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Apple Seems To Have Forgotten About the Whole 'It Just Works' Thing (zdnet.com) 242

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, writing for ZDNet: "It just works." This is the phrase that Steve Jobs trotted out year after year to describe products or services that he was unveiling. Well, Steve is now long gone, and so it the ethos of "it just works." 2017 was a petty bad year for Apple software quality. Just over the past few weeks we seen both macOS and iOS hit by several high profile bugs. And what's worse is that the fixes that Apple pushed out -- in a rushed manner -- themselves caused problems. A serious -- and very stupid -- root bug was uncovered in macOS. The patch that Apple pushed out for the root bug broke file sharing for some. Updating macOS to 10.13.1 after installing the root patch rolled back the root bug patch. iOS 11 was hit by a date bug that caused devices to crash when an app generated a notification, forcing Apple to prematurely release iOS 11.2. iOS 11.2 contained a HomeKit bug that broke remote access for shared users. And this is just a selection of the bugs that users have had to contend with over the past few weeks. And it's not just been limited to the past few weeks. There's no such thing as perfect code, and sometimes high-profile security vulnerabilities can result in patches being pushed out that are not as well tested as they could be. But on the other hand, Apple isn't some budget hardware maker pushing stuff out on a shoestring and scrabbling for a razor-thin profit margin.
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Apple Seems To Have Forgotten About the Whole 'It Just Works' Thing

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  • by Quakeulf ( 2650167 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @02:23PM (#55770105)
    Next year they'll relaunch everything with the slogan:

    It just works. Again.
    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @02:26PM (#55770125)

      "It's thinner, whiter, and has a slightly more recessed Apple logo, and at twice the price you'll know you're better than everyone else."

      The result will be a sales goldmine.

      • "It's thinner, whiter,

        Which Apple products are white? Only the accessories.

        • iPhone X ? Airport ? Ceramic Apple Watch?

          • iPhone X ? Airport ? Ceramic Apple Watch?

            I'll give you the Ceramic Apple Watch - if you admit it's not just an accessory. As for the AirPort products - even if you see them as major products instead of accessories, they have seen their last update 4.5 years ago (that's 50% longer than the last update of the Mac Mini everybody complains about) and are rumored to be phased out completely soon.

            And the iPhone X is Silver (or "Space Gray"), Period.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. It's now "You'll just pay."

      That will never change.

    • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @03:12PM (#55770501) Journal
      Given the prices they now charge a more honest slogan would be:
      It just works...for us.
    • They ship a bunch of FreeBSD code, so maybe they'll also adopt our unofficial motto: Everything is fine!
  • The article will have you believe "It just works" no longer applies to Apple.

    It still works. It's main job is not to be user friendly or make everything work seamlessly. "It just works" means the Apple brands works exceedingly well in extracting money from its fanbase. Sometimes it does by making a path breaking pioneer product or concept with great user friendliness, At other times by other means. In the end it just works, separating money from its users.

  • Not just bugs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LucasBC ( 1138637 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @02:30PM (#55770159)
    It isn't just bugs, either. A lot of their recent software efforts seem sloppy and confused. Interfaces that were elegant and useful are now cluttered, ugly and non-intuitive, lacking in some highly desirable functionality, yet messed up with unwanted changes from previous versions. When I switched from Windows to Mac in 2010, I did so solely because of their highly desirable software; not because of their overpriced shiny hardware. But now that benefit is waning, and I know several people beside myself who are considering abandoning the Apple ship. They need to get their act together.
    • Re:Not just bugs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @02:41PM (#55770257) Journal
      That has me worried too. Apple seem to be dropping the ball a lot lately, not on bugs but on what they used to be really good at: taking new-ish technology and presenting it in an easy to use, attractive and reliable package. Like the fingerprint scanner in the iPhone, and in fact the iPhone itself is an embodiment of that idea. But where is Apple these days? Take HomeKit: home automation is a field that cries out to be improved in terms of ease of use, security and interoperability. Apple entered that market with... something that we had years ago: remote control of lights from our phones, using WiFi, a protocol ridiculously unsuitable for large scale home automation. They lag behind in maps, voice assistants, and their new smart speaker has little to be exited about. With $250 billion in the bank, you'd think they have the funds and manpower to bring some of that old Apple innovative spirit into new areas and improve on good ideas of others, but no. I still prefer my iPhone over Android ones, but I'm afraid Apple are on their way to become irrelevant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Albanach ( 527650 )

      Totally agree, following a recent experience with an iPad Pro. Previously you could use Siri from across the room, much like you would do with an Amazon Echo or Google Home. Want to start some music, ask Siri. Want to Set an alarm, ask Siri.

      The latest version of iOS disables Siri if you have a cover on your iPad. So if you're baking and just want a times, you'd have to wash your hands, walk to your iPad and remove the cover.

      So for a product which is intended to have a cover over it whenever it's not being u

      • So for a product which is intended to have a cover over it whenever it's not being used, unlike say an iPhone, Siri is permanently disabled when it's not in use.

        Did you decide that for yourself then? The iPad has had an auto-sleep when the cover is closed function since gen 2. Close the cover and the iPad is put to sleep. Should Siri should still be listening when the device is asleep?

        My iPad Pro has its cover closed only when I want it to be asleep. Normally, only when I put it in my briefcase, or when I'm asleep and I put it on the bookshelf over my bed. I have the cover open and acting as a stand all day long otherwise.

        • My iPad Pro has its cover closed only when I want it to be asleep.

          Then you're a retarded cunt. I close the lid on my lappie when I'm carrying it from one room to another.

          Then again, I use grownup OSes where you can set the action to sleep, hibernate, play a fart noise or nothing.

      • If you want that functionality, then the iPad would have to be on, active, listening to everything you said 24x7 and feeding it through the network to Apple's Siri servers. All while it is supposed to be OFF, and not draining battery, not sucking data from your cell plan. That would be dumb. Open the cover, or buy a non-magnet cover if you're baking. Sheesh.

        • You don't seem to understand how modern cell phones, including iPhones, actually work. They don't transmit everything to a server. They do listen for a wake word using very little power.

    • I had a MBP 2011 which was the most upgrade-able unit I've had; 16GB of RAM with a SATA SSD drive. In what would eventually become the most expensive cup of coffee in my lifetime, I saw the trend Apple was going with eveything soldered on-board, and that "building" a new unit online Apple's store was nothing more than a front-end experence to a back-end motherboard SKU filter - containing all the permutative options. Yeah, no, fuck that. I instead purchased a refurbished Dell Latitude for about 300 bucks an

  • That summary is so full of typos and missing words it's just embarassing.

    "so it the ethos"

    "petty bad year"

    "over the past few weeks we seen"

    Do I need to go on?

    • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @02:50PM (#55770341) Homepage

      That summary is so full of typos and missing words it's just embarrassing.

      Fixed that for you :)

      • First rule of being a proofreading nazi, your rants will have mistakes too. :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GungaDan ( 195739 )

      To be fair it was a pretty bad year for Tom Petty.

    • You beat me to it. It's almost as if the summary is trying to mock Apple's lack of quality with a similar lack of quality. Or something.

  • Look, software will [always] have bugs. Apple's software is no different.

    Has anyone investigated?

    Maybe iOS users are using their devices wrong.

    • I live in both camps. Android 7.0 phone, old ipod touch for music, and ipad on the couch for casual browsing. The wife is fully Apple.

      My ipod is old and stuck at iOS 6, which hardly matters as I rarely use if for anyting but listening to tunes on my bike commute each day. The amazing thing is that while I use my iPad with iOS 11 daily, I still find iOS 6 refreshing and more intuitive to do stuff when I do need to change something on the relic. What happened?

      iTunes is a disasterous mess that pushes iMusi

  • Linus: "I got my Wi-Fi back!"
    Lucy: "I got an iTunes update!"
    Charlie Brown: "I got a brick."

  • by GreatDrok ( 684119 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @02:41PM (#55770259) Journal

    I'm a daily user of Mac OS, Windows and Linux. Of the three, Mac OS is still the best option. Windows is and always has been horrible and the UI changes that keep coming along are terrible, plus they keep rebooting my machine for updates. Linux is reliable although having upgraded my machines to systemd I don't really think Linux users can cast stones anywhere.

    The main advantage of Apple has always been the tight integration of hardware and software and I have to say that having used Macs for nearly 20 years now, we're in no way in some terrible low point in Apple software quality. It has always been a bit variable. I remember complaining to Apple multiple times about Terminal.app on Tiger which wouldn't open bash about 50% of the time you started it. Took them until 10.4.6 to fix that one I believe. Every time we have one of these articles people proclaim that it is because Jobs is gone but there were issues when he was around. It really isn't all that different to how it was except that they have a lot more users today than they did back in the PPC days and yet for all that success we still haven't had the promised plague of viruses and malware that Windows got despite the switch to Intel and the increasing user base. I'd say it works well enough and I'll keep buying because it saves me time and money in my business.

    • > the UI changes that keep coming along are terrible

      For me, the whole point of Windows was that it provided a consistent, unified interface across multiple applications, something that didn't really exist on the PC platform prior to that. I didn't have to relearn the interface for every program I wanted to use.

      Then Microsoft got the bright idea of moving everything around with every new version, and that just destroys the fundamental advantage of Windows.

    • Well systemd is basically clone of launchd from MacOS. It's nothing more than Linux becoming more MacOS-like. It's very dumb hypocrisy that MacOS has launchd, Solaris has SMF and people complain only about systemd. You simply can't have a competitive desktop OS based on sysV init now. This systemd witchhunt is a threat to future of desktop Linux.
    • That's a pretty low aim for a premium product. To be clear no one is complaining about Apple not being the best, they are complaining about it not being anywhere as good as it used to be. ... But really it's arguable that the latest iOS works better than anything else. It reeks of not having been tested.

  • It is now...
    It just looks good.

  • by yayoubetcha ( 893774 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @02:55PM (#55770377)

    Microsoft and HW OEMs have to validate windows on a plethora of platforms, new and old.

    Apple has only their own ecosystem.

    The two are not equal software validation and verification efforts by a huge stretch. This WAS the advantage of Apple.

    #MAGA
    Make Apple Great Again (??)

    • I used to think that about Microsoft. Right until their Surface line. I actually have my desktop running the latest version of Windows 10, but on my Surface Pro ... that one is ticked to run the Current Branch for Business. It seems Microsoft put just as much effort into testing their own hardware as everyone else's: i.e. let the insiders do the bug checking. Unfortunately few insiders seem to run on Surfaces.

      For over one year my SP3 would refuse to wake properly when the SP4 keyboard was attached and folde

  • When they are competing against Windows 10, the bar is set very low. It doesn't have to be insanely great anymore, just not insanely awful.
  • Console (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @03:16PM (#55770543)

    If you want a real eye-opener as to how MacOS is doing, open the Console and look at the system.log chat.

    This is where most system process and apps dump their error and warning messages - not just when something crashes or some part of the UI hangs, but also errors that were caught and handled.

    It's a ridiculous torrent of messages like this:

    > iTunes[774]: tid:18d2f - Mux ID not found in mapping dictionary

    > iTunes[774]: tid:18d2f - Can't handle disconnect with invalid ecid

    > AOUDownloadCount[21315]: ERROR|AOUDownloadCount.m|700L|Error:AOUDownloadCount::createLockFile:plist file is not exist.

    > AOUDownloadCount[21315]: ERROR|AOUDownloadCount.m|493L|Error:AOUDownloadCount::getDownloadCountInfo:file locked failed.

    > AOUDownloadCount[21315]: ERROR|AOUDownloadCount.m|376L|Error:AOUDownloadCount::sendDownloadCountInfo:get DownloadCountInfo failed.

    > com.apple.xpc.launchd[1] (com.apple.quicklook[21327]): Endpoint has been activated through legacy launch(3) APIs. Please switch to XPC or bootstrap_check_in(): com.apple.quicklook

    > kcm[21335]: DEPRECATED USE in libdispatch client: Setting timer interval to 0 requests a 1ns timer, did you mean FOREVER (a one-shot timer)?

    > com.apple.xpc.launchd[1] (com.apple.imfoundation.IMRemoteURLConnectionAgent): Unknown key for integer: _DirtyJetsamMemoryLimit

    > com.apple.xpc.launchd[1] (com.apple.TMHelperAgent.SetupOffer): Service only ran for 7 seconds. Pushing respawn out by 3 seconds.

    > GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent[21387]: 2017-12-19 14:56:55.942 GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent[21387/0x700002adb000] [lvl=2] -[KSEngineInvocation(KeystoneThread) runKeystonesInThread] Failed to upload Keystone statistics: (null)

    > GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent[21387]: 2017-12-19 14:56:56.985 GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent[21387/0x700002adb000] [lvl=2] -[KSEngineInvocation(KeystoneThread) runKeystonesInThread] Finished with engine thread

    > GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent[21387]: 2017-12-19 14:56:57.629 GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent[21387/0x7fff977bc340] [lvl=2] -[KSAgentApp(PrivateMethods) checkForUpdatesUsingArguments:invocation:error:] Finished update check.

    > diagnosticd[21406]: no EOS device present

    > com.apple.xpc.launchd[1] (com.apple.imfoundation.IMRemoteURLConnectionAgent): Unknown key for integer: _DirtyJetsamMemoryLimit

    > com.apple.xpc.launchd[1] (com.apple.quicklook[21428]): Endpoint has been activated through legacy launch(3) APIs. Please switch to XPC or bootstrap_check_in(): com.apple.quicklook

    > Console[21403]: BUG in libdispatch client: kevent[vnode] monitored resource vanished before the source cancel handler was invoked

    Thousands and thousands of messages. Often the same messages repeated every few minutes... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No fixes in sight.

    The kicker is that while all of this is happening in the background, my Mac is just sitting idle and appears to be functioning kind-of okay. I don't get any visible reports of errors or warnings; the apps continue to work okay - with occasional bouts of UI hangups and app crashes.

    MacOS doesn't "just work" any more. It's just gotten very good at hiding the junky, poorly designed state of its apps. Apparently, MacOS is so good at this that devs don't really need to consider bugs a high priority. The consequences are no longer pinpointed to the app that's at fault - they are more generalized, like spontaneous freezing, anomalous behavior, and cryptic error messages.

    Obviously, this is a big problem for Apple. I switched to MacOS sometime around Lion / Mountain Lion. I've noticed that ever since Mavericks, performance and stability started trending south. High Sierra is pretty bad. Still not Windows-level bad, but... the gap is narrowing, and not because Windows is improving.

  • Like all other makers, When Apple releases a product, and especially when it is rushed there are problems. Software problems are the easiest and cheapest to fix, so I expect Apple trying to rush out their new hardware before Christmas, they had slacked on the software testing. While iOS 11 and OS X has it bugs, there hasn't been any Something Gates about it current line of hardware, the iPhone 8 and X have been touted for its build quality (compared to the Google Pixel which had some cheap parts on it).

  • by Green Mountain Bot ( 4981769 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @03:40PM (#55770739)
    That was always, at best, "It just works - as long as you only want to do what we let you do."
    • Yeah but even that isn't true now. Unless you count a calculator which can't add properly functionality that apple shouldn't let you do, or autocorrect that inserts garbage likewise.

  • Once Apple got the large user-base, they started to find out that maintaining a field full of Apple products is not as easy as selling new products into an empty field.
  • Literally just got back from a 45-mile round-trip to my nearest Apple Store where I had an appointment to cure a failure of my Mac Mini. It turned out that the High Sierra update "doesn't play well with HDDs" according to the Apple Genius who attended my machine. The "fix" was to wipe the entire machine and perform a clean installation of *Sierra*, with the instruction to me, "Don't upgrade yet..."

    It is absolutely inconceivable that Jobs-era Apple would have allowed this to happen: had he still been with
  • I'm not convinced this year was a bad thing for Apple. They've spent so much time focusing on hardware and gimmicks to attract more eyes over the past 5 years that they needed on really bad year to straighten them out. I suspect now that they've shipped such a major upgrade to the iPhone and the MacBook (despite the MacBook's "upgrade" being shit), they can spend the next 2-3 years focusing hardcore on getting back to basics: software and ecosystem quality.

  • 1) Apple's software and hardware has always had bugs. They had a whole OS X release that had 'no new features' just dedicated to fixing bugs. It ALSO had bugs. At best, this article is revisionist history. At worst, it's feeble scaremongering.

    2) How many people here have actually encountered the bugs mentioned or the deleterious effects of the bugs mentioned? Sure, if you installed High Sierra, it had a bad exploit in it, but was anyone here actually rooted before the patch went out? The patch having a bug

    • I'm sympathetic to the idea that the touch bar is not super interesting. But why do you think it was an out and out "bad idea"?

  • I switched back in I think May to an iPhone SE. It was my first Apple product and I switched because I grew pissed at the battery sucking, slow as shit Samsung 7 Edge. I bought that device on launch day with my wife getting one as well. For the first 3 months it was great, but as updates came down the pipeline the phone slowed down. Not even a year later it couldn't hold a charge through a full day. Yes I had Outlook installed, yes apps ran. It was still unacceptable. There were tons and tons of posts on X
  • Without the fanatical micromanagement of an anal retentive obsessive compulsive at the helm, it's really just any other company. Sad when the loss of a visionary results in the loss keeping marking from making engineering decisions, that's a change in corporate values.
    Call Job's what you will, but single mind and driven were definitely some of the qualities. He had a unique perspective, and though I was never an apple fanboy, I appreciated his contribution to the craft of technology...I think that's th
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @06:20PM (#55771793) Journal

    "But on the other hand, Apple isn't some budget hardware maker pushing stuff out on a shoestring and scrabbling for a razor-thin profit margin."

    Not yet.

  • When your only competition is the clusterfsck that is the Android ecosystem, you get to cut back on design and QA to chase more profit.
  • by dos1 ( 2950945 )

    I have recently bought an iPhone to port some of my games to iOS. Really, I haven't seen such a sloppy OS for a very long time - and I've been a user of various strange devices like Openmoko ones, mostly with community maintained software, so that speaks of something. The number of small weird glitches, animations that jump out or don't finish properly, errors solvable only by clicking "try again" for a few times, config options that take effect only after toggling them more than once... various kinds of li

  • Tons of stuff that came out under Steve Jobs was as buggy as fuck. Remember the Mobile Me email that didn't work? Or the early versions of iOS (then called iPhone OS) that took like 6 hours to sync with iTunes? Apple are not magical. As an Apple developer I can tell you that Mac OSX has always been as buggy as fuck to develop for. However, it's still BETTER than most alternatives. Better than Windows, better than Android, better than Linux, better than [WHATEVER]. But it aint magical. Everyone makes mistake

    • Yes, bugs will get released. The question is how many of them are entirely avoidable if proper QA practices were employed. I disagree on OS X being so much better, unless you have top notch hardware it is not a great performer, usage patterns are often illogical, plenty of interactions could easily be boiled down to one or to clicks rather than a dozen, and many things are different purely out of spite. There is not a single OS out there that can be considered good. Also, OS X being tied to ridiculously ove
  • Apple stuff never "just worked". So nothing has changed.
  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @11:32PM (#55773649)

    Thats what you get when you hire cheap third world H1B workers. You get third world code. Then we wonder why millenials are sitting in their parents basement begging for Bernie Sanders to pay off their student loans while Bernie helps more foreign aliens steal their jobs

  • QA is seen s optional and apparently Apple is right. People still stand in line to buy their consumer electronics giving Apple probably the best year they ever had. All those who are annoyed by all these Apple bugs...stop buying Apple! Anyone who still buys Apple products endorses this lackluster approach to quality. Your choice!

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