Apple’s software has been anything but ‘magical’ lately

“There was a time when I could blindly update my Apple devices and trust that the update wouldn’t break it, remove a core function, or make me feel stupid for not knowing how to use a simple feature,” Raymond Wong writes for Mashable.

“But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore,” Wong writes. “Lately I feel like Apple’s not giving its software the close attention it needs.”

“Much like how Apple doesn’t release its hardware until they’re absolutely ready (Hi AirPods!),” Wong writes. “I’d rather have Apple take more time and get its software right than end up with a bricked or problematic device, or features that don’t serve the needs and desires of users.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ditto. We been pointing this out for years now, yet Apple’s subpar performance continues. Here’s a case where Apple should ask themselves, “What would Steve say?” Likely, they’d rather not endure the swift answer to that question.

As we wrote two years ago:

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.”

Sincerely,

MacDailyNews, January 5, 2015

SEE ALSO:
Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016
Apple may have finally gotten too big for its unusual corporate structure – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Apple takes its eye off the ball: Why users are complaining about Apple’s software – February 9, 2016

35 Comments

    1. All the more reason to move to Microsoft. If Apple software is going to keep deteriorating at this rate, it will be unusable soon. Why not go to Windows? Better hardware, and soon to be better software.

    2. Windows 10 actually runs without as many problems as Sierra does for us. Its Sad. So Sad that we are not updating our fleet past 10.11.. We’ll wait and see what happens in Pro Land next year, we might go HP.. Apple is on the wrong side of the rink… never mind where the puck is going.

  1. Q: Is anyone there that keeps people on their toes, at Apple?

    A: No. there are no disrupters. There are no demanders.

    “Jobs had not seen the final product before, and when he looked at it onstage he saw a button on the front, under the display. He pushed it and the CD tray opened. “What the fuck is this?!?” he asked, though not as politely. “None of us said anything,” Schiller recalled, “because he obviously knew what a CD tray was.” So Jobs continued to rail.”

    This is a metaphor for what Apple lost when Apple lost Steve. Tim is a nice guy and that’s precisely why he’s the wrong guy.

    Apple can’t be led by diplomacy in a southern accent. It will, however coast until all the momentum is gone.

  2. Apple probably hired to many ex Microsoft employees. It looks like Apple is trying to make iOS as non intuitive to use as Windows could be. They probably will end deliver iOS with a 2 kg user manual… Does someone remember those 80’s software packages ?
    Note, you need to know how to do if you want to do a simple action. It is not anymore intuitive.
    Graphics, objects, surfaces, features, functions, everything looked and worked as in the real life with the previous developers teams. Why having shifted to the Microsoft way ?

    1. More likely Apple hired out of college to pay starting wages/salaries (increase profit) and didn’t train them properly in the ‘Apple Way’ (reduced training costs) to maintain their cash pile growth. Otherwise you’re accusing Apple of headhunting for GUI ‘skills’ however low you might consider them.

      Have to agree though that the skeuomorphism Apple used in the past was rather distinctive of Apple products and may have been one of the best things allowing new users to get comfortable with both iOS and macOS. Changing it (at least as suddenly as they did) may have been one of the first ‘missteps’.

  3. “Slow down! Getting it right is far more important than getting it out.”
    Unfortunately, this flies in the face of Agile development methods, which most EVERY software company is using to varying levels of success. It’s understood that the company that slows down is the company that quickly gets lapped, so the focus needs to NOT be on slowing down, but doing fast better.

    Slowing down and Doing Fast Poorly leads to the same result… so you either Do Fast Better or disappear.

    1. Agile development in and of itself is neither a bad thing nor a good thing. It’s just a different way of getting to the end result.

      The problem of late at Apple with their software is that “end result”. Over the past years there have been several false steps (think of Mac System 3.0). Yet, as of late there seem to have been too many errors getting shipped. Thus the real problem is with end testing and quality control.

      Unfortunately, this ties into the issue of many variants of a product being supported by the software (and many variants of parts even within the same models of products). While Apple’s software support has not gotten to the same level of idiocy as Microsoft’s or Google’s operating systems, if Microsoft and Google can support hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of variations of products — even though that level support is not what most of us want — then Apple should be able to support a few dozen variants with fantastic software.

      Unfortunately, lately, Apple seem to be headed down to the level of Microsoft and Google.

      1. Once more the ‘strength’ of Google and MS’s OSes for supporting various HW lies in the software layer between the main OS and the ‘layer’ libraries that virtualize the HW. Makes the OS slightly slower but enables the use of diverse HW configurations. Apple has gone with very little if any such layering resulting in more efficient use of the HW but at the ‘cost’ of only supporting a MUCH smaller set of HW. Might be interesting to see if Apple has considered a virtualization layer for future Apple OSes and how much it may slow down the UX.

        1. Wrong.
          Apple is using off the shelf parts.
          Proof?
          My Hackintosh.

          They just package in a super slick (spraypainted black and glued together) way.. which is nice.. if you like disposable widgets..

  4. And yet here I am on 10,12.3 Beta 1, hammering on Logic X and FCPX daily, plus a plethora of other apps and nary a problem has manifested. The rig is on 24/7 (other than for updates) and purrs like a kitten. I also manage a fleet of 12 Mac at the local community centre and they also never give me any grief.

    Whilst Apple could certainly ramp up their game, particularly as regards pro users, I’ve never experienced a problem that can be laid solely at Apple’s door, apart from a blown PSU in my old Quicksilver G4 that also got worked to death—simple replacement was in order.

    I do, however, think that Apple should be more transparent with their roadmap: that would give a lot of people more confidence. I’ve been using Apple kit since 1978 and I still think it’s the best fit for my work. The day is isn’t will be the day I move to another system.

    YMMV, folks.

    =:~)

    1. “I’ve never experienced a problem that can be laid solely at Apple’s door”

      Normally I’d like to think that problems people are having are isolated, but the fact that you haven’t experience ANY is an isolated experience.

      In the Snow Leopard era updates were welcomed. This forum was abuzz with “Snappy” comments and we all went on our way smiling that our Macs that we loved were even better than they were the day before.

      Like it or not, these days are gone.

      That being said. Apple realizes it and I think they are trying to get back to what they once were. It’s tough though. Their past strength was that they were small and focused. That’s not the case anymore.

      1. Perhaps not coincidentally, Snow Leopard was IIRC the last version of OSX before Apple started an aggressive push to get stuff onto iCloud. Although I like some of the integration iCloud has brought (sync contact, calendar, notes), the loss of functionality in the Mac software to allow feature parity with iOS versions has been very noticeable.

        1. AMEN!! ie – Just try to move a large folder from your (now iClouded desktop) to an external HD. What am I supposed to do when I simply go to my old house that I am selling and try to work? No Internet – no files. I know I can turn it off, but my Apple jacked up $$D from a few years ago won’t hold enough to function. I will have to keep my 2007 iMac working for the rest of my life so I can us Snow Leopard and actually do stuff.

  5. I accept the apologies to all the people who attacked me for years for saying this about the Cooked Apple. Nothing about the company is on par with the timeliness, quality, and intuitive interfaces we enjoyed last decade. Thanks for nothing, Ive, Cook, and Ahrendts. You are the ones pushing high priced fashion and clumsy rental services over impressive personal device functionality. Please step aside with you ill-gotten riches and let your successors bring back the Apple quality of years past.

    1. “Thanks for nothing, Ive, Cook… ”
      And the truly fucking idiot that was a part of them getting hired in the first place.. Steve Jobs! SUCH short sightedness.

      1. Wrong response, WA.

        Cook was hired from Compaq to streamline operations. For better or worse, Cook did the same thing every computer maker was doing: closed Apple factories and outsourced to the max. In that role, for that narrow function, he was as effective as anyone else — after all, how hard is it to just have Foxconn do all your assembly? Easy peasy. That is where he should have stayed.

        Ives, was hired by Robert Brunner, Apple’s chief of design, in 1992. Ives didn’t want to work for Apple but his design company Tangerine wasn’t doing very well retaining clients. They objected to Ive’s extreme minimalism and overly costly designs. But Apple recruited Ive precisely because it wanted to offer simpler looking products, which would appeal to new computer users. Jobs recognized Ive’s ability from his work on the iMac but since the passing of Jobs, it’s clear Ive no longer has anyone to evaluate and critique his work. He has driven interface standards at Apple into a ditch. He has made the Mac and iOS GUIs harder to read, bright white washout, amongst other design errors. Perhaps most damning of Ive’s legacy is that Apple just hasn’t delivered consistent delightful hardware since Jobs left us. Apple’s products have entirely been derivatives or a rehash of old ideas that don’t improve the experience of a new product. Apple watch has the old iPod click wheel miniaturized. MacBook Pro Touchbar has an iPhone screen shaped like a thin strip. Ives likes thin things, you see.

        Enough is enough. Cook outsourced everything he could outsource, the only thing he’s done since is kill product lines. Jony has killed usability in the name of thinness. It’s time for both of them to be put to pasture.

  6. If Tim Cook cared 1/10 about iOS as he did about the carbon neutrality of the newest Apple Store in China, we’d have the stable operating system we’ve long been accustomed to. But instead the CEO is far more concerned about politicking and emoji water guns.

  7. Bring back Steve Forstall! I don’t know if Apple Maps was all of his fault, and he use to be called “Mini-Steve” so perhaps he could light a fire under people that Cook hasn’t been able to do.

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