Apple to focus on ‘quality’ in iOS 9 and OS X 10.11

“For the first time in several years, Apple is changing up its annual iOS and OS X upgrade cycle by limiting new feature additions in favor of a ‘big focus on quality,’ according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s operating system development plans,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac.

“We first reported in February that iOS 9, codenamed ‘Monarch,’ would heavily feature under-the-hood optimizations, and we’ve now learned that Apple is taking the same approach with OS X 10.11, codenamed ‘Gala,'” Gurman reports. “Sources have revealed additional new details on how Apple will optimize the new operating systems for improved stability and performance, add several new security features, and make important changes to its Swift programming tools for developers.”

“According to sources within Apple’s software development departments, Apple engineers have been pushing executives for a Snow Leopard-style stability focus in 2015, following numerous bugs that clouded the launches of both iOS and OS X. Apple directors reportedly opposed a complete pause on new features, but agreed to focus on quality assurance by holding back some features that were initially planned for the latest operating system launches,” Gurman reports. “One source explained, ‘I wouldn’t say there’s nothing new for consumers, but the feature lists are more stripped down than the initial plans called for.'”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good idea.

January 5, 2015

Dear Mr. Cook,

“It just works.” That’s getting tougher and tougher for us OS X and iOS users to say with straight faces lately.

Apple, while certainly still the best when it comes to desktop and mobile operating systems, 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 the quality and reliability of operating systems, software, and services. 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, for the past couple of years, your software seems rushed. Is “rush job” really the impression you want to give your customers?

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

Frankly, we don’t need a new Mac or iPhone/iPad operating system every year and Apple Inc. doesn’t need it, either. Annual OS releases shouldn’t be mandated. What we all really need, customers and Apple Inc., are operating systems that are rock solid and do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. Why not just add new features/services to existing OSes with continued point releases that refine and extend the experiences and services you want to deliver? Why not just release new operating systems only when they are rock solid and ready?

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.

We occasionally hear things about the company from Apple employees.

Some of those things lead us to wonder if perhaps you should rethink some aspects of the culture at Apple? Specifically, what really should constitute a badge of honor at Apple? Working all day, all weekend and all night in order to squat out iOS 8.0.1 and then have to turn around and do it all over again, in a panic, to get iOS 8.0.2 out the door in order to clean up the mess? Or taking the time necessary to do the job correctly the first time?

People with proper sleep and lower stress levels do better work. Many major medical studies prove these facts. Shouldn’t quality, not quantity, of hours worked be the utmost badge of honor at Apple?

Working long hours simply for the sake of working long hours is counterproductive. It really doesn’t prove anything except that you have no life and that, despite all of their work on Apple Watch, Apple executives still do not understand basic human health requirements and are incapable of properly staffing their departments so that they can function without requiring sleep-deprived, mistake-prone employees who feel that it’s a job requirement to be able to reply to emails from managers at 2:00 am. That’s idiocy.

Driving too hard, too fast, and for too long leads to accidents.

We speak from experience, albeit at a far, far smaller level than yours. We’ve tried and been exposed to several methods as both managers and employees in the television, financial, and online media industries. Regardless of the size of your department or company, people are people. You can push people to a point that’s very productive, but when you exceed that point, it’s all downhill for everyone involved. It’s not a badge of honor. It’s not an “I love this company!” statement. It’s simply mismanagement. It’s verifiably unhealthy and it leads directly to diminished quality, increased turnover, and productivity declines. And customer satisfaction ultimately suffers. Hence this letter.

Bottom line: We long to again be able to confidently say of our Macs, iPhones, and iPads: “It just works.”



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


        1. I agree with that so much that a couple of months ago I bought a 2009 Mac Pro (weighs 63 pounds!) as a workhorse/backup. 4 hard drives totaling 2 TB. I have a total of $350 in it.
          The apps that I have that dont require Yosemite and will run on Snow Leopard are there. I am a web content creator and I dont use any Apple apps for that, 3rd party specialty apps are required for that and the developers of that are not influenced by Johnny Ives odd “find the controls because I hate seeing them” interface tastes. Backed up by Carbon Copy Cloner. Its a “transparent” app in terms of how I interact with it, can’t say that at all about the latest versions of OSX.

          Not happy about the direction of both iOS and OSX, I am open to the fact that Apple can fix it, but still am nervous about the “form over function” trend. I believe that is real, and its a; trend I have seen before when marketing types become more powerful than product people as far as determining the direction a company takes.
          Don’t talk to me about how well the stock price is doing as an indicator of success, there is so much more to the needs of the actual users of OSX.
          There is hope, I think. Hopefully the new updates will move toward quality rather than a race to include “features” (for which you have to memorize the location of the controls (like back in the Windows days)
          I still trust OSX enough that when I go through the next round of equipment replacement, I will replace my iPads with Macbook Air for mobile and do minimum upgrades on the IPhone. Touch interface is massively overrated, and not at all usable for complex apps. If you disagree, then I think you haven’t used a complex app, such as web content creation, animation, etc.
          I dont expect that many people to agree with me, but thats how I see it. Hoping for the best, Macuser since 1988, and I make my living from it, so I take it very seriously. My project production costs go up with every new “upgrade” Hope they go for app quality, and usability this time.

  1. Those of you who claimed MacDailyNews was crazy or there was no issue or whatever here (Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015), you can apologize to MacDailyNews now.

    Obviously, MacDailyNews was dead on target and may have even helped Apple management along by getting them to listen to the group of Apple employees who were pushing for this focus on quality.

    1. <b.iPhone 4s normally should have been cancelled by September of last year, but it was not, it still sells right now — as well as iPad mini, which has the same innards.

      This means that Apple might change iOS update rule and allow iOS 9 to be available for iPhone 4s and iPad mini.

      This is highly important, because even with quicker iOS 8.3 update, those devices still work noticeably slower than iOS 5/6 which was ran on them initially.

      So, now, it is not “it just works”, it is “it just works (slowly)” — not a quality solution for newcomers to Apple ecosystem.

      Thus lets hope that iOS 9 will be available for those older devices, and it will increase speed of operations, as the hearsay suggests.

    2. I’ve been noting the quality slippage, loss of user focus, atrocious interface decisions, and bloated software “features” at Apple for several years. Thanks for finally admitting that you agree with me.

      We can only hope that Apple has moved Ive away from the software interfaces for good.

      Maybe Apple could also retire 32 bit support in iOS9. It is time.

  2. Gee… ya think?
    Why the hell didn’t they do that in the first place?
    Oh and F*cking fix iTunes will you. As it is, it’s SHEIT!
    Why can’t I see all my devices connected AT ALL TIMES in the side bar? Why is it only in “Playlist View” that I can do so? STOOPID!!!!

  3. The annual major upgrades are simply not enough time in between to add new features, mesh the OSes to new hardware, and keep QC up. I would rather see Apple slow down the pace of upgrades and focus on quality and new features. Plus, why can’t new features be added in a .5 update? Why do we need a major version upgrade every year?

    1. Users don’t need a major version every year, and they aren’t asking for it either.

      But remember that Apple isn’t the scrappy underdog anymore. Look how Apple has turned its back on its longtime users and people who relied on its hardware and software only to be left without an Apple solution (Aperture, X-Serve, first gen iPads, etc). Without warning, Apple just abandons its support. Who does this please? Not users. Oh, no, look instead what great lengths Apple has gone to in order to please Wall Street. Apple takes out loans it doesn’t need. to please those greedy bandits. Instead of more vertical integration or retail or manufacturing or R&D, Apple has spent more money on buoying its stock price than anything else.

      Likewise, its software development seems more designed to move stock price than it is to please end users. The annual announcements from Apple are not driven by engineering but rather by Cook’s need to please his financial masters, and it shows up in the quality of the product. It’s a good thing that Apple didn’t charge for Yosemite, because it’s not worth a dime.

      After several years of promising much and then delivering relatively buggy products late — sometimes very late, it’s clear that Apple isn’t being motivated by the same software quality standards that prevailed ~6 years ago when Snow Leopard was released.

      That’s the sad truth. If you think you’re more efficient using any version of OS X since Snow Leopard, please explain how.

  4. A friend of mine once put it very well…

    “Why is it there’s never time to do it RIGHT, but there’s always time to DO IT OVER?”

    That one question redirected my life and work; hopefully I can stop suggesting the IT JUST WORKS should be removed from the lexicon.

  5. Glad to hear!!! If true, I am hoping to upgrade to OS X 10.11 from Mavericks.

    There was an author – and I can not find the source – who essentially said if OS X 10.11 focused more on new features rather than improvements, Apple might as well name 10.11 “Death Valley”. 😝

    1. I agree with your three points but it should be at the core of all new features. If it’s not secure, stable, and fast then it’s broken and you are wasting my time and jeopardizing my very life.

  6. And please, please, fix the godawful ‘flat’ look….

    Since Ive took over UI design, usability has gone down the pan for anyone with less than 20/20 vision

  7. I am totally in agreement with mdn on their take. Out of all the iOS versions iOS 8 has been my biggest complaint. It constantly crashes on my brand new iPhone 6 plus. I have to constantly restart messages around 1 time a day because I can’t forward other messages to other people. Super annoying.

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