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Apple's five biggest misses of 2016

It feels like I spend most of my time these days knocking down manufactured controversies or "fake tech news". I do it because we get pelted with so much noise week after week it becomes almost impossible to separate the real problems from the sensationalized ones. And Apple, like any big company, has real problems.

Some of them are similar to those from year's past. Others are new or, in my mind, newly important. None of them are spell immediate doom for a company with billions in the bank, of course, but any or all of them could become critical to Apple's sustained relevance over the next decade.

Retention remains one of them. So is the scalability of the organization. The diversity of the board and the company. The stability of the various platforms. And so on. I'm going to pick four to focus on for now, though: The four I think deserve particular attention to in 2017.

Shipping

"Great artists ship" was a favorite saying of Apple's late co-founder, Steve Jobs. Logistics and supply chain management are skills Apple's former COO, now CEO, Tim Cook, and current COO, Jeff Williams have taken to near-legendary levels.

Yet for the last little while, Apple has been plagued by supply problems. We've had products come in hot, like iPad mini and Apple TV. We've had products come in incredibly constrained like Apple Pencil, iPhone SE, iPhone 7 Plus, or Apple Watch Series 2. And we've had products come in late, like AirPods.

Sometimes it's the result of inaccurate demand forecasting, of higher component constraints or lower yields than expected. Sometimes it's because of last minute issues or of changes to materials or manufacturing processes. Sometimes it's just about resources and priorities.

Whatever the cause, it means Apple can't sell as many of the products as they otherwise would, which is bad for Apple. Worse, people can't buy them in a timely fashion, which makes for a terrible customer experience.

Satisfaction levels are still tremendously high, so once people get the products, they like them. It's just the getting part that needs work.

Apple has always been a company with an incredibly focused product lineup. Once upon a time, that was just the Mac. Now it's iPhone and iPad, Watch and TV, accessories and AirPods.

iPhone still ships on time — it has to — but it would behoove customers if Apple figured out how to forecast and fulfill all the other products in a timely manner as well.

The horn effect

Apple makes more money from iPhone in a month than they make from Mac all year. Apple also sells far, far, ludicrously far more notebook Macs than desktop Macs. As customers, we're literally voting with our wallets that all we want from Apple is more and more mobile.

That doesn't mean desktop Macs aren't important, though. They're not just the trucks in Apple's fleet, they're the trucking industry.

Yet Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013, Mac mini since 2014, and iMac since 2015. It's tempting to simply file that under problematic as well but, since Apple's last major updates also made all of those computers into computing appliances, unable to be updated by the average customer, a better word is "unacceptable". When you take away someone's ability to do something for themselves, you take on the absolute responsibility of doing it for them.

Likewise, Apple is still making Magic keyboards, mouses, and trackpads, at least for now, but they've gotten out of the display business and, rumor has it, they're getting out of the router business next.

So, we're approaching a world where, if you want to get a high-end computer, display, or router, you have to get it from a company other than Apple. That's been the case with gaming and printers for a while now, but once you start adding video production and routers, and other industries and peripherals, there's an increasing chance it snowballs.

Once you start getting things from a company other than Apple, it's easier to get the next thing from that other company, and the next thing. Eventually that could include notebooks and, yes, even phones.

The halo effect helped build out from iPod and iPhone to full-on ecosystem that provides far more value than the sum of its parts. The horn effect could do the opposite. It could begin to break apart a lot of hard-won gains Apple's made over the last decade.

Services experience

Siri on iPhone

Siri on iPhone

Much of 2016 was wasted worrying about Apple being behind in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. But Apple's been doing both, quietly, for years. In some ways, thanks to owning their own silicon, Apple might even be ahead. Where Apple has been falling down, though, is in services experience.

For traditional products, Apple is famous for sweating every detail from the packaging to the pixel. Design paints the back of the fence. Software engineering is managed three levels down. Services, though, has had to transform from content contract negotiation and file delivery to a range of businesses vaster and more complex than perhaps any other organization.

And it needs to adopt some of the culture of the traditional software and hardware divisions to cope with it. Including, I'd argue, a high-profile, public-facing VP of services experience whose only job it is, day in, day out, is to make sure everything from Siri to Maps to Music is delightful.

None of the complaints made by major news outlets about silly Siri omissions this year should have been discovered by journalists. No Apple Music edge-cases should have curled Dalrymple's beard. All of it should have been found and fixed first by a team lead by a services VP whose only job is to make sure exactly that stuff is found and fixed first.

In 2016, Apple finally gave us a dedicated VP of App Store, something I've been wishing for for years. In 2017, I'm hoping we get a VP of services experience as well. And one smart and powerful enough that it's near-instantly apparent.

What's NeXT

20 years ago Apple hit a brick wall. The technology that had birthed the Mac would take them no further. And so they bought NeXT, got Steve Jobs back, and charted a course for the next two decades. That gave them macOS (née OS X) and, eventually, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Another brick wall approaches, though. (It always does.) iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV are all riding high right now, but there'll come a point where the technology behind them reaches its limit and can take them no farther. (It always will.)

What then? It's doubtful there'll be another NeXT to buy. That means Apple has to prepare its own next NeXT.

This might not be a concern. Modern Apple is great at obsoleting themselves and it's quite possible Swift, Apple File System, and some of the other things they've been working on could combine, step by step, year over year, to eventually rejuvenate everything.

But the recent ups and downs with the rumored Project Titan could also show that Apple isn't looking as far forward as they could. My biggest hope for Titan was never a car but for new processes and technologies that could lead to many new products over the next decade. Now it looks like that won't be happening, at least not there, and it's uncertain what the others opportunities there will be for that kind of incubator.

NeXT and a few other key technologies and insights perfectly positioned Apple to ride the mobile revolution into unprecedented success. Another revolution will come, not just in AI or AR but in the core technologies that power them. And Apple will need the next NeXT, and the the next big insight, to ride that next wave.

Your biggest challenges?

Those are five of the biggest challenges I see facing Apple in 2017 and beyond. What are yours and how would you like to see Apple tackle them?

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

88 Comments
  • First they should stop giving Rene much work to have to back then up or explain their mess. Sent from the iMore App
  • hehe..
  • I agree with the ability to ship a product. There should be no more than a two week lag between a product into and it shipping. I thought it critical given the controversy over no headphone jack that the Airpods ship on time. I also agree that desktops need some love (still love my latest gen 5k iMac). But we do have to recognize that there are problems. I do disagree with your CR evaluation, I don't think that was fake news just what they observed and reported on. I thought it a fair evaluation and didn't feel it incumbent on them to determine why they were getting those results, that is Apple's job. I think in general Apple needs to listen to their consumers a bit more. SJ was a genius at figuring out what people wanted before they even knew they wanted it. That is a rare talent and one I am sure Apple misses. But the other side of that, taking something out there and figuring out how to make the customer experience better, that is something i still feel they can do. W1 is a fantastically chip and a great experience, in spite of recommendations I opted for the Solo 3 rather than the QC 35 because of all the positives it brings (battery life, ease of use, less cost). That is what Apple has done and still does take something and make it better, that should be the focus. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes, but "real artists ship" is complete and utter BS, to give the faithful something to chant. Artists create. Period. The work is it's own reward. Businessmen ship!
  • "They're not just the trucks in Apple's fleet, they're the trucking industry." I don't understand this comment at all. Is this narcissism taken to the extreme?
  • Steve Jobs once said iPhones were cars and Macs were trucks. The most extreme users of trucks are the trucking industry. I stretched the analogy, admittedly, to make a point.
  • Heck of a stretch when Macs are (and were at Jobs time) less than 10% of the trucks.
    Oh, and Jobs analogy was simply Jobs BS. In PCs trucks not only out-carry, but they outgun and outcorner cars.
  • For me, it's user privacy. Apple has several hundred billion dollars sitting in foreign, non-US bank accounts. The incoming government wants Apple to repatriate that money. Apple obviously won't do that with current tax laws requiring them to pay a bit less than 40% in tax. The incoming government may give Apple (and other companies) a tax break or sorts, enabling them to pay significantly less tax, but will want something in return. Domestic iPhone manufacturing is not going to come back anytime soon - vocational education and construction of new factories and supply chains can't happen overnight - so the government will most probably want cooperation in the other big promise of Trump's campaign, which is homeland security. Apple have made their stand on the matter of user privacy and data encryption clear (multiple times) before, but how will their moneygrubbing shareholders react when they hear Apple can repatriate all those billions stored overseas at a new significantly lower tax rate (the matter with the EU and Ireland will also play a part), and all they have to do is give in on encryption and privacy. Will Cook remained as principled? Can he? Fwiw, I don't believe Apple even respects user privacy as much as it claims. No megacorp does. But it'll be interesting to find out just how much Apple's loudly proclaimed morality - and by extension, that of their customers - is worth.
  • They can't turn back now, they have drawn the line and the Tim Cook Apple will sink if they did something like you are suggesting, It's a waste of time to contemplate that, imo.
  • Money grabbing shareholders?
    They don't care, why? Because Apple can issue bonds to pay them the dividends.
    So your theory of surendering privacy and encryption by Apple is a no issue.
    Besides Apple also invested in US bonds to earn interests and protect the value of their dollars profits from devaluation of the local currencies in comparison with the strengthening of the US$.
    Yes many of us think we are better at thinking the good folks at Apple especially the pundits who scream and shouts whenever Apple faces a problem with their products and their financial acumen.
  • Hey they send me a dividend four times a year, leave them alone.
  • iCloud needs some feature bumps especially with that paltry 5GB storage. Also the web interface needs to be sped up to be lighter to work on all computers, not just fast ones (think Google). In addition, knowing exactly where each MB of my iCloud storage is going would help. Some are listed, but others are not, and when I'm hitting the limit, I can't identify where I need to reorganize things.
  • The web interface works fine on all the computers I've tried it on. What problems are you having?
  • Hasn't been slow for me, but maybe on certain configurations it is
  • Instead of leading the pack, Apple is now trailing behind, and it shows. The entire touch experience, much of it invented/pioneered by Apple, is now leading a resurgence at Microsoft. 2-in-1 devices, and the incredible Surface Studio, are stealing the design thunder. This stubbornness and refusal to add touch to the MacBook experience is inexcusable. MS, HP, Dell and the rest have proven that touch is a great third input medium. Apple knows this to be true thanks to the iPad, but "inventions" like the Touch Bar are half-xxxed at best, and insulting at worst. But it is going to take a top down revitalization to kick-start the future for Apple. Cook is not even that good at supply management anymore, and Phil "can't innovate my xxx" Schiller hasn't hit a lick at his oatmeal can Mac Pro in three years. Good luck with that...
  • Firstly the whole touchscreen pc hasn't really been proved. We get percentages from Microsoft and their Surface sales but no actual figures. I suspect Apple cleared more MacBook sales in the opening weekend than Microsoft sold in the entire quarter. By a long way. Consider this. Apple has had many breakthrough products in the last 40 years but each breakthrough has occurred around seven year intervals. We're only just over that now but that's ignoring stuff you obviously feel is irrelevant such as the watch and the new AirPods. Tell me again, what are the advantages of a touch display floating in front of you? I suspect that usage would be very tedious within a short time. Your dismissal of the touchbar seems to ignore the actual ergonomic advantages over the touchscreen you are craving for. Don't assume that because something is for sale that that is where the bulk of the sales are coming from. That's like saying that Samsung are selling more phones than Apple and they're all at the high end. This ignores the fact that the bulk of Samsung's sales are at the low end. If you feel Apple is running behind them move to a Dell or an HP or a Surface. They fulfill your requirements and are available now.
  • Touchscreen on a laptop is incredibly useful. After 14 years of Macs, I gave in and bought my first Windows machine, a Lenovo Yoga. Why? Cause the new Macbook Pros are vastly overpriced for what you get. I got a 15", 4k laptop with the latest Kaby Lake i7, 16GB of RAM, 256G SSD, Integrated and Discrete graphics for $1099. Yes it has its quirks - notably the trackpad and the keyboard lyout and they may be deal breakers for me. But I've got more time to get used to it. Windows 10 is somewhat of a mess but serviceable but I could buy 2 of these things for the price of a low end 15" MBP. Touch is great for photographers. I fired up Lightroom and flipped it to tablet mode. 15" 4k iPad. It was awesome editing, etc with the touchscreen. Even things like OneNote were very nice to use. Apple needs to get off it's **** and realize the iPad is not the solution for us all. It sure isn't for many photographers as it has too many compromises to make it worthwhile. I really wanted a Mac but the value proposition was/is too hard to pass up. It's not like a few years ago where the "Apple Tax" was $0-300. Now it's more like $1000-1500 and that's crazy. We'll see how this experiment works out but Apple better be careful - as far as the snowball went in their favor it can easily go the other way.
  • Can't disagree with a reasoned, civil, response. Though I'm sure you understand the importance of pointing out deficiencies for the purpose of different points of view. For me personally, a touch screen does not hinder the user so I don't mind it. For the occasions that it is useful, I welcome it. There are no negatives.
  • "Tell me again, what are the advantages of a touch display floating in front of you? I suspect that usage would be very tedious within a short time. Your dismissal of the touchbar seems to ignore the actual ergonomic advantages over the touchscreen you are craving for." Selecting targets and links; scrolling; moving back/forward through pages; pinch to zoom/shrink; markup pdf's or webpages (even with sausage fingers). What, in fact, are the ergonomic advantages of the Touch Bar? Advanced macros for selecting program options - that would be good if user programmable. Replace function keys - you'll be spending more time switching view between keyboard, Touch Bar and screen (a third element)...just read how many reviews see the Touch Bar as a "half-measure" towards a touch screen; some even calling it a gimmick...
  • Touch screen is so useful. Way more useful than a touch bar. Love to see the next iMac with touch. The surface studio will pull so many professional mac users away.
  • "The surface studio will pull so many professional mac users away." That's yet to be seen. It looks like a great machine for graphics designers/artists, but for other professional tasks I'm not so sure
  • Windows 10 in itself is touch optimized, but many apps available for it are not, which more often than not resorts in you having to use the trackpad instead for a comfortable experience. There's also the factor that many professional applications require many tools to be available on the screen at once, which are easy to select with a mouse cursor, but much more difficult with a touchscreen. The buttons for accessing the tools have to be made a lot bigger, which means less on screen, tucked away in hidden menus which doesn't bode well for professional applications
  • Touch interfaces are a joke on a PC/Mac. Great for a phone or a tablet but the use cases are completely different. We got touch be Windows 8 was such a nightmare. Tell me that you like having finger prints all over the screen of you computer. If you do, you are in the minority.
  • Nice thing about touch is you don't have to use it if you don't want to. There is a keyboard attached after all.
  • I haven't seen a device which somehow eradicates fingerprints from appearing on the screen, so fingerprints are still an issue
  • BlackBerry aren't even making phones anymore so they can't be that "superior"…
  • They can be, but it's a necessary evil. It's not necessary on a MacBook which functions really well with a trackpad and keyboard
  • A few months ago BlackBerry did say that they were stopping production of phones, I didn't realize TCL had taken over in Mid-December, so I was just going off old news by mistake. Still, I don't think BlackBerrys sell as well as other phones in general
  • I don't know about Win 8 but with Win 10 and this Lenovo I'm using touch is great. Works just like an iPad with a keyboard, which I have used. I find myself reaching out and touching the screen a lot more and even scrolling by just touching it. Yes there are fingerprints but there were fingerprints on my iPad as well. The 4k display is GORGEOUS and makes text look so sharp and photos are taken to a whole new level. I'm really liking the touch experience. It's definitely a good way to interact. Shame that Apple is so stubborn on this- I'd line up in a heartbeat for an AFFORDABLE Touchscreen Mac. This coming from a 14 year Mac lover and Apple shareholder. Apple needs a true leader and visionary like Jobs. Tim isn't cutting it!
  • Some "ilemmings" as you call them (good patronizing skills there) do want a touchscreen computer, but they can't just go and buy another machine because they'll lose macOS in the process. It's all great saying "Windows isn't that bad" but some people hate it, or have Mac-exclusive apps, or are just so used to the Mac workflow that they simply couldn't change OS without it greatly decreasing their productivity.
  • macOS hasn't changed much because it hasn't needed to, why reinvent the wheel? And there's nothing stripped out of the iPhone 7, if you're referring to the headphone jack then Apple provides you with an adapter free with the phone, so you have no less functionality than you did with the 6S
  • I think it's definitely shipping. I was recently in New York on business and I wanted to make some purchases. I wanted to. Get a 42mm Series 2 Apple Watch, as I have the original). I wanted a 256GB Rose Gold iPhone 7 Plus for my wife. I was interested in buying a 15-inch TouchBar MacBook Pro and I wanted a 29-watt power adaptor for my iPad Pro. And I left the store unable to buy any of them. They didn't have any 42mm Series 2 Apple Watches in stock. They had a 128 GB Rose Gold iPhone 7 Plus, but that's not what we wanted. And they were out of stock on all of the MacBook Pros. This is not an infrequent experience, either. I don't know how you keep customers when you have an inability to make sure they can buy what they want. I've been an Apple user since 1986, but this is becoming all too common. There are a lot of software bugs, too, but I think we can accept a certain amount of those. But not being able to buy the products we want/need is unacceptable. Sent from the iMore App
  • I agree about the halo effect that Mac desktops can have - when you walk into a high end medical facility and you see all those iMacs or Mac monitors it certainly makes an impression when you know how expensive each one of those are. I honestly think dropping the monitor is a bad move, because they're so public-facing. I would probably already have an iPhone 7 Plus if availability had been better. I'm on the iPhone upgrade plan, so I want to walk into the Apple Store and walk out with my next phone knowing that it's all setup and working on Verizon - no risk, no hassle. Since I'm the tech guy in my family, that also means that my wife hasn't upgraded to an iPhone 7, because she'll just come with me and we'll both upgrade on the same trip. Siri is pretty capable, but the way you have to precisely word phrases to get Siri to do what you want is limiting. If Apple would keep the microphone rolling after Siri responds to queries simply listening for the phrase "F*** you Siri!" the number that come just from me would be astounding - but seriously, it'd show you where people are expecting Siri to be able to do something and it doesn't. I don't know how many times I've told Siri to adjust my HomeKit lighting in one way or another and Siri tells me it can't do that right now, or the device isn't responding, and then I pick up my phone, swipe up and go to the HomeKit quick scenes and press a button that does exactly what I just asked Siri to do and it happens - such inconsistency makes me hesitant to rely on Siri. BlackBerry, and their QNX subsidiary, could be an attractive "next NeXT" target, but I would think Apple would've already pulled the trigger on that move years ago if it was necessary.
  • The biggest challenge Apple faces is getting over the fact that they no longer can really determine what the user wants before they get it. They are waiting for the user to tell them how version 2 or 3 of a product should be after releasing a lack luster version 1. While I realize that the iPhone is an example someone can use to show that the same thing happened when SJ was on watch, I think the missed point in that is he had the product he wanted, Apps and all that were the icing on the cake. I feel like Apple is having a hard time making the cake. The second challenge Apple faces is another ingrained habit they have of foregoing usability for thinness. They need to realize people will pay their prices if the value is there, or at least perceived. Cutting performance and battery life for thinness is a mistake. I don't believe they have done a good job of that in the past few years.
  • Besides the obvious supply chain problems and lack of compelling updates, services need major attention. Apple seems to push Siri every chance it gets but let's be realistic, most will agree that Siri borders on useless. I recently drove 2000 miles across country for the holidays and found nothing but frustration when using Siri. A simple request to "send my current location" to a contact's mobile number was answered with "I don't know what you are asking". I can accomplish this action with a few touches of my finger if I weren't trying to drive. That is just one example. Apple should put some engineers in a car for a cross-country trip with the task of making Siri indispensable for travel then throw the resources necessary to make it happen for the next update. Do this until Siri is more "delightful" and useful than any competitor. This also ties into privacy. Apple must explain it's vision of privacy and how it relates to the functions of your devices and services. Don't tell me you cannot do something or require passwords constantly without explaining your reasoning. Of course, giving me some level of choice regarding security would help. All in all, it's frustrating to see so many missed opportunities for improvement when Apple has the resources at its disposal to catch up to the competition.
  • Saying Siri borders on useless, is a little harsh. I use Siri to reply to messages in the car or via my Apple Watch, I use it to check the weather, football scores, set timers and a few other things. I've not tried sending my location, though, but Siri is very useful for me and works well for me at least
  • I hear you brother I drive a lot and "hey Siri" was a big YES it is so much easy from now on and is so bad. Always telling me you have to unlock your iPhone first.
  • iCloud doesn't work for me. Apple can't even get it to work. The "it just works" isn't as pat as it once was. Apple sure seems to be good at marketing though. The pre announcements of the watch and AirPods are what I noticed.
    Thanks Rene! Sent from the iMore App
  • What problems are you having with iCloud?
  • Great article! I'd also add more stability to this list! macOs and especially iOS need to be more polished! Stability and reliability are still good but declining since ios 6! Adding more feature is great but quzlity control should not be forgotten along the way
  • I was so excited when Apple came out with Siri. I thought, "Finally, Apple is on the leading edge of a useful technology again," even though they bought most of the technology from outside. What did they do with Siri? Leave it in beta for many years, not allow outside vendors to use its API, and let it linger in mediocrity until now it is nearly useless. I bought my wife an Amazon Echo for Christmas. Plugged it in the wall, logged it into my WiFi, and guess what? It just worked! It works with all common Siri-type queries ("What is the weather like for this week?") but I also easily hooked it into a light switch and two wall outlets. Within 1 day, Alexa was more useful than the four year old Siri ever was, and guess what: she understands my voice without training and without messing up every other command. Amazon is the new Apple.
  • Show us the numbers and maybe you'd have a point. The Echo has been a "success" and yet no numbers have been released and it's only available in the USA, UK and Germany.
  • Siri is just a mess and only fans love it. I always try and never worked. "Have to unlock my phone first" what a joke. She should be able to locate where I am and be secure
  • Having to unlock your phone first depends on what action you're doing. Replying to messages, setting timers, checking sports scores, checking time/weather and various information requests should all work whilst the phone is locked. Siri works pretty well for me, not sure if I "love" it, but I do find it very useful and use it a lot
  • Is not useful while driving.
  • I've found it useful while driving, but I guess that's just my experience. Siri seems to vary in quality from person to person
  • This "we may be last to the party, but we got it right," should be a thing of the past. Look what jail breaking did for new features that Apple finally added. Stop doing stupid things, and calling it innovation. Headphone jack, that is "old technology" well if it was so old, and out of date, why put it back in the new MacBook Pros? I agree that thinner is not better. You can only operate a company so long on it looks really cool verses lack of performance. Are they heading in a direction of making cheaper products which have so many problems compared to a product that will last, and can out preform all the competition? If something works great do not fix it. You only cause more problems in the long run. Many the people in charge need to get out more. Just because you have a billion plus in baks does not mean you will be around forever. Look at Palm. They were on top at one time. If someone said they would be out of business one day, ahh your nuts. Palm will be here forever. Now it is Palm who? Apple should learn from this. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple follows a very smart (for them) strategy. Wait and learn from everyone else's mistakes then come out as if you've invented it. A well oiled communication infrastructure keeps mind share high.
  • The headphone jack is old, other manufacturers are starting to get rid of it as well. As to why it's still in the new MacBook Pro, is anyone's guess, but it won't be coming back to the iPhone.
  • Rene, I think you do excellent work… keep it up in 2017 (with your excellent team)
  • Apple should make iOS more flexible, for example: why should I go deep into settings to change the camera resolution; toggles: why not pick what I need in control center. Why do I have to kill my background apps one by one, why not kill them all at the same time, I know that keeping them in the background saves more battery, etc. But that's my decision if I want to or not. Keyboard: why not have a fifth row with numbers, why do I have to switch the keyboard in order to get a number. Why they haven't kill the stupid volume hud that obstruct the view while watching a movie, etc. Put it on the status bar! Little details like that makes a huge difference. It looks like software engineers at Apple don't use iPhones!
    And no I don't wanna switch to Android!
  • Why do you need to kill all your apps?
  • The control center settings shortcut is a good idea, that would be nice to have. There are other camera apps which have all the settings directly in the app (including more settings than the default camera app) so they're worth trying if you're frustrated with the default one for now. Background apps are very well optimized on iOS, I rarely close them except for things like Facebook where I know how excessive the battery drain in that app is. I wouldn't worry too much about it, Apple's designed it such that you shouldn't really need to close them, they don't want their users to have to do process management. The numbers on the keyboard is technically something you can customize by downloading a custom keyboard from the App Store, it's just that you'll lose dictation. For me the volume slider appears to the left of the play/pause buttons in landscape on my iPhone, it's not obstructing the view too much, and I can't really see where else they can put it:
    http://www.download3k.com/article_images/0/292/full_2_fa80f6444e7ff686f0...
  • 2016 has been a terrible year for Apple. Most of their product line-up either received minor upgrades (iPhone, MacBook, Watch, iPad) or none at all (iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini). The only product that looks different from previous versions is the MacBook Pro, and that has so many issues that Apple would have been better off not releasing it until next year, after substantially more testing. Also their obsession with thinness over functionality (iPhone, MacBook Pro) and dictatorial approach to removing things (headphone sockets, battery indicators, everything except USB-C) make it seem like they are losing touch with their market. Even forums such as these, which were predominantly pro-Apple only a few months ago, have become mostly critical recently as the disappointments of each product launch and product fault (real or otherwise) mount up. The most important thing for next year is to release some decent upgrades to make up for this year. Secondly they need to up their PR game. A lot of the decisions they have made do make sense but they haven’t communicated them well. Also the “short term pain for long term gain” reasoning when removing useful sockets only works when there are plenty of upsides to upgrading, which hasn’t been the case with either the iPhone 7 or the MacBook Pro. It could be that there is a good reason for the fact that you need a separate dongle to connect the latest iPhone to the laptop released just a month later, but they haven’t explained it so it just comes across as one part of the company not having a clue what the other is doing. It used to be that Apple was known for stuff that worked together straight out of the box, but not with glaring omissions like this. As an iOS app developer I want Apple to do well. I have always loved their products but can't remember the last time I experienced the “wow” factor at a product release. And that isn’t just because of the unavoidable leaks: the products just haven’t been very exciting. Having said all that, I still believe that the potential is there for some great products next year. The underlying technology is great (SSDs, mobile chips, wide colour screens etc), and they still have some products that IMHO are better than the competition (iMac, iPad, Apple Watch), so I am still hopeful for the future. But they had better hurry up because 2016 lost them a lot of hard-earned good will from their customers.
  • Apple's "dictatorial approach" to removing things isn't something new. In fact, it's something Apple's done for a very long time, and it's caused technology to move much faster than it would've done had Apple not done this. If it's always worked for Apple in the past, why change now? "Also the “short term pain for long term gain” reasoning when removing useful sockets only works when there are plenty of upsides to upgrading, which hasn’t been the case with either the iPhone 7 or the MacBook Pro." The long term gain is that you have 1 port which is capable of doing all the things which previously you needed about 4-5 different ports for. This, and USB-C has a much much quicker transfer rate. These two things alone are very much an upside to upgrading, in the long term of course. There's nothing more annoying than saying "I need to connect this" and suddenly you don't have the right cable for the job. With USB-C there's only 1 port type, for charging, video/audio, data transfer etc. That's going to be incredibly useful
  • Sorry, I wasn’t talking about the lack of upsides in USB-C but the lack of upsides in the MacBook Pro generally. Usually when Apple remove something it isn’t too much of an issue because the rest of the new product is so good that people don’t mind. But the MacBook Pro has too many other disappointments (16Gb restriction, poor battery life, ridiculous price etc) so the need for dongles is harder for people to swallow. I think it will be a great machine in a year or two when 32Gb is possible, USB-C is more common, and they have sorted out the issues with the rumoured new battery technology that didn’t quite make this release. However at the moment there are so many downsides that forcing users into using dongles just compounds things. Especially when they don't even include one in the box, which was a frankly ridiculous decision given the price that they are charging.
  • Not sure where to start so many things went wrong this year. Stop apple from releasing unfinished products. (Watch. AppleTV. MacBook. iPhone. ) all unfinished products iCloud. Still a big mess and only 5GB free storage? At least unlimited pictures back up for iPhone 7 Siri still so useless. Every time I ask something to do her answer is you have to unlock your phone first. At least remember secure places like my car or home. Price. Please think about what you do with Canadian price. I know is the exchange rate but a lot people won't buy your product because of that
  • How is iPhone an unfinished product?
  • a lot of people won't by the products due to price regardless of country. They are expensive in the US too.