What happened to the iMac?

IMac

The iMac debuted 20 years ago this week. It’s not hyperbole to say that it’s the computer that saved Apple and set the stage for Apple’s ascendance to becoming the biggest tech company in the world. All that said, Apple’s lost something in the translation – while the iMac is still a fixture in Apple’s product line, it lacks some essential qualities of that first model. Its personality has changed. The iMac has gotten harder. It’s lost the sense of whimsy, fun, and wonder that made the first iMac such a joy to use.

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Apple needs to get back to simple

Writing for the LA Times, Michael Hiltzik says Apple has a problem.

The last few weeks have seen an explosion of discontent with the quality of the core apps of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Mac computers — not only its OS X and iOS operating systems, but programs and services such as iTunes, Music, iCloud and Photos. Not only do the programs work poorly for many users, but they don’t link Apple devices together as reliably as they should. These complaints aren’t coming merely from users but several widely followed tech commentators who used to fit reliably in the category of Apple fans. 

This problem hasn’t come out of nowhere. It’s been simmering for a very long time. Apple’s inability to keep iCloud services working consistently, trouble with multiple device sync, apps not working right, and stupid UX and UI decisions have been compounded.

It’s a problem that grown through years of increasingly intricate and complex technologies. Increasingly, users are frustrated that Apple products simply don’t work the way they’re advertised.

Simple is hard. Apple used to simple well. Apple’s software engineering, under Craig Federighi, needs to take a very close look at what it’s doing and rediscover what simple means again.