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Breaking down Apple's 'app problem'

Just over a year ago, Overcast developer and ATP co-host Marco Arment wrote about what he felt was the fall of software quality at Apple, and its contrast to the continuing excellence of the company's hardware. Today, Walt Mossberg echoed similar complaints, though more specifically about Apple's apps. Here's what he wrote on The Verge:

In the last couple of years, however, I've noticed a gradual degradation in the quality and reliability of Apple's core apps, on both the mobile iOS operating system and its Mac OS X platform. It's almost as if the tech giant has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to these core software products, while it pursues big new dreams, like smartwatches and cars.

Jim Dalrymple followed up on The Loop:

Walt touched on iTunes for the desktop and how bad it has become, especially since the integration of Apple Music. I've been harping on Apple Music since it was released, and while it has gotten much better, I am amazed it was released in the state it was.

And John Gruber on Daring Fireball:

Software and hardware are profoundly different disciplines, so it's hard to compare them directly. But it seems obvious to me that Apple, institutionally, has higher standards for hardware design and quality than it does for software.

As has often been said, it's easier to update bits than atoms, so you have to get the latter right and right away. I suspect there's more to this, though, than hardware simply being less forgiving than software.

Apple and software

First, Apple doesn't have just one software team. iTunes.app, for example, is the responsibility of the services organization under senior vice president Eddy Cue. As is Apple Music and iWork, among others.

iOS and OS X and most of the core iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps are handled by the software organization under senior vice president Craig Federighi.

Second, human perception is such that any current annoyance is unbearable while past annoyances are barely memorable. A quick trip through message boards from the last decade will show an unending stream of complaints about broken software, services, and promises. Often the complaints intensify during periods when Apple pushes to get new technology to market, and ebb when Apple falls back to iterating on those technologies.

The difference now is that Apple is doing so many things so quickly that cycle is stretched thin.

Third, Apple sometimes gives apps impossible jobs. iTunes.app, for example, has to support untold millions of Windows users and sync untold millions of legacy iPods. Music.app, while supposedly simpler in its prototype stage, ultimately came to support the unworkable complexity of old libraries ripped from CDs, locker services, new streaming services, playlists, queues, radio stations, custom stations, social networks, and more. News.app was developed in a silo apart from Siri news recommendations, and so the former leverages none of the personalization of the latter. Likewise, all the work that's been put into Safari Reading Lists and Shared Links is wasted on both.

The first two are atypical examples of Apple prioritizing backwards compatibility instead of the company's usual ruthless, relentless drive towards a simpler and more opinionated future. The third an example of when surprise wins out over delight.

Eliminating the impossible

Moving all development to Craig Federighi has been suggested as a solution, and could be something we see eventually, but that organization already has impossible jobs all its own. With iOS 7 they had to handle a completely new interface and interaction model, with iOS 8, a completely new functionality model. Both were crucial to where Apple is now, but both were also brutally hard to ship on the yearly update cycle — like trying to sprint through a marathon.

In days gone by, "no" would have been said far more often. iOS would have been kept simpler, without continuity or extensibility. Mobile Me- and Ping-style problems, though, would still happen, and things like Gmail's "eccentric" IMAP implementation would still have to be supported.

Apple would also still have to contend with resource constraints. Even for one of the biggest companies in the world, there's a limit to how many top flight engineers will work in Cupertino, especially with intense competition from other major players and startups. Either way, impossible jobs remain impossible.

Perhaps that's where the answer lies — in stopping the impossible. Tough as it is, letting go of the legacy Windows and iPod support would let Apple take iTunes to the cloud and modularize sync and other services on the desktop. Letting customers with old libraries manage them the old way would let Apple Music stream unencumbered. Making things like News system-level projects surfaced consistently across apps would both surprise and delight.

There'd be outrage from customers who feel abandoned, of course, but we all have to adapt sooner or later.

Towards better bits

These are all incredibly hard decisions that need to be made high up the chain. There are signs, however, that Apple may already be doing just that. There are rumors, for example, of Apple switching from simply tracking "crashers" to also tracking "annoyers", and providing time for engineers to fix not only the bugs that are showstoppers, but the bugs that aggravate everyone.

Engineers are, after all, craftspeople. They are passionately committed to making the absolute best software in the world. Remove the impossible jobs and those remaining, no matter how incredible, would not only be attainable but maintainable.

Ultimately, though, great software requires constant scrutiny — both external and internal. And the most effective way for Apple to keep doing better is to keep telling the company it needs to do better.

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.

61 Comments
  • But they don't mention the pro products like Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro, and how great was the last update to Garage Band? Not to mention the new Music Memos. These products are awesome, and they don't seem to get credit for looking out for their Artistic users.
  • I'm basically new to iOS devices. My wife and daughter have used iPhones for a while now and we've had iPads floating around but I've not used them much. I recently began using an iPhone 6 as a secondary device and I've been quite surprised at how bad the built-in apps are. Mail, Camera, Safari, Maps, the Keyboard, and Photos are junk and I'm using much better 3rd party alternates. The Messages app is pretty poor but unfortunately cannot be replaced for SMS/MMS. I'd use a 3rd party alarm app but the way iOS handles multi-tasking means I'd have to babysit it to ensure it's running at all times. There are some really good things about iOS - like FaceTime, touch responsiveness, app ubiquity, camera quality - but for the most part I don't understand the iOS attraction.
  • I've recently sold my iPhone 6 to upgrade for an 6S. Meanwhile I've got a Samsung S5, thinking "hey, let's spend a month with android and see how it goes".
    Touchwiz is absolute garbage, after two weeks I've changed the firmware to CM12.1, which is great.
    Unfortunately is very common for things to be out of touch with the rest of the phone. Most apps have horrendous GUI.
    I tried to backup my DSLR Raw photos to the phone (something I usually do with my iPad or iPhone using a special cable). I got the phone to read the camera files, but android does not support RAW. I was able to copy the files, but couldn't open them.
    Then I Downloaded photo mate r3, which can copy the raw directly from the camera, view and sort them. Unfortunately the app UI is so cramped that the photos are very tiny. And after 50 photos imported it just freezes.
    I tried a different phone, cable and camera, always the same issue. Contacted the developer and he said he had no idea what was going wrong.
    Light room only supports DNG files, so can't go that way. I won't convert all photos in the phone, that would take forever. Its something quite simple on the IOS, but android just can't do it. That's why people like iOS, it usually works great in simple ways. I loved a lot of things on the android, mainly the ability to use different firmwares and SD card support, but as a system the iOS is smoother, probably due its main negative point, its also very standard, not customizable.
  • Snapseed support RAW I believe. It's not that Android doesn't support it since it's been supported since Android 5, it's just depending on the phone you have it's gallery app or google's which should be Google photos which I believe supports raw as well and you can edit in google photos. If you want more options Google gives you free snapseed. https://www.imore.com/e?link=https2F2Flinks%2F1... Respect for installing Cyanogenmod. If you don't buy a nexus then always root it and install cyanogenmod.
  • The attraction is 3rd party apps. But I agree that Apple's core apps suck at this point not to mention icloud and especially photos library. I can live with itunes and prefer it the way it is. At least Walt is raising awareness but as usual, he's stumbling around in the dark.
  • Are there many iOS apps that aren't available elsewhere? I haven't come across any that I use. That could be because I've mainly looked for the apps I already use on Android. I guess there are games that are available on iOS for months before there's an Android release.
  • Or do you mean that 3rd party apps are better, or perceived to be better, on iOS?
  • Amazon Prime Video is all I see... Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • That one is available on Android. Not in the Google Play Store. You have to get it directly from Amazon.
  • Yeah Apple benefits from very active third party app developers to fill in any possible gaps in it's core apps.
  • Agreed. If only they'd really leverage those apps by allowing 3rd party apps to be set as default and Apple apps to be disabled. I don't get the sense that this is something that they'll do but they did open up to alternate keyboards.
  • I agree for the most part of what you are saying. You sound like your are either a power user or like me, someone trapped in the void between a power user and an everyday user. The everyday user finds no problems with any of the stock apps. My mom uses her iPad that I got her last year for everything. She loves have both of her email accounts in one app for the simple sake of send and receive. She snaps a photo with the camera, keeps it, looks at it, and shows it to others. There is no editing or anything else. Me, I don't constantly customize, tweek, and change what I'm working with. I need apps with custom features but once I set them up I'm done and need them to be reliable for a long period of time. Years down the road I may find an alternative that fits better but I need a **** good reason to change. Right now my email is through airmail, my notes through MS OneNote, etc, I only recently moved to Airmail on iOS but have been a user of the Mac app for years and its familiarity and ease of cloud set up was the selling point for the iOS app. Notes.app simply isn't good enough, Evernote was the standard for power and semi power users for years, now OneNote is my reliable go to. I don't blame apples stock apps for being bad but not all of them are tailored to me or any real power user and I think that's why they leave most of it to third party devs. For every day Joe Blow, they're fine. It is frustrating but I think basic for most customers is why they exist in the forms they do, bugs aside.
  • I'm with what you are saying here. The default apps are good enough for most people. But I'm not really talking about power user features. I don't consider "mark all read" as a power user type email feature. Or showing different contributors to a group messaging conversation in different colors doesn't seem like it would be too hard for the average person to grasp. Or allowing 16x9 photos. I think many basic features are missing from several built-in apps. If the average, non-technical, person like my wife can handle switching between multiple GIF and emoji keyboards they can handle some improved software. At least that's the way I see it.
  • Good points for sure.
  • The attraction of iOS is that it got average humans to use a computer in the palm. You know: the teachers, doctors, taxi drivers who don't use a computer a lot. It is the reason smart phone usage has surpassed computer usage. Before the iPhone was introduced, if someone said smartphones would surpass computers, they would be considered stupid. Because back then a smartphone was a blackberry from the businessman.
    If the stock apps where power apps, then it would turn away people entering the smartphone market. Stock apps are simple apps that anyone can use. Power users and advanced users will always require 3rd party apps for customized purposes.
    While you love your 3rd party apps, I am sure you hate some power apps that others users love. Many power apps would be an over kill for you. What if the iOS stock apps happened to be the power app you don't like? What if it pleased you, but were not advanced enough for other users?
    Apple trying to make all their stock apps advanced would be a bad strategy. They have to focus on making great vanilla ice cream, so that 3rd party can make other customized flavors. If Apple made chocolate-strawberry duet, then it will turn away people who don't like chocolate or strawberry and there will be little scope for 3rd party to build upon.
  • This makes little sense to me. Henry Ford popularized the automobile but we don't still drive Model T's. It's fine to say that Apple expanded the smartphone market but silly to think they should not improve their software. I think that's the point these critics are making.
  • 1) Are you telling me there are no people on earth who start using android, find it too complex and buy an iPhone later? Thats because the majority of the population prefers simpler apps.
    2) As simple as many of core apps looks on the surface (thats by design). often they have depth to it. Read articles about safari, mail, etc on imore. They are updated every year, without changing the UI much every year. Remember what fuss people made when iOS 7 changed he design. Majority of the users don't like UI changes once they get used to it.
    3) There is a reason flappy bird is more successful than many complex games. Most people want their phone apps to be simple. Take the phone out of their pocket, flick, scroll, click and be done with it. Think of an advanced mail client app that you find to be an overkill/don't like and many other love. An app with HTML email editing, adaptive mail design, email automator and lets just assume you don't want such a complex app, but some power used do. What if that app was the stock app? You wont be pleased anyway. Average users wont be pleased as it would be too confusing. Only a niche will be pleased. thats why there are tons of apps out there. there is something for everyone. The core app has to please a lot of people. It has to be good enough for a lot of people and simple enough for all.
  • 1) For the most part, apps are the same regardless of platform. An app that does three things is an app that does three things. It doesn't just "magically" become simpler on iOS. Android is only complex if you make it complex. Anyone capable of thinking can install the Google Now launcher if they want a simple, easy to use experience. 2) Apple's app ecosystem is such that adding something as basic as third party extensions is considered some sort of revolutionary breakthrough. Your "innovations" are hardly innovative. Catch up to the rest of the world. As for UI, let's take Google Chrome as an example. It's UI has not changed much in a long time. So shouldn't your statement regarding UI apply to it as well? Or does it need an Apple logo? 3) This point is a straw man. What people are complaining about is the inability to change the default app, not that the stock apps are simple. They are saying, "I am part of the minority that needs a more complex app, please let me be able to use it without jumping through hoops"
  • fair enough points.
  • Thank you. :)
  • Maybe you should just switch to so you can quit your whining. Sent from the iMore App
  • Ease of use and the smoothest user experience are the main attraction s of iOS so if you don't like go back to Android where you obviously came from. Sent from the iMore App
  • Your rant sounds like the typical Android users complaints about iOS, either adapt or get lost back to Lagdroid. Sent from the iMore App
  • did you actually read what the man said or did you just read until he said Android and then diss him.
  • You must be either a) super hypersensitive or b) an immature childlike person to view any comment I've left here as a rant. Indeed, every response to my original comment has been intelligent and reasonable. I think this sort of respectful discussion would be encouraged by the Mobile Nations team.
  • It almost seems as though many of the software products are after thoughts, as in "we have to have something....". The iWork products have always had "potential" but never seemed to realize it. Different enough to be annoying, not different enough to be innovative. And don't get me started on Filemaker/Bento.....
  • Welcome to the world of big software maintenance. A world where Microsoft has suffered pummeling after pummeling for trying to stay current while supporting legacy builds as well. Microsoft has developed a method that is getting better and getting good. You can claim Apple is hardware focused, but that is a lame duck. If you sell hardware to the masses and control it to the Nth degree, then YOU (Apple) are 100% responsible to keep the software humming well. Apple lets the software take the backseat and they have gotten behind on maintaining it well. It'll take years to get in front of it.
  • There was a 4k monitor sleep/wake bug in 10.11.2 that was particularly prevalent with MacPros. The computer would sleep and put the monitor to sleep, but would not send a video signal once it woke back up. You had to try unplugging and plugging your monitor a few times to get it back. It affected folks with several different brands of monitors and cables. It was fixed for me with 10.11.3, but the fact that so many owners of a particular model had the issue shows a lack of thorough testing from Apple.
  • I believe this is what caused my Thunderbolt Display to not wake after installing the s/w. Result was sending my Mac mini back to Apple for check of the mini display port and a restore to factory settings and software. This did not fix problem. Then display back for check. There was no apparent problem there either. Upon return home and reconnecting the Mac mini all worked and nobody knows why (theory is that the display being unplugged several days resulted in it resetting itself.). The legacy of this issue is that more than 50% of my 1TB fusion drive is now filled with "other" data even after the Time Machine back up is done (should be less than 0.5 TB of total data on the Fu-HD). There have been other s/w issues with this setup too; I have multiple user accounts and after nearly every s/w update, the display settings revert from "optimize for display" to the basic setting. I've been writing comments in numerous forums for nearly two years about how Apple has lost its holistic it just works approach. Software defects that slipped out, or were released under a suspected banner of "ship and fix in the field" have plagued me with:
    - Mountain Lion overheating my year old Mac Air to the point of damaging it, with Apple shirking long term responsibility;
    - sync problems that plague one's Mac and iOS iCloud constellation that get solved and then reappear 6 months later (text replacement, contacts, iBooks not syncing, PDFs in iBooks spontaneously disappearing en masse in one device and then iCloud syncing the disappearance but not consistently across devices.)
    - iOS text selection has been very imprecise and difficult to use for the last year;
    - even a concert recorded in the new music memos app is a crasher with big (ca 90min which never crashed in a sim length video) recordings and can't seem to sync new file names between the app and iCloud Drive not to mention the unnerving habit of it just losing recordings only to have them reappear a while later.) I've been an ardent Apple supporter and shareholder for 6 and 4 years respectively and I have to say that Apple software's initial quality, reliability, dependability and timeliness of sustainable fixes seems to be at an all time low with no upward trajectory in sight. After all, wasn't iOS 9 and El Capitan supposed be a features pause and the big fix for problems like those above?
  • My thing with Apple is "focus". Yes there are so many engineers and there are some who don't wan't to move to a certain part of Cal. so that limits them and some see Apple as not as liberal as Google. I know Rene thinks this is false but if you see all the perks Google gives (have to really research this, it's amazing) you're left with less engineers so what Apple should do is focus on the core apps for the OS. You know how they say jobs after being rehired killed a lot of stuff. Yes it's time for this. I know people are talking about that new app for recording your music ideas which is nice but that is sooooo niche and wouldn't it be nice for people to say these type of things for iCloud or iPhoto? The major OS stuff like iCloud, Maps, Photos and such are CORE to perception of the iPhone and Apple in general. These CORE apps are NOT in a vacuum. There are competitors like Google who you can clearly see are much more reliable and work better that Apple's apps. I've never nor heard anyone ever complain about loosing music or any photos on Google's services. I've heard everyone say that a certain map app didn't get them to their destination before and Google has issues like that as well but world wide it's the lowest occurrence of that and Google's up to the second traffic and rerouting is second to none with the use of Waze data that streams into Google Maps. So i'm saying yes they have to many software balls in the air and instead of all that they should be focused on core iOS and oSX system and apps. There are so many companies and devs making 3rd party apps that Apple doesn't need to make those. Just make the core OS and apps and dare I say services which is what "everyone" is focused on when judging your OS.
  • I don't think the part where u said letting go of the Windows legacy will help apple.. Windows may be a hurdle. But I think with Microsoft moving stuff to the cloud.. I think Apple can very well move iTunes to the cloud along with Windows user.. I think you could be wrong in saying adapting to it.. Doing the impossible is needed.. And doing it with Windows users is quite close to impossible.
  • Hard for Apple fans to accept but Google and Microsoft have gotten better than Apple in software. Come to services it's not even a competition. I'm atleast happy some websites are calling out Apple unlike some who just write articles defending Apple point by point. Just crazy !!!
  • "but Google and Microsoft have gotten better than Apple in software." Huh? Google and Microsoft have always been better than Apple at software. Because ... Google and Microsoft are software companies. Apple is a hardware company. Their interest in software is limited to that which makes the hardware experience practical and better.
  • This article is written by Rene Richie. Objectivity is not one of his concerns.
  • I think that Walt was absolutely right. Althought i don't have anymore issues with itunes, i have bugs with mail, app stores, icloud and don't want to use iCloud photo or Apple music who messes up with our collection. Sent from the iMore App
  • But dividing iTunes on Mac and Windows in separate programs (music, videos, iTunes store, iOS devices management) would be the obvious step that should come soon. And making Mail better shouldn't be rocket science. There many other mail apps out there proving it.
  • iOS doesn't have app problems ! Windows mobile ... Now they have app problems for sure! Sent from the iMore App
  • They both have app problems. One has hardly any apps or apps by the company and the other (Apple) has not great stop apps and services and do make matters worse they don't let you set a default app because they want to force you to use theirs. If you use Siri you get pushed into either Apple Music, Apple Maps and so on. Apple can allow your default app to take your Siri request but they don't want you to use 3rd party apps. FIne, then focus on making the best core apps.
  • I don't understand Renés point about itunes and music? Should apple get rid of all type of files and just make people rent music by paying them 10 dollars/month??!! That would make me leave Apple ecosystem once and for all! Sent from the iMore App
  • This seems like a piece to make us okay with lackluster software because "it's just hard to do it right" with a list of excuses as to why it's hard. Maybe they should stop trying to do everything and relay on third parties who have the focus needed for great apps?
  • touche!
  • Apple is doing more, across the board, and the competition has gotten much better, across the board. A lot of Apple apps I use on OS X or iOS work well enough. But the collective experience with Apple software and services feels increasingly fragmented and buggy and harder to justify against very good competition. I used to feel like I understood Apple's vision - quality, connected, consistent, simplicity that facilitated function, great hardware/software integration, new features that were dialed before release, and so on -- and when I bought a product it generally lived up to that vision. If it had problems -- all tech as problems -- I knew they were going to address it in a consistent and timely way that fit the vision.. I would stick it out. Other than keeping the giant iPhone profit machine rolling -- or finding the next profit opportunity -- I'm not sure I see a vision anymore that I can understand as a customer. So now when I think mail or music on iOS is terrible, I give up and use something else but can't make it default. And so it goes.
  • iTunes is a tough nut to crack. I don't feel like cutting legacy support for old iPod devices is going to work because technically Apple still sells legacy iPods in the form of the nano and shuffle. To get them into the age of iCloud support would require significant hardware changes, especially in the shuffle. Even if they stopped selling them tomorrow cutting support for them the next day or even in a few years simply cannot happen. I will echo Peter Cohen's prior and vehement statements that iTunes on Mac and Windows is a horrible bloated monster that needs to be torn down, thrown in the pits of **** then rebuilt from the bottom up. The question is how without sacrificing legacy support of older devices, and the ability to purchase media on anything that still runs iOS? Do you leave iTunes as is for legacy devices and go all in on icloud for purchasing and loading media on newer iCloud capable devices? Without iTunes Match how do you get libraries with songs it can'nt match on and off devices reliably? On the iOS side, iTunes isn't terrible. The argument could be made to break music, movies, etc into separate apps but does simplifying one app into many make it any less complicated with multiple apps? Do you make each app downloadable through the App Store or include them as stock? As for the iOS music app... That's a whole other tear and frustration filled discussion...
  • Even Finder is horrendous in recent revs of OSX. Photos.osx is still barebones. Apple's method of "tear down and rebuild" doesn't work when they only hand us the first 3 floors of a skyscraper. "We made the shiniest floors ever..." For the past decade, every major software revision has been 1 step forward, 2 steps back and I'm f'n sick of it. Not that MS's ecosystem is a viable alternative. Their win10 built in apps are atrocious and lack any basic useful functionality or compatibility. File management is still f'n joke in iOS. I spent 20 minutes yesterday just trying to open a file from my NAS with Numbers. (One apps can share this this app, but not that one, etc) Everyone is on point when they talk about letting us use 3rd party apps as default, and to be integrated with Siri. Case in point- Podcast.ios. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple's software issues are deep and pervasive. Final Cut Pro is a train wreck Logic Pro has been dumbed down to be GarageBand on steroids. Keyboard shortcuts change or disappear with every iteration. It's as if the people engineering the software have never actually used it. iOS gets worser with every iteration. Human interface guidelines are shunned. Interface becomes design. Interface is not design. Interface is the ability for a user to find the functionality of an app without having to figure out what or where that functionality hides.
  • In some ways I think Apple is still trying to figure out how to be a LARGE company, rather than a startup. I don't believe Steve Jobs ever really figured it out. Even he knew it would take Tim Cook to do it. And Tim is getting there, but it is taking some time to overcome that part of the Steve Jobs legacy. For example, Steve Jobs found the ultimate hardware designer in Jony Ive, but the apparent software guy Tim Cook ended up having to fire. And they still don't have the software equivalent of Jony Ive. So, the way you run a company the size of Apple today is VERY different from the way Steve Jobs ran Apple. I believe Tim Cook can do it, but it may take a little more time to get there.
  • iTunes can't be changed. Taking iPod support away would be like taking away the home button on the iPhone. Great for tech philes bad for 99% of users. Tech companies have stopped listening to the advice of techy people and press since the palm pre and stock android on the Moto X. Both failures. All of if is just fluff from a super minority. The general public wants easy and familiar. They don't like constantly relearning updated versions of software they just learned how to use. This is why apple doesn't innovate. Because it cares about its users. I would call. For refinement and slow iteration. And creation of alt services which would move progress forward. Want a complete cloud solution for music create an alt service. I personally have not used iTunes in 10 years but pretty much everyone in my family network and friends use it and every time they get mad about it it's not that it hasn't changed enough it's that it HAS changed period.
  • "Tech companies have stopped listening to the advice of techy people and press since the palm pre and stock android on the Moto X. Both failures. All of if is just fluff from a super minority." Bingo. You can't find a crotchetier group of people than techies. Because each and every one thinks that they have the solution to the problem, real or imagined. Only Apple knows how happy their customers are with their products, only they have the crash reports, so only they know whether the rate and vehemence of customer complaint have been rising or falling, likewise crash reports on all their hardware and software. In my first year after switching to Apple, I went through an OS update (10.3 to 10.4) for the first time and that was hairy. (Though still better than updating Windows.) Lots of things just didn't work right at first. Pretty much every update, it turns out, has its issues but Apple fixes it in time. When I hear people complain now about how Apple screwed up this or that update, how things didn't used to be that bad, I just roll my eyes. Selective memory goes hand in hand with crotchetiness. --If you view the past with rose-colored glasses, then you're never happy with the present. I for one have never understood what the fuss about the current version of iTunes is all about. Works fine for me, and the layout is actually more logical than the previous iterations.
  • Eaactly Sent from the iMore App
  • Honestly, it seems like Silicon Valley is coming full circle. Microsoft has gone back to their roots, developing great software for Apple. I LOVE Microsoft's software push lately. Wunderlist, Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive and Sunset Cal have all replaced Apple's default apps on my iOS and OS X devices. I think Microsoft knows that that is where their future lies as well, since they very frequently release new app or updates on iOS prior to their own Windows OS or other platforms. With Apple's hardware and Microsoft's software, the two make the perfect team. I'm happy to see the two companies set aside their annoying bickering and work together. That being said, News.app has been a huge frustration of mine since its release, and I have found that Google's own iOS application is far better than Siri and her new recommendations platform. Mail.app has never been a good email client and with wifi calling and voice over LTE growing it does seem odd that FaceTime is still a separate application and hasn't been folded into the phone app yet. I also don't understand why Music.app does not have iTunes integration. These two should have been bed mates from the get go. That being said, the App Store is what has always made iOS great. For the young lady that said she doesn't see a difference between the App Store and Play Store, that's very far from my own experiences. I have over 30 applications on my iOS devices that I use weekly and they are Apple-only developers. Tapbots and Readdle are two great examples of developers that only develop for Apple. Sent from the iMore App
  • " Google's own iOS application is far better than Siri and her new recommendations platform." And you haven't even seen how much better it is on Android! It's cut off at the knees on iOS.
  • I have seen it actually. My second phone is the LG V10. Sent from the iMore App
  • Even better there right?
  • I have to say, this article is a little out of date. iTunes for Windows used to be unbearable, but its really not that bad anymore. The music app works flawlessly on my iPhone 5s and on my iPad. Apple Music has been excellent since day one. I started the trial thinking there was no way I'd pay Netflix prices for music. Within a few days, I had re-enabled the auto renew, and upgraded to the family plan. I don't use Pandora, Google Music, or Amazon Prime music anymore for anything. The podcasts app has improved to the point where I no longer need to use Downcast for podcasts. The news app is a bit slow, since background refresh doesn't seem to work yet, but they'll get there. Maps had problems at first (for others, I never encountered any), but it blows Google Maps away now.
  • "but it blows Google Maps away now." Can you tell me how?
  • iTunes started off as a media management system with access to a store to purchase more media. It started to fail when Apple thought they had to add all this social media crap to it and move things into the cloud. Split the media management from the cloud/social nonsense and we will be back to having a decent media manager. Sad thing, there isn't anything on Mac/Windows that allows you to manage your media anywhere close to as well, even with the problems, so iTunes is given a free pass to be bloated and mediocre.
  • Windows Media player and Zune on Wi does were as good. The issue was no good integrated store for WMP and the fact that the iPod was only compatible with iTunes. There's still no excuse for it being as bloated as it is on OS X, but it only gets horrible when you enable Apple Music, so I just avoid that service and I'm fine ;-)
  • iTunes should be spit into separate apps based on the functions they need to perform, iTunes for local media management and playback, another app to handle apps, and another app to handle the streaming music which I could care less about since I use SiriusXM and have it in my car, iOS devices, computer at work and home and I already pay for it so why would I add more useless curated pop crap.
  • Not everything Apple does is perfect, but I've had more bad experiences using Android than I have using iOS , I'm more of an average user so I haven't seen much problems with Apple's software or Apple's core apps because I don't use many of them, I only use Safari and Apple Music, which I admit is a bit of a mess but I have faith in Apple to major things right. Sent from the iMore App
  • I have a little experience in this area. Shipping excellent software is very, very difficult. That's not an excuse for Apple's current crop of code. I've been on the platform since 1986, and I'm finding the situation particularly bad at the moment (and it's been leading up to this point for a few years). There's a lack of usability, reliability and, sadly, a lack of charm that I find troubling.
  • I think the issue is mostly with 3rd party apps. The rendering of some apps on the Plus are horrid, some of these apps are not optimised for the plus range and as a result when played on the plus they are simply zoomed in and they look horrible.