Apple’s 2018 Report Card

Jason Snell, Six Colors:

It’s time for our annual look back on Apple’s performance during the past year, as seen through the eyes of writers, editors, developers, podcasters, and other people who spend an awful lot of time thinking about Apple.

This is the fourth year that I’ve presented this survey to a hand-selected group. They were prompted with 11 different Apple-related subjects, and asked to rate them on a scale from 1 to 5, as well as optionally provide text commentary on their vote. […]

Since I used the same survey as in previous years, I was able to track the change in my panel’s consensus opinion compared to the previous year.

This is one of my favourite perennial pieces. I think it’s the best assessment of Apple’s performance anywhere, and the panel’s commentary generally mimics my own. Overall, Apple’s new hardware — particularly the new Apple Watch — has generally shone in every area except reliability, software quality is up while service quality continues to be mixed, and Apple’s TV and home offerings continue to be, charitably, just getting started.

For what it’s worth, a few thoughts of my own:

  • I’ve just picked up an iMac to replace my 2012 MacBook Air. While Migration Assistant failed me twice,1 all of the iCloud stuff worked brilliantly. I spent a little time copying-and-pasting license keys from my MacBook Air to my iMac and that worked amazingly well. Also, I really love unlocking it with my Apple Watch.

    I usually favour a laptop and a large display to connect it to. But the reason I chose an iMac instead of one of the more recently-updated MacBook Pro models is primarily because the reputation of the keyboards in those models still has me spooked.

  • I’ve been using my Apple TV more but it’s basically a Netflix, Apple Music, and AirPlay box. If we weren’t such an Apple-centric household and were I not aware of how poorly every other company regards my privacy, I’m not sure what Apple’s option does so uniquely or even particularly well. Also, the Apple Music app isn’t very good.

  • I haven’t been able to write an iOS 12 review partly because I have been doing other things, but also because I haven’t found a way to make the depth of its bug fixes sound compelling. Despite this, it is an absolute joy. No, it isn’t free of bugs, but it’s back to being a smooth and fluid operating system — not just for new devices, but for most of the devices it’s supported on. I hope a similar level of polish is the baseline from now on.

  • Apple’s marketing around privacy can seem sanctimonious at times, but I appreciate that there’s still a big tech company that cares about that sort of thing.

  1. I am still at a loss to explain how it successfully copied my /usr/ folder, my Finder tags, all of my applications including a very old build of Coda 2, and a single folder in ~/Documents/ but missed everything else. ↥︎