Prelude: I was having an issue with my new iPhone 7 Plus: all touch functions went AWOL and I had to turn the phone off/on to restore—and this was a brand-new replacement for the other brand-new one! I mentioned the problem to my teenage daughter, whose response was spontaneously “iPhones are pretty crappy” (she has an iPhone 6). I was dumbfounded—when a teenager thinks that about iPhone, Apple had better hope it’s an anomaly.
The truth is, iPhones do suck in this way at least: the level of complexity is tenfold over the original, delivering little or no meaningful benefit for my uses since iPhone v1. Just try using the godawful kitchen sink mess that is Settings. Indeed, I rendered the iPhone 7 Plus inoperable for Settings by using search to find “Find my IPhone”. After finding it, nothing else would show (blank screen for settings regardless of up/down scrolling), making all settings inaccessible—I had to reboot the phone. And the iPhone is the product getting the lion’s share of development resources.
Shameer M writes in response to Computers Are not Getting Faster in a Meaningful Way, GPU is Half-Baked Tech, Too Many Software Developers Suck:
I think this Bloomberg piece goes hand-in-hand with the article that you posted:
How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists: Inside the company, the once iconic computer is getting far less attention than it once did.
MPG: well, I am one of those 'alienated' loyalist professionals that Apple has been pissing off for at least three years now.
Properly understood, the Bloomberg article is a damning indictment of the cultural change at Apple, at least if one admires true excellence and great (not just good enough) product design. The article doesn’t speak to the metastasizing Apple Core Rot problem. Moreover, whatever Phil Schiller says is only for the gullible or uninformed.
While Tim Cook’s recent comments on terrific desktops in the works hold out some hope (at a risk of being burned yet again given his apparently dim understanding of professional needs), it is MPG’s view that macOS is now mostly developed by the “B” or “C” teams. The design and testing incompetence manifests itself just about everywhere: see the 3rd excerpted paragraph which dovetails with what my 30 years as software engineer senses in the issues with macOS.
Interviews with people familiar with Apple's inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting far less attention than it once did. They say the Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company's software team. They also describe a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers.
In the run-up to the MacBook Pro's planned debut this year, the new battery failed a key test, according to a person familiar with the situation. Rather than delay the launch and risk missing the crucial holiday shopping season, Apple decided to revert to an older design. The change required roping in engineers from other teams to finish the job, meaning work on other Macs languished, the person said. The new laptop didn't represent a game-changing leap in battery performance, and a software bug misrepresented hours of power remaining. Apple has since removed the meter from the top right-hand corner of the screen.
In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there's no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.
The internal turmoil has taken a toll. More than a dozen engineers and managers working on Mac hardware have left for different Apple teams or other companies in the past year and a half, said people familiar with the situation. Some were looking for a less all-consuming work environment, while others felt the future of Mac hardware was unclear in a world of iPhones and iPads.
Apple’s working model for both hardware and software is now “ship by calendar”, not “ship by quality and excellence”. That said, Apple’s products are in general very high grade. It’s just that I expect “great” from Apple, not just “very good”. With macOS, the decline in performance and the rise in bugs in macOS has reached an unacceptable level that is surely the result of the internal turmoil. It is sad to witness the steady decline and painful to have to deal with it on a daily basis.
Jim G writes:
Along with this, did you see that Consumer Reports for the first time didn’t recommend the MacBooks because of battery issues? There was also an article on the Macworld site a few days ago about an analyst who follows Apple saying that ultimately, he thinks Apple wants to be known as a services company.
Well, I felt alienated enough that now I have a PC sitting on my desk and I am in the process of transferring things over. I went to a local computer store looking for an adapter and started talking to them. They service both PC and Mac and while they like the way Macs are built, their opinion of Apple itself is that they don’t care about their customers. They also didn’t seem surprised at my decision to go PC.
In some ways as someone who has had Macs from the first 128k Mac, I have to say that it is a little heartbreaking to think that Apple has gotten to this point. They have a group of people in charge that haven’t got a clue of what Macs have stood for all this time. All they seem to care about are their iDevices and I sometimes think that if Macs weren’t such a part of their history, they might consider moving away from them altogether.
DIGLLOYD: dangerous sentiments (for Apple).
As noted above, Apple ships by calendar schedule and professional needs be damned: 10% better battery life in a “pro” model is a damned joke when it displaces 32GB memory or upgradeable SSD or whatever.
“Great” is no longer the #1 goal, if it is a goal at all—clearly in the computer space Apple offers nothing that is great, at least not for professional users, and I’d argue that while all Apple computers very very good, none are great regardless of the target user.