Apple has a serious problem with software quality

It looks like Apple has a serious problem when it comes to software quality, and it is something that the company needs to address if it wants to avoid a backlash.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

It looks like Apple has a serious problem when it comes to software quality, and it is something that the company needs to address if it wants to avoid a backlash.

It's been a couple of years now since I moved away from Windows. Not only did I feel that Microsoft was taking the platform in a direction that wasn't compatible with what I wanted from it, but I also felt that stability issues were turning it into too much of a time-suck. People told me things were different on OS X, and for a while that was true.

But not anymore.

I agree with writer and developer Marco Arment when he says "software quality has fallen so much in the last few years that I'm deeply concerned for its future." It has. And I've seen that happen to both iOS and OS X over the past couple of years. The iOS 8.0.1 update that neutered my brand new iPhone 6 Plus was particularly exasperating.

For an excellent breakdown of the sorts of problems that OS X and iOS users are experiencing, take a look at this post by tech journalist Glenn Fleishman. He succinctly outlines the majority of the major issues currently afflicting OS X, iOS, and Apple services users. Some of these problems are trivial, while others are huge and egregious. They all need fixing.

What started out as robust and stable ecosystems have increasingly become buggy and problematic. For me the problems don't appear to be anywhere near as bad as they became on the Windows platform, but they are getting there. If things continue as they are, I can foresee a future where an iOS or OS X release is as buggy as Windows Vista was when it was released.

Ironically, Microsoft has been working hard to clean up its act, although the current situation, where patches are being pushed out to fix problems caused by earlier patches is horrendously messy.

And while we are on the subject of patches, Apple is slow when it comes to delivering fixes for problems, and far too many never get fixed and end up being rolled forward to the next major release, which is just unacceptable. What makes things worse is the fact that Apple is still very much a communications black hole, so we as users get little or no feedback, and have no idea whether issues affecting us are being dealt with or just ignored.

And to be absolutely frank, I as a consumer am getting tired of being ignored.

I know that the phrase "it just works" was mostly marketing fluff, but Apple did manage to preserve a long track record for delivering solid products, and that is no longer the case. Something seems to have changed, and I have no idea what it is. Perhaps Apple is overreaching and trying to do too much too quickly, or possibly there's been an attempt at cutting costs or streamlining the quality assurance process and this has resulted in bad code getting out.

Or maybe the stories that claimed that Steve Jobs was the man who made Apple great were true, and now that he's gone, the company is finding it hard to maintain the same fanatical levels of quality. Or maybe there are just more eyeballs on the company.

I don't know.

Whatever the reason, given the size of Apple, and the amount of cash it has, the company should be able to get its act together, and as such I'm not going to make excuses for it. This isn't some startup we're dealing with here. On top of that, people - consumers and businesses alike - pay a premium price for Apple products, and they deserve a product that's free from such pervasive and widespread issues. Bugs are one thing, but a huge bug list of issues that directly affect the usage of a product is another thing entirely.

This needs dealing with, and dealing with fast, because otherwise consumers will start to vote with their feet and go looking for a better product elsewhere. Which is a shame, because the hardware is consistently good.

Apple, get your act together.

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