeping to a yearly OS release schedule. Apple could always add new features to OS X or iOS with a .5 OS software update rather than an entire point jump.

    2. No WiFi on and off toggling needed for our Yosemite 2009 iMac or 2014 15″ Mac Book Pro either. These words of Yosemite WiFi problems are strange to me. 🙂

      iTunes however could use not only a rewrite but offerings up to 16 & 24 bit 48-96kHz uncompressed audio. Not as though bandwidth won’t allow for it these days.

      1. MacBook Pro Retina here, and I have to toggle WiFi at least once or twice a day. Very unusual for Apple!

        My Dad gave up on resetting WiFi on his iMac and ran an Ethernet cable to his office which didn’t previously have a direct connection.

        I assume Apple realizes they slipped a bit and will do better next time.

    3. I concur. I have yet to see these problems. I think its a FUD campaign. Target the products, then target the company. It’s happening at all levels of society, from governments, both foreign and domestic, coping, hacking, theft, lies.

      I am getting tired of this crap. Certainly don’t give them a free ride, where deserved, but don’t cheat to bring them down.

      It seems, no matter how successful you are, there’s someone out there waiting to f$;) you up.

      1. It’s not FUD actually. I am a tester and I have 8 Macs here in my office for testing. Wifi has been a considerable problem on and off here. I’m also using all-Apple hardware. Not everyone sees it, and it’s inconsistent. If you’re not seeing it, that’s good. It also varies on model to model here.

        1. “Not everyone sees it, and it’s inconsistent.”

          Which makes a bitch to diagnose and fix.

          I think some people would do better and contact Apple to give them more date to work with than to bitch and moan on the web. (I hope I can exclude you specifically.)

        2. Besides Finder being unstable and prone to crash, it had a hair trigger as well. I once tried to copy a large group of video files from one folder to another, and they all started. There were over a thousand of them all trying to play at once. I actually was surprised the whole thing didn’t crash at once. I force quit all the media players that opened. With that many open files, it was the only way to get it back under control quickly. Web links were just as touchy. Bookmarks too. Just moving the pointer over something could trigger it to open.

        3. Surely if Apple had a quick over-the-phone fix they would have a quick install-an-update fix out already.

          Apple’s philosophy (unlike Microsoft’s) is that it is their job to maintain your system’s stability not yours.

        1. You do realize there is a bigger picture here. I called like I saw it. Speaking the truth does not make anyone an ass, but to assume, makes an ass out of u and me.

          I clear my caches and log files, on a regular bases, scan and repair permissions.

          Try it, and let us know how that performs for you.

        2. There is a difference between “calling it like you see it” with some hard data or insight and saying “I don’t have a problem so maybe its overblown”.

          The latter gets old to hear when you do have the problem as I have had. And it doesn’t makes any sense. Nobody is saying these WiFi issues are plaguing everyone.

    4. I can be using my MBA on wi-fi and it seems that the connection just goes dead. I’m using a 3 TB Time Capsule router. The MBA still appears to be connected but simply nothing is happening web wise. I pick up an iPad and have no probs and none on my iPhone 6 Plus either and yet the web seems frozen on the MBA. I used the diagnostic tool and it recommended that I set up 4 or 5 GHz band network which I did. Still has the same problem. I’ve learned that I can toggle wi-fi off and back on and the connection finally picks back up. This is a real issue. And if these basics have issues, I begin to question if that secure enclave might have an issue that was overlooked by some engineer. The LAST thing Apple needs is loss of confidence from any segment of their customers considering the headway they are attempting to make into credit cards and such that REQUIRE security. Would people trust that new Apple Watch to securely process their transactions, for example, if they are dealing with a company that can’t get basic wi-fi right? As I inferred from MBN’s statement, this is highly reminiscent of Microsoft just before their fall. I’m in a freeze on Apple products til I see these issues fixed and new releases shipped clean.

  1. while I agree with this article and have had my work adversely affected over the last few weeks by updating to Yosemite, this Forbes article does not put into context how minor these problems are compared to the PC and Android platforms bugs and usability issues are the norm. NOW FIX MY DAMN WIFI.

    1. It doesn’t put it into context because that context no longer exists – At least on the mobile front. Unfortunately the bugs that used to plague Android no longer are the case and at least for the past 2 years, the iOS crash rate was significantly higher than Android (app crashes). The old adage, ‘well it could be worse, we could be using the other guys’ is no longer a good enough crutch.

      1. And the Trolls come dancing.

        Yep, Samdung phones have no problems, cause samsung says so. Just came from Walmart (iPhone 6 gold 129$. Sweet)

        The guy across the counter has a new samsung phone that locks up on a call and only unlocks after the call ends. But he cannot end call except by pulling battery. Now we know why samsung keeps the removable battery. LOL Just so sweet.

        Just saying.

  2. Amen to this article.

    Three iPhone 6’s and one iPhone 5 running iOS 8.1.2 …. and all four have had substantial trouble connecting to my home WiFi. Incorrect password or some garbage like that.

    Nothing else on my home WiFi has had these issues. Nothing.

    Ridiculous to say the least.

    1. At last this is the first time (article and you) who I have heard say there are wifi issues on iOS8 as well as Yosemite though because of the warnings on the latter i have not upgraded on my main Mac on my secondary which I don’t use much. Mind you my wifi has gone completely as of today but thats to do with the useless Virgin Superhub I think.

    1. I suspect yearly updates are mandated by the CFO at Apple.

      It is time to stabilize everything. I’m not on Yosemite to keep my sanity and stability.

      2 year update cycles would be just great for me.

      With a moderately complex set of higher end software on the Mac, it can take thousands in upgrade costs and a week or more to hopefully get a new Mac system updated & stable.

      Doing that once a year and losing a week to the intense upgrade is EXPENSIVE.

  3. I can’t say I’ve had problems with iOS 8 or Yosemite. I suspect that the author’s conclusion that recent releases are buggy comes from reading too many internet forums.

    1. I have no comment on Yosemite’ wifi issues as I don’t use wifi at home. But after two weeks of having Finder hairballs galore, I backed my system drive and formatted and reinstalled Mavericks. It’s still got some rough areas but it’s easier to deal with than that disaster Yosemite! Ten minutes to read network attached drive only if finder decided not to immediately crash. Longer still to transfer files. You can keep that POS.

    2. Hold on there cowboy, I have been an Apple user since the ole Apple 2C, and I haven’t witnessed the frequency of issues with Apple updates since System 7. These latest releases have indeed been unusually buggy and, or, unstable. I concur, get your act together 🍎.

  4. I can say in the rush to get Swift out the door, Apple’s original texts on the subjects are now defunct. The syntax of swift has changed. The IOS examples for Swift are much better than the OSX. If one were to read the all the examples out there on using NSDocument for OSX in the Swift language, one would think Swift is only good for making text editors. It is a shame, Swift could of been “grand-unification” for OS X and iOS apps.

    1. I agree. OS’s are more the solid foundation for all else so make the foundation solid instead of worrying about feature bloat. Since the OS is now free anyway big yearly & flashy new named iterations seem less important instead of smaller incremental improvements. ZFS anyone?

  5. I’ve had a few issues with all of my current Apple products since the new releases.

    I got past the wifi issue on my 2012 MBP 13″ before the main release, but have had issues with it connecting to some networks EVEN WIRED.

    My 2010 Mini music/video server doesn’t always show up on my MBP screenshare even though it does on my 2013 iMac. also, the Mini absolutely would NOT take the Yosemite update. After a couple of weeks it showed more than one update available and when I checked the App Store one was to the current version of Yosemite. The Mini had updated itself so I figured 10.10.1 would go smooth. Nope. Same hang up for hours at ‘4 minutes left’.

    My MBP and iMac both seem to have wake issues every now and then (but so do I….)

    I have to admit my iPhone 4S 64 GB works near flawlessly since the latest update. It was barely usable before that.

    Now, I believe Apple either has a roadmap they are using to add/remove/adjust features to get to a point of nirvana between OS X and iOS but are taking it incrementally for developers and users OR they are using yearly ‘updates’ to add to Microsoft’s woes by doing it all for FREE. OK…..maybe a little of both.

    1. When I updated my MacBook Pro to Yosemite, I had the “one minute left” for over 24 hours. I called Apple and they assured me it WOULD finish, if I would just be patient. I was about to give up and do a hard restart and a clean install when it suddently did finish. It was the darndest thing. Since then, no problems whatsoever.

      1. I stopped my first try after an hour. Four hours for the next try and then overnight the next time. I have NEVER had an update take that long. I decided I didn’t need it that bad since it added nothing to my music/video library playback.

  6. Wait, I’ve been reading MDN since oh about 2004 and it was my sole source for Apple news for some time. I’m sure you guys remember just as well as I do the struggles that have come along with just about every new OS release from Apple in that timeframe. When they were much smaller than they are now. I mean for heaven’s sake, remember when Leopard was actually causing large scale data loss? Leopard had tons of bugs, not unlike Yosemite, that impacted Wifi, bluetooth, external volumes and more and it was 2.5 years in development! Tiger didn’t really stabilize until around 10.4.2. Mail and iChat were chronically buggy at launch. Don’t even get me started about .Mac sync issues. New features have always introduced new bugs on OS X and the same goes for iOS. It’s the nature of software, folks. The only OS X release that was relatively free of drama was Snow Leopard and that’s because it introduced ZERO new features.

    The truth is that this narrative is incredibly flawed and reveals that tech journalists have incredible short and convenient memories. Apple software is no more buggy today than it ever was. Given how much the company has grown in the past decade, I’d say that’s quite remarkable. The really sad part about these kinds of hyperbolic memes is that they inevitably get picked up by the clueless mainstream media and suddenly the masses, who don’t ever read beyond the headlines, are mindlessly telling each other that Apple quality is going south. How many “normal” people have asked you if your iPhone 6 bends? See what I’m talking about? You should be better than this MDN. If you don’t believe me, go check out your archives.

    1. This *IS* Forbes, after all. Their motto is, “If you don’t have anything bad to say about Apple, then don’t say anything.” I’m an instant adopter and I’ve experienced no issues with any of my numerous Apple products. We, as a family have 5 iPhones, 3 iPads, 2 Laptops, 2 Mac Pros, and a bucket full of iPods. We also use an Airport Extreme which networks with a couple of Airport Express modules in order to cover the property adequately.

      There are only two issues we’ve ever had with our WiFi. The first is an intermittent dropping of WiFi connections. We’ve traced that down to a very noisy (electronically) microwave appliance. Guess what, most microwaves operate around the 5 Ghz frequency. We fixed that problem with a new microwave (non-Samsung, of course).

      The second WiFi issue is the crappy wireless routers our neighbors use. We can “see” the networks of 3 neighbors from our place, and when they all gang up on the same channel we’re operating on things can slow way down. The only solution when that happens is to move our network to a different channel. The Wifi Explorer app is your friend in this situation.

  7. And most of you folks only see what’s visible. As a developer, I have to deal with buggy SDKs, poor documentation, abysmal performance from Xcode, etc. All the while, Apple took the time and the resources to introduce a new programming language! Really? Who needs a new programming language these days? Although Swift is very nice and I plan to start using it at some point, it will take a while. Why? Because it’s buggy!

    All in all, I don’t understand Apple considering the poor state of their software.

  8. I have to say that’s a great MDN take, it’s totally spot on. Apple’s software is an essential component of what distinguishes it from the rest, it has to be better, powerful yet simple and intuitive to use. It’s a high bar but it is one that Apple needs to meet and maintain.

    1. When they slow down they get blasted for sitting on their hands, the stock takes a dive for lack of innovation, and the Fire Tim Cook brigade has a field day. So lately they are flooring the accelerator, screeching down the turnpike and sideswiping vehicles like the wild ride of Mister Toad.

      Anything in the middle of those two extremes, and they would be a middling company, just another cow in the herd. Life would seem a little flatter.

  9. I used to update OSs as soon as the came out. Not this time. I’m still waiting to be assured Yosemite is debugged. And I have checked out Yosemite on retina and non-retina 27″ iMacs at the Apple Store, and, first impressions, it’s no fun to view on a non-retina display. The retina display is something else, and isn’t so bad, though I would swap out Helvetica for the better spaced and more readable San Francisco (AppleWatch font). So, yep, get the OS right first; they don’t have to be tied with hardware releases. Unless razzamattaz is the name of the game and marketing dictates technological advance. If you can time it and it works straight out of the download tube, go for it. Otherwise, wait. Apple will lose out in the impressions stakes.

  10. OMG, a Forbes piece that blasts Apple? Apple’s software is so far beyond every other vendor out there – it’s not even close. We should always ask a lot of Apple, but to jump on a Forbes hit-piece and agree with it? Come on. These “major issues” are affecting very small numbers of users and are hardly the first time Apple software has been problematic.

    1. I challenge any of these journalists to do some research (crazy, I know) and compare iOS 8 and Yosemite bug lists with their predecessors going back a decade or so. They’ll absolutely find that there’s no story here. Then again, no story means no income for them, I suppose.

    2. The latest “outrage” should always be portrayed as the worst, recalling a rosy past for comparison, to sternly point out how far the mighty have fallen. — A trick so old it’s a method, and never fails to draw a murmuring crowd.

      1. I agree. Most reported problems are real and worth fixing, but not a sign of the sky falling.

        Apple always has and always will be imperfect. I don’t remember the last time I did anything perfectly either.

  11. Well, I do agree with the author when it comes to the issues with iOS8. I have long list of, different & annoying problems on both my iPad Air and iPhone 5S. All problems that severely Impact usability which I never had with even the original release of iOS7 when I had my 4S. Hell iOS7 is now looked at in terms of stability as ios6 was.

    Not sure I i can agree with the problems mentioned about Yosemite. I’ve only heard about wifi issues but it never happened with my Macs. Both my 2010 Mac Mini & 2011 iMac run it beautifully. Not one OS crash / reboot. The only time I had an issue was with the 2nd beta developer release actually.

  12. “performance problems on not-so-old Macs”
    Good to hear. I thought it was just my 2007 24″ aluminum iMac’s fault. Not. In fact after a second reformat and fresh OS install, it is now only very rarely freezing up for a few seconds at a time, rather than commonly for may seconds at a time. It is 7 years old after all.

    The other thing I dislike is Safari has become a RAM hog big time, for all of my Macs.

  13. Tend to agree. On my Macbook Air 256GB, it kept telling me I was almost out of HD space. Couldn’t figure out why. So I dumped a bunch of movies off it. Still did it. Did some digging and saw that, for some reason, Mail was talking up around 80GB of space. Reinstalled the OS and seemed to fix it. But WTF? And I keep having to enter my PW on my one email account. Over and over and over. Again, WTF?

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