To wit, Apple today is like an orchestra without a conductor, producing a cacophony of sounds no longer resembling harmonious music.
“I hate Apple” was the phrase uttered in my household when a wiped Mac computer failed to recall any of the playlists stored in Apple’s cloud. Playlists that remained accessible by other devices with the same login. Of course, such a failure of trust in technology would never be anything Warren Buffet could detect, for I doubt he even uses a Mac. In the same way, Warren Buffet’s investment in Dairy Queen reeks of financial engineering more lucrative and pleasing than actually digesting the chain’s food (save for the excellent soft-serve ice cream). You know what I mean when you are brave, or unfortunate enough, to have to enter a Dairy Queen establishment.
Apple, without Steve Jobs, is slowly sinking back into the morass of mediocrity the company deflated before Steve’s return. Even as it continues to capitalize on Steve’s vision and execution, yet lacking his attention to detail in the delivery of a cohesive technology ecosystem. Apple today is like an orchestra without a musical director, composer, and conductor. A company where newly minted fashionista inmates are tasked to run the increasingly complex insane-asylum of make-believe “innovation,” and produce discombobulated sounds yielding an irritating technology cacophony.
Tim Cook is the captain of Apple’s now larger and messier ship with, in the words of Gil Amelio, widening holes in the ships’ bottom. Holes that do not surface to financiers and “greater-fools” riding the waves of technology just yet, but yield compounding problems forcing its engineers to pump proverbial buckets of water from its hull over the railing. Apple products today are a mess (as evidenced below), even in their mindless optimization of Steve’s central ideas, littered with problems Apple’s leader should have detected way before such products are considered for market entry. While technical glitches are common-place in technology, the gravity of the errors reveals the omission of higher, simpler, and better normalizations of strategy. An omission not uncommon for a company that has evolved primarily downstream since Steve Jobs’ passing. Apple employs some of the most talented engineers (I know, I have friends working at Apple) in the industry, but their skills die on the vine if they are not guided by a strong top-level strategic intent, compass, and mandate. Trust, but verify, must become Tim’s modus operandi.
On the design front, Apple is losing its mark too. Jonathan Ive’s influence, as Apple’s master industrial designer, is losing luster by not having a strong counterpart acting as both his adversarial and pushing him to extreme excellence. Major unchecked design mistakes now compound like cancer spreading downstream to subsequently erode the unique and easy-to-understand user-experience of Apple’s latest and upcoming products, previously worthy of a premium price-point. As a result, Apple is slowly but steadily becoming a dull price-competitor rather than a prized value-leader, even selling old products wherever it can to still make a buck, in the throws of Wall Street’s antediluvian expectations.
And for all this mess, shrouded by the false positivity promulgated by a naive press, we should all be in awe of Tim Cook. Like we are all supposed to be in awe of Marissa Mayer earning $900,000 per week(!) for running Yahoo! into the ground. Evidence of how the definition of a “greater-fool” so saliently applies to the geniuses who let them. I love the potential of societal impact induced by technology, but I hate how our operating-systems of humanity do not prevent the cunning technology pirates from leading innocent societies down an ominous path, from making a buck.
You see, one ought not to hand the reigns of human operating-systems and controls over to a company that demonstrates it cannot be trusted and uses price-fixing to starve writers, artists, and musicians from their livelihood, right under the veil of the company’s purported embrace. We better not be impressed by a company using modern-day slavery to feign a business-model otherwise incapable of persuading discerning buyers. One also better not make the mistake that a rat-race to please an incontinent Wall Street is demonstrably incompatible with a real compass of social justice and evolutionary integrity. A reason why Steve Jobs was justifiably so aloof – if not ignorant – to the Street. But the Street has found a new friend in Tim, who in the slip-stream of Steve’s passing continues to give the Street growth short-term, and tailored his operational excellence to the needs of the Street, while under the surface has sucked the life out of the integrity, quality and longevity of product and societal value.
To wit, below is a list of problems I encountered using only Apple products for everything I do, collected over a little over one (1) week. An indication not of the circumference of the proverbial holes in the bottom of Apple’s ship, but an indication of how quick and easy it is to get seriously stuck in one. Productivity and societal impact not helped but increasingly harmed by technology.
Black screen of death when playing video on library shuffle. Bad implementation.
Hitting enter during play should reveal pre and post play. Not pause to yield both — bad use case.
Can’t immediately recognize a selected item on the screen, so no quick indication of where to move to until you move position — bad design.
A screensaver flyover video of a gray airport? Really? Bad choices.
A search for a particular type of content is still restricted by who provides it — the false promises of Siri.
Unique logins per cable TV providers to yield overlapping content makes no sense; use-case is insufficiently resolved — bad implementation.
Music doesn’t start up from the main menu, black screen. Restart. Functionally incomplete.
Rent movie on Apple TV, says this content can’t be played on Apple TV. But in close observance, the rental period has started, and we can play the movie, so it has been activated — bad implementation.
Why can’t a folder stored in Photos be selected as a screensaver folder? Ie. Have own selection of photos appear on rotation? Who is paying attention here?
Can’t Apple Music have a different login from iCloud on family ATV? Dumb use case
Trackpad too close to the edge gets touched by clothing etc. Dumb design.
No edge on the keyboard, hard to pick up the laptop in opened mode. Dumb design.
Charging cable turns yellow — shoddy quality.
Out of memory warnings, really? Have you ever heard of disk-swapping innate to Unix? With 128Gb disk space available. Bad core implementation.
Frozen OS at times in dashboard reboot the only remedy. Recurring in many versions. Bad implementation.
Keyboard letters break apart after one year of use. Backlight shiny through. Sloppy implementation
Back and forward in the top menu bar, not designed for it. Shoving pertinent information aside. Afterthoughts of “innovation”?
iPhone7 Red released eight months after the first model, definition of new?
Horrible looking Apple cases, including an ugly one with a battery. Erosion of design brand.
Battery drains quickly and reboots at less than 15% at times, fix a fakeout with wrong battery levels reporting. Dirty fix erodes Apple’s brand
Dumb use cases for name recognition in texts, 5,000 contacts make you have to correct the auto-correct every word you spell. Bad decisions on usability
Auto-rotate while typing, really? Define the use case.
Rotation of the image after the picture was taken, incorrectly. Define the use case.
Dumb position of on/off button, counter pressure changes volume. Bad design
Dumb placement of audio jack, unusable in docking situations. Bad design.
SMTP setup too cumbersome. Fails periodically requiring reconfiguration — bad implementation.
Bad use of the cloud, internet accounts is a mess. Bad implementation
ICloud status should be in the status bar, not hidden in the file-system somewhere. Bad design.
Weird updates happen when you clear notifications daily, new notifications flying in from who knows where? Bad implementation.
The keyboard shows up on the home screen without search. No way to clear it, except to go into text edit app. Bad implementation
The preview image doesn’t show up after taking a photo. For the longest time. Bad attention to detail.
Connection unsuccessful, please pair this device again. Which device is being referred to? Clicking doesn’t allude, only close notification works. And now what? Bad attention to detail.
Lots of hiccups on audio playback, time-slicing of OS messed up. Lousy implementation of core functionality.
Silencing alarm in notifications goes to the wrong place in alarms, not where the alarm is established. Hollow call to action. Bad implementation.
Music still does not sync playlists across all devices correctly, some folders empty. Bad implementation.
Sideway sliding works sometimes, most time not. Bad implementation.
Inconsistent delivery of notifications takes a Ph.D. to figure out why. Yet another device to manage notifications. Bad use case.
App strategy for Watch is the wrong one; a purpose-driven device would’ve been better. Bad strategic choices.
Custom apps are generally mediocre, little compliance in terms of consistency and accuracy. They mostly seem to be asleep — bad use cases.
Automatically opening MacBook with Watch very inconsistent. Bad implementation.
Watch disconnects from the phone for no apparent reason; a reboot didn’t fix. Unpairing. Bad implementation.
Bluetooth re-pairing watch makes no sense. No option to re-pair on watch? Or recognize watch from iPhone. The Bluetooth option on the watch offers no resolve. Can’t you re-pair an Apple Watch without deleting content? Idiotic. Bad implementation.
Not activating Activity on a new watch leads to disaster, as there is no apparent way to reinstate its setup — bad implementation.
Open goal walk shows the milli-seconds jumping and updating in spurts. WTF. Cumulative time appears accurate. Bad implementation.
Use-case of a full screen without proper app switching. Bad use case.
The trackpad shouldn’t detect motion during the click, for un-click inaccuracy. Bad use case
Large address book slows down iMessage to a grinding pace. Basically making the computer unusable during a week-long process with 100% CPU utilization. Bad implementation.
Can’t change volume in FaceTime occurrences, not over headphones, not on MacBook. Status bar grayed out, after screen sharing — bad implementation.
FaceTime and iMessage startup takes forever, indexing 5000 contact names? Bad implementation.
Autocorrect keeps correcting plain English with any name it can find in the address book, annoying corrections needed to spell simple words. Bad use case.
Autocorrect is a disaster, not understanding very common words or context. Stale implementation.
FaceTime doesn’t start up on call receive from linked iPhone. Bad implementation.
Copy and paste in Pages inconsistent, sometimes works, sometimes not. Paste yields paste before sometimes paste after, in some cases. Bad implementation of core functionality.
iTunes is a gargantuan mess, full of inconsistencies, bugs, usability errors, first 30 second errors massive: Delete from the library should not equate to delete from the store, where is my media? Download limit on your media, download every song manually? iTunes ratings demoted, how about 5000 ratings? Bad overly complex implementation, redo from scratch.
Sign in through App Store doesn’t confirm I am logged in. Shows the same Signon screen as if I did nothing — shoddy implementation.
Autocorrect is flimsy, if not incorrect, outdated linguistically, and unadjusted to the fluency of languages (hire Noam Chomsky for direction). Bad implementation.
Application switcher Command-Tab sometimes works, sometimes not — bad implementation.
Alerts about adding internet accounts, requiring a password via notifications, go nowhere. Bad implementation
Other mysterious behavior of Internet Accounts, adding and deleting mess-ups. Bad implementation, strategically flawed.
Use-case for new accounts and passwords badly thought out; accounts should be added to the cloud then disseminated across devices. Wrong implementation decisions.
Search in Finder window works incorrectly, file not found when files are there. Inconsistent implementation, dependent on how search is performed.
Renaming Bluetooth mouse does not work. Bad implementation
Magic Mouse on/off button slides on too quickly in a soft bag, running out of power. Bad Design
Slide mouse on its side to charge? Bad design
Why does it take half an hour to check for application updates? Bad implementation
The sidebar in Safari, impossible to figure out how to close. Bad usability controls. Incompatible with youtube playback.
AirPlay stops transferring to Apple TV while the video continues playing on Macbook. Bad implementation.
LinkedIn doesn’t connect to address book to sync all 4600 contacts, CoreDAVErrorDomain error 1. Bad implementation
Signatures in Mail unlinked from accounts upon reinstall. Not saved in the cloud, while signatures themselves are. Half ass implementation.
Thirty-eight seconds to startup FaceTime, really? Bad implementation
Autocorrect does not understand linguistics, dumb technology.
iCloud Drive resync to the old device takes forever, no automatic sync (like Dropbox) is activated. How will that affect backups from this device? Data integrity alert. Need to manually re-activate top-level folder download. Unreliable implementation.
Update: visiting the Apple Store twice since this article was written, two repairs due to Apple’s poor fabrication processes were declined for “under-warranty” repair. The game of not repairing inherent technology flaws, just barely outside the range of warranty starkly different from under Steve Jobs’ leadership, is more proof Apple has turned into a company that does not stand behind its products. Especially considering both flaws should not have occurred at all during the product life-cycle. It is embarrassing for premium-priced products proclaiming to be the best.
Update 2: 23-inch Apple premium-priced monitor costing $990 now has a green vertical line on it, well documented on the internet. Let’s see how that goes over in an Apple Store visit. I’ll report back.