Apple’s next OS X and iOS versions should concentrate on quality and stability

“On stage at Apple’s World Wide Developers’ Conference in June 2009, Bertrand Serlet, the company’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at the time, announced that the forthcoming OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard would feature ‘no new features,’ — something Mr. Serlet suggested was ‘unprecedented’ in the computing industry,” Charles Moore writes for MacPrices. “In fact, Snow Leopard did have some new feature content, but Mr. Serlet’s point was that the main thrust of the version upgrade was to polish and refine the performance of OS X 10.5 Leopard with bugfixes and some mainly under-the-hood tweaking, rather than adding a raft of new features likely in need of refinement.”

“Apple affirmed that to create Snow Leopard, its software engineers had refined 90 percent of the more than 1,000 projects that comprise Mac OS X (which the OS was still called), an exercise that was successful in producing what is arguably the most solid and stable version of OS X ever — an achievement that still stands,” Moore writes. “Going on five years and and four full OS X version upgrades later, many Mac users whose aging machines are still capable of supporting 10.6 are still using it for production and productivity, with its rock-solid stability combining with it being the last OS X version to support Rosetta emulation for running ‘Carbon’ software applications ported from native Power PC to Intel.”

“That would include me,” Moore writes. “What Mac users need isn’t more new features in the OS, but rather a Snow Leopard style ‘no new features” bugfix upgrade.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sounds familiar.

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. – MacDailyNews, December 22, 2014

In other words, take a step back, take a deep breath, and focus on making sure that what you have now just works. Because too much of it doesn’t (Wi-Fi connectivity for one ongoing, glaring, vexing example). Getting it right is far more important than having two “new” free OSes to release each year. Seriously, nobody outside of Cupertino very much cares. We do, however, care very much that Apple’s software and services work as flawlessly as possible. – MacDailyNews, January 5, 2015

Related article:
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


  1. I’ve been installing Apple operating systems since the beginning, too. There have always been bugs, and probably always will be. Some releases have been better than others, and that probably won’t change either. The main difference is there is much more complexity now, and the last few releases have seen us though some pretty drastic transitions, which are still underway, supporting more devices than ever before. Apple can do what they can to minimize issues – within reason.

    1. And therein lies the rub. Is there a benefit to all of the complexity?
      Every day, more and more I say NO!

      As a content creator, Apple software has no use for me. All of my content creation software is 3rd party, and it has to be to do the job.

      Unfortunately some of my content creation apps require operating systems after Snow Leopard.

      My important apps have project folders that are determined by the app, not by Apple. Ands its for good reason. All of the syncing, journaling, versioning that goes on between iOS and OSX is causing bugs that I am not sure be fixed. We used to call Windows, “spaghetti code” Now I think we have exactly that on steroids.

      For file management purposes, I think I am going to buy a Mac Pro that runs on Snow Leopard and use it for the apps that can run on Snow Leopard, and another one to handle all of the latest, greatest, Jony Ive minimalist candy and soda pop change for the sake of change apps.

      And I am going to manage those files, folders, backups etc on the Snow Leopard machine because I do not trust Apples ability to manage it all. I want to decide where all the files and folders go. I am totally capable of doing my own backups by doing (HORRORS) good old fashioned DRAG AND DROP.

      I am sorry: if its done “automatically” I am not sure I can trust it. Its has cost me too much money.

      Next iPhone? probably the least expensive one to be used just as a phone and forget all of the synching nonsense, that works when it chooses. Dont ask me for the list of problems there, I dont have the time.
      i Pads? going to go Macbook Air 12 inch for mobile. Anybody who thinks you can do any serious production work on iOS, well dont even bother to try to convince me, been there done that too many times.

      Without OSX being the Big Dog, you dont have any apps or content for iOS. Remember where the priority is.

      End of rant, let the flames begin.

    1. Steve Jobs knew when something had achieved a milestone, making it acceptable for Apple’s customers. The first Mac was hardly “completely finished” when released. The first iPhone was great compared to other smartphones, but several key deficiencies were “completed” (addressed) in later models.

      For the vast majority of Apple’s customers, Yosemite and iOS 8 are working properly, with no problems, and they added significant new capabilities. It would be a disservice to the overall progress of the platforms (and Apple’s long-term strategy) to delay in the name of absolute perfection. Things would be quite different if iPhone was delayed one year, to incorporate 3G wireless or make its battery life better (or wait until third-party app development was “online”).

  2. Ever more so !!!!!!! They need to be rock solid !! And then some ….
    wifi, itunes syncyning issue, photo managment, airdrop. File managment on ios.. Icloud ..
    Imho very confusing , unintuitive and limiting.
    Hope apple delivers better solution across the board !
    Windows 10 inititve by ms as presented today (i know its all claims for now.. But if they deliver correctly ) should put apple on high alert !
    I am concerned !

    1. All those things you accuse Apple of correctly or incorrectly are even more deeply imbedded in Windows and I see no reason to believe that will change its endemic after all. The main difference is that Apple users expect something better than that and in some cases we are not getting it. But really your final words are laughable and could ly so when you parrot them unchanged on various threads I may add.

  3. I proposed Sierra Nevada (snow-capped mountains) weeks ago! Perhaps a silly throw back to Snow Leopard, but clever none-the-less since the current release is Yosemite: just one mountain, almost insignificant in proportion to the greater California range in which it resides.

  4. Apple does NOT need to do anything different. Yosemite was a MAJOR release, more so than the recent annual releases which mostly added apps and features without drastic changes to the underlying system.

    The upcoming annual releases (for the next two to three years) will refine the Yosemite base. Prompting from the pompous media, and calls for “another Snow Leopard,” are superfluous. OF COURSE Apple plans to continuously refine OS X.

  5. Still running Snow Leopard. Rock solid, but I’ve never run anything beyond 10.6.8, so I can’t compare.

    What I will say is that there is absolutely no reason to be concerned about Windows 10. It will be the same crap, with the difference that this time, MS’s profitability will take a MAJOR hit. Good luck trying to turn a profit when you have to sell your principal product for $0 and you don’t sell any hardware to speak of, even after years of trying…

  6. I wish it were merely bugs but it isn’t.
    The bigger problem is that Apple is purposefully removing capabilities, functionality and intuitiveness.
    Apple is misguided right now. This is why their software is sinking into suckitude.

    1. 100% Agree!

      Apple is doing what they accused Microsoft of doing, mixing refrigerators and toasters. Apple is removing features from OSX apps (iWorks, iMovie etc) and making them feature comparable to their iPad equivalents. Making the Mac sort of a large iPad.

      Apple also needs to implement the following features into OSX:

      Ability to set the default behavior of the Green Zoom or Maximize button. (Should include an MS Windows style Maximize as an option for switchers).

      A way of telling an App to Open Maximized or Full Screen.

      A way of having two windows evenly share a screen either vertically or horizontally.

      An option to search your computer with Spotlight without sending your data and requests to Micosoft or any other party.

      Ability to select which interface items are transparent or not.

      Option to change color of Dock and Window Title Bar.

      A larger font size option for the Menu Bar.

      An optional larger font size for the App Store.

      High contrast mode should only change the menu bar, not change the Dock to a depressing gray.

  7. So, Moore sees what Apple is doing with beta 6 and pretends to give advice to Apple. Short time later when the public version is released, wala! Apple takes Moore’s advice. 😏

  8. Really, what’s the point of compiling new features waiting for a major release when OS X is free? Why not release features as they are ready? Kind of like Creative Cloud without the monthly payments. Apple doesn’t need to “sell” a new OS each year, just constantly deliver bug fixes and refinements along with the occasional new feature or redesign.

  9. I love Apple but it is about time. Apples software is as sloppy as it has been in ages and I was worried no one on the inside noticed. I do not compare apple to anyone but itself and when you have a ton of bugs with the phone app, that is just not up to apple par. But. I am so proud of Apples other offerings and choices that I had not written publicly about it. It really os time to polished and debug all around and it is time to also top talent shop for Apples cloud services. As the cloud offerings will become will start to become increasingly important to over all equations. So other than polishing, stabilizing and debugging the existing OSes, software, and hardware. I hope they are gathering cloud talent and deepening their relationship with China. In keeping with that i will be interested to see what IBM does as an Apple systems integrator.

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