“At Apple Inc.’s annual conference for developers Monday, executives face the task of not only wowing the audience with new features but also shoring up confidence that Apple can deliver quality software,” Tripp Mickle reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Apple’s expected emphasis on quality follows a year in which the company’s software captured headlines for the wrong reasons.”
“Since September, Apple has issued 14 software updates for its mobile operating system, known as iOS, and fixed 67 software flaws—a 46% increase from the 46 bugs addressed in the same period a year earlier, according to a tabulation of Apple’s software-update notes, which offer a publicly-available snapshot of software issues,” Mickle reports. “The recent uptick in software flaws reflects the challenge Apple’s engineering team has faced in recent years designing a system that works across a growing array of devices, former employees and analysts said.”
“The battle with the bugs could jeopardize Apple’s reputation for delivering products that ‘just work,’ said Michael Covington, vice president of product at Wandera, a mobile security firm supporting companies such as Deloitte & Touche LLP,” Mickle reports. “It could lead people to ‘question why they are paying $1,200 for a device that is no longer polished,’ he said.”
“The company this year tabled some planned features it had hoped to introduce Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference in an effort to improve quality, people familiar with the decision said, setting the stage for an event this week that will emphasize software performance,” Mickle reports. “Apple has compounded those challenges since 2012 by releasing both iOS and Mac software updates annually. Previously, the company updated Mac software about every other year, giving the engineering team more time to fix bugs and develop new features, the people said.”
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MacDailyNews Take: ‘Bout time.
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.”