John Gruber was lucky enough to have Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi on the latest episode of the Talk Show. Blessedly, it’s just an hour long as opposed to the usual monolithic three-hour shows, and it’s full of really interesting tidbits.
Of note, Gruber raised the recent complaints with Apple’s apps. To their credit, Cue and Federighi indicated that they understood and empathized with Mossberg and others, but they disagreed with the sentiment that Apple’s software quality has gotten worse — in fact, they indicated that it has become better in the last five years than at any point in the past.
I have no doubt that their metrics and indicators show fewer crashes and reduced performance than in the past, and their view largely reflects my own. But my interpretation indicates that the parts that are frustrating aren’t significant bugs so much as aspects of new and updated software that don’t feel fully considered.
I regularly file bug reports, and my records show that I’ve filed far fewer bugs about data loss and similar serious issues. However, my reports have become largely about irritations and things that don’t work as I’d expect. Yesterday, I discovered that copied links from Apple Music shared through iMessage from a Mac to an iOS device cannot be acted upon by the recipient; it was marked as a duplicate. Little things like that — where a series of Apple services and devices do not work harmoniously — are maddening in aggregate.
I think Apple’s public relations stance prevented Cue and Federighi from being as open about this topic as they’d like to be. Externally, they project an air of confidence, estimating that the vast majority of users don’t run into these issues. It doesn’t matter whether this is true to users for whom it is true, and their public statements can come across as detached or aloof. I don’t think that’s their intention, and I think they’re hard at work internally, investigating common threads of complaint. Or, at least, I hope so.
One more item of note: Cue states that a refresh of iTunes will be coming with the next version of OS X next month. A launch event is rumoured for March 15. I wonder what version of OS X will be debuted.