Buggy Software for Bored People

Sometimes we get a peek inside Apple’s internals, a glimpse, a particular insight. It is from a former Apple engineer, a software developer. A recent Tidbits article from a former software engineer offers a view on why Apple’s software is so buggy. Here is the possible cause of buggy software these days:

Apple could address this scheduling problem by not packing so many features into each release, but that’s just not the company culture. Products that aren’t on a set release schedule, like the AirPods or the rumored Bluetooth tracking tiles, can be delayed until they’re really solid. But products on an annual release schedule, like iPhones and operating systems, must ship in September, whatever state they’re in.

Are we bored people?

Apple is being aggressive to add new features because we are bored people. Just read comments after each Apple’s keynote. They goes like “Apple didn’t really impress”, “This is lame”, “Apple will have to play catch up”, “Apple lost the battle”, etc. These comments reflect a state we are in since a long time. We are spoiled babies crying for more all the same. But do we want to pay the price that comes with it? Buggy applications, buggy applications, unstable operating systems, bad user experience?

In the short term, you can expect more bug fix updates on a more frequent schedule than in past years. Longer-term, I’m sure that the higher-ups at Apple are fully aware of the problem and are pondering how best to address it. Besides the fact that bugs are expensive, both in support costs and engineer time, they’re starting to become a public relations concern. Apple charges premium prices for premium products, and lapses in software quality stand to hurt the company’s reputation.

Well, yeah, we are already at iOS 13.2 which should ship before the end of the month. This article offers some explanations on why very old bugs I experience never get fixed. Here is an example, I’m sure you experience it yourself: you take a screenshot, you add some annotations and save it to your photo library. You then open Photos.app to find out the annotations did not save as they should. This happens to me quite often since iOS 12 I would say. That is very frustrating and ruins the user experience of iOS.

Apple is big, has so many products and services. It is surprising they can ship all that stuff. But quality is suffering for sure.

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