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Former Apple engineer: Tim Cook made Apple a 'boring operations company' (cnbc.com)
142 points by bangonkeyboard on Jan 18, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 110 comments



I don't get why people are so surprised that this is the Apple we're seeing under Tim. Tim was the COO... he knows operations. He's not a creative, he's not a tech guy. He knows operations, and he knows them well.

While the creative/user facing side has been lack luster (depending on if you ask the average consumer or a techie), the operational side is booming. Their product line has slimmed, they have clear and concise build processes, they've improved their services roll out and are still sitting on a mound of cash.

I think Tim has accomplished what he was put in place to do. People act like Steve Jobs, the guy who put Tim there, didn't know Tim at all. Jobs knew Tim very well. He knew what Tim was good at, and I'm sure they talked about what Tim should do in the future. This is the established course for Apple. Take it or leave it.


> Their product line has slimed, they have clear and concise build processes, and are still sitting on a mound of cash.

The mac line is regressing in terms of hardware and software. While they used to have one of the best mobile dev environments, they now have the worst development environment. XCode is a bigger mess every release. Every macOS has more bugs then the last.


The Mac line is regressing according to people who bought the first iteration of a new Mac product, violating a cardinal rule in place since the Titanium Powerbook. To my eyes, this is more like adherence to a time-honored Apple tradition.


When the second generation won't exist for half a decade, I don't think the old rules are still in effect.


Fair enough, but for many people love for Apple has always been a combination of admiring the solid design of an individual product alongside the brand of "think different" innovation. If you feel that Apple hasn't really done anything astonishingly innovative since 2010 (the iPad, and the iPhone 4, i.e. Retina), you are losing the brand identity half of the value prop.

That Apple, as if they were making washing machines or minivans, cares about Consumer Reports recommendations is far more damaging to their mystique than getting not getting a CR recommendation.


I think that's true for those that look at products as some sort of cultural artifact, but for many of us it was simply easier to replace the current laptop with the new model and know you'd have quality components.

The same could not be said for most popular non-apple laptops (HP, Dell, Compaq, etc...).

You might buy a Compaq and two years later buy the same model and have completely different (usually terrible) video card, screen, etc...


Software is getting less reliable as well.


You are not going to convince someone who ran 10.0 that we have reached some unprecedented low in Apple software quality.


Sun did an rewrite and upgrade of Solaris into version 10 with quite a bit of reliability. All that work cost just under $300 million. Apple has over 100x that money. You'd think they could at least afford the SDL & static analysis Microsoft was using if not a total rewrite of Mac OS X into the greatest OS ever made.

They also have differentiators of usability, cool factor, UNIX support & privacy given Microsoft's turn with recent Windows. There's also a software ecosystem to further monetize & develop. Apple is screwing up big time in letting Mac OS languish.


So what would the return on that money be?

The dev market for laptops is X. The random Joe Sixpack market for iToys is 100x or 1000x. If they are going to invest some giant figure in development, it will be for Joe Sixpack toys and not the best OS to ever live.

(That is if throwing money at the problem would actually make a better OS. I suspect Microsoft throws more money at OS than all the other OS companies combined. They still have some massive failures).


What would the return be on vertical integration that Apple does in general? About nothing vs good strategies for COTS acquisition and supply chain. So, why does Apple do these things? To reduce risk to brand or products caused by 3rd parties plus allow them to control key aspects of technology to benefit themselves.

Similarly for Mac OS. The main alternatives to watering down experience of their developers or power users are a scheming competitor with history of screwing its own ecosystem up arbitrarily and Linux distros that are lame compared to Mac/UNIX experience. I say that as an Ubuntu user.

If they want their own fabs and phones, it seems fitting to also ensure their desktop experience for developers or power users is similarly low risk or tuned to their needs. Redmond and Linux surely aren't.


It's not in the nature of operationally minded people to think long-term. They think about the next quarter, or at most towards the end of the current accounting year.

To put it another way: all they do is tactics - not strategy.


At that time they had a proper excuse though - it was brand new, they had financial issues, their old OS was antiquated so they had to rush, etc, etc. They then worked diligently for like a decade to reach a peak in terms of features, design and quality around the time of Steve's death in 2011.

Now they don't really have any excuses.


He said its getting less reliable - not that we reached an all-time low.

There seems to be a very obvious regression in quality - but that doesn't mean its worse than how it was 15 years ago (or worse than anything else in the market right now)


I don't remember 10.0 as buggy. Slow, definitely.


Then, respectfully, you don't remember 10.0.


I also mainly remember the slowness. I ran it on a 300 Mhz PowerBook iirc. (It wasn't my main machine/OS though.)


Memories. I had two partners that always had to have the latest and greatest. They both bought ti-books. I was on a pismo.

One of the laptops started peeling apart in 6 months.

The other was dropped by airport security and fell (almost)completely apart. Now, any laptop would have smashed, but given what happened to the other guys ti-book....


Yeah pretty much since android studio replaced eclipse, things got better on the android side. Though I still find android a pain from an ecosystem perspective.

Haven't done a lot of straight up native apps, but I use the tools for react native & cordova stuff.


Android dev has improved by leaps and bounds. iOS dev has drastically regressed.


I'd argue that Swift is one of the best things that happened to iOS development in the past few years.


Compiler that regularly crashes. Dev environment that regularly crashes, behaves strangely and is full of bugs. Really long compile times.


I disagree with the Xcode sentiment. While it's horrible in its current state, it has consistently gotten better with every release, although honestly the progress is so slow that it feels like the only thing that can salvage it is perhaps architecture redesign and rewrite from scratch.


> he's not a tech guy

Well, he kind of is, but not in a way that appeals to most tech geek crowds.

He has a degree in Industrial Engineering which (defined by Wikipedia): "work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, man-hours, machine time, energy and other resources that do not generate value".

Engineering to make things more efficient and reduce waste may not be "tech sexy", but to make it happen involves real technology and engineering.


It took an Industrial Engineer to get rid of the headphone jack.


Honestly, the headphone jack while ubiquitous, is an ancient interface.

My biggest issue with it's removal is that they didn't replace it with another analog interface. I believe that the DAC should live in the phone, leaving the headphone to merely to deal with a simple analog signal. I haven't jumped into the wireless bandwagon, bc the wire has never bothered me. On top of that I have a great battery and DAC in the phone already, I really don't want to be bothered with charging one more thing.

If they had adopted a new standard interface that would have been great. Hell I would even be ok with it being usbc if that meant that the jack was standard. It's this non-standard interface that has me considering not buying a new iPhone. I don't care about the loss of the analog jack as much as the non-standard wired option that's left.


> the headphone jack while ubiquitous, is an ancient interface

Ancient, but MASSIVELY used, and affordable. There are finally high quality affordable wired headphones out there that I can use between multiple devices. Removing it forces people to spend significantly more money on a ancillary accessory that is not guaranteed to work across multiple devices. It was a money grab.


If I'm taking an international flight, I have to carry headphones to use the in-flight entertainment. Whether or not Apple likes it or not, the headphone is here to stay for a very long time.

There is _also_ not enough wireless bandwidth available for an entire plane of people to simultaneously support 250 different stereo audio streams in such a small area. ...or a crowded office.

I have a really nice pair of IEMs I had molded to my ears from Alclair Audio. They're already expensive enough, there's not reason to add the inconvenience of batteries, latency, and bandwidth competition.


Curious. I see more and more of the in-flight entertainment systems including USB chargers on them - for charging, not listening. My experience on flights where I use the analog jack is that it's usually a terrible experience, in terms of audio quality. IFF the USC-C standard becomes more ubiquitous, this might be rendered a moot point.

Of course, I do not know if the USB-C has been tested for the kind of brutal, constant usage that would be common on aircraft so I might be completely wrong.


True, but it seems his focus is more process engineering than what you and I would consider "techie".


> While the creative/user facing side has been lack luster

I just don't see it. 5K and retina wide colour gamut displays, the aggressively lightweight MacBook design, new Mac Pros with an entirely new touch interface system, new keyboard mechanism and new hinge mechanism, continuity, a new graphics API subsystem (Metal), a brand new programming language. Then you have the Apple Watch. Which area exactly do you think they are lacking in?

What other computer manufacturer or OS vendor is out-innovating Apple? Microsoft Surface? Bought-in commodity touch tech and 5400 RPM hard drives.

If you compare the last 6 years with the period between the introduction of the iPod and the introduction of the iPhone, the last 6 years easily wins in terms of new innovative product releases and updates.


This is my problem with Apple at the moment.

They are doing hard things. However, I suspect they are completely out of touch with the actual goals of their customers.

MBP is an engineering marvel. Fitting that technology, with that battery life, into those size and weight specs is incredible. However, are the sacrifices made to achieve that last 0.2 pounds of weight loss, or fraction of cms size reduction worth it? I don't think Apple is in agreement with their customer base here.

Swift. It's a really nice language, but was there any reason for Apple to invent a completely new language? The problem for Apple was Obj-C, but there are many other languages that could have worked as well. Even if they did need to invent a wholly new language, the marginal benefits just don't seem appealing.

The new keyboard mechanism has only led to a keyboard that at best is considered an improvement by as many people as those who consider it a downgrade.

Metal. Nice, but once again, did Apple really need to invent their own graphics subsystem which cannot be used on non-Apple platforms? How does that help anyone outside of lock in for Apple?

Apple Watch. Nice product, but WatchOS3 was basically what OS 1 should have been.

I think Apple has been doing a lot of things. I get the feeling the percentage of those things which are actually aligned with what customers want, or make life easier for customers, either due to NIH or due to wanting to create lock in, is extremely limited.


Swift. It's a really nice language, but was there any reason for Apple to invent a completely new language? The problem for Apple was Obj-C, but there are many other languages that could have worked as well.

I think the main requirement was interoperability with Obj-C. They really needed something reasonably similar (OO and reference counting). No existing mainstream language would have fit in neatly without extensive customization.


> Swift. It's a really nice language, but was there any reason for Apple to invent a completely new language? The problem for Apple was Obj-C, but there are many other languages that could have worked as well.

What language(s) do you have in mind?


>>(depending on if you ask the average consumer or a techie)

There are definitely people who feel left out by Apple. As evident by the numerous blog post and talks on the internet.


If the internet were to be believed, the iPhone was a marketing-lead fad with no chance of success and every month since 2007 a new reason gets trotted out for their impending doom. Meanwhile actual sales, customer satisfaction ratings and margins climb ever higher.

All of which drives the haters ever more cranky, hence all the blog posts.


None of what you said matters.

I said in my previous comment (and was implied in the OP) that people feel left out by Apple. The only proof I need for that is one person write a blog post saying that they feel left out by Apple, which we've definitely seen.


It matters because people writing angry blog posts because apple leaves someone out has happened at every iteration of every apple product ever.

Apple removing the firewire port was the end of the world.

http://appleinsider.com/articles/08/10/16/jobs_responds_to_o...

Apple removing the matte screen option was a the end of the world

http://www.macworld.com/article/1136061/matte_laptops.html

Using USB instead of ADB, SCSI and GeoPort and ditching floppy drives was the end of the world

http://www.technologizer.com/2008/10/17/firewire-isnt-alone-...

I don't think I even need to link posts about powerpc, flash player, or the 30 pin connector


But it doesn't. I was simply stating that some people feel left out. That is it. Regardless of whether people have BM'd on the internet before. Regardless of the implications of someone feeling left out.


I get it, so me people feel left out. I agreed with you, hence my comment about cranky blog posts. I'm just saymg that's business as usual and it doesn't mater. They'll buy a Windows or Linux machine and get on with their lives.


Ok, I get that.


Operations tend to focus on and optimize for efficiency (doing things right). Steve Jobs at CEO was a visionary and was focused on effectiveness (doing the right thing(s)).

What has happened since Tim took over is, and should have been, expected.


Operations will not keep Apple alive. I mean Jobs was a genius in knowing what people want, but he wasn't good at knowing how to replace himself. It's outside his abilities just like it's Cook's abilities to be creative or to know what people want. Operations people are good for operations, and nothing else. And usually hated by many people in the company for the policies they force on the company in order to improve the bottom line.


I think that people just want Tim Cook to be Steve Jobs. However Steve even wanted Tim to come in and do what Tim does.


You'd think their OS releases would be decent but Mavericks and Yosemite sucked. Mavericks, ostensibly an update to include their ebooks platform caused my macbook pro to shut-down at random times and force me into quasi disk-repair to start the computer back up again.

It was by-far the worst experience with a computer I've ever had, and I started out on 286s many moons ago so I seen some chit...


What does this comment have to do with the one you replied to? Instead of adding to the conversation about Cook using what he learned as COO under Jobs, you're complaining about software updates.


And the windows 10 anniversary update literally caused my computer to freeze for up to 30 seconds every time I tried to interact with the task bar.

These things happen with all companies.


I wonder if they discussed the phase Apple is entering right now though. I agree with you that Jobs probably understood 100% what Cook at the head would mean, and did it willingly; IMO to ensure a long and smooth ride of the previous era successes. Now did they have plans in mind for long term ..


I'm pretty sure Steve was counting on them keeping Forstall as part of the team. He kind of was Steve Jr. when it came to making people cry and pushing them to reach beyond what they think they are capable of. But Tim and Jonny (and maybe Craig) didn't like it.


> This is the established course for Apple. Take it or leave it.

Umm no, share holders and the board definitely has a voice and I think we are not too far away from Tim leaving as CEO. Normally they'd give a guy like this a year maybe 18 months to right the ship, the only reason why it would be longer at Apple is because their development and release cycle is absurdly long. If it takes 3+ years to upgrade each product line, he might get 3 more years at the helm before they politely oust him.


Tim Cook has performed well for share holders. He has led Apple to record shattering profits, huge cash surpluses, and even in years like this where they came in under target, they still dominated in profits relative to their peers.

For share holders, the pressure on Tim Cook is not for him to step down. The pressure on Tim Cook by many share holders is to focus only on iPhone and for him to abandon the Mac, Apple TV, and other things that are not considered material to the profits of the company.

We saw this before during the iPod domination years. Vocal share holders wanted Steve Jobs to ditch the Mac and focus only on iPod.


But I think the smart share holders are very weary of Apple moving into the Ballmer era. MS was in the same boat, hugely profitable but drifting into a technical no mans land where people lost interest in the platform and do not care to give them a second chance once viable other options are available. Apple is absolutely still a money printing machine, but they are skating on thin ice with product quality and innovation. With a new CEO Apple will still be a money printing machine, but maybe get some of its mojo back.


> they are skating on thin ice with product quality and innovation

How did you come to this conclusion? I've been using Apple computers since the late 80s and iPhones since the day the 3G shipped in 2008 and consider Apple's current computers, phones and accessories to be robust, of the highest material and design quality, and packed with cool tech. I walk around with my 7 Plus feeling like I'm a goddamned cyborg. I look around the streets and see a significant number of people sporting an Apple Watch while I've seen next to no one wearing a competing smart watch apart from Fitbit...which is pushing the definition somewhat. Around Christmas I was surprised to see quite a few people with AirPods but have yet to see anyone with another brand of wireless in-ear headphones.

You know what Tim isn't very good at? Being a bullshitter/salesman the way Steve Jobs was. And to sell the company to people who can't objectively see that Apple is doing some very cool things.


Agreed. I applaud cnbc for linking to Steve Blank's article "why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer"


The unfortunate part of this is that while a crazy product-driven visionnary needs a solid Operations leader to deliver the product, an Operations head will not suffer having a crazy product wildcard among his ranks. So this is a one-way transition from creative chaos to predictable stability.


Is there any evidence at all to back up this assertion? Why in the world would you assume that an operations head can't see the value of product driven visionaries, but the reverse is true?

I have worked several times for operational leaders who have valued and cultivated visionary product thinking.


Is being an ops guy an excuse for letting their software quality drop?

I think the hardware design issues are a result of the change in dynamics with Ive and Jobs, but quality issues aren't really excusable.


>This is the established course for Apple. Take it or leave it.

Heh. No. That's not how publicly traded companies work. Tim Cook is not an Autocrat.


> Their product line has slimed

Possible Freudian slip?


Nobody can be bothered to quote the most important part of the article?

> "At Apple in 2007, organizationally it was the wild west," Burrough said. "I was hired under a particular manager, but for the first two years worked on projects that had virtually nothing to do with that manager's core responsibility. That's because the organization wasn't the priority, the projects were the priority. It was the exact opposite of 'not my job.' It was 'I'm here to solve whatever problems I can, irrespective of my role, my title, or to whom I report.' It was wild. But it was also very rewarding, because everything you did had maximal impact on the product." > > But today, the "dynamic has clearly and distinctly changed," and Apple is much closer to his job at Palm, said Burrough, who most recently founded a 3D printing company called Bilt It. > > "Working at Palm, the teams were highly organizational, [hierarchical] and responsibilities were siloed," Burrough said. "There was a clear sense that each person had a clear responsibility, and rarely deviated from it. When you went to someone for help solving a problem 'not my job' was a common response."

Is this something for startups to be worried about, introducing hierarchy and silo'ing and a culture of "not my job" especially as they grow rapidly?


There's a balance, too little silo'ing and you get thrash/overlap. Too much silo'ing and you get tunnel-vision products/unhealthy competition.

I don't know how you can strike the right balance.


Clicking through to the original tweetstorm [0] is recommended; it goes into more depth, and there are some continuing showers at this time.

It jibes with this page that I found striking, from a book of interviews with ex-Apple executives: http://i.imgur.com/dGmHcqv.png

[0]: https://twitter.com/bob_burrough/status/821085627084984320


Before we all speculate about this ourselves, can we take a second and ask who this former Apple engineer is and what makes him an authority? There are thousands of engineers at Apple.


His LinkedIn says that he "Changed the world by developing the most successful products of all time: iPod, iPhone, and iPad." though his actual title was apparently Software Development Manager. His website tag line says he's a "revolutionary" and he credits himself as having "Built the most successful products of all time at Apple".

But yeah, seems just some run-of-the-mill dude who used to work at Apple and who's a bit disgruntled with management. There must be loads of them at companies of Apple's size. I guess he just went on the record, and lazy news orgs picked up this non-story.


It's another piece of a greater narrative that has existed for Apple post Steve Jobs. The question should be do the sum of the parts fit the whole, or are the enough dissenting opinions and data to indicate otherwise. Assuming he did work there for a number of years I believe that should be sufficient, but I do agree we should validate the parts as well.

I believe there is enough out there to support this mid level engineers perspective. It's not necessarily a bad thing either, as teams should focus on their strengths instead of emulating past glory.


This was by design, in that Jobs intentionally chose Cook because he wanted someone that could keep Apple running well and stable during the iPhone boom. It was obvious a few years into the life of the iPhone, that it was going to be a monster product and generate immense profit (although I seriously doubt many expected $40b in annual profit). Jobs didn't believe Apple needed another product guy to come in so soon and tamper with that setup. Cook's job was almost solely to shepherd the iPhone and the supply chain through its growth phase. The guy that comes after Cook, will have to be the next product guy and in theory he'll have immense resources to work with.


I'll believe it. But on the other hand, I remember when iCloud was an incredibly unreliable service, when iMessage went down... Apple needed to improve its operations. Preferably not at the expense of being an interesting company, though.


Reliable, innovative. Pick 1.


With that much cash, they could probably afford both at the expense of reducing scope a bit.

So maybe: reliable, innovative, big - pick 2.


To expand a bit, the well known Project Management triangle is Scope, Cost, and Schedule, pick 2; Scope envelopes reliability and innovation, and schedule is critical as well, so Apple is left with high cost, which they can certainly handle.


When it comes to the device I depend upon every day, I'll go for reliable please.


Apple is sitting on so much cash. I never understood why they couldn't throw a couple BILLION dollars at a long term project to eliminate bugs from its software. Instead they have had tons of regressions with almost every major release. This hurts their bottom line and reputation.

Apple developed Swift and GCD, they could have pioneered new levels of reliability and revived Dijkstra's focus on provably correct practices. They could have gotten their reputation for "it just works" back and then some. Why don't they? Do they care anymore?

Other areas:

* Network and social. Why not get this right? Ping was their best attempt, seriously?

* Voice. They let others own this space after buying Siri? Why? You are rolling out interfaces for cars and homes and you don't care about people associating you with "smart and natural interfaces"? What happened to the Mac standing out for being easy to interact with?

Instead they invest it in some shadowy fund that makes safe investments. At least use 1% of your money on this every year you guys! What is wrong with you? Haven't you learned from every other company that has stopped innovating along the lines of what they were known for?


I don't think a Billion dollars would make a dent in the bugs on OSX and iDevices. Look at the NASA cost per line of code. Now look at the lines of code in just OSX alone. (Ignore iTunes etc). Frankly, people aren't willing to pay $5000 for a music app when the free iTunes one works. Or $9000 for the "bug free" word processor with 100 features, then the $100 buggy word processor from microsoft with 1000 features exists.


Are you serious? A billion dollars wouldn't make a dent in the bugs on OSX and iDevices?

They used to have far fewer bugs. At the very least – and this costs far less than a billion dollars – you can massively expand your regression testing. Have more automated regression tests. Do testing in more environments. I mean, it's not that hard to realize that the Wifi is borked, or that the Message Composer in all iOS apps are now broken. Some of the new Apple bugs are just unbelievable. It makes Antennagate seem like masterful execution.

Ask anyone, Apple's reputation as "it just works" and "the most natural to use" has greatly diminished. They were far more interested in changing everything over to "flat" interfaces (which made it far more ambiguous where you can tap, etc.) and thin fonts (which made it harder to read). OK great, so Apple is now a follower.

No, a Billion dollars can do a lot if you have the right people. This ain't healthcare.gov .


> Are you serious? A billion dollars wouldn't make a dent in the bugs on OSX and iDevices?

yes.

> They used to have far fewer bugs.

They also had far fewer features. Bugs are proportional to features^2

> No, a Billion dollars can do a lot if you have the right people. This ain't healthcare.gov .

Microsoft has billions. How much better is windows 10 than windows XP? Literally billions have been spent on that upgrade.


I think that Apple's lack of structure is why their software and services were largely lacking under Steve Jobs. Maybe there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. IDK, something like Apple Pay under Steve Jobs probably would've had a messy rollout.

Software and services require stability and predictability. Tim Cook is the yang to Steve Jobs' ying. I think TC is looking for the optimal balance.


Do you think their software is better lately? With nothing new on macOS and bad Xcode experience, I don't


> software and services were largely lacking under Steve Jobs

Software? It's a first to hear that Steve's Apple had a problem with software.


Where have you been, then? OS X turned into such a mess that Snow Leopard introduced no new user-facing features, focusing exclusively on improving performance and patching bugs, and even then it took several minor updates before they could really say that they achieved that.


The real reason there were no new features in Snow Leopard is because they needed to transition to Intel. Leopard wasn't a particularly buggy release.

If you want a release that really did have bugs galore, it's Lion.


iTunes.


Has been shit under everyone. I really think there are core issues with that product not a question of leadership.


I think that is a question of leadership. Writing robust and reliable TCP/IP services isn't the wild blue unknown. People know how to do this. If Apple can't do it in 2017, it's because they haven't made doing it a priority.


Right, but the comment I was replying to implied that software problems under Jobs were unheard of. iTunes never "just worked", even when Jobs was running the show.

The leadership issue was not expecting the same level of polish and ease-of-use that the rest of the product line offered for iTunes that was lavished on the iPod and iPhone lines. Whether or not it was bad architectural decisions at the beginning, an unfamiliar toolkit, or something else, as a primary application for the OS X and iOS platforms, I have always expected it should be vastly better than what it is.


    > software problems under Jobs were unheard of. 
Software problems are never unheard of anywhere. But it's absurd revisionism to take Steve Jobs - the guy behind Mac OS and iOS - and state that Apple had problems releasing good software under his leadership.

    > iTunes never "just worked"
Yes, it did!

Either your memory is playing tricks on you, or you aren't old enough to remember early versions of iTunes.

iTunes wasn't born bad. It became bad.


Probably my memory then. Your criticism is fair.

I'll try to mentally split iTunes into two epochs -- Before-iPhone and After-iPhone.

iTunes worked reasonably when it was simply a music library and store, with a simple integration to connect your iPod.

Since 2007, meh...


2007 sounds about right to me, too. The last great feature I recall was "podcasts", which wikipedia says was 2005. By 2010 they were adding crap like "Ping".


    > Has been shit under everyone. 
All software is "shit" to some extent. It was just less so under SJ.


and QT

and anything iCloud (whatever it was called back then)


By QT do you mean Quicktime Player?

Quicktime Player 7 was pretty great. It's outdated now, but it did what it said on the tin, and had some cool features I still miss (like "Image sequence to movie" very cool).

Quicktime X... not so much. A media player that doesn't support codecs. Yech! What do I do with my Flac files now?

    > anything iCloud
Sure, that's "services" though.


I did not use OSX back then so I can't comment on that. But on Windows QT was probably the worst piece of software ever created:

1. it took ages to start

2. the UI was very unresponsive

3. it used a LOT of resources, bringing the system to a crawl

4. it installed a lot of crap along side QT itself

5. it tried to trick users into installing Safari

6. it had a lot of security issues

7. it did not follow any of the Windows UI guidelines

8. just google "quicktime sucks" for many many more issues...


    > probably the worst piece of software ever created
Worse than Adobe Acrobat? Ouch.

There are problems with Apple's Windows software:

- many are "damned if you do, damned if you don't" problems

- some are just ubiquitous Windows problems (there are very few things on a Windows box that antivirus software can't break)

- some crept in, as the software bloated (QTP, like iTunes wasn't born bad, but became bad). That's Apple's fault

It doesn't make much sense to me to judge Apple by their Windows software, since half of the problems there are unavoidable given the requirements.

Eg:

- you have Airport,iTunes,Safari,and Quicktime software. What happens if you don't "trick users" into installing it all at once? Well, then you have a new, equally bad, set of support issues.

- you need hardware support for iPhones, you need network support for mDNS. Okay, now you have to install drivers, and your software is open to all the problems that any other Windows driver has (antivirus software + drivers == pain)

- You can follow Microsoft's UI guidelines, or use Apple's HIG. If you don't use Apple's, you once again have support problems, on top of criticism from some users that the design is uglier on Windows, and also added difficulties maintaining two very different versions of the software

The only really great cross-platform software anybody writes is written from the start to be that way, and there are trade-offs. If you instead choose a single platform, and want to make your software as good as it can be, then your ports to other platforms will suffer. Since Apple chose to optimize for the Mac, it's a given the Windows version would have problems. Apple handled cross-platform software as well as can be expected.


I don't really understand your comments about anti virus and antivirus+drivers (for that matter, why should QT need special hardware drivers?)

Also, doesn't the existence of this project make all your points moot?

http://www.videolan.org/


I mentioned antivirus software, because often performance issues, and quirkiness when installing/uninstalling Apple software, is due to antivirus software getting in the way. To be fair, it is also true that emulating large swaths of MacOS frameworks under Windows slows things down (especially where iTunes is concerned). See my previous comment for the trade-off there.

I mentioned drivers in relation to Apple software for Window in general (ie: iTunes and Airport Utility). I have little idea if Quicktime Player required drivers, I suspect not. Unlike VLC, it did need to install some system software though (such as codecs to allow Windows users to interpret Apple MOV and CAF files)

It doesn't make much sense to compare Quicktime Player 7 with VLC. Quicktime Player is very much a product of 1991. VLC was created in 2001. Also, they were created for different reasons. Part of the reason a Windows version of QTP7 exists was to extend Apple's state-of-the-art (for its time) codecs to other programs on Windows, so it would make no sense for it to be self-contained.

Also, one can't complain about Quicktime's GUI and then use VLC as a counter-example! I've seen pro video editors reduced to helplessness while trying to figure out how to transcode video on VLC. Just open the preferences - does anyone aside from the VLC dev team understand what the dozens upon dozens of options actually do?


I guess I'm old, but I remember when iTunes was amazing. You may not remember, but once upon a time that was the prevailing view. That was under Steve Jobs.

Later, also under Steve Jobs, it became bloated.

Under Tim Cook, iTunes has become so incomprehensible that "mere mortals" find it unusable.


Not sure why people have decided that iTunes was always horrible. Here's a description from Ars in 2003:

http://arstechnica.com/features/2003/05/itunesms/2/

    > Actually, iTunes is an excellent example of a 
    > fundamental Apple design principle: the application 
    > is the computer. The software automatically imports 
    > and categorizes songs, creating an obscure directory 
    > structure filled with 'unknown album' folders, but 
    > you never see that. You see all your music, all the 
    > tag info, easily sorted and easy to access from 
    > within iTunes. It's elegant and simple, as can be 
    > discerned by the fact iTunes users spend most of 
    > their time arguing about whether the widgets 
    > (buttons) look better raised (previous versions) or 
    > sunken (current version).
Here's a tour of iTunes' descent into madness. Note that the original version was, in no way whatsoever, bloated or inelegant.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/11/itunes-through-the-ages...


I don't think an ops ceo dooms a company to be boring. More important is how good the ops ceo is at recognizing the importance of innovation/ vision and clearing a path for that to happen.


That video seems to be saying VR is the future. I'm not so sure about that.


VR has been the future for 20 years or more.


I am frustrated with some of Apple's web services. iCloud is better than it used to be but I find Siri to be inferior to Google Now.

That said, I love my MacBook and iPad Pro devices. Also, it is easy enough to use the Google app on iPhones (which I don't have) and iPads.

For consumers, I think the MacBook is a good direction to go: excellent battery life and screen, and compact form factor. I use a 16 core, 60GB ram VPS for development so the MacBook being a little weak in the CPU department is fine with me.

So, I think Apple is going in a good direction, but I would like them to ramp up investment in web services.


I think Apple under Cook will have the same fate as Microsoft under Ballmer.


Ballmer was a political leader for Microsoft (looking back on his statements, they were all designed around keeping the stock price up not prognosticating the future of tech/Microsoft).

I give Cook a lot more credit than Ballmer, he may not be able to attain a Jobs/Gates level performance for the company but let's not insult the man.


Maybe that's just the reality distortion field wearing off. I think a large impact Steve had at Apple keynotes has gone missing. The product managers just can't replicate his RDF


Whats the over/under on Scott Forestall coming back in a Job-ish way to help "win" back mindshare?


The iPhone bridged an enormous gap putting the world in everyone's pocket.

What gaps are left?


All these comments about innovation vs lack thereof, and no mention of Jonny Ive?


[flagged]


What does free software vs. proprietary software have to do with this? Low quality comment.


>>> "There was a clear sense that each person had a clear responsibility, and rarely deviated from it. When you went to someone for help solving a problem 'not my job' was a common response."

Yikes. Perhaps that explains some of the software quality lately.


You are taking that quote out of context. The full quote:

  "Working at Palm, the teams were highly organizational, [hierarchical] and responsibilities were siloed," Burrough said.
  "There was a clear sense that each person had a clear responsibility, and rarely deviated from it.
  When you went to someone for help solving a problem 'not my job' was a common response."
He is clearly talking about his previous experience at Palm.


It is still a valid comment. "If working at Apple is as bad as working at Palm .... "




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