Apple’s declining software standards

The Apple developer and tech blogger Marco Arment has written a provocative piece critising the state of Apple’s software. He writes:

Apple’s hardware today is amazing — it has never been better. But the software quality has taken such a nosedive in the last few years that I’m deeply concerned for its future. I’m typing this on a computer whose existence I didn’t even think would be possible yet, but it runs an OS riddled with embarrassing bugs and fundamental regressions. Just a few years ago, we would have relentlessly made fun of Windows users for these same bugs on their inferior OS, but we can’t talk anymore.

I can only add my voice to the ever growing contingent of Apple users who are stumbling into more bugs and general software issues than ever before.

Take Apple TV, for example. I’ve long been a fan of Apple TV. It has always felt like a magical device that never failed to deliver a sense of wonder when sending photos, videos, or Keynotes via AirPlay straight from my iOS device to my TV screen.

Sadly my experience now is not nearly so wonderful. I’m constantly restarting the Apple TV device to try and make it work and reguarly it will completely fail to receive whatever it is I’m sending it’s way.

Whether it’s iOS 8 or the software updates on the Apple TV, the experience is now a dramatically degraded one from what I had twelve months ago.

As Marco points out in his piece, it would seem a focus on marketing driven deadlines rather than engineering standards is the reason for much of this. Though I do suspect the ever increasing install base is an issue too.

Whatever the cause though, something needs to change. If Apple can’t release yearly updates that are up to an acceptable degree of bug free usability, then the yearly updates should be abandoned. Or, alternatively, much less ambitious yearly updates that only take on as many software additions as can truly be delivered on a bug free, ‘it just works’ basis.

User experience is everything. Apple has bought a huge amount of goodwill over the years through consistent delivery of close to ‘it just works’ software. That goodwill will buy them some grace, but users will soon start to take their frustrations out on Apple if things don’t quickly improve.

Originally published at www.samradford.com.

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