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IOS Programming Software Apple

Apple's Software 'Problem' and 'Fixing' It (learningbyshipping.com) 99

According to media reports, Apple is planning to postpone some new features for iOS and macOS this year to focus on improving reliability, stability and performance of the existing versions. Steven Sinofsky, a former President of the Windows Division, shared his insights into the significance of this development: Several important points are conflated in the broad discussion about Apple and software: Quality, pace of change, features "versus" quality, and innovation. Scanning the landscape, it is important to recognize that in total the work Apple has been doing across hardware, software, services, and even AI/ML, in total -- is breathtaking and unprecedented in scope, scale, and quality. Few companies have done so much for so long with such a high level of consistency. This all goes back to the bet on the NeXT code base and move to Intel for Mac OS plus the iPod, which began the journey to where we are today.

[...] What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality. It is like having a discussion with a financial advisor over income, risk, and growth. You don't just show up and say you want all three and get a "sure." On the other hand, this is precisely what Apple did so reliably over 20 years. But behind the scenes there is a constant discussion over balancing these three legs of the tripod. You have to have all of them but you "can't" but you have to. This is why they get paid big $.

[...] A massive project like an OS (+h/w +cloud) is like a large investment portfolio and some things will work (in market) and others won't, some things are designed to return right away, some are safe bets, some are long term investments. And some mistakes... Customers don't care about any of that and that's ok. They just look for what they care about. Each evaluates through their own lens. Apple's brilliance is in focusing mostly on two audiences -- Send-users and developers -- tending to de-emphasize the whole "techie" crowd, even IT. When you look at a feature like FaceID and trace it backwards all the way to keychain -- see how much long term thought can go into a feature and how much good work can go unnoticed (or even "fail") for years before surfacing as a big advantage. That's a long term POV AND focus. This approach is rather unique compared to other tech companies that tend to develop new things almost independent of everything else. So new things show up and look bolted on the side of what already exists. (Sure Apple can do that to, but not usually). All the while while things are being built the team is just a dev team and trying to come up with a reliable schedule and fix bug. This is just software development.

Apple's Software 'Problem' and 'Fixing' It

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @12:36PM (#56122923)
    This summary is way too long and mumble-speak. As long as they keep pumping out 2016-era Macbooks I'll be happy. No new features are needed and I will still never have any reason to buy anything from the iStore or whatever Apple's "app store" is called today.

    So...does anyone know what this Sinofsky guy is trying to say (and if it matters)?
    • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @01:14PM (#56123201)

      IMO the 2016 are the worst in a steadily worsening lineup. They have turned computers into ludicrously expensive, laughably limited, unrepairable appliances. I am still using my macbook from 2010. I was able to upgrade the ram to 16GB. I was able to replace the hard drive with an SSD. I can't change the battery trivially myself, which is annoying, but apart from that the machine still runs reasonably well for virtually all my workloads except for high-end gaming.

      Now? You can't repair *anything* on the machine. Everything is soldered. Not only that, you can't *plug* anything into the machine either unless you buy expensive dongles. So now, for example, everybody needs to maintain a stock of dongles in every meeting room because nobody makes TVs and projectors with USB-C/TB3 connectors.

      The only reasons Apple is doing as well as it is on the computer front is because a) you can't develop iOS apps without one, and b) Microsoft has fucked up Windows so utterly badly that people now have a very strong incentive to jump ship.

      If Microsoft every manages to pull it's head out of its rear and come up with a Windows strategy that isn't stupid, Apple is gonna be in trouble.

      • by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [enimaf.copa]> on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @01:34PM (#56123337) Journal

        The 2016 model was the one which forced me to switch to a Dell Precision running Ububtu. It's got it's share of quirks, but nothing like the clusterfuck of apple's hardware and software.

        A year and change in, and I'm more happy with this than I was with my old 2012 MBP. I've got the ports I need, and I can actually crack it open (once I fuck with the stupid non-standard screws) and do things. It's got an actual nVidia graphics card in it as well, not just some crappy embedded video.

        And cost half the price of a similarly equipped MBP. No, not quite as snazzy, but whatever. Apple's evolution in their MBP line was opposite the direction I needed them to go, both in hardware and software. Where they were once my go-to, they definitely aren't now. While this focus on software quality is addressing one of my major complaints, there's no guarantee that it's more than lip service, and it's too little, too late for me personally anyway.

        I doubt that MS will ever fix its issues either. Smartphones are the next computing evolution, and MS missed the boat hard on that one. With smarphones and game consoles being the primary devices that teens engage the world with, MS is left clinging onto businesses as their primary market. They'll be there for awhile yet, but google is really starting to put the squeeze on them. I don't see MS ever recovering to be as dominant as they used to be.

        • The 2016 model was the one which forced me to switch to a Dell Precision running Ububtu. It's got it's share of quirks, but nothing like the clusterfuck of apple's hardware and software. A year and change in, and I'm more happy with this than I was with my old 2012 MBP.

          I have followed the exact same path. Couldn't be happier with Linux.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, those are some crazy expensive dongles [amazon.com]...

        How about not trying to feed us your opinion and you'll be taken more seriously on the technical points.

        • Perfectly spoken as someone who doesn't have to do this for a living.

          Assuming one is willing to buy such a frighteningly cheap adapter (I would trust an offer from a Nigerian Price before this thing...), you *still* need to buy one for every user that will need one. You'd also need one in *every* conference room because people will invariably forget them. And then you need to buy an additional handful of spares for when they're lost or broken. And I will bet you money that those super-cheap adapters will

          • Perfectly spoken as someone who doesn't have to do this for a living.

            Assuming one is willing to buy such a frighteningly cheap adapter (I would trust an offer from a Nigerian Price before this thing...), you *still* need to buy one for every user that will need one. You'd also need one in *every* conference room because people will invariably forget them. And then you need to buy an additional handful of spares for when they're lost or broken. And I will bet you money that those super-cheap adapters will fail a heck of a lot more often than one that costs $30+.

            So we're no longer talking $10. We're talking several hundred dollars of needless expense, and that's for a small company. Not to mention a regular additional cost over time as the dongles are replaced.

            Meanwhile, EVERY display device in the past 10+ years has HDMI. Almost EVERY computer, apart from Apple, has an HDMI port. The only additional cost would be the HDMI cable, and that's only if you bought a cheap one that didn't include a cable already in the box.

            Dongles are additional unnecessary expense. They are additional unnecessary hassle for both users AND the admin staff having to buy the things. Dongles have a place for when you want to use something uncommon (eg: firewire) or if the laptop is so absurdly thin that the desired port won't physically fit without compromising the case (eg: VGA or Ethernet), but requiring dongles for connecting to very commonly used items like HDMI, or USB3 ports is downright idiotic.

            You're strikingly ignorant.

            Or actually, is it "Willfully Ignorant"?

            • You're all over this thread like turds at the dog park.

              Or is it, actually, willfully vigilant?

            • And at this point I think you must be rabid and/or strikingly/willingly desperate to maintain that reality distortion field you cloak yourself with.

              Have you considered seeing a psychologist? Based on your posting history, I would be willing to bet that if Apple told you to drink cyanide-laced koolaid, you would.

              • And at this point I think you must be rabid and/or strikingly/willingly desperate to maintain that reality distortion field you cloak yourself with.

                Have you considered seeing a psychologist? Based on your posting history, I would be willing to bet that if Apple told you to drink cyanide-laced koolaid, you would.

                So, IOW, your "argument" is a null-set.

                Got it.

      • Now? You can't repair *anything* on the machine. Everything is soldered. Not only that, you can't *plug* anything into the machine either unless you buy expensive dongles. So now, for example, everybody needs to maintain a stock of dongles in every meeting room because nobody makes TVs and projectors with USB-C/TB3 connectors.

        Shut the FUCK up, whiner!

        USB-C/TB3 is the hands-down BEST thing that EVER happened to Laptops, PERIOD!

        USB-C -> USB-A $2.50 (or less!) PASSIVE Adapter. Here's a 3-pack for $5:

        https://www.amazon.com/Adapter... [amazon.com]

        You don't have to carry "piles of expensive dongles". Just get this Dock (one of SEVERAL to choose from). This one sports 3 USB 3.0 Ports, Gigabit Ethernet, SD/MicroSD/TF Card Reader,4K HDMI, USB-C (for Charging only), and Audio I/O for the princely sum of $60.

        https://www.amazon.com/Adapter... [amazon.com]

        And if y

        • Really? You make a post like that and accuse ME of being the whiner?

          You know what happened the last time I bought a cheap cable? It shorted out the power circuit on two of my iPads, so no. Fuck *YOU* for suggesting this bullshit. I will *not* buy a cheap adapter and risk damaging my very expensive equipment just to satisfy your hysterical nervous breakdown.

          If I was connecting to something legacy like VGA, then you would have a point. But I'm not. I'm talking about people that just want to connect thei

          • Really? You make a post like that and accuse ME of being the whiner?

            You know what happened the last time I bought a cheap cable? It shorted out the power circuit on two of my iPads, so no. Fuck *YOU* for suggesting this bullshit. I will *not* buy a cheap adapter and risk damaging my very expensive equipment just to satisfy your hysterical nervous breakdown.

            If I was connecting to something legacy like VGA, then you would have a point. But I'm not. I'm talking about people that just want to connect their laptops to any of the displays that have been manufacturered in the past 10ish years, as well as the next 10ish years. Even todays current generation MBPs will be obsolete and piling up on landfills long before HDMI stops being actively used. There is not one. single. TV. that support mini-displayport. I haven't googled exhaustively, but I doubt there is one that supports regular displayport either. Projectors at least have some chance of having DP, depending on model.

            You can go into hysterics all you want, but the fact of the matter is that Apple promised a premium "just works" experience and charge prices accordingly. But their design choices for their hardware AND their software are clearly demonstrating that they now only care about the latter. The ONLY saving grace is that despite all their bullshit, they're still better than Microsoft's ecosystem. But that's not saying much.

            And frothing-at-the-mouth fanboys like you do absolutely nothing to help matters. Honestly, do you really understand just how psychotic you sound in your posts? Apple is a company, not an extremist religious institution, and you are most definitely not their pastor.

            So, that's why you read user reviews, and Don't buy the absolute-cheapest adapter/cable/widget from Happy All Day Super Winner Fun Ball Electronics and Dog Food Company.

            or, you can take the safer route, and buy the "dealer" adapter for more money, that you know won't cook your mobo. Just like you can go to AutoZone and get an alternator that was made in some **hole country (just kidding!) for $70, or go to the dealer and get the gen-u-wine OEM alternator for $200. Take your pick.

            Don't Slashtards value CHOIC

    • Honestly, if they'd just iterated the 2015 MacBook Pro, I'd have been happy. I've used the 2016 and 2017 versions at various times, and I'm not a fan.

      My 2015 MBP was in the shop for a couple weeks (needed a trackpad/keyboard cable replaced, and for some reason the local Apple shop was having trouble getting it), so I had to use one of the 2016 models for that duration. After two weeks I thought the keyboard sucked just as much as I did on day one. And having to use a dongle for just about everything drove m

      • Honestly, if they'd just iterated the 2015 MacBook Pro, I'd have been happy. I've used the 2016 and 2017 versions at various times, and I'm not a fan.

        My 2015 MBP was in the shop for a couple weeks (needed a trackpad/keyboard cable replaced, and for some reason the local Apple shop was having trouble getting it), so I had to use one of the 2016 models for that duration. After two weeks I thought the keyboard sucked just as much as I did on day one. And having to use a dongle for just about everything drove me nuts. I have to connect my laptop to displays and devices regularly - tell me, what good was it to shave a fraction of a millimeter off while simultaneously adding the requirement of carrying one or more dongles around?

        Hopefully this 2015 Mac runs well for many years... but I'm not sure what I'll get when the time comes to replace it. I'm reasonably certain it won't be an Apple laptop, assuming they're anything like the current models - and if Ive, Cook, and Co. are still running things, those future laptops will probably still put style over functionality - they may very well have no ports at all!

        The answer is simple: You just get one of the multiport USB-C "docks" for around $50-60, and get EVERY Port you need back with ONE cable. And they are cheap enough you can get one for your workplace, and one for home; so you aren't plugging/unplugging 3 to 5 cables twice a workday.

        Here's one of SEVERAL configurations:

        https://www.amazon.com/Adapter... [amazon.com]

        And then, you STILL have multiple ports left!

        Think about it: a 2016/2017 15" MacBook Pro, with 4 USB-C/TB3 Ports can be "broken out" into up to FIFTY-TWO Legacy

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      2015 is fine, but 2012 was better to me. Even 2008 was good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @12:39PM (#56122953)

    I wish everyone had the same quality interface and functionality that this leading provider of music has developed and improved over the last few decades!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can anyone explain what is a "Send-users"?

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @12:53PM (#56123065)
    This article reads like the unfinished outline of a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. If Apple is as lazy in development as this author is in writing then it's no wonder iOS is a buggy mess.
  • one still has to throw out an Apple product after three years because it can't be upgraded.

    • one still has to throw out an Apple product after three years because it can't be upgraded.

      That is not a bug or a problem, that is a revenue feature.

      And most vendors are doing the same damn thing when it comes to support.

      • one still has to throw out an Apple product after three years because it can't be upgraded.

        That is not a bug or a problem, that is a revenue feature.

        And most vendors are doing the same damn thing when it comes to support.

        No one that is an Android fan has ANY smack to talk against Apple in that regard.

        None.

    • one still has to throw out an Apple product after three years because it can't be upgraded.

      That's at least three more years than a typical Android product.

      And my iPad 2 got updates for FIVE years, and my 2012 MacBook Pro can still run macOS High Sierra (though I feel like that may be the end...)

  • "Amtrak's new slogan: Faster Service, Customer Safety...choose one."

    I think that current fits Apple.

  • Not lost at all... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @01:01PM (#56123117)

    ...What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality....

    My impression is that those people who have been commenting on Apple's software problem know the golden triangle quite well. What they don't understand is why Apple cannot seem to (or does not want to) get the balance right from the customer's viewpoint. Apple is, after all, supposed to be an expert in this area.

  • This sounds like an attempt to defend Apple. The author apparently feels that Apple is being unjustly accused of crappy software, and wants to tell everybody that it's bloody miraculous that Apple software works at all, what with the enormous difficulty of being competent.
    Sorry, Apple, if you were a saint you might get a pass. But your endless arrogance means that you sound whiny and petulant when you ask for sympathy.

  • Or, they've lost focus and it's showing (my opinion).

  • That sure is a lot of words to say that Apple's quality has gone downhill in the last few years.
  • open up mac os X to more systems if just HP / DELL for real workstations where looks do not get in the way or things like an TB loop back cable to a video card is not a big deal. TB is cool but why tie the HDMI to AN TB bus??? that eats up TB bandwidth???

    The mac pro failed due to being held back by limited cooling driven by looks. and add real m.2 slots.

    Imac pro more BS that should not be in pro workstation like forced raid0 / no easy way to change ram or storage out. And storage locked to the MB. Also the

    • Dafuq did I just read? English as a second language, or modern college student?
    • open up mac os X to more systems if just HP / DELL for real workstations where looks do not get in the way or things like an TB loop back cable to a video card is not a big deal. TB is cool but why tie the HDMI to AN TB bus??? that eats up TB bandwidth???

      The mac pro failed due to being held back by limited cooling driven by looks. and add real m.2 slots.

      Imac pro more BS that should not be in pro workstation like forced raid0 / no easy way to change ram or storage out. And storage locked to the MB. Also the duel pci-e storage is limited by an pci-e x4 link that is also shared with an co-cpu.

      NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE that purchases an iMac Pro will be storing their work-files LOCALLY. There simply isn't enough local storage for the types of files REAL Pros work with.

      So, that means that EVERYONE who uses an iMac Pro will be using EXTERNAL RAIDs. Add Time Machine backup for Applications and Local Files, and there simply isn't a compelling reason to support RAID inside the iMac, sorry!

      • I agree with this. I work as a "creative" (commercial photography) and I keep nothing but the specific software I need on my machine's. All work files are kept on SSD's while in the field and dumped onto a RAID at the office. The computers themselves are kept clean free of anything that might degrade performance.
        • by TheFakeTimCook ( 4641057 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @12:46AM (#56126834)

          I agree with this. I work as a "creative" (commercial photography) and I keep nothing but the specific software I need on my machine's. All work files are kept on SSD's while in the field and dumped onto a RAID at the office. The computers themselves are kept clean free of anything that might degrade performance.

          Thanks.

          I just can't believe how NON-forward-thinking so many Slashdotters are. In a lot of ways, It feels like it's 1990 in here.

          The people of that mindset believe that The only real computer is a tower with a bunch of internal RAID storage, a bunch of barely-compatible peripheral cards with mostly-working drivers, running a version of Linix that "works pretty well, except for...", that it only took 9 months to get sound working, and don't ask about the scanner...

          They simply can't fathom of a world where you can purchase an 18-core all-in-one computer, take it out of the box, and with very little fuss, have a fully set-up system, with attached external storage, automatic backups, and email, web browsing and much more in a few minutes.

  • iOS 11 broke Spotlight. I used to drag down from the top, type the app name, and it was given to me. Now even if I type the exact name I'm not guaranteed that I'll be offered it, or, sometimes, any apps. I have to remember where the heck I put it on the springboard now, and even if I do it still take me a bit of time to go to it.

    Find out what went wrong there and you might find a can of worms that begs opening.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      iOS 11 badly broke Bluetooth power management, too. When I play Amazon Prime content over Bluetooth, as soon as I hit the "next" button to jump to the next episode of a TV show, the Bluetooth stack disconnects, and it takes ten or fifteen seconds to reconnect, resulting in a terrible user experience. This problem began after "upgrading" to iOS 11.

  • I find that MacOS and iOS are far more stable than Windows or Android BUT I would still rather Apple spend a year, or two, or three on enhancing stability, optimizing code AND improving legacy support.

    There's a lot of old software we need to access our old data. The modern hardware has more than enough power to do the necessary emulation. Cross compilers would do wonders too. We need to be able to access our software from the '00's the '90's, the 80's and heck, might as well go all the way back to the '70's

    • I find that MacOS and iOS are far more stable than Windows or Android

      I always find people who make that claim suspect.
      As a regular user of all 4 platforms, their stability seems about identical to me... They're all pretty damn stable.

      • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

        Well, I'm your #1 suspect then. Over the past 40+ years I've used Unix, CPM, DOS, Windows in many incarnations, Macs from Finder v1.0 to today, iOS, Android and many other systems. Perhaps you find flaw with the significants of my sample set at a mere few hundred. Perhaps your right. Or not.

        • I can't claim 40+ years, but I can claim the same list you've given, and more (as I imagine you could too)
          I find that people who claim that one of the 4 discussed platforms is universally worse than the other doesn't lack experience, just objectivity.
  • Nobody involved in the continuing slow-motion train wreck known as Microsoft Windows has a leg to stand on when it comes to criticism of any other software development organization.

    -jcr

  • And misspellings/typos. If quoting something messy, use editorial brackets and/or sic.

    These are editorial basics people!

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