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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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).
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.
To put it another way: all they do is tactics - not strategy.
Now they don't really have any excuses.
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)
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....
Haven't done a lot of straight up native apps, but I use the tools for react native & cordova stuff.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What language(s) do you have in mind?
There are definitely people who feel left out by Apple. As evident by the numerous blog post and talks on the internet.
All of which drives the haters ever more cranky, hence all the blog posts.
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.
Apple removing the firewire port was the end of the world.
Apple removing the matte screen option was a the end of the world
Using USB instead of ADB, SCSI and GeoPort and ditching floppy drives was the end of the world
I don't think I even need to link posts about powerpc, flash player, or the 30 pin connector
What has happened since Tim took over is, and should have been, expected.
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...
These things happen with all companies.
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.
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.
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.
I have worked several times for operational leaders who have valued and cultivated visionary product thinking.
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.
Heh. No. That's not how publicly traded companies work. Tim Cook is not an Autocrat.
Possible Freudian slip?
> "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?
I don't know how you can strike the right balance.
It jibes with this page that I found striking, from a book of interviews with ex-Apple executives: http://i.imgur.com/dGmHcqv.png
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.
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.
So maybe: reliable, innovative, big - pick 2.
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?
* 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?
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 .
> 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.
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.
Software? It's a first to hear that Steve's Apple had a problem with software.
If you want a release that really did have bugs galore, it's Lion.
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.
> iTunes never "just worked"
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.
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...
> Has been shit under everyone.
and anything iCloud (whatever it was called back then)
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
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
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.
- 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.
Also, doesn't the existence of this project make all your points moot?
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?
Later, also under Steve Jobs, it became bloated.
Under Tim Cook, iTunes has become so incomprehensible that "mere mortals" find it unusable.
> 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).
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 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.
What gaps are left?
Yikes. Perhaps that explains some of the software quality lately.
"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."