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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Apple design fail

Former Apple designers think the post-Jobs Apple has lost the plot:
Once upon a time, Apple was known for designing easy-to-use, easy-to-understand products. It was a champion of the graphical user interface, where it is always possible to discover what actions are possible, clearly see how to select that action, receive unambiguous feedback as to the results of that action, and have the power to reverse that action—to undo it—if the result is not what was intended.

No more. Now, although the products are indeed even more beautiful than before, that beauty has come at a great price. Gone are the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, recovery, and so on. Instead, Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read. We have obscure gestures that are beyond even the developer’s ability to remember. We have great features that most people don’t realize exist.

The products, especially those built on iOS, Apple’s operating system for mobile devices, no longer follow the well-known, well-established principles of design that Apple developed several decades ago. These principles, based on experimental science as well as common sense, opened up the power of computing to several generations, establishing Apple’s well-deserved reputation for understandability and ease of use. Alas, Apple has abandoned many of these principles. True, Apple’s design guidelines for developers for both iOS and the Mac OS X still pay token homage to the principles, but, inside Apple, many of the principles are no longer practiced at all. Apple has lost its way, driven by concern for style and appearance at the expense of understandability and usage.
I find the Apple UI almost unusable. But I'm not really equipped to judge, since I have staunchly refused to use Apple products since my last experience with one. After spending two hours trying to figure out how to do something very simple on SB's Powerbook or whatever it was, I called up a technical friend who had switched to Macintosh.

"Oh, you just can't do that," he explained. "It's not possible."

And that was before the screen failed and the battery developed a massive tumor that prevented the computer from lying flat.

Labels:

75 Comments:

Anonymous A Visitor November 21, 2015 1:16 PM  

It kills me how Apple has lost its way in its UIs. I've been using Macs since I was 5. One of the reasons Apple UIs have become harder to use is because they put profit above usability.

Blogger Hammerli280 November 21, 2015 1:26 PM  

I think part of the issue has been an aping of PCs. I've used Macs since the late '80s, would not consider squandering my money on a PC...but OSX had characteristics that were clearly meant to be familiar to PC users, not Mac users. Filing approaches, in particular.

And there's only so much you can do with a touchpad.

Anonymous Conservative Buddhist November 21, 2015 1:26 PM  

H8ters always place the quality of products above the the vibrancy and diversity of the corporation.

Blogger David-2 November 21, 2015 1:27 PM  

Oh man, did you see the authors? When Don Norman says you have a design problem then you have a design problem.

Blogger bub November 21, 2015 1:28 PM  

Apple has lost its way, driven by concern for style and appearance at the expense of understandability and usage.

A metaphor for a culture.

OpenID Jack Amok November 21, 2015 1:34 PM  

Regarding Apple's historical "greatness" (or is that insane greatness?) at UI design, I remind everyone that the way you told the original Mac to eject the disk was to drag the disk icon to the trash can.

Great my ass.

Of course that doesn't mean they haven't gotten worse.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan November 21, 2015 1:47 PM  

Tim Cook is gay so its all good, I think that is their business plan and when no one is looking he lards the company with debt for his buddies in the market

Blogger Cataline Sergius November 21, 2015 1:49 PM  

I knew they were going to drift off mission after Jobs died. He was Apple's irreplaceable man. He made sure he was.

Even after Jobs was fired the first time you could tell they were muttering in secret, "What would Steve do? What would Steve do?"

The fact that Tim Cook was Jobs hand picked successor tells you that he wasn't up to the task. Jobs was fundamentally incapable of picking a guy to replace him that wouldn't be a failure. He just couldn't do it.

If Jobs could have arranged for the company to be buried with him he would have done it.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling November 21, 2015 1:49 PM  

@4: And the second author, Bruce Tognazzini, is the third principal in the Nielsen Norman Group. The first is Jakob Nielsen, who has long been the best source of UI wisdom I know about, he has this weird idea that you should test this stuff on a a few real people before imposing it on your user base. The experimental science that the article excerpt mentions.

Blogger David-2 November 21, 2015 1:53 PM  

"Oh, you just can't do that," he explained. "It's not possible."

Heh. A scene I've experienced several times a month at every place I've worked: Guy plugs a Thinkpad in to a display projector and 15 seconds later the meeting starts. Guy plugs his MacBook into a display projector and 5 minutes later there is still a huddle of Mac users around him trying to get his presentation on the screen while the rest of us chitchat.

Blogger Dave November 21, 2015 1:55 PM  

the products are indeed even more beautiful than before

They still can't help themselves. Little plastic boxes are beautiful? Have you seen that watch? Hideous.

Blogger David of One November 21, 2015 1:59 PM  

Likely the fruits of Diverse STEM is being realized like a fart in a full elevator on a slow decent to college educated intellectual, cultural and evolutionary dead-end stupidity.

"Clock Girl" should be due to arrive anytime with "Clock TransBoy" likely to be followed by "Clock Trans Trans Girrrl".

Anonymous Lukas Brunnor November 21, 2015 2:03 PM  

@5 Just about sums it up, doesn't it.

Hopefully this post won't bring out too many Macintossers.

Blogger David-2 November 21, 2015 2:04 PM  

@12 - I'm glad you mentioned trans so I could post this OT comment: Did anyone say that SJWs have no sense of humor? What could make them think that? Oh wait. This is a response to a Ben Stiller movie. (BTW I see us Davids have this thread locked up ...)

Anonymous Lukas Brunnor November 21, 2015 2:05 PM  

Vox should have titled this...Steve Jobs: The God That Failed

Blogger Cail Corishev November 21, 2015 2:11 PM  

I've hated every moment that I've ever spent using a Mac. Fortunately they were few. As I understand it, the underlying OS has become more and more like Unix, sharing a lot with FreeBSD, which is a good thing. But I don't know why I'd want to wrap that in a painful GUI.

Blogger fisher man November 21, 2015 2:14 PM  

I use my mac as a giant Unix terminal, but some things have gotten unusable now.

The worst are external drives, sometimes the mac refuses to work with them, and you have to change the permissions that the auto mount runs under. For some reason even few months this gets magically reset.

I think to force people to buy external drives from the apple store.

Anonymous MK November 21, 2015 2:17 PM  

When MS launched Windows Vista, I bought and Apple computer and a ipod touch.
At first, I really liked my Apple devices.
But about two years later, I was unable to perform internet banking unless I upgrade to the current OS, because Apple had disabled a security extension used by the bank.
I had to use my old Windows XP to access the bank.
And after two more years, they disabled my kindle application from my ipod touch.
So I decided not to buy Apple devices anymore, not the least because today they are not significantly better than Windows or Android.

Anonymous Ain November 21, 2015 2:18 PM  

@17 "I think to force people to buy external drives from the apple store."

That wouldn't surprise me.

Blogger fisher man November 21, 2015 2:21 PM  

Ha, that banking thing got me as well!

Blogger Were-Puppy November 21, 2015 2:21 PM  

I got a dislike of Apple a long time ago mainly due to their slavish evangelists who would go on and on about how awesome everything was.

Anonymous BigGaySteve November 21, 2015 2:43 PM  

Apple has lost its way, Its not their fault they tried to follow Apple Maps.

the products are indeed even more beautiful than before We have dedicated millions to find majik negro programers how did we lose the majik?
Have you seen that watch? Hideous. You can buy it in Saudi Arabia where they behead gays, but not in Indiana because Tiny Timmy Cook cant get gay wedding pizza.

@12 Cartoonish' trans character leads to call for Zoolander 2 boycott Most trannys are cartoonishly bad.

Blogger Sam vfm #111 November 21, 2015 2:48 PM  

My first computer was a Apple II which I put a CPM card after a few months. I have never bought another Apple product.
Even back then, they were SJW central. You would think that their mission statement is "All within Apple, nothing outside Apple, nothing against Apple."

Anonymous Donn #0114 November 21, 2015 2:50 PM  

I am not computer savvy. I updated to windows 10 and it changed all the aspect ratios on my computer. Can any of the ilk help with it? It's a crisis, I can't play my favorite games!

Blogger Noah B #120 November 21, 2015 2:53 PM  

Here's a great use for an iPhone.

Blogger Dave November 21, 2015 2:56 PM  

@Steve Most trannys are cartoonishly bad.

Of course but nobody can publicly acknowledge that even in a comedy flick. It's like the elephant in the room.

Apple has lost its way, Its not their fault they tried to follow Apple Maps.

Oooo ain't that the truth



Hail to my fellow David's we are beloved.

Anonymous johnc November 21, 2015 2:57 PM  

Unfortunately it's not just Apple. There has been a lot of bad thinking re: UI design in the industry over the past few years. Seems like Apple was one of the later hold-outs to adopt some of the stupidity.

E.g., flat UI design for desktops that inherently involved layering windows one atop another. Somebody post the "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" gif.

Anonymous Don Vito November 21, 2015 3:03 PM  

I don't share the distaste most of the people commenting so far seem to have for apple products, although I haven't used one since the mid 90's - could never motivate the price/performance and was always entirely comfortable with both windows and android. But it is hard not to notice that something about the apple brand attrackts SJW personalities like flies to...

Blogger Dave November 21, 2015 3:08 PM  

@Noah

That youtube link attempts to get you to watch a 2 min advertisement for a 30 second video.

It is an impressive chemical reaction when exposed to the atmosphere.

Blogger Crude November 21, 2015 3:10 PM  

But it is hard not to notice that something about the apple brand attrackts SJW personalities like flies to...

I despise SJWs, but I still liked Apple for almost singlehandedly creating the cell phone gaming market (flawed though it is), the app market, and more. Not to mention their making tablets a mainstream thing, rather than something used only in the most niche professions. I love a lot of iOS apps, and I have multiple iOS products. Hell, I even develop for the platforms.

But their Confederate Flag and Manhattan Declaration actions killed all my good will towards them. I would like them to go down; pity Google's about as bad. And Microsoft is getting there.

Anonymous Viidad November 21, 2015 3:12 PM  

OSX is still a lot better than anything from Microsoft.

The last time I used a Windows PC I was ready to fling it through the wall.

If Linux could get itself together, I'd switch. Until then, I am stuck with Apple as the least of all evils.

Blogger Alexandros November 21, 2015 3:14 PM  

If you read the article, the author is talking about the original iPhone as being the harbinger of bad apple design decisions.

Look, I hate apple products, but credit where credit is due:

Do you guys remember the sorry state of "smartphones" before the introduction of the iphone?

I don't want to hear about the great user centered design of palm pilots, blackberries, and windows phones pre-ios; I can't take this guy seriously, the hell with whatever credentials people say he has. Credentialism is a cancer.

Blogger Danby November 21, 2015 3:26 PM  

An OS is just an OS. It's a utility that you use to manage files, find and load applications.
The Os can get out of your way and do it's job, or it can interfere.
All modern OS's interfere.
iOS is like a jealous girlfriend who's hit the wall. She knows she's lost it and is sure you're banging another girl on the side. She's alternately putting on too much makeup, dropping shit tests on you, greeting you at the door naked and planting spyware on your phone.
Windows is like a drunk receptionist. Yeah, she does her job, but she calls in sick a lot, can't seem to figure out how business clothing works, bangs every single delivery guy in the storage closet, and threatens to quit every month.
Linux is the IT guy you gave a desk in the data center. He's really good at his job, but he can't seem to communicate. He'll come at you out of the blue with a comprehensive plan to rebuild your entire network infrastructure, despite the fact that the current one looks fine. He calls the receptionist a scrunt, but only behind her back.

Blogger David of One November 21, 2015 3:30 PM  

@25

To hell with all of it.

This only "inspires" every dumbass to ensure that none of us will have our electronic devices with powerful batteries on a plane.

No magic device to keep the too stupid from having them on planes ... countermeasures for this potential threat are limited.

The cure for the very stupid and evil is very limited.

Blogger David of One November 21, 2015 3:31 PM  

Oh and yes ... we are beloved.

Blogger Steveo #238 November 21, 2015 3:31 PM  

@8

I think he did arrange to have it buried... hence Cook.

Anonymous jdgalt November 21, 2015 3:34 PM  

Whoever wrote the quoted article should take off his rose-colored blinders. Apple's "way" was a loss to begin with.

I knew some of Apple's developers when their first Macintosh-like system, the Lisa, came out. The real purpose of GUIs is not "usability." Rather, GUIs are based on the belief that you, the user, are the cause of most computer problems. By using all the choices that a good, versatile system gives you, you create too much work for the people responsible for writing and debugging the system. GUIs "solve" this "problem" by taking away most of the choices that access to the command line once gave you. They limit you to only the few choices that the GUI writer chooses to spoon-feed to you. That is the purpose of GUIs and the reason they exist.

Blogger luagha November 21, 2015 3:39 PM  

The small fonts are so bad that my brother in law started a company to sell reading glasses thin enough to clip to your iphone in the case.

Blogger Dave November 21, 2015 3:53 PM  

@Danby that's superb. A smart ad exec would find some entertaining marketing in that.

The Apple fanboi's amount to millions of gamma orbiters of the iOS jealous girlfriend, constantly handing her hundreds of dollars for the new model upgrades.

Blogger Timmy3 November 21, 2015 4:04 PM  

It's not hard to zoom the display.

Anonymous Adam1 November 21, 2015 4:07 PM  

Here`s an amusing vid about Jobs- ruckasworld.com/ilost-my-jobs/

Blogger sykes.1 November 21, 2015 4:12 PM  

Back in the 80's, my wife (Prof. Spanish) and I ( Prof. Civil Eng'g) decided to buy a computer. I had an IBM PC running DOS in my office; she had nothing. I needed to typeset equations, and she needed a European (mostly Spanish) character set. The only computer on the market that could do that was the Macintosh--the only computer. Ironically, we got MS Word 1.0, MS Excel 1.0, MS Charts (?) and an Apple graphics program plus some Apple word processor, now defunct.

That choice more or less committed us to Apple forever, and we still use Apple computers. However, from a user's viewpoint there is no difference today between the Windows OS and the Mac OS. Both systems have the same ease of use, although as time has gone on the complexities have grown.

For instance, Both Windows and Mac OS's are supposed to allow easy networking between the machines. I have never been able to get those functions to work. I even hired a Windows IT guy once to do it, and he couldn't make it happen.

Nowadays, when I want to transfer a file, I copy it onto a thumb drive, and walk around my desk to the other machine and plug the drive in. Works every time.

Anonymous Donn #0114 November 21, 2015 4:16 PM  

If zooming the display was the problem I could fix it. Now all games appear with black bars on the sides no matter what ratio or display you use 'full screen' etc. And objects and screen icons or buttons on the other games are shrunk to unseeable sizes while the fonts are tiny and the change font button will not work it won't even enable

Blogger Groot November 21, 2015 4:43 PM  

ᵀʰᵉ ᵗᵉˣᵗ ⁱˢ ᵗⁱⁿʸ? ᴵ ʰᵃᵛᵉ ⁿᵒ ⁱᵈᵉᵃ ʷʰᵃᵗ ᵗʰᵃᵗ ᶜᵒᵘˡᵈ ᵇᵉ

Anonymous Yid Kid November 21, 2015 4:44 PM  

@33 Danby, that was awesome. Only thing missing was a Bruce Jenner joke about Windows 8.

I use Apple products, and what I see is a slow degradation/ regression in the foundations. They're making good money on expansion abroad, and in fairness they have figured out some important aspects of the high-end smartphone market (non-fragmentation is underrated). But yeah, the Apple ethic is dying. For a company that keeps thinking about Steve, they're living his warnings about what happens when you stop putting the product first. It takes a while, but once the crud starts building up, it gets harder and harder to fix.

Blogger Hammerli280 November 21, 2015 4:51 PM  

@37: I disagree. Apple's genius lay in recognizing that many computer users were not computer programmers. Not interested in becoming computer programmers. They needed an OS and applications that would allow a non-programmer to perform tasks on a computer with a minimum of fuss. I switched from a PC to a Mac in 1988...it was like trading a Sopwith Camel for an F-22. Incredible jump in useability.

Anonymous Donn #0114 November 21, 2015 4:56 PM  

Groot I even checked the microsoft advice for the problem. Many have the same one and have tried all the standard fixes. Nobody has solved it including the microsoft tech. He just tells people to try updating windows 10. Doesn't work. Standard font sizes were reduced inside the games and the option to change them disabled. The controls won't even 'light up' they act like fixed conditions. I don't see how font size displayed by the games and black bars on the side in 'full screen' even when you try changing the aspect ratio is normal. I've looked I'm not the only one with the problems.

Blogger David-2 November 21, 2015 5:00 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Groot November 21, 2015 5:00 PM  

Open Nvidia Control Panel > Display > Change Flat Panel Scaling > select Use NVIDIA scaling

Blogger David-2 November 21, 2015 5:01 PM  

And another good use for an iPhone: Will it blend?

Blogger Derek Kite November 21, 2015 5:06 PM  

The iPhone users in my shop are gradually moving to Android as they realize how limited the Apple system is. And knowing I'm not paying an Apple premium to pay for gay activism.

Blogger Nate November 21, 2015 5:18 PM  

" We have obscure gestures that are beyond even the developer’s ability to remember. We have great features that most people don’t realize exist."

Apple is today with iOS where Blackberry was in 2009 with BBOS.

You had a nice little house that worked well as a house.. but you'd added on and added on and added on... until now its doing far more than that original house foundation can support.

It was time to scrap iOS and start over completely 2 years ago.. and they have not done it yet.

also... Google is in the same situation with Android but I believe they are working on the next big OS and are just keeping it under wraps.

Blogger Dave November 21, 2015 5:34 PM  

@David-2 Will it Blend? That was good 4 and 1/2 million views to watch a guy blend iPhone 6 Plus. They must have taken the battery out. I was waiting for the explosion and fire.

Blogger Danby November 21, 2015 5:48 PM  

I want to see Blackberry license QNX out to other tablet and cell makers. It's a nifty piece of technology. I used to work with it on semi-embedded systems.
But BB is dedicated to killing their market, so it's not likely.

Blogger Were-Puppy November 21, 2015 6:02 PM  

@42 sykes.1
Nowadays, when I want to transfer a file, I copy it onto a thumb drive, and walk around my desk to the other machine and plug the drive in. Works every time.
---

We used to call that "sneaker net"

Blogger Jack Ward November 21, 2015 6:10 PM  

Blackbury can be your friend. Go the market ticker and see Karl Dininger's archives. The latest is the Priv and brother Karl was estactic a few days ago, minus one big beef with an Blackbury guy that he says needs firing. I don't use smart phones but, if I did, it would be a BB.

Blogger Kirk Parker November 21, 2015 6:45 PM  

"a champion of the graphical user interface, where it is always possible to discover what actions are possible"

ROFLMAO!!!!

Blogger chris November 21, 2015 7:11 PM  

Linux is the IT guy you gave a desk in the data center. He's really good at his job, but he can't seem to communicate. He'll come at you out of the blue with a comprehensive plan to rebuild your entire network infrastructure, despite the fact that the current one looks fine. He calls the receptionist a scrunt, but only behind her back.

Nah.

I have to use all three ecosystems: Windows at the hospital, a Mac at university, and Linux (multiple versions) where I can. Comments on all three.

1. Microsoft Office -- which used to be the best product by a large margin -- no longer cuts it. Libreoffice Writer is better for longish documents because you can structure them: there are specailized tools such as LyX when you need to have latex type graphics in place. And the best tool in my opinion for pure text creation remains emacs. (Hat tip to Neil Stephensen).

2. Windows 10 does work. Better than 8.1. But you need to be smart enough to switch all the spyware off.

3. The windows backend intrastructure -- which I deal with at work -- is horrible. Microsoft Outlook is non intuitive. But far, far worse are the health systems that we are inflicted with -- based on outmoded and insecure Java APIs.

4. The Mac can work. But... it does not talk well with either the cloud (apart from icloud) or with microsoft (including their native apps). What it is good for is photography and creativity: Apeture and Scrivener.

5. Linux is adaptable. It can be pretty (I am using a Fedora version called Chapeau and hide everything (Gnome 3 is productive, just different) or really lightweight and fast (lxde, xfce). It generally only breaks when I destroy things deliberately. The office apps are good enough. It can do most things cheaper than a mac -- including photography and text creation -- and without the cruft that comes with Microsoft.

It is what the math geeks use and a lot of writers and composers and photographers. Because the cost (zero dollars, minimal time) is now better than maintainin windows or macs (dollars, considerable time)

Finally, the Mac has truly lost its way. The last job generation of stuff was good: since then the machines have got worse. Buy refurbished or get Korora or Chapeau.

Blogger praetorian November 21, 2015 7:17 PM  

Ive is very good at industrial design, you have to give him credit for that. But I agree entirely: both apple OS's are getting worse with time due to design-over-usability thinking.

Unfortunately, like absolute monarchy, OSX is the worse operating system, except for all the others. I threw ubuntu, windows 8 and windows 10 on various computers. Holy shit. They all suck.

Google can't get Android looking right. Microsoft actually managed to produce an OS that was better than a previous generation (10) but only be 8 sucked so badly it was comical. They still aren't anywhere near the usability of Windows 2000.

So, I agree, apple is going the wrong direction. But they all are. There's something about software where companies are not able to polish and sand, they have to keep reinventing the world and tossing out decades of solid HCI research. Look at the Flat UI craze. What the fucking fuck? It's the most obviously retarded UI concept one can imagine, and it took the industry by storm: google, microsoft, apple, all of them.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling November 21, 2015 7:23 PM  

@37 and @46: the GUI, pretty much as it is today, minus the G for graphical goes back to the '60s and Douglas Engelbart and his Mother of All Demos which implemented Vannevar Bush's 1945 Memex concept. The graphical part was added by Alan Kay and company at Xerox Parc in the early '70s.

If the Lisa people thought they were doing that sort of restrictive approach to computing, they were doing cargo cult engineering.

Anonymous Koppernicus 0298 November 21, 2015 7:52 PM  

I've used DOS, Windows, HP UX, OS/2, Vax VMS, Solaris, Linux and OS X. OS X is by far the best in my arrogant opinion. I liked Linux. Really, I did. But life is too short to try and get printing working after it gets broken by every update.

Also, GNOME 3.

And Ubuntu's Unity.

Anonymous Conservative Buddhist November 21, 2015 7:55 PM  

For the geeks and curious. http://macperformanceguide.com/topics/topic-AppleCoreRot.html

The author has an amazing photography blog too if you like quality equipment and tech details.

Blogger Were-Puppy November 21, 2015 7:59 PM  

61. Koppernicus 0298 November 21, 2015 7:52 PM
Vax VMS

Got to shout out to you on this one. Programmed on Vax/VMS a good bit years ago. Was a cool OS.

Blogger Cail Corishev November 21, 2015 8:17 PM  

I threw ubuntu, windows 8 and windows 10 on various computers. Holy shit. They all suck.

Just so you know, Ubuntu may be the most Windows-y Linux distribution there is. It's a bad choice if you're trying to get away from that sort of thing.

Not that I'm much of a *nix evangelist. I use it (BSD mostly, Linux sometimes), but most people probably shouldn't, any more than most people should try to rebuild the engine in their car. Most people should be using an appliance that just does what they need it to do -- web and email, or photo editing, or desktop publishing, or whatever -- and nothing else, like their other appliances. Do you see the circuitry in your washing machine when you do the laundry, and maybe update it once in a while, or do you turn a knob and press a button?

We already have "game appliances" like that, called consoles, so there's no reason we couldn't have other types. They'd probably run BSD or Linux under the hood, but the user would never need to see that.

Blogger epobirs November 21, 2015 8:41 PM  

@6

That method of ejecting the disk was actually an Easter Egg that became the preferred method. Eject disk was in the Finder menus and had a keyboard shortcut. The trashcan method was put in as a joke and people liked it. Wheb something becomes unexpectedly popular, you pretend it was meant to be that way.

Blogger Tom K. November 21, 2015 10:17 PM  

I have loved Apple products since the very early 80s and it's like watching a beloved elder slowly deteriorating with Alzheimers. WTF is going on?

I brought my wife into the 21st century when I bought her an iPod as a Christmas present in 2011. She was actually pissed at me because she saw how smartphone technology was changing the world and didn't want to participate. Well, these days, just like all the Preppers and Offgrid hippies who use their phones and computers to upload their youtube videos about simple living, she loves her iPod and would never want to live without it. She had her iPod 4 for four years and NEVER updated the software! She had to use the assistive touch because her home button gave out but she didn't mind.

Against her objections I bought her an iPod 5 a few months back but she still misses her 4. She says she can't imagine using anything else.

That is, until this latest upgrade!

I usually wait a year before I upgrade to a new iOS. But this last time I forgot and updated without thinking first. Since updating, my iPod is practically unusable! I access my mail and it shows me the first couple lines of text, but when I open the mail it simply refuses to load in a timely manner - even though it was always nearly instant before. Seriously, it takes more than a minute to load the text of a single email. The same is true for Safari and iTunes. And of course with Apple, you can't go back!

For several years, since I had my iPod, I have used a burner phone. Recently I bought an Android phone and for only $80 it does everything my iPod does and the screen is bigger! The one advantage of the iPod is that it weighs half of what my android weighs. I do miss the sleek design, but for the most part I just don't bother with it anymore. Also, when I bought my Mac Mini this summer I was unable to move the iTunes on my old computer to my new one, even though I followed all the directions.

Most of us knew, it didn't take any prescience, when Jobs died that Apple was dead. The only question is, When is it going to lie down?

Anonymous Viidad November 21, 2015 10:23 PM  

My first computer was a TRS-80 I bought with saved up money from birthdays and odd jobs. I learned to program in Basic... then went on to DOS, then Windows, then OSX... but I never learned to program anything else after learning Basic as a kid. I agree on the "appliances" thing. I can use Final Cut, Photoshop and ProTools like a pro... but I hate trying to figure out what's broken on my little Linux laptop (which I only use for writing). I outsource that to a friend with time and inclination.

Blogger Michael Maier November 21, 2015 10:58 PM  

I spent $500 on a Mac Mini and I want to smash the thing. The Mac OS (X?) sucks balls. I hate going to my brother's house and needing to use a computer.

I remember becoming a Mac fan on my high school's Mac SEs doing desktop publishing. Everything just made sense. I was so looking forward to getting back to that.

But every OS gets worse with every release. I cannot ever recall getting a new PC or OS and thinking "Wow... they really improved things!"

Ever.

WTFF?

Blogger BlogDog November 22, 2015 12:59 AM  

Put a gay man in charge and what do you get? A laptop that has the same hole for input and output....

Anonymous Anonymous Cowherd November 22, 2015 7:27 AM  

Apple has been here before. They spent $750 000 000 on developing two Operating Systems and all they got out of it were the System 7 icons.

Anonymous Kyle (No Longer In Japan) November 22, 2015 10:48 AM  

Hmm. A couple of observations from a Apple user-but-not-fanboy:

- The iBook I bought as a college student back in 2006 was a piece of junk. My next PCs (a Sony Vaio and a Lenovo) were much better.
- My 80gb iPod Classic was a great device that lasted me from about 06-07 until spring 2013. I felt like I got way more than my money's worth from that thing.

- My current PC, a Macbook Pro I bought this spring, is very nice. I've been consistently impressed by it. Great display, nice keyboard, terrific trackpad, good performance, incredibly light weight. The OS is good, even though I still tend to prefer the keyboard shortcut-centric commands of Windows to the overuse of click-and-drag in OSX. About equal with Windows 7; way better than Windows 8.

- My previous phone, an iPhone 5C, sucked. Felt cheap and clunky, too small.
- My current phone, an iPhone 6S, is great. Feels very nice in my hand, great display, size is just right.
- I like the current version of iOS. Google's Maps is still way better than Apple's, but I'm generally satisfied with other iOS apps. It feels good to use, does what I want, and usually doesn't give me trouble. My biggest gripe is the insistence on navigation bars at the top of the screen. Makes sense for PCs, doesn't make sense for mobile devices where you have to stretch uncomfortably to the top of the device to touch it. This is the number one thing I'd like to see changed. The writers of that article are dead-on about the lack of a physical back button.
- I love flat UI design and always found the earlier versions of iOS to be ugly. I wouldn't mind a bit more contrast, though, and thicker fonts in some cases.

I'm an iOS developer and really enjoy using Apple's Xcode IDE. It's not perfect but Apple's love of click-and-drag actually works very nicely here. In general, I think Apple's done a good job of equipping developers with solid tools to use, and I'm happy using and developing for iOS. That's not to say I'd never consider jumping ship to Android, particularly if the skeptics are correct and Apple does experience a decline in the coming years, but I've had a good experience with iOS and think it's going to be around for a long time to come.

Anonymous DT November 22, 2015 11:08 AM  

Meh...didn't agree with a single point in the article. Which was very long and descriptive but also very short on actual evidence.

Watching 'normies' use the different OSes, and steadily migrate to Apple's over time, I would bet that any real study to evaluate how intuitive each one is would put iOS on top followed closely by either OS X or Android. Contrary to the article's claims, discoverability and ease of navigation are excellent on iOS which is why both the elderly and the very young take to iPads like fish to water. (Queue jokes about an OS made for kids and senile citizens.)

These are very complex pieces of software with significant contributions from hundreds of individuals under varying talent, time, and resource constraints. So you can find brilliant UI examples in every OS along with pure crap. Something an unbiased person should keep in mind before nitpicking any of them.

Also, if you've memorized A and have little experience on B, B will frustrate you even if it has a more intuitive human-machine interface. But a rational, unbiased person should be able to separate the two issues in his mind. Same thing with how intuitive a system is versus how productive it is once you've memorized the interface.

Where Apple has dropped the ball IMHO is software quality control. Nobody wanted the weeping and gnashing of teeth that would come with a severe screw up under Job's watch. Snow Leopard was a brilliant example of his leadership, a major OS update that did nothing but fix bugs and increase efficiency. Easily one of my favorite OS versions on any platform ever. El Capitan was supposed to be Tim Cook's Snow Leopard and I've never had more issues with an OS X update then I have had with this one.

Still, as far as Apple "losing the plot" or heading for a down turn: it may happen someday, but it's not happening today. Losing some of the polish that came under Job's watchful eye is not the same as crashing the plane into the mountain.

Ironic that all eyes are on Apple to screw up when it's Microsoft who has not only crashed into the mountain, but has turned to eating the flesh of the dead. Windows 8 was a disaster. Windows 10 is loaded with botnet/telemetry/spyware, and that's before you install anything not from Redmond. (If you think you've turned it all off or can keep all turned off...you can't.) Absent a major change at Microsoft, Windows 7 was the last Windows OS I will use outside of a tightly controlled VM for testing.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling November 22, 2015 1:43 PM  

Ironic that all eyes are on Apple to screw up when it's Microsoft who has not only crashed into the mountain, but has turned to eating the flesh of the dead.

That started with Vista a decade ago, I think it's just part of the landscape now that new releases of Windows are likely to suck to the point people stick with older versions, XP, the last version I used, and Windows 7 as you note.

OpenID Jack Amok November 23, 2015 12:40 AM  

Put a gay man in charge and what do you get? A laptop that has the same hole for input and output....

At one point when I was part of a team trying to rejuvenate IE after the stresses of the Browser Wars, the guy in charge...

...ended up having a sex change operation. That was when IE was at the height of its market share. All downhill from there.

So...yeah. Sexual confusion isn't a great attribute of a leader.

Blogger Unknown November 24, 2015 5:34 PM  

I was a huge Apple fanboy until El Capitan. Since I stupidly agreed to upgrade, my Macbook Pro with 8 GB RAM is slower than molasses on a cold morning, and crashes periodically. Macs are beautiful machines, and Unix-based O/S definitely better than Windows. I could justify a Mac when a comparable Windows-based machine cost $200-$400 less. Now, a Mac is twice the price of a comparable Windows-based machine. I abhor the spyware of Windows 10, but with it they learned their painful lesson of Windows 8, IMHO, and seems to be a decent O/S. I plan to retire my Macbook and get a PC this Christmas.

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