05 January 2017

Chuq von Rospach: “Apple’s 2016 in review”

To put the Mac Pro in context: This was the “Can’t Innovate my Ass” product that Apple produced to counter criticism that it wasn’t innovative any more and that it was letting the Mac product line languish (hey, this isn’t a new complaint…). They came out with something that was visually distinctive and they build a really interesting set of guts inside the trash can.

But here’s the problem: in retrospect, what they built was a device based around their own ego needs of proving their critics wrong, not a device that served the purposes of their power users. It’s not configurable, it’s not upgradeable, it’s not expandable: It’s pretty, and full of (for 2013) innovative hardware design, but is that really what Apple’s power users needed?

Another example is 3D Touch/Force Touch, which Apple clearly saw as this huge usability improvement, and even now, users seem to either not know about it or not care, and it’s implementation is inconsistent across Apple’s own apps — it seems like Apple is still trying to figure out how to turn this into the usability tool it thought it had when it first announced it.

Chuq von Rospach

A long, balanced and thorough overview of the problems Apple users have been complaining about the past year. While I have experienced some of the recent problems in iOS firsthand, I can’t say I care very much about Apple’s fate at this time. There are plenty or alternatives on the market and stubbornly holding on to one platform for some misguided belief it’s ‘the best’ will neither improve that platform nor fulfill the needs of customers.

Just a few examples: If Apple still takes the Mac seriously as it claims, where is HomeKit? Where is the Home app? Well, it’s over on iOS, so use your iPad (I guess). Not a good message to be sending to Mac users if you want them to think you’re taking the Mac platform seriously, especially given the weak hardware offerings in the last year.

Or, for that matter, where is Apple News on the Mac? Or TV? And you’re seriously trying to tell us that iTunes isn’t a dumpster fire that needs to be re-designed the way you’ve done it on iOS?

Want us to think you’re still serious about the Mac, Apple? Show us parity of capabilities between the two platforms, at least on your core product sets — and that should include both HomeKit and News given how much you’ve pushed them at keynotes.

Chuq von Rospach

Oh, it’s almost like Microsoft had the right idea all along, designing a unified operating system that can adapt to multiple form factors and future devices, instead of coding a custom OS for each product line. Apple is up to four variants now (macOS, iOS, tvOS and watchOS), five if you count the iPad-specific customizations to iOS, and it’s hurting their ability to keep their software up to date and competitive.

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