Apple’s 2023 Report Card

It is that time of year again. A panel of smart people, and also me, have completed Jason Snell’s annual survey of how we think Apple is doing when it comes to products, services, and social obligations.

The grades I gave were generally aligned with the rest of the panel — just look at that steep drop in the iPad’s grade, for good reasons. Where I seem to differ from many other people, based on the average grade, is in software quality.

I remain disappointed by how poorly Apple’s software often works for me. A MacOS Ventura update last year introduced a strange problem where my MacBook Pro would seize up any time HDR media was displayed, similar to problems early in the product’s release. No amount of troubleshooting fixed it until I upgraded to MacOS Sonoma which, alas, introduced new issues of its own, like notifications that sometimes fade onscreen instead of animating from the right, and text drawing problems. Smaller details, to be sure, but it all adds up to fragile experience. I routinely see graphical inconsistencies, hanging first-party applications, Siri problems, and insufficient contrast across all Apple devices I use.

My expectations are not that high. I only wish MacOS, in particular, would not feel as though it was rusting beneath the surface.