Seeing Apple through rose-colored blasters
Apple needs to fix their crappy designs and online services. I'm talking about green felt and iCloud sync. No, wait, I'm talking about brushed metal and MobileMe sync. No, wait again, I'm talking about pin stripes and .Mac sync. No... Come on, seriously, I've got this!
As much as recent complaints about heavily textured interface elements and problematic online sync solutions are important, and in many cases justified, they're not unique. "Apple has lost its way" is a variation of "Apple is doomed" -- both always true and never true. Apple does a lot of great things. A lot of visionary things. A lot of delightful things. But, like any entity, they also do some some silly things, some destructive things, and some downright dumb things.
That's not new. Only the instance is new.
When it comes to perception over time, we often distort out own realities. We tend to forget a lot of the things that bugged us way back when, or at least remember them with far less visceral annoyance than what's bugging us now. We feel like the problems of the present, as yet unsolved, are worse than the problems of the past, many of which were solved just fine.
The current hope-meme is that Jony Ive, now head of all design at Apple, will bulldoze the iOS interface and re-finish it clean. The current rage-meme is that Apple needs to fix the too-long broken promise of Core Data sync.
He may and they do. Just as pin stripes and brushed metal are no more, green felt may likewise be taken out back and put down. Just like .Mac and MobileMe steadily got better over time, so too should iCloud.
However, as much as these things might hold our attention now, they're no more a sign of Apple losing their way than they were last year, or the year before, or the year before that, or-- You and your stitched leather and back-to-my-Mac get the idea.
"Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses" means remembering past events more generously than they sometimes deserve. The consequence is perceiving present events more harshly than they sometimes deserve. And blasting them for it.
By all means be upset. Be powerfully, passionately upset. Advocate for change. Just keep it in context and perspective.
Jony Ive lending his considerable talents to software design is glee-inducing. Apple providing developers with sync they can count on is table-stakes. But they are signs of nothing more nor less than a company continuing to iterate and overcome challenges, just like it always has, and just like it will always need to.
(Seriously, just wait until you hear the cries of monotony over bead-blasted aluminium and the screams for blood over busted Apple TV game sync...)