Last week, it seemed like you couldn't open the internet without tripping over an opinion piece telling Apple to slow down its pace and shore up its foundation. This week, new opinion pieces are telling Apple to — wait for it — hurry up and innovate faster.
If this all sounds familiar, it's probably because it's what happens every year, though the change between the two refrains isn't always this whiplash-inducingly sudden. So what's going on?
Back at WWDC 2014, Apple presented iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and Swift as a love letter to developers. Many things developers had wanted for so long all hit so fast that the community was caught up in collective euphoria.
And then Apple implemented all of it — tearing up and rebuilding a large part of the foundation for both operating systems as they did so — and, in the resulting upheavals and resettling, our euphoria turned to unease and frustration.
WHY DID THEY GIVE US WHAT WE WANTED IF IT WASN'T GOING TO WORK PERFECTLY AT LAUNCH?!
Back at the September 2014 event, Apple announced the big iPhone 6 and bigger iPhone 6 Plus, and showed off the Apple Watch. Again, updates that had long been on many wish lists and a new-for-Apple device category gave way to waves of excitement.
But now the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus have shipped, and the Apple Watch is still a few months away, and Microsoft just showed off an Oculus-looking device that lets you augment reality for Minecraft and Skype. And all that excitement has turned into ennui and impatience.
WHERE'S OUR OCULUS-HOLOGRAPHIC GOGGLES TO AUGMENT OUR REALITY WITH TEXAS HOLD'EM AND FACETIME, APPLE?!
For customers, these are all very human, very relatable sentiments. We simultaneously dislike boredom, but hate change. We want Apple to focus, but do more. Speed up, but slow down. It's what makes us... us. It's also what lets those who thrive off sensationalism exploit us.
Many of the opinion pieces written and re-written about Apple's software stability were reasonable and rational. So too will be the pieces written and re-written about Apple's pace of innovation. After all, there are reasonable and rational arguments to be made about both. Others, however, were merely exploitative plays for attention.
The truth is, Apple needs to slow down and shore up the foundations and they need to reach for the future, but they can do that not by focusing on internet complaint memes, but by delivering the absolute best products in the absolute best timeframes. Not slowest, not fastest — best.
Apple is coming off the biggest software release since 2008 and is in the midst of one of the biggest hardware refreshes and launches ever. It's a massive leap forward, now they need to stick the landing.
Apple wasn't first to music players, or phones, or tablets, or watches. The company won't be first to VR, or AR, or HUD, or TVs, or self-driving cars, or whatever else their competition is publicly workshopping at the moment. Apple will pick and choose carefully and, like the company always says, only enter the categories in which they think they can make a real difference.
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY iTOASTERFRIDGE — WILL THE WI-FI "JUST WORK"?
Yes, internet. Yes, it will.