How to make Apple people angry

Anthony Caruana
25 September, 2017
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I made a discovery this week. People really care when Apple changes its software. I’ve seen various complaints in the past, particularly a few years ago when Apple decided to harmonise the features in the OS X (now macOS) versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote with those in its iOS counterparts.

That effort resulted in numerous features being removed from the Mac versions of the software until they were reinstated, eventually.

But over the last week, Apple has taken the pruning saw to iTunes.

It’s fair to say iTunes has morphed significantly from SoundJam MP – the software Apple procured 16 years ago and then rebadged and redeveloped into iTunes. Back then, it was all about creating a system for managing music. But, over the years, that’s expanded to include the iTunes Store, movies, TV shows, apps and an App Store, ringtones, iPhone syncing and configuration, device backups and lots of other things.

In short, it reminds me of a small house that’s been extended over the years with a bunch of extra pieces bolted on. Some look great but others leave you scratching your head.

The recent changes to iTunes, which we reported on last week, have annoyed a lot of people. The big ticket change is that app management and the iOS App Store have been removed from the software. Instead, you’ll need to manage all your purchases from the App Store on your device. For some people, this is not a big deal.

I rarely purchase apps or media using iTunes. If I want to buy a song or movie – a rare event now that I use Spotify and Netflix – I do it from my iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.

The biggest complaint, as far as I can tell, is that if you want to download and install an app to multiple devices then you end up downloading it separately for each device. In the past, you could buy it from iTunes on your Mac and then sync the devices – one download could service multiple devices.

Apple’s model is to download it separately to each device. As well as changing the user experience many people have followed for years, it means you’ll use more of your internet data allowance.

I think the first problem is very real but Apple seem to be intent on ‘improving’ things so there’s little we can do. We can complain, post messages on social media, or send angry letters and emails to Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and Jony Ive. But Apple don’t seem to react to that.

As for the bandwidth issue – I acknowledge that this might be an issue for many people. However, this might be a good trigger to look at what your ISP is offering you. Most ISPs (and RSPs if you’re on the NBN) update their plans every few months. If you’re happy with the performance you’re getting, then you may find they are offering a better deal where you either keep the service you have at a lower cost or can get a faster connection at the same cost.

This week has seen iOS 11 released. This is a significant update that starts to bring the iPad, in particular, into the realm of being a viable replacement for a laptop. I’ve been road testing iOS 11 through the beta process on an iPad Air 2 with a Logitech keyboard case and, other than a few things related to some legacy software, there’s almost nothing it can’t do, there’s almost nothing it can’t do – for how I use it.

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