Am I An Outlier, Or Are Apple Products No Longer Easy To Use?

I’ve been a Mac guy for almost my entire adult life. I wrote my first college papers on a typewriter, but by the end of my freshman year – almost 30 years ago – I was on an IBM PC. Then, in 1984, I found the Mac, and I never looked back.

Till now.

I’m not saying I’m switching, but I sure am open to a better solution. Because the past year or so has been dominated by the kind of computing nightmares that used to be the defining experience of my Windows-PC-wielding friends and colleagues. And it’s not limited to the Mac – the iPhone is also a massive fail in what was once the exclusive province of Apple: Ease of use.

I’ll caveat this post with the fact that I may be something of an outlier – I have thousands of contacts in my Apple contact database, and my iCal app is burdened with having to integrate with a multi-platform universe at work. And perhaps the fact that I love to take photographs, and have amassed more than 10,000 digital images, means that iPhoto has become mostly useless to me for anything other than as a storage vault. And that, apparently, is all my fault.

But my wife isn’t an outlier. She has about 250 contacts. She tries to use iCal, but can’t make it work. Her email breaks early and often. And she’s spent the past two months in IT hell, trying to salvage her digital life from the clutches of Apple’s self-centered, walled-garden update called the Lion operating system, which wiped out nearly all her previous settings and useful applications. Watching her struggles, and trying to help (and realizing I couldn’t without bringing in expensive professionals) made me wonder – whatever happened to ease of use?

I am certain this post will elicit all manner of Apple fanboys who claim I’m a moron, that I’ve brought upon my own demise through stupid decisions.  Well, let’s review a few, and you can judge for yourself.

Honestly, where to start. How about with the iPhone itself? I have an iPhone 4, it’s about a year or so old. The contract is for two years, and I don’t feel like paying $400 to get a new phone. I figured this one must be good enough, right? Wrong.

The phone is pretty much useless now, because all of its storage is taken up. With what, you might ask? Well, it’s a mysterious yellow substance – found, in a masterstroke of intuitive design, in iTunes – called “other.” I was alerted to this issue when I couldn’t take a photo because my storage was full. Oh, and I was also told my storage was too full to download any more mail. And I’m an inbox zero kind of guy!

WTF is all this “other” shit, I wondered to myself. Well, that’s what Apple’s self-hosted forums are good for (I’ve been there a lot lately, for any number of issues, only a few of which I’ll detail in this post). So off to Google I headed – “what is the other in iphone storage” yielded this post, among a lot of others:


 OK, so…should I restore the device from backup? How do you even do that? And if that doesn’t work, then what? I have to “restore as new”?

Sounds dangerous, like I might lose all my settings and apps and such. There had to be a better fix. I spent a half hour or so reading various forums, blog posts, and the like about the problem, which seems quite prevalent. Many of the suggestions are summarized in this post,  and included deleting your browser cache (that was pretty easy, I did it, no luck), deleting your entire email account and recreating it (a pretty drastic thing to do, but funnily enough, I’ve done it about ten times in the past year due to problems with our connection to work mail, and since I’d done it recently, I figured that couldn’t be it), and my favorite:

Go to /var/mobile/Media/ApplicationArchives using SSH (requires jailbroken iPhone) or DiskAid and delete everything. This folder contains partially downloaded apps which never completed nor removed and were probably interrupted at some point in the middle of downloading.

Are you frickin’ kidding me? I have to jailbreak my phone to fix this problem?

Oh wait, that blog post suggested one last thing I could do: If the above steps fail, do a full system restore :(.

Again, very drastic. But I was getting impatient. I wanted my storage space back. I found another site, one that looked pretty official, that said this:

Unfortunately, scouring available information sources and speaking with Apple hasn’t led to any type of easy resolution.

If you’re experiencing this issue under any version of iTunes, you’ll need to restore your iPhone to reclaim the space occupied by Other. That is the only known solution at this time.

Well shit. I spent a few more fruitless hours trying to find another solution on the web. There wasn’t one that didn’t require pretty significant technical know-how (such as installing a utility, running it to reveal all files on the iPhone, then deleting each file one by one, even if you weren’t sure what the file did). The only option that was relatively straightforward and seemed to work, according to many forums, was to restore the phone.

Which I did. And I lost all my apps save the ones that come preinstalled on the iPhone in the first place. And guess what? It didn’t fix the problem. 

OK, I’m going to stop on this example. Because the point isn’t to try to fix the problem (I know I’m going to have to go to an Apple store, and get a “Genius” to deal with this. And I know this “Genius” is going to tell me that my phone is old, and that I need a new one with more storage, and by the way, I should really get an iCloud account, because if I had one then I wouldn’t have a problem at all. In other words, Apple has architechted the iPhone in such a way as to insure that I spend much more money with Apple, and am committed to their cloud solution long term with my data. But that’s another rant). Oh, and the fact that Apple doesn’t respond in its forums about this (or any) issue? Ridonkulous.

My point is simply this: This. Ain’t. Easy. 

Another example: iPhoto. May I just say, and I won’t be the first, that iPhoto is A Piece of Sh*t, in particular given how image-driven the company is in its own marketing. iPhoto is about as dumb as an application can be. Just launching the things often takes up my Mac’s entire CPU,  crushing performance on anything else I have open (and no, my Macbook Pro isn’t old, it’s one of the newer models). Photos are organized by date, and there’s no easy way to change that. Album creation is utterly non-intuitive (again, I’m sure this is all my fault, Mr. Fanboy), and the “Faces” feature, which seemingly would fix a lot of these issues, is just plain useless.

Now, you Apple fanboys will scream at me: Hey Battelle, you wuss, don’t you know about Some Expert Photo Editing and Organizing Photo App That You Can Buy For Hundreds of Dollars. Or Some Bitchin’ Utility Written By A 19-Year-Old That Will Never Be Supported By Apple. Or something. Well I do, because I’ve searched high and low for help with iPhoto. Again, there are no easy solutions. I could take a class, yep. Or spend a few days manually tagging my photos. But wasn’t the point of the Mac that you SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DO THAT?!!

Another example: Nearly all of Apple’s built in “productivity” applications are terrible – email, contacts, calendaring, for starters. All of them are not ready for prime time. iCal is laughable as a shared calendar across platforms and the web – perhaps my IT department is filled with punters, but in five years, we’ve never been able to make iCal work seamlessly across pure Mac networks, not to mention with other solutions like Outlook or Google Calendar. And when we call Apple for support, it’s as if Apple really doesn’t care. Alas, we can’t seem to find anything better, so we limp along…apologizing when things “fall off the calendar” or, worse, when appointments stay on my iPhone calendar long after they’ve been moved from my main iCal on the Mac.

And dont’ get me started on Apple’s “Address Book.” As I said before, I have thousands of contacts. Is that so uncommon? Apparently it is. After months of trying to get my contacts to sync properly across my Mac, my assistant’s Mac, and both of our iPhones, my IT department finally got someone at Apple to admit that, well, the Address Book just doesn’t really work very well once you have more than about 1000 contacts. Seriously. Just – sorry, we don’t have a solution for that. We have found a fix – we use Plaxo – but now we’re dependent on Apple supporting Plaxo, which I’m not certain is a long term bet. Oh, and every time Plaxo syncs with Apple’s contacts, about one in ten of the contacts are duplicated. Why? No one knows. Is there a fix? Nope.

(And what if you want to sync to – gasp – an Android phone?! Well only way to do that is through a total hack involving Gmail. Seriously.)

Let me repeat my refrain: This. Ain’t. Easy.

Without going into detail, my little rant about Calendar, iPhoto, Address Book, et al goes for iTunes as well. I even bought a piece of software to try to fix iTunes myriad issues (Rinse). I can’t figure out whether or not Rinse has fixed anything, to be honest, and so far, all it’s managed to do is marry the wrong album art to about 100 or so songs which previously didn’t have any imagery. Which is kind of funny, but a tad annoying. And just the fact that there’s a market for something like Rinse kind of makes my point.

Oh, and then there’s the vaunted Apple Super Magical User Interface. You know, the Insanely Great Revolutionary Change the World User Experience that everyone fawns over as if it were a fact.

Are you kidding me? If Apple’s UI is magical, then I’ve got a Unicorn to sell you. Let’s start with Mac Lion. There are so many Fails in this OS, it’s hard to know where to start. You need a four-hour class just to understand all the contortions Apple seems to be doing in its attempt to make its desktop interface work the way the iPhone does. You know, pinch and swipe and app stores and mission controls and magic corners and all that. I’ve spent at least an hour figuring out how to turn most of that shit off. It just doesn’t work.

It’s really funny to watch my wife deal with all this, given she’s not exactly one to dig deep into system settings (you know, the very consumer Apple initial designed for). When she got Lion, the way her mouse, her iChat (now “iMessage” or someshit), and of course all her applications worked changed in very dramatic ways. For instance, she could no longer IM me – all of a sudden, she was on “” and her IMs came to my cell phone as texts. (In other words, Apple defaulted to its own iCloud services, and wiped out her AIM-based identity). I’m sure this is all her fault, naturally.

Oh, and every time she clicks her mouse to try to move a window around, a message about “Icons and Text” appears. WTF? Little irritations like this happen all over the place, piling one upon the other until it crescendos with a long, wailing lament – WHAT AM I USING HERE – WINDOWS?!

But we all know the future is mobile, right? And the iPhone and iPad are Perfect Expressions of Beauty, Ideal Combinations of Form and Function. Except they’re Not.


Have you ever done a search in your iPhone contacts? You need the fingers of a poorly fed six-year-old to activate that search function. No, really, I must waste four or five minutes a day trying to make that damn thing work.

Seriously, how can an adult finger ever touch that little search icon without either hitting the “A” or the “+”????

And then there the precious internationalization feature of the keyboard (see image at right). I must turn my texts and emails into Kanji ten times a day. And this is a feature??!

There are countless other examples of irritating UI features on the iPhone. Inconsistent navigation is a primary one, but …OK. I’m going to really stop now. Because I know, learning how to use the tools of computing is MY job, and I’m clearly falling down on it. I know there are ton of tips and tricks that would make my life easier, if only I took the time to learn them. If only I spent hours a week on the Mac tips websites and such. If only I wasn’t busy…writing rants like this one.

And I know that Andriod and Windows are hard to use too. And no, I’m certainly not going to install Linux.

My point is simply this: This stuff is too complicated. There has to be a better way. And while it used to be that Apple was the brand which uncomplicated computing, for me, anyway, that’s simply no longer true. Does anyone out there have similar experiences, or am I really an outlier?

514 thoughts on “Am I An Outlier, Or Are Apple Products No Longer Easy To Use?”

  1. Try Windows Phone for a bit. Microsoft make a Mac client for syncing and updates and everything works. Haven’t had any major problems in over a year of use.

  2. I used to be a fanboy – been using since ’87 – and I’ve converted most of my family, but I couldn’t agree more – it’s like commercialism is taking over again – and that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Remember the last time Apple was without Jobs? Sadly this time it’s permanent. It’s as if a monster has been unleashed knowing there is no master to hold it back.

    It’s got to the point where I have not installed Lion (too locked-in to Apple) and, shock horror, my next phone may be Android.

    I see the writing on the wall(ed garden) : Letting Apple control every digital thing you’ve ever created or owned is one thing, it’s another thing to allow Apple to block you from changing your mind later.

    “Apple has architechted the [insert any apple hardware and software product] in such a way as to insure [sic] that I spend much more money with Apple”. Spot on.

  3. Ah, a Mac user grows up and finds he’s at last outgrown his Apple toys….;) Seriously, guy, what took you so long? Well, at least you are being honest with this PSA.

    Since I left the Amiga in 1993 (although I started my own personal computer odyssey with a Tandy 1000 in 1986), I’ve more or less been a Windows guy–and I’ve got to tell you that I have *never* had a computing experience as bad as the one you outline above. Yes, the truth hurts, but the truth is that if Windows was *ever* as bad as some Apple people believed it to be, Microsoft would never have gotten anywhere. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that that little gold nugget of truth would have occurred to many a Mac user. But, Apple folks as a rule are not savvy where their computers are concerned–which is why, I suppose, that they buy Apple in the first place.

    I have very little confidence that a majority of Mac users even understand that today their “Mac” is an x86, 100% IBM PC compatible clone mostly manufactured by Intel–and that the only substantive difference between an Apple Mac & a Dell PC is that OS X is only available for the Mac, and that the Dell is generally a lot better buy.

    Because of that, because there’s nothing remotely “special” or “different” about a Mac today, Windows will boot natively on a Mac–with or without running Bootcamp. But the irony is that while Windows will install and run wonderfully on a Mac, because a Mac is just like any other x86 clone, Apple artificially prevents OS X from booting anywhere except on a Mac, thus guaranteeing for all time that OS X remains merely a niche OS with very spotty application and game support. Apple could open up OS X to every platform and compete head-to-head with Windows for market share, but Apple doesn’t want to do that and has never wanted to do it…;) Nope, if Apple can find a couple of million souls to pay it 65% margins for its x86 clone *hardware*, Apple is very happy with that outcome.

    Good luck–you need to abandon OS X immediately if it is as bad as you say. Again, those kinds of problems with Windows 7 systems today are pretty much unheard of–at least they are unheard of on my systems.

  4. combine the real probs w your rapidly advancing age (you, not M) and you are f’d on all platforms my friend. Always On = Completely F’d

  5. Yep. They had a toaster, but they had to glom a coffee maker and a microwave onto it to ship “new” and “improved” product.

    Actually, though I am a mac user, I have started working with SQL Server from MS and I’m blown away by the power of their business intelligence tools. Great stuff. That’s a little off topic, but just want to point out there a good products out there without a fruit logo on them.

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  7. Sigh. I could go through every single one of your ‘issues’ and explain what you’re doing wrong, but you would tell me to get off your lawn or that I’m a fanboy or something. This is a standard case of DONT-MAKE-ME-LEARN. You started using a Mac in 1984… so you’ve got to be at least approaching grandpa age by now, so I know it’s hard for you to figure out things like “scroll all the way to the top to get the search box” and so on. Just know that if you were a Windows user or a Linux guy these past 30 years you would be freaking out about the complexity of the new stuff there too. To prove the point, watch a 16 year old use their iPhone and their Macbook. It’s not Apple that has changed, it’s you. But don’t feel bad, I’m sure it’ll happen to me and all the other ‘fanboys’ one day too :/

  8. I think the fact is they want you to go to the cloud, they want your data and they want you to be dependent on a connection to the internet but try to hide it. What they are willing to give you is in the form of a cache that stays on your device hidden taking up space… in the name of speeding up your downloads. The fact is you cannot work on much of your stuff off line, because you cannot get to it – to work on it… Based on these truths, all other inconveniences are born. You are being herded. Your data directed kind of like trying to dam up a spill, and direct the flow. This and the truth that apple is a lot about marketing… data farming…and selling you as many over priced proprietary accessories. (notice the new change in adapter rendering many accessories’ feng shway inconvenient and coolness mute.) The issues with internet and web pages and imcompatabilities… Trying to enter data on a web page can be insane on mobile devices… or even the Ipad. It is what it is. Sometimes that is quite unfortunate.

  9. Maybe you’ve been using chemicals in an unventilated room? Done a lot of painting lately? Stuff like that will definitely damage your braincells.

  10. I have experienced this problem myself with my
    “other” category getting rather large. Mine only went to 6 gigs
    before I decided I had to do something about it. The first time I went to fix
    this issue I had to manually reset my phone and rebuild the apps and settings.
    It was a huge pain to deal with and a lot of time spent getting my phone just
    right again. After everything was fixed a while later this happened again, not
    long after I performed a differential update to my iOS, I think it was version
    5.1, perhaps it was due to the differential update because the first time I
    performed a differential update on the iPhone was the first time my “Other”
    category grew to 6 gigs. I wasn’t going to wipe my phone again, I did
    some more Google searching and got lucky I found these steps on another site
    and they worked for me, I will write them below, hopefully it helps someone
    else out there.

    Step one: while leaving your phone plugged in to
    your computer (I had iTunes open at the the time I did this, not sure it matters, but I thought I would mention it) press the power button and the home button on your iPhone at the
    same time, then allow your phone to shut down, leave it off for about 30

    Step two: power your phone backup, wait till it gets to the main home screen
    and it’s fully loaded up. Now go back to iTunes and re-sync your phone, you
    should see the “other” category go down to something reasonable

  11. Why didn’t you take the phone to an Apple retail store and ask one of the consultants there how to fix it? Even if it was out of warranty you would likely have gotten free and knowledgable advice, perhaps better than what you found on the web. They might have fixed it for you.

  12. Apple Products are simple to use – but if there are problems you have to be a expert to solve this. I noticed this last week as i was helping a girlfriend who had problems installing dropbox on her 3-year old macbook. She couldn’t figure out herself how to install applications. Then she bought a external hard-disk drive which she wanted to use on her Windows-PC and her MacBook. Using NTFS (read/write) on MacOS X? Not that easy. Using HFS+ on Windows 7? Forget it (for free). In the Conclusion, this “problems” aren’t problems taken by itself. You can solve them by just searching the web and think/try a bit harder. The real problem is the way apple announces the iDevices as the simplest you have evern seen. They arent that simpler as Windows. But users of Windows knows that.

  13. While I agree with the premise of the article, I disagree with the headline and the assignation of blamed to Apple.

    COMPUTERS are too hard, plain and simple. I remain amazed at things that seem simple and obvious to me that rational, intelligent people can’t get done.

    The problems the article outlines with respect to the author’s iPhone could just as easily happen with an Android based product, and those have their own source of confusion.

    Tablets appear to have been a bit of a tipping point of sorts: user interfaces are changing as tablets replace laptops for many types of interaction. The next few years are bound to be interesting.

  14. You are not alone. I don’t get the “best experience” Apple sells. I got a MacBook Pro at work. I was open to change. As part of my work, I do a lot of editing. Missing ‘End’, ‘PgUp’, ‘PgDn’, ‘Home’, ‘End’ buttons; ‘Backspace’/’Delete’ is another issue. Pressing 4 keys simultaneously to make a screenshot? I guess, it may be my fault for not learning shortcuts. But, hello, isn’t it supposed to be easy to use? The next thing I learned was that my MacBook (after I put it too sleep) occasionally can enter a state when it overheats and there’s no way out. Obviously, unsaved data are lost. Tried to find out what’s wrong, but OSX keeps mum – no traces. Lesson learned? Apple products don’t fail, they just suddenly and quietly die. After some time I learned the video card may be a suspect. On the other hand, Windows could handle a huge variety of configurations (vendor, people build own boxes, …). But in this case, Apple’s product with meticulously hand picked hardware, again, for the best experience, is failing, oops, ‘experiencing a situation’. The Activity Monitor with over 100% CPU utilization is big joke itself.
    Then I started to notice people in the office started getting Parallels/Windows installed. Did that too. The result? I got a productivity boost. A couple more things. The windowing system is horrible. Suppose you work on a document, you have another document open, and you want to incorporate feedback in an email. You switch to your email client, then press command-tab and select the application you use to work with your document, OSX brings up _all_ windows of that application (as opposed to the last document) effectively negating all efforts to switch to the email client. You have to do this with a mouse or trackpad. Does Apple really think this is easy to use?Then time came to upgrade from 10.6 to 10.7. This was the second time I learned that an upgrade does not mean it’s getting better (the first one was Microsoft’s ribbon interface). 1) They changed the way of scrolling. Okay, thanks Apple for leaving a configuration option to turn it back. 2) The scroll bar became unusable, especially on large documents. 3) Safari became unusable as it reloads pages when you switch between the tabs and there’s no options to turn it off. Deleting the current URL in the address bar to type a different address is another annoyance. Normal browsers auto-select the text so when you start typing, the old text is deleted automatically. This is UX 101. So I moved on to Chrome.
    After seeing all this I decided to stay away from iPhones and iPads. I don’t regret it. I don’t want to be a slave of my gadgets. I use gadgets as productivity tools to do things I want and how I want, not how Apple wants me to. Relying on one vendor (hardware, OS, and basic applications) scares the hell out of me, especially when the vendor is controlling.

    As a note aside, I wanted to share some observations. Apple seems to make little or no effort at all to make your device to last longer. The ‘Others’ storage issue mentioned earlier, the battery you can’t replace, easy to break screens and so on. These issues make consumers buy a new device, which is source of Apple’s revenue. So I don’t anticipate those issues to be resolved by Apple anytime soon. As a pragmatic consumer, I’ll stay away from Apple products for a while.

  15. old habits die hard. most just dont want to change or adapt.

    My son is good at using ios, os x, w7, or anything thrown at him. He learn and adapt at ease. We, old people, just stand in awe!

  16. You started off with some pretty interesting points (I didn’t know my address book would stop working when I pass 1000 records), but then by the end this started to sound suspiciously like a rant…..(renaming iChat to iMessage bothers you?) But it will sure please the Apple-haters, who will be feeling ticklish all over. “See! I was right! You fools were all wrong!”

    The truth is that Apple is all about consumers, that’s their market, and you are clearly trying to use your Mac for work-related purposes. That’s fine too, but you need business applications on top of the OS, just as you would need business applications on Windows or any other OS. Did you ever hear of a business using the built-in Windows address book for its enterprise contact management, or the built-in Windows calendar for meeting schedules? (actually I did come across this once, and it was a disaster – an entire set of records corrupted and lost forever). This is a lesson I’ve learned while using both Mac and Windows side by side for a good number of years. Neither OS is ready for the enterprise without adding applications, security and tools.

    Your critique of iOS suggests you’ve never used another mobile phone. I’ve used Android extensively and it too is full of quirks and oddities and reboots and instances of lost data, as is my Blackberry. It seems like your anger comes from a sense that Apple was supposed to be ‘different’ than those other platforms, because it markets itself with the ‘it just works’ concept, and I get that part. But then your anger should be with the marketing message and its impact on your expectations, and not delude you into thinking that other platforms are havens of trouble-free performance. (I know you briefly allude to an acknowledgement of that, but there’s no denying that your article is heavily balanced towards the suggestion that Mac OS is worse, not equal).

    Just yesterday, my Blackberry refused to download new email because it claimed the memory is full, and my Windows phone once deleted my entire calendar. If you use a computer of any kind, **** happens. I use Windows and MS Office every day and EVERY DAY Excel chokes on the macros I’m trying to run, then boots me into a 15-minute loop of recovering all the lost files (it’s good that the files are all recovered, that’s progress, but my PC is unusable for 15 minutes at a time….). While presenting to an audience yesterday, my colleague’s PC shut itself down in mid-presentation to install ‘critical Windows security updates’. Yes, there are ways to avoid those things happening, or deal with them when they do, but those solutions are hardly more intuitive than the solutions for your Mac-related problems.

    I also think it’s a little sad that this anti-Apple bandwagon is gathering so much pace, because whether you use Mac or Windows or even Linux on your PC, the truth is that Apple’s presence in the PC market is the only thing forcing Microsoft to innovate at all. If you don’t believe me, see Windows ME for details. Windows ME is what happens when a company has such an unbreakable monopoly that it stops caring about making its products better. Windows Mobile pre-iOS is much the same story (even though there was competition from Palm and Blackberry, that competition didn’t threaten MSFT’s hold on the PC market at all). This headlong rush to the clutches of Microsoft worries me. Not because I hate Microsoft – I use their products every day, including Microsoft Office on both Windows and Mac (Word for Mac is actually better than Word for Windows), and I’m interested in what they have to offer the Tablet market – but because it’s just plain sad to imagine returning to that world of single-company dominance and the gears of innovation slowly crunching to a halt again. I know that younger folk won’t understand this, and will find it hard to understand why some people ever saw Apple as a necessary counterweight to the Windows-dominated world…..but as an ‘old school’ Mac user, you probably should.

    I believe you were fully aware, before writing this article, that you were jumping on that bandwagon and that a happy band of Apple-haters was ready to pat you on the back for doing so.

    1. Well said! Apple is trying their level best , with new features come new problems. I own a small business with 20 macs running in a network. I don’t need an IT guy . It just works! I think apple haters are mostly IT guys whitout a job.

    2. I agree with you to some a large extent, and I believe that the OSX is still way superior to Windows. However, John Battelle has a lot of valid points, and I hope that someone at Apple is listening.

      In general, I think it is getting very difficult for Apple (or MS, or Google) to increase the functionality of these platforms and make them easy to use at the same time. That goes for iTunes as well, as they now have iTunes as a catch-all for everything related to portable device management and media management. Of all things, they have now carved out podcasts into it’s own app. I think that rebuilding the iTunes functionality from the ground up would fix a lot of the current complaints.

      What I can’t understand is how anyone thinks Windows is any better. I use both, as my company is on a Windows network (with a MS ERP system, but that is a whole other issue), and I can say that Apple is still way ahead of MS. This is true for power users as well, particularly for programming.

    3. I think you largely misinterpret him. He does not ever mention other OS’s being better, and most of his claims about OSX being worse was in comparison to older versions of OSX. He just stated he was open to trying other platforms.

      I love OSX (lack the spare cash for an iPhone, I have much more important things to do with £600 unfortunately), but I always feel like if a problem occurs, Apple have tried so hard to shield the end user from the techy bits that it becomes a huge uphill struggle to fix it without a reinstall. Even time machine seems to restore all the problems from the older install so I cant restore using it and have to pull files and folders manually. I can’t imagine what kind of hell this must be if you try and run an un-jailbroken iPhone with it’s complete lack of access to the folder structure and instant syncing.

  17. I
    Not an outlier, but perhaps just not dazzled by the pretty outsides when the insides are rotting.

    I said the same thing to a manager at the apple store yesterday where I went for a one to one session b/c I am not a tech type and need help learning how to use my first mac computer and phone.

    The main reason for my complaint was that I ended up leaving my session with more problems than I came in with. In an attempt to prepare for the ios 6 install by backing up everything, I ended up with my photo program – Aperture forcing me to update yet again which created a crash of some sort, This problem the “genius” fixed by erasing all my settings in the process of getting the photo program working again.

    So far what that means is no bookmarks (14 years worth) no mail, no passwords, no wishlists for the sites with no passwords, which have no bookmarks to get me back to them anyway. I can only hope I get a more cautious genius tomorrow who will be able to restore all that stuff using my external drive backup. Yikes.

    It does feel sickeningly like pc and I am feeling really oppressed by the constant updates and crappy changes. I thought they were gods, but they really have feet of clay don’t they?

  18. You must be kind nuron challanged… U cant seethe giant search box in contacts.
    U run out of hard disk space and it is iphones problem… Lol
    Most of what u say is pure missinformation.
    What are u getting paid to write and report bs like this here and bloomberg tv.
    And the language u use in your blog sure is an indication of a lowlife aspect to u!

  19. Dude, you’ve been living in a bubble. You’re not an outlier, your fanboy bubble just burst.

    I’m an agnostic. Each of the systems has its problems. It’s basically what you know and what you’re comfortable with. I’ve worked on windows machines for over 20 years, have supported my wife who has had a mac for the last 15 years, and a family of iphones and ipods. I’ve never seen the Mac as easier to use especially when it comes to fixing some esoteric problem. Just different.
    I’m surprised that you haven’t been told to restore your iphone from new before in response to a problem. It’s been recommended to me by a “genius” to fix a battery problem. Not sure that it’s intuitive that I should restore my machine to fix a problem with a battery. I resisted because I didn’t want to lose my messages (although they’re no longer lost with icloud restore).
    One interesting difference… Microsoft has the blue screen of death or a message that pops up when an application crashes. The iphone just restarts or the application restarts without telling you that there was a problem. Does that make it easier to use?

    1. I’d agree with the notion that all platforms have their problems. I’m not an iCal or Apple email user but I find it tough to swallow the notion that Apple can handle contacts and email better than contact-specific apps and Gmail. I could be wrong. I’d argue that there’s still no one best-of-breed app, platform, device, or service across the board. For now and the forseeable future, we’ll face a choice: deal with multiple platforms or stay with one–and face some restrictions and difficulties.

  20. Give me a break! The ability to go to the top of a program in the iphone has been a feature for a long long time and was super easy to learn. Just like going back to the top of a web page, simply click / touch the top of the screen. It is NOT hard to figure this shit out! When ever I run into a problem I can’t solve I do a simple google search and usually end up in the Apple forums where there is plenty of help. This is just not that hard!

    Also, the ridiculous rant on iPhoto! You said in your Bloomberg TV interview that you are into taking pictures, and you have over 10,000. That puts you in the professional category so WTF – get your ass to the app store and get Aperture – it is NOT hundreds of dollars and is designed to manage much larger libraries! Sure it has a learning curve but for christ sake you’re storing 10k+ photos! You think they just magically come with meta tags and sort themselves! No matter what photo program you use you need to tag and sort when you upload them.

    Sure none of this is “as easy as it used to be” but its because we are loading exponentially more and more of our digital lives into these systems, demanded that they perform ever increasing functionality, more interoperability, handle more and more applications and thus it is our own demands that are making them “more complicated”.

    1. I am a very technical user and had no idea you could do that on the iphone (I had one for 2 years before making the break to windows phone 8). They need to make some if these feature more discoverable, discoverability is an os is one of the most important aspects to os/ui design.

  21. I agree 100%. I’m voting with my feet the map debacle is the last straw. I could post a longer litany than Battelle. Frustration with IPhoto, lack of Flash, plus all the problems outlined has caused me to hate Apple. The tech support at the stores is horrible. I predict they will close sooner than the “fanboys” think.

  22. Your a true idiot pal saw you on blomberg tv. Looks like you been smoking to much pot. Or perhaps you just became ab AAPL hater because maybe you never bought the stock.who knows but you are wet behind your ears. Go buy a dell see how long before it crashes. I had all dell products before I saw the light. It was pure garbage along with get lost dumb ass and stop smoking that weed AAPL rules nothing comes close

  23. Do you think that … perhaps Apple’s ease of use died along with Steve Jobs? He was the brainchild of the ease factor…this was my biggest concern following his passing…is that computer geeks would take over Apple in the worst, PC kind of way….shuffling out artful simplicity for a useless myriad of complex steps and gadgetry.

  24. Do you think that … perhaps Apple’s ease of use died along with Steve
    Jobs? He was the brainchild of the ease factor…this was my biggest
    concern following his passing…is that computer geeks would take over
    Apple in the worst, PC kind of way….shuffling out artful simplicity
    for a useless myriad of complex steps and gadgetry.

  25. John, I too find my iPhone more difficult to use. I’m not able to sync anything from my iphone to my Macbook. They made me think it would be automatic. And now Apple is retracting its Maps app. They are sounding a lot like Microsoft (10 years ago). This always happens when a public company is under pressure to gets its stock to be $1000/share. They just throw a bunch of new features without getting real users to test it out. Real Users = non CS programmers, Moms, the demographic that enjoys 80s music, etc. The reception on my iPhone is so bad that I actually need to talk to my friends via a landline! Seriously, 80% of users just use only 20% of the apps/features on the iPhone.

  26. Oh gosh. You see, this is why I never read Wired magazine. The amount of bullshit and sheer stupidity you have in your post despite being a so called tech writer makes me cry. Some posters above me have already explained why.

  27. Technology is
    changing and any new technology has its faults and with any new technology you
    have more possibilities and all get a bit more complex. There is a time you
    love all this new features.

    But with
    every new technology or feature you use the probability of faults is increasing.
    30 years ago you wasn’t able to sync 1000 contacts between your devices(?) and
    others persons! What with 10.000 images 30 years ago?

    happened to ease of use?”

    You use more
    technologies, more devices, more services etc. and expect everything will be

    It seems
    that the “one day” has come to you there every new thing is too complex for you.
    Maybe you are too old and don’t want to spend more time with exploring all these
    new features. “it used to be better” 😉

    But this
    day will come for everyone!

  28. I know you expect it but, well, a number of these “issues” simply are your fault. Just because you didn’t correctly intuit how the OS works doesn’t mean it’s broken, it simply means it doesn’t follow your particular view of “how it ought to work”

  29. My complaint with apple is the products are made to be replaced. I got a lemon display 3 years ago and was happy I bought applecare because it broke 3 times in 3 years. When I asked if I could extend applecare I was told no, when I asked what they expected me to do I was told our products are made to be replaced every 3 to 5 years buy a new one. Being a tightwad I hate throwing away products and adding to the junk heaps of the world. The fact that I pay a premium for a product to me means it will last. This is not just apple have you seen the latest junk sony is putting out. As a video editor I can’t tell you how unhappy final cut pro users are that they have been left high and dry. Apple seems to forget who made them stay afloat before ipods. All my employees switched to macs at home when we started with final cut to edit now they all feel betrayed. This base of video editors and graphic artists are the ones that kept apple going and now apple could care less. I’m not brainwashed into thinking they are the greatest thing ever made. My sons galaxy s3 blows my iphone away. Apple needs to remember who and what really made them great. Last note: Find another company to make these products here in the usa and not on the broken dreams and backs of the Chinese and I’ll pay more for the choice.

  30. I Don’t Need My Phone to be any Thinner I Just Need It to Work!

    Snce I had to wait for my iphone to restore from backup I started to wonder the same thing, is apple loosing it? I found your article and it’s the same issue.

    I’m no novice either. I learned to program on an Apple II basic then using 6502 assembly, and wrote my first commercial application with HyperCard using Mac Pluses as Point of sale stations for a fast food delivery franchise. Then I went to work for the financial industry and had to move to SQL .NET and PC’s I came back to apple when I bought a new blackberry and was so pissed off at the interface I went looking for something better.

    I’m considering buying the iphone5 but I’m afraid. If someone like me can spend 10 hours trying to sync an audiobook then what hope is there for Apple? It’s gotten to the point that every time soneone in a Keynote says thinner I kringe. I don’t need my phone to be any thinner, I just need it to work. I’ve hated Microsoft and loved seing Apple become the new masters but I worry that some day if I look from Microsoft to Apple and from Apple to Microsoft and back that it will be impossible to say which is which.

    Perhaps with Steve Jobs gone, there’s nothing left in the Apple Corporate Immune System to keep the simple moto It Just works. It breaks my heart to admit at Apple there’s a lump there do you feel it? I want to hug Apple and tell them it will be ok, but I’m afraid the diagnosys won’t be benign. Apple doesn’t need diet exercise and herbs it needs chemo.

  31. Man, I’m so glad someone someone shares the same problems as Apple that I do. There used to be an iTunes feature called Home Sharing which allowed you to transfer music to different devices, I spent.. lets see, three hours now searching the web for a solution, (this forum being my last search to see if I’m not the only one) but it turns out that for the new iTunes update they either got rid of it or just refuse to listen to the Apple users begging for better instructions. I also checked Apple’s website but they are too lazy to put the newest version of iTunes for the Home Sharing help so everyone’s left confused.
    I’m sorry that you have to deal with Apple like the rest of us, but welcome to the club. 🙂

  32. windows 8 compelled me to move to macosx. computers are complex. they are multipurpose. they aren’t mindreaders. searching contacts is easy. press the clock zooms you to top of list and search box. type your query. or just double press home button and get spotlight to find it for you. -hal2012

  33. You’re not an Outlier…Apple has steadily fallen into the clutches of ineptitude. Where do you think all these “new” programmers came from? If Jobs was still alive, there’d be a massive line at the Cali Employment office.
    The first issue is, nobody at Apple has a boot the size that Steve had. The second is, the people in charge dont KNOW what good is. Thats what set Steve apart from the ENTIRE industry. He KICKED Microsoft’s arse up between their shoulder blade in ways they are only just now understanding. I give it 5 years and Apple could be just like any other tech giant…wallowing around in their former glory releasing half assed products.

  34. I also find Apple is getting harder to use. Perhaps it is because Steve Jobs was critical to the ease of use theme. Perhaps they are feeling less competitive threat from MICROSOFT.

  35. technology is so much part of life that it is competing with our other parts of life for ex –friends and socialising …technology and friends they are not mutually exclusive and the new trends show that you can get around to socialising by using new technology …facebook….levels of satisfaction will differ…..have we not come full circle then from technology and friends being exclusive to being connected..another ex- is of travel and technology…they do go together…take a look here –…hope its refreshing

  36. You nailed this. I am assuming that a younger Steve Jobs would have put his foot through some programmers by now – this is just not what the company was built on. Ten years ago you could contrast Microsoft and Apple products by this generally true observation: one builds computers that expect you to adjust your needs to theirs, and one builds computers with intuitive tools that let you adapt the computer to your needs. Now I can’t tell the difference. And I agree, Apple’s first Microsoft inspired software was iPhoto, built around someone’s vision of what a grandmother would want in an image management application. It wants to tell you how it thinks you should organize your photos. Freedom is gone. Very Microsoft like. I’m expecting merger talks any day, since there’s not much difference anymore between the two.

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