They are built to a passing grade, but nothing more. Basic features found in services from rival companies are either lacking altogether in Apple’s apps, or implemented half-heartedly and performance is sluggish. Browsing in Music and TV is painful, with an over-reliance on the infinite scroll. New content is just tacked on the bottom of already long lists. Meanwhile, the navigation bars are blank when they could include simple shortcut buttons and filters to help users navigate and explore. Moreover, these apps feature too many loading states and too much waiting around. They are akin to janky web apps, rather than richly-compelling responsive experiences.
There is more commentary over at Michael Tsai’s site.
This is something I think about a lot, especially as Apple grows Services revenue and competes in more of these markets. Apple’s native apps on these devices simply are not good enough, and that is bananas. The company’s whole thing is that it makes the entire widget, so hardware, software, and services can work seamlessly together. But they do not. They feel brittle, like I am using prototypes where any deviation from a golden path is a risky endeavour.
There are plenty of engineers working hard on all of these products, and there are evidently people who care. The Music app on MacOS is better than it used to be. Alas, it remains a far cry from how it ought to be, and only managers and executives have the power to set quality as a priority.
Every year for the past few, my main hope for WWDC is a renewed emphasis on stability and higher standards. The growth of this segment of Apple’s revenue is impressive, and its web capabilities are way better than they used to be — remember MobileMe? But there is still so far before Apple’s software and, particularly, services reflect the qualities of its thoughtful and elegant hardware.