Hey Apple, It’s Time to Get Serious About Stability
Apple has rolled out some serious software innovations over the past two years:
- iOS 4 brought intelligent multitasking
- iOS 5 brought a much-improved notification system
- OS X got the App Store
- Safari 5 got Reading List and extensions
- Lion brought a revamped Mail app
- iMessage for iOS (and now OS X)
It’s been a big couple of years. Along they way, there have been bugs. Right now there are a lot of them. Some are catastrophic. Apple has long been known for their extremely stable and iterative software enhancements, but lately it has seemed they are more focused on expanding the feature set than stabilizing the old stuff.
To me, that sounds like Android.
For as long as I can remember, Apple’s culture has been one of iterative and stable upgrades, and while I believe they hang on to that today, I think Apple runs the risk of losing it. I understand that they want to innovate in big ways and keep up with their competitors. Perhaps that innovative spirit is taking some focus and some resources off of debugging. That’s a reason, though, and not an excuse.
If I had to speculate, I’d say that Steve Jobs’s dramatic health decline from 2008-2011 is the main cause for this. He knew he was running out of time, and I’m guessing he decided to do as many new things as possible to get the Apple ecosystem to where he envisioned it. Undoubtedly, he left some detailed plans for Tim and the rest of the gang. It was a magnificent achievement, especially when you consider that this man already had 55 years of magnificent achievements under his belt. He never stopped. As Steve said in his 2005 Stanford commencement address:
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Apple has $98 billion in their pocket. They are the largest corporation in the world. They could buy The Walt Disney Company outright, if they wanted. Something tells me it wouldn’t hurt their bottom line much to put a dozen guys on the assignment of bug-fixing permanently.