Consider this the summer of my discontent with all things Apple. Sure, my favorite Mac, music player, and cell phone maker produces the coolest of cool stuff. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t ‘just work’ anymore. Apple is heading for a crash.
That was then
There once was a time when my Mac just worked. I think it was called Mac OS X Panther. Indeed, Panther 10.3.9 may have been the most stable version of a desktop operating system I have ever used.
Linux? Please. Sure, it’ll sit and run and run and run, but doing what?
Windows? No thanks. It can’t even sit without doing anything and not crash or corrupt something.
Mac OS X was once the shining jewel among the few things in life that worked better than expected. Then along came Tiger with even more cool, and less stability. OS X Leopard upped the ante of chic, and lowered the threshhold of painful annoyances.
This is now
What used to ‘just work’ no longer does. In fact, almost everything Apple touches these days has blemishes of Microsoftian proportions.
Go down the list. What is there to love about Apple’s product line except the glitz, glamour, chic, and style? Substance? Uh uh.
Mac OS X Leopard is the buggiest of all OS X versions since Cheetah, or was it Kitty? Seriously. The only Mac users not pulling their collective hair out these days are former Windows users. Thankfully for Apple, the company has many transplants who don’t know about the good old days.
Apple’s iLife ‘08 suite, including iTunes, isn’t much better. iTunes is one of Apple’s most ubiquitous products, now running on over 100-million Windows PCs. Is there a buggier piece of software?
It’s all about me!
MobileWho? MobileMe is a few weeks old already and still does not ‘just work’ (assuming it ever did in whatever previous incarnation Apple foisted upon a tolerant customer base).
When it works, it’s cool, and that’s the problem. It’s pure Apple in the 21st century. Totally style over substance. Whatever happened to “Exchange for the rest of us”? That went out the window with the baby and the bath water.
If MobileMe did just the basics, I’d be a happy computer camper. What does it need to do? Store and sync my email, my calendars, my address book. That’s it. Sorry, Charlie. Apple doesn’t want us to have services that work. They want us to have services that are cool looking in Keynote presentations and in QuickTime movie tutorials.
Put the I back in my phone
What about Apple’s iPhone 2.0 beta software? What? You didn’t know about the beta program? If you’re using an original iPhone or an iPhone 3G, then you’re using Apple’s public beta software.
My iPhone has crashed so many times in three weeks that I’d swear it was running Windows Mobile. Sure, iPhone applications crash. I’m willing to cut the developers some slack because it’s new territory, the apps are cheap, expectations are low.
But what about Apple’s iPhone version of OS X? It’s crash happy, too. I”ve had to restore my iPhone 3G OS twice in three weeks. It’s not that it’s difficult to restore it. It’s easy. It takes freakin’ forever, of course.
Restoring also means I have to move my iPhone’s app buttons back into place. It’s like OS X Finder windows. They can’t remember where they belong or where I put them last.
Just make it work
I don’t mean to rag on Apple’s efforts here. They’ve worked hard to deliver a truly delightful experience in Mac OS X, but it’s not as dependable as it once was, just a few short years ago.
Apple has scrambled to grow the iPod market and ecosystem, and has done a wonderful job capturing mindshare and market share, neither one of which makes my iPod a better music player.
My iPhone? It’s become a love hate relationship. I love what it does when it does it. I hate it when it doesn’t and that happens often these days. Crashes, hiccups, strange behavior—all seem to permeate Apple’s product line today.
Of course. What is it about movies and TV shows and podcasts that makes buying or downloading one or the other from the iTunes Store such a hassle to figure out which videos will work on an iPod or iPhone?
QuickTime? Sure it’s cool. Why doesn’t it just work? iPhone App Store? So far, since iTunes 7.7.1, the iTunes Store wants to download and update all 31 of my applications. All the time. Every time.
Sync me baby
Syncing music to an iPod used to be painless, so easy even Windows users could do it, and they did; by the tens of millions. Syncing to the iPhone is more problematic.
The sync choices are many and varied and confusing, and, guess what? They don’t always sync when I press the sync button and iTunes tells me it is syncing to the iPhone.
“Dear Steve, Slow down a little. Everything is going Apple’s way these days. Mac sales are on fire. iPods rule the portable music player world. The iTunes Store dominates online media buying. The iPhone is ultra cool and has shaken the staid cell phone industry.
In the rush to move into new markets and produce more insanely great products, Apple has completely forgotten how to do what it once did so well. Whatever you’re doing, make it ‘just work’, like it used to.”