Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Walt Mossberg: Apple’s Apps Need Work

Walt Mossberg, in his column for the Verge:

[Most] of the time, in most scenarios, I find the core Apple apps work well enough, sometimes delightfully well. Otherwise, I couldn’t recommend the hardware. I love iMessage, the new Notes, Apple Pay, Touch ID, Safari, AirPlay, and more. And it isn’t as though the core apps made by competitors are generally fabulous.

But the exceptions are increasing. And I hold Apple to its own, higher, often-proclaimed standard, based on all those “It just works” claims and the oft-repeated contention by Mr. Jobs and his successor, Tim Cook, that Apple is in business to make “great products.” Apple’s advantage is that it designs and builds software together, so if the software isn’t excellent, it does the superlative hardware a disservice.

Mossberg goes on to list a series of ongoing and persistent issues with Apple’s software, including iTunes — pretty much just iTunes, as an entity — and ongoing iCloud issues.

I’ll add one more to the mix: since watchOS 2.0, I haven’t been able to launch native third-party apps on my Watch. Apps from TestFlight work fine, as do WatchKit apps, but native third party apps continue to experience an issue associated with the FairPlay DRM that prevents them from loading — they simply crash at launch.

I understand that not everything can take the same level of priority as the iPhone, that this is not a widespread issue, and that they’re working on it.1 But can you imagine any current Apple product launching without the ability for third-party apps to run on it for even a small number of users, especially considering that native third-party apps are a banner feature of watchOS 2.0? As an increasing number of third-party apps become native, I am able to run far fewer than I ever used to. My calendaring app of choice, some third-party email apps I’ve been testing, various news apps that I use, and my favourite public transport app all do not launch on my Apple Watch, and there’s nothing their developers can do about it.

As I wrote in one of the bug reports I filed on this, I cannot believe watchOS 2 launched in this state.