February 3, 2020

Snippet: We’ve Changed ☍

Joe Cieplinski adds to the conversation about Apple Malaise:

I think it’s time we face the fact that sure, Apple has changed. It’s gotten bigger. More corporate. More mistakes are falling through the cracks. But also, we’ve changed as a community. We’ve become ridiculously jaded. I can’t post anything remotely positive about Apple anymore without getting called a fanboy behind my back. Rene Ritchie can’t set the record straight with his patented brand of fighting FUD with a laundry list of reality without getting labeled a shill. We reward people for complaining, and we shame anyone who says anything positive.

But here’s the thing. I keep doing it anyway. Because every time I post an opinion that goes against the accepted conventional wisdom, along with the haters come two or three people who say “Hey thanks. I thought I was nuts for thinking Touch Bar is actually pretty cool.” Or, “I agree Apple Maps is actually better than Google Maps for my purposes.”

I’m not expecting other Apple writers and podcasters to be cheerleaders about everything, but there are some common themes that come up as generally “bad.” People like Cieplinski who are ignoring all of this and writing about their experiences inspires me.

I’ve got a few things that may not be large enough for their own posts, but they’ve been bouncing around in my head, so I’ll share. Apple Maps has been fine for everything I do, and I haven’t had Google Maps on my phone for years. The Apple Card could use a few more features, but has been pretty good (and let’s face it, many companies have co-branded credit cards, so Apple hasn’t somehow turned heel and is trying to screw over everyone with debt). I’ve gotten used to the Apple TV remote and still like the Apple TV in general. While the iPad has some awkward moments, it’s been my favorite computer for a good stretch of the last decade.

I feel a bit better, how about you?

Snippet: Apple Malaise ☍

Becky Hansmeyer:

Anyway, I’ve digressed. All of this is really just to say that I’m feeling pretty bummed about all the pessimism in my favorite community. I’m not saying any of it is unjustified—just that I’m bummed. And what can we do? File radars? Write blog posts? Complain on Twitter? Yes, and these things we will continue to do, shouting passionately into the void.

I agree with Hansmeyer’s point and I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly where things went off the rails to hopefully find some things to get excited about. I enjoy a lot of what Apple is currently doing and some of the new and exciting things, but a large portion of the tech community seems to be focusing on just the bad lately. That’s become a rather horrible echo chamber.

She also has a bit of follow-up.

January 28, 2020

News: Apple Reports Q1 Results

Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2020 first quarter ending December 28, 2019. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $91.8 billion, an increase of 9 percent from the year-ago quarter and an all-time record, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $4.99, up 19 percent, also an all-time record. International sales accounted for 61 percent of the quarter’s revenue…

“It’s tempting to dwell on the Jobs point — I really do think the iPad is the product that misses him the most — but the truth is that the long-term sustainable source of innovation on the iPad should have come from 3rd-party developers.”

Snippet: The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10 ☍

John Gruber:

iPad hardware is undeniably great. Lower-priced models are excellent consumer tablets, and are the cheapest personal computers Apple has ever made. They remain perfectly useful for many years. The iPads Pro outperform MacBooks computationally. They’re thin, light, reliable, gorgeous, and yet despite their impressive computational performance they need no fans.

Software is where the iPad has gotten lost. iPadOS’s “multitasking” model is far more capable than the iPhone’s, yes, but somehow Apple has painted it into a corner in which it is far less consistent and coherent than the Mac’s, while also being far less capable. iPad multitasking: more complex, less powerful. That’s quite a combination.

There’s a lot that I agree with in Gruber’s post, especially these points, but I think it’s a little misguided to decide that since Apple missed the boat with iPad multitasking on the second-try (which I will agree with), that becomes the focus of the post. The Mac had its own awkward moments, maybe across a shorter time or in some specific areas (anyone remember MultiFinder?), but I still think it’s like comparing apples-to-oranges. When Apple neglected the Mac for a stretch a few years ago, it was an already mature platform, but when the iPad was left alone during the same time, it would’ve been comparable to Apple stopping or significantly slowing Mac development from 1989-1992.

The iPad has plenty of frustrating flaws that are entirely software-related, but has also contributed quite a bit to computing as a whole—Gruber mentions the Mac revolutionizing industries, but think about how many embedded PCs iPads (and similar tablets) have replaced in the retail, restaurant, and service industries. Having a single-purpose device that is lightweight, runs all day, and can run custom applications or web apps is the iPad’s “real world” excuse for existing. Entertainment and playing second-fiddle to a Mac or PC is the other big use. Weirdos like me who use it for just about everything are significantly fewer and we’ve learned some of the quirks, worked around them, and moved on.

At this point, iPad use has gotten so ingrained that I feel out-of-place doing some tasks on a Mac (and especially a Windows 10 PC). Maybe it has to do where you’re coming from and what kinds of annoyances you live with on a regular basis?

I think the point of accidentally invoking split-screens and other oddly-bolted on features are worth reconsidering. Some have called for a two-mode iPad: regular and then with advanced features that users can opt-into. Perhaps now is the time for that?