From February 2014: original post
February may seem early to you to be strategizing about Apple WWDC announcements. For tech writers, it’s crunch time. To plan books, posts, and other coverage, you try to anticipate how big a change is coming up and what areas will be affected.
For example, Victor was asking me the other day what I’d like to see in the next installments of iOS and OS X. My answer is the same as it’s been for years: “Bug fixes and security enhancements.” I’m a bit over the yearly update cycle.
I think iOS 7 needed more time to simmer before its debut and I’d rather see more mature products instead of constantly living in an alpha test. I’d love for Apple to spend time fine-tuning its codebase rather than pushing new features. It’s awesome to innovate but I’m not sure that innovation really needs to come in 12-month waves.
If I had to dream about this summer’s announcements, I think I’d want to see an Apple/Tesla iCar that doesn’t catch on fire when you plug in its magsafe connector, a super fitbit-like iWatch, or even “Apple and Samsung finally settle all legal disputes.” We’re probably going to get iOS 8 and OS X Malibu Barbie.
There’s plenty of room for growth and new features, of course. Each year’s API change list includes logical progressions to existing classes as well as keynote-worthy game-changers. I’d just like to see those emerge as slower dot releases than full OS revolutions.
It may already be happening. We’re now about six months or so in from the 7.0 release. Apple is still evolving 7.1, now in its 5th beta. That’s a trend I want to encourage — slow, deliberate, and careful where the end-user benefits from the extra time.
All told, I have no idea what Apple is going to announce this summer but it would be great if the company took a bit of space to breathe.
We live in crazy world, everything is accelerating. And Apple have no other choice, but ship new things, even if they are not perfect.
And from other point of view: “the longer it takes to develop, the less likely it is to launch” (https://goo.gl/RXHxi2).
So, you, me and everyone else should avoid thoughts of postponing things to make them even better, otherwise result will never come.
Let’s face it, when you’re talking about massive projects like iOS or macOS, nobody knows for sure what the perfect ratio of bugfixes to new features.
My hunch is the Erica is right, and the yearly release schedule is doing more harm than good.
There really ought to be some point where lower priority bugs get fixed. My understanding is that if you reported a low priority bug in OS X 10.0 “Cheetah” it’s most likely still broken today.
Charlesism, I agree, I guess there are more bugs than features for sure and ratio is huge 🙂
But do you propose monthly release cycle? So everything will be more rapidly change.
or do you propose never-release cycle (== someday, when it is perfect and all the bugs fixed)
I’d just like an Xcode, tool-chain that actually works. If I get one more “IBDesignablesAgentCocoaTouch has quit unexpectedly” dialog today, I’m going to take Xcode out behind the shed, and shoot it.
I keep wondering: do Apple app developers actually use their own, publicly available tools? I just can’t see how they could create complex apps — Mac ones in particular — with the same Interface Builder tools that we have. When Xcode isn’t quitting unexpectedly, IB and the simulators are throwing up all manner of crazy errors.
And the APIs are too often half-baked; they haven’t kept up with the demand for new hardware features on the phones. I mean, for god’s sake, just look at the number of UILabel, UITextField hacks and workarounds on github and stack overflow for even the most basic of functionality.
(To those people who don’t see such errors: try create a non-trivial, UI-oriented app, using Auto Layout, Size Classes and UIStackView some time. It’s a griefing session.)
[…] Erica Sadun: […]
It’s definitely a compromise between new features and fixing stuff that does not work. And yes, new features are a must, but so is fixing things. Currently, Apple does neither really well. I’d love for them to put more emphasis on quality and perhaps extend the OS release cycle a bit: A new OS X version every 18-24 months, fixes and little additions that are ready, earlier in between. Otherwise this “free” OS simply becomes too expensive for (small, indy) 3rd party devs who have to catch up all the time and for users who can’t update because of their expensive 3rd party apps that won’t work on the new OS version. I recently wrote a rant about that