When I look at the gadgets that my family and I take for granted, I feel like I live in the future. Smart tablets, smart phones, smart watches. Despite all these smart devices, though, there's a basic dysfunction that I find frustrating, and that many others find overwhelming.
2015 is certainly not the cyberpunk mega-city I briefly fantasized about for a time in the 80s, but it's the future regardless. And every day I talk to people who are overwhelmed by it. Exhausted by it. And need a break from it.
That's why I think Apple's on the right track with iOS and OS X, and I'm really interested to see where they go next. Continuity features iOS 8 and Yosemite have profoundly changed my workflow. I effortlessly make calls from my Mac using my iPhone, and don't think twice when switching from Safari on my iPhone to the same page and browser on my Mac.
Until it all stops working, that is. Then I have to get out and fiddle — like a mechanic working on a mid-century car under a shady tree in his yard — to get it all to function again.
We at iMore recently took a look at iOS 8, six months later, and each recognized that there are still some unfinished parts to the software we've been using for half a year now. It seems like we frequently get to March or April wondering why things still aren't as stable or polished as we want them to be.
Apple and many other consumer electronics companies have produced a very attractive, very seductive view of the future, but the technology can still be finicky in actual use. All those edges aren't polished smooth yet, but I have faith it will be; each progressive release of Yosemite and iOS 8 has shown movement in the that direction.
That said, I don't know a lot of people who have the patience to fiddle with things until they work. They just want them to work, the first time, and every time. When they don't, they get upset.
That's how I feel about my dishwasher and my car, and that's how others feel about their computers or their smartphones. These are the customers I help every day I work in my local computer store. They have neither the patience nor the time nor — in many cases — the technical acumen to diagnose and fix problems with their smartphone or their computer. "It has a virus" has become an all-purpose mantra; the 2015 equivalent to 1620's "He must be possessed by the Devil."
So I'm earnestly hoping that in 2015, Apple's focus is on ratcheting down all the loose, rattling parts of iOS and OS X and tightening things up. I talked in November about my desire to see Apple focus on the fundamentals: A Snow Leopard-style release for OS X this year (Snowsemite, perhaps?) and likewise for iOS 9 would be welcome.
Sure, Apple, throw us a few new features, but let's get this ship a bit more seaworthy than it feels right now.
Am I complaining about nothing? Or do you feel as I do that iOS 8 and Yosemite are just a bit looser than they really need to be? Let me know in the comments.