Dispelling the Apple Services myth

“Apple is known for its quality hardware and software, but services are another story,” Ryan Christoffel writes for MacStories. “Cloud-based services are the future – there’s no denying that. And Apple historically has struggled with its cloud offerings. From MobileMe, to the early growing pains of iCloud, to the Apple Maps fiasco, the company gained a poor reputation in the area of services.”

“Services are a key component of modern Apple. The way the company defines itself, along with the numerous services shoutouts in quarterly earnings calls, prove that,” Christoffel writes. “Despite Apple’s increased focus on services, the common narrative that the company ‘can’t do services’ still hangs around – in online tech circles at least. But is that narrative still true, or has it grown outdated?”

“Apple’s services get a bad rap they generally don’t deserve; the company’s reputation for not doing services well is outdated,” Christoffel writes. “Are things perfect? Of course not. But they’re a lot better than the common narrative says.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: There are Apple Services that we take for granted that Just Work™, like iCloud Tabs, Messages, iCloud Keychain, and Apple Pay and Apple Maps turn-by-turn directions on Apple Watch that are, when you think about it, simply sublime and wholly unmatched by another other hardware/software conglomeration attempting to replicate what Apple has long provided so seamlessly that you hardly even notice how they all benefit your everyday life.

Those who, like us, have Macs, iPhones, iPads, AirPods, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches really understand that what Apple offers is simply unmatched. Those with non-Apple products either can't do what we can do with ease or they struggle mightily to approximate some skimpy subset of what we have at our command at all times, thanks to smartly being all-Apple.

Yes, of course, there are drawbacks*, but the benefits far outweigh the downsides.

*No 4K Apple TV. No Amazon Prime Video app for Apple TV. No Street View in Maps. Etc. So, we use other devices/services that are islands unto themselves (which is how we understand how inferior non-Apple tech can be) to accomplish those tasks until they appear in or enter into the Apple ecosystem.

22 Comments

    1. Did you even read the article?

      I guess this is too convoluted to understand?

      “Apple’s services get a bad rap they generally don’t deserve; the company’s reputation for not doing services well is outdated,” Christoffel writes. “Are things perfect? Of course not. But they’re a lot better than the common narrative says.”

      1. Apple services are fine for consumers. Great for consumers even, but not enterprise or even SMB clients. The whole Apple ID mess needs to be rethought for business. A management ID should be able to be created that controls creating subordinate employee IDs.

        There should be a business iCloud Drive that has shared folders with permission granularity controlled through the management Apple ID. Access to these folders should be shareable to people who are on Windows.

        FileMaker should be brought back under the Apple name and hosted databases should be part of the mix.

        Apple services are wonderful for just me. But as soon as I take them to the office I have to go to DROPBOX, or Amazon Cloud, or SpiderOak or whatever.

        It’s the same old argument. Apple services are not for PROS. In this case, we’re talking about PRO IT not pro creatives.

    2. The article is a fluff piece from a fanboy who claims his personal experience is that he’s satisfied with the level of capability and performance of services Apple offers. He is an employee at MacStories, so it is his job to glorify whatever Apple is selling.

      Absolutely zero data was offered to prove that Apple products are more powerful, more cost effective, more reliable, or more secure than the competition. Just a personal narrative from a biased source. He doesn’t even mention one tenth of the ~52 consumer services that Apple sells: https://www.apple.com/ca/support/systemstatus/

      The wet dream of every CFO is to have the power to force customers into endless subscriptions, with terms entirely determined by the corporation and with pricing and policies that can change instantly whenever the corporation desires.

      That is what Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, etc have all been trying to push for a decade or more. And as they grow bigger, each one of them is employing all kinds of social media fluff pieces and software tweaks to force you to use only products from your one company. Apple has been rolling out Snapchat features as fast as they can to ensure people only use Messages and not Snapchat. Apple has copied Evernote as much as possible to keep people using Apple’s Note. Apple has attempted to push Music subscription in an attempt to sideline Pandora and Spotify and others.

      I hope that people realize that COMPETITION and PERSONAL CHOICE are much more important than using only Apple products. Very few of Apple’s products are the absolute best at anything. Usually they are knockoffs of the competition, and often dumbed down from more capable standalone Mac applications so that Apple can sell you an iCloud subscription and force you to be internet connected at every second of every day. Big Brother .

      1. This was a very good sentence: “I hope that people realize that COMPETITION and PERSONAL CHOICE are much more important than using only Apple products.” I hope so too, because the holy grail of capitalism is the invisible hand of the market. Your hope, and mine, is that svengali-like marketing and hypnotic fashion promotions can’t overwhelm natural market forces, which assume that purchasers make rational decisions based on utility (mostly price but also useability, social cachet, and other factors that matter to each buyer). Marketing shenanigans, which precipitate disruptive fads and crazes, seek to undermine normal economic behaviour in order to grab quick profits. Apple and other so-called premium brands have been getting away with this sleight-of-hand for years, and fooling too many consumers into paying more for less. Apple are particularly pernicious in this regard, as they advertise “ease of use” and “delight” as selling points, neither of which are much in evidence in the comments that appear regularly here at MDN (I take them to be representative of the Apple customer base). This is zombie economics, or fanboyism, and God only knows how Apple’s kept bamboozling their customers as long as they have. There ought to be a law.

          1. It’s a joke. If not for Steve Jobs’s “Reality Distortion Field,” his overpriced toys would never have survived in a competitive marketplace.

            Supposedly, supply and demand are the invisible hand and require no regulation. Yet men readily play tricks to subvert that “natural law” and thus must suffer government regulation. Maybe the law isn’t so natural if it requires such intervention.

          1. I know a couple of things. First, talking up traditional free-market economic ideas wins you political points (good); taking issue with them brands you as a socialist or free-thinker (bad). Second, no one wants to admit that the theory is wrong, despite hundreds of counterexamples. To take only one: the very persistence of Apple in the face of endless doom-saying by not only trolls but experienced industry analysts who continue to cite that theory. Even the recent innovations of disruption theory haven’t explained Apple, which is still considered doomed.

        1. You really cannot conceive that intelligent rational people who are familiar with multiple platforms can make choice that is NOT based on marketing shenanigans, precipitate by disruptive fads and crazes, but rather recognize true value, quality, functionality, and performance beyond what they’ve actually experienced from the competition and make the decision to repeatedly spend their own hard earned assets on a product that repeatedly and consistently out performs that competition?

          Frankly it is obvious you have never used any Apple products at all, since you can blithely claim zombie economics or fanboyism about a company who has been successful in repeatedly delighting its repeat customers to a 98% satisfaction level for over 40 years. A company which “bamboozles” its customers for that length of time and keeps them happy is simply NOT “bamboozling” them. YOU are delusional if that is your conclusion about reality. Such a company doesn’t become the most valuable in the world based on the fraud you think it is based on. You don’t live in the real world.

      2. Big Brother is right. They’re the ones that use your info and try to sell you something, or they use your info to sell to someone to sell you something. Yep, Big Brother is right.

        And you’re right Apple’s Big Brother is a “dumbed down” “knockoff of the competition”‘s Big Brother which is far more capable of selling you stuff and selling you to companies that will sell you stuff.

  1. Please be an independent thinker and try everything before just blindly assuming that whatever Apple’s version is, must be the best. Apple’s reputation for spotty services was earned.

    I recall for years MDN would poke fun at Windows users who would just use the default IE browser that came with their machine when other browsers were on the market. Well, shouldn’t you treat uninitiated Safari users the same way? Resist the religious zealotry of using only one company’s products. That is willfully putting blinders on and accepting only one version of all the possible tools you could have.

    1. SUCH an invalid comparsion. Apple doesn’t write their code to degrade the performance of other browsers. Nor have they integrated the browser into the OS.

  2. My Rube Goldberg to watch Amazon Prime on my Apple TV. I have the Amazon app for my phone. I start the video there. Then immediately use Airplay to connect to my projector with Apple TV. Once in Airplay mode the Apple TV remote works like normal. So, except for there being no app on the Apple TV home screen the net result is the same. As long as I have enough charge on my phone.

  3. Maps might be good if you live in an urban area and just need to “map around” to find something, but it is inferior to Google Maps still. First off, there’s no Street View, which I use a ton, because I rarely know where the heck I’m going (seriously). Plus, I like that Google Maps has other things mapped out for me too, such as bike trails etc. This is handy.

    Others have said it here, but the authentication to these services can at times get cumbersome and is a poor implementation. If I forget my password, I’m basically forced to reset it. That’s dumb. Because then I have to reset it on all other devices, just because I may have forgotten it or typed it wrong several times when trying to do something simple like logging into iCloud from a web browser somewhere (e.g. work, on the road, etc.).

    Then the rants about the lack of basic storage and how the web versions of iWorks still do not have feature parity with their desktop counterparts. And CarPlay not really being expanded or updated for a couple of years now. The clusterf%@k that iTunes has turned into from years of bloat. iPhotos to Photos and that debacle along with a sundry of other things, etc. Those are all there still too.

    Apple, really should put some effort behind making these “services” the best they can be rather than making folks use them (and pay for them) and then about every 3-4 yrs. reimagining them, calling them something new (e.g. iPhoto/Photos) and giving them at best security patch updated periodically.

    Besides my long growing frustration with Apple and their lack of Mac products and software updates, iCloud and the whole rest of their services that get little attention has me really pissed and feeling as if I’m constantly fumbling around in an growingly inadequate Apple only universe, which is very Microsoft-ian if you think about it.

    Come on Apple, do something other than building a land based spaceship, one iPhone a year, episodic architectural updates to your flagship stores. Make stuff! Then continually fix the stuff you make. Let it evolve if you will, instead of leading customers down technology evolutionary dead ends and rabbit holes!

  4. Who is this Fanboi?
    Apple services sucked in the past, generally suck today and will undoubtedly suck well into the future. That may be why I just sent a service ticket out about iCloud Sync not working correctly (at all) on quite a number of apps despite being set up correctly.

    I also have purchased content from iTunes that I cannot play on any Apple device that is marked m4a (not protected) because every Apple device says I am not authorized to play it. Content bought from Apple that is supposed to be DRM free and BTW I pay for iTunes in the Cloud.

    The Safari iCloud synced history and read later between devices also does not sync properly despite my using high quality Cable internet at home, and Verizon and AT&T LTE on mobile.

    Apple Maps still is a lame shadow of Google Maps and the routing is still very poor. Try a week of letting Apple Maps try to route you around places you know well- it rarely takes the best or fastest routes. Still no street view after all of these years. And the data from TomTom is commonly out if date. Nothing like a bridge on a arterial road open for almost a year not showing up. There is a Wal-Mart open for over a year that does not show up as well as many new local roads open for some time. You would think getting GPS data from multiple iPhones daily that appear to be driving through a Wildlife Refuge at 55 MPH might trigger an investigation or a WTF?

    I want Apple to succeed as both a customer and a shareholder., but I see a lot of Ballmer era Microsoft quality and thinking instead of the take no prisoners, move with a purpose Jobs era Apple at Tim Cook’s Apple. And I still do not accept any excuse of how a company with over a Quarter Trillion Dollars banked cannot keep Mac hardware up to date while telling us how important the Mac is to Apple.

    At this point if there were a decent option I would put the Macs, Apple TVs , watch, iPhone and iPad Pro in the attic for the next Spring Cleaning and buy it.

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