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.
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 “me.com” 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?”
Not outlier. Having used and developed in many other OSs and environments, I firmly believe that Apple is a pain in the ass. I think the mystique they have managed to build about being user-friendly and intuitive is one of the greatest con jobs ever. Very few things work as they should, much critical functionality is hidden. It *seems* like my latest and greatest iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro should start doing many useful things together as soon as they walk into the same room. They certainly don’t do what *I* want them to do (a pox on iTunes, as well while we’re at it.) OS X ML does not have a default system-level shortcut for Finder – the graphical file manager is the beating heart of a graphical operating system, yet there is no corollary to win-E. No ‘up a level’ button in that graphical file manager and Save As dialogs (Steering wheel? Oh, that’s too complicated – we’ll take it out for you. It’s no longer a car.) You have to know the secret code of Cmd-Up. I have an iPhone 5 that wants to send an email message to a phone number when I click that phone number (not an email address) in my contacts list in my phone to try to make a phone call – let alone not being able to automatically figure out this is a problem and offer fix the faulty association of a phone number as an email address, they couldn’t bother to check for a validly formatted email address before launching the email client and trying to use it? Safari won’t sort bookmarks alphabetically. Full screen and multiple monitors. Greatly Insane. Still buggy and unstable, too – that impression has not changed since I started using Macs in the early 1990’s. UNIX-type systems shouldn’t lock up and crash like my MacBooks do. And, of course, Apple doesn’t seem to be any more responsive to people complaining about long-standing problems than any other ginormous software company. They seem to be beset by internal political problems. And as to throwing their power users and graphical designers under the bus??? *%#% ’em. It’s really sad that Microsoft has gone even more insane by far (similar problems to the above, plus the Windows 8 touch interfaces can not be made to work for desktop. It just ain’t possible.) Computers are irreducibly complex systems of files on storage devices in networks. Nice hardware though, when it works. Oh, yeah, Time Capsule backup devices that are acknowledged by the company to be unreliable? Madness. /rant. Have a pleasant day.
I only needed to read your first couple of paragraphs to realize that you have completely captured my feelings. Intuitive use has been on a rapid decline since OS9. I have used Macs since the first one (literally), and was a long time advocate, but since OS10.4 or so I have stopped recommending them to people, and cautioned them on switching from Windoze. Windoze has gotten a lot better and more stable, and though it remains counterintuitive, Macs are no longer any better. I’m not an idiot ( just don’t ask my wife) – I am an ME, I have programmed an 8088 in assembly language and an airfoil design program on a PDP11 – but I am thoroughly disillusioned
Apple needs to pivot to software, fast.
marqueB, I agree! Panther was the last release that I really loved. It was all downhill after Tiger was released. I miss the simplicity of os9. What I really hate is the fact that they just totally abandoned the business market. I thought Xserves and OSX server were the future of Unix. I remember having racks full of Xserves and managing them remotely with ssh and Apple Remote Desktop. That was the best time of my career. With that bloated Application support directory and a trashed file system, you can’t just drag the .app icons around anymore from machine to machine. OS9 was the easiest OS to maintain. Firewire drive with a bootable install with troubleshooting apps and a default clean production system in a directory. Just boot off of the firewire, copy over the user’s files, format the drive, copy over the default install and the user’s files, bless the system folder….. Easiest time of my life!
As has been said, you are not alone. I have been a Mac user since 1991, but I think I’ve had it. The last straw for me was the release of the latest iMac, designed forf absolutely no intelligible reason without a DVD drive. This is a consumer machine. I have kids who want to play Sims 24/7 — and, to quote old Apple anti-Microsoft advertising — THIS is supposed to make my computing life better? What are these guys smoking?!
I have accordingly been looking at Lenovo products and experimenting with Ubuntu, because unless there is a change of direction at HQ, I will be wanting a way out.
Haha… he said “outlier”
Nicely humorous, critical take on Apple’s OSs, especially the iPhone. It would work even better as a piece without all the crudity, however!
If we are going to start blaming he user for basic things not working then yes Apple has become Microsoft. And just like back in the 1990s when Windows NT and Adobe ported all their graphics apps to Windows Apple is starting to loose their high end market and also at the same time priced their lowest systems beyond what most in the US with a Median House hold income of $47,000 are willing to spend. If the Apple looses the high end markets (and they are a Video pros and 3D animators and Music pros are choosing PC Workstations over the Mac Pro that has been neglected) the Apple Brand will be weakened and users again will say thing like Well Macs are ok for home use but if you want real power the pros choose a PC workstation so then the user thinks well is Windows is good enough for them then it is good enough for me so why should I pay more for a Mac. See it Apple is repeating the same mistake they made before. They abandoned what their high-end graphics pros wanted and who’s primary apps where Adobe or QuarkXpress) when the pros started to choose Windows NT workstations and and Apple’s cheapest MAc was priced way above what a PC was. Then Steve cam back and the iMac was released and a G3 imac could be had for $399 and the PPC G3 towers again offered a advantage for about the same price as a NT workstation so Macs became cool for consumer and most of the pros came back to Apple again. BUT now again Apple has only the Mac Mini at $599 (you can get a PC with a display and PCI slots for that price) And the $999 mac book air (the small screened one) and the Mac pro has been late to get upgrades and has fallen way behind when you do a price performance comparison and the advantages of OSX don’e matter much when you spend most your day in other apps that basically are the same on any platform once you up and running and in CAD and 3D animation the PC versions of many of the most popular apps are better on the PC with including missing features in the MAc version or like Motion Builder Not at all on the mac. Apple is making the same mistakes all over again and if NOT for the iPhone and iPad (which is going to face some serious competition itself from other tablets) Apple would be in the same position again it is not too late to turn t around before it reaches the same level as it did before but just like then it will take more then just a good marketing campaign to do it.
You are not alone. I recently (6 weeks ago) made the scary (for me) switch from PC to Mac. I’ve been PC since the 80’s but wanted the “ease” of Mac. I do love a lot of things about my new Air however, I have already had to call support three or four times and haven’t been “supported”. How can they claim not to know that there are problems when it’s so obvious there are if you look at all the web posts out there? The answer to most of my problems was a restart. There was no answer to my concern re: snoozing reminders. The support person claimed not to understand what I was referring to. Why would anyone offer “snooze” on reminders without offering a snooze period (hour/day/week whatever)? Okay, my rant over now. I’m sticking with Mac because I love the speed, the trackpad and, yes, even the ease of use in general. I am, however, disappointed in those basic apps such as Mail and Calendar. I really hope that someone at Apple will take some notice soon. I have to trust that they will otherwise I’ll just look a fool for jumping on the Apple bandwagon…..
I could have written half this article myself. The past couple of years (after almost 30 years of owning Macs) I’ve had to restore my system several times. Now my brand new freshly restored iPhone won’t sync with my apps. First the contacts wouldn’t work properly (fully of facebook shit), so I reset the thing. Okay, so I’ll have to reorganize 10 pages of apps. If I could. The fricking thing won’t sync. I click install, then apply then the screen flickers and nothing is installed on my phone.
I have a perfectly good Samsung Galaxy here. I bought the new iPhone because I wanted trouble-free syncing with my calendar, contacts, email, etc. $400 later and I was apparently better off using gmail.
Sadly, I may never buy another Apple product again. WTF am I paying premium prices for what has turned to crap? Not only that, the superdrive in my iMac quit working — it’s not the drive, I replaced it… another KNOWN problem that Apple hasn’t addressed… AND my hard drive has been recalled and I either have to ship my whole computer (which is what I work on 7 days a week) to Apple or take it to the Apple store (I guess I should be grateful there is one only 45 minutes away) and either leave it there or wait for it… if they can do the installation then. But they can’t tell me in advance.
I so hear your pain. But I’m iPhone free now (Nexus 4) and super happy about it.
File management on mac is a nightmare. I expoted some photos to reduce their size for upload to a website. I gave each a distinctive name, I tried browsing by name in finder, but finder finds thousands of old mail files and when I click on the file menu to limit my search to pictures, my search term disappears. I would switch back to pc in a heartbeat – but the mac was a gift and I don’t want to hurt my husband’s feelings.
technology has a carve that creates a gab if not given proper attention with advancements every day in smart devices and changing the way we work!
I converted to mac 2 years ago, now seriously disillusioned. About a year ago flash player uninstalled itself and despite many, many hours of trying I am unable to reload it at all, neither, I might add, can the geniuses at the 2 apple stores I’ve visited. Had countless glitches during my troublesome ownership, on my 3rd battery, had my bought music erased on itunes. My daughter spilt a small amount of liquid on the keypad recently which has been the death knell. I feel sure the replacement machine will not be apple.
I am ready to scream. Wasting SO much time trying to move my business from PC to Mac – it’s been over a month now and I’m still using both. Contacts from Outlook – forget it, not working at all even after hours, literally hours, of massaging the data. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not an apple fan, sorry.
Clearly you don’t need a 443rd person to tell you this, but Windows 7 just works. Forget Windows 8, or Vista, or whatever. It works. Ice Cream Sandwich works. Just come back to us. We’ll take you back.
I totally agree with this perspective. It’s like a bunch of high school students are making upgrades. Nothing is intuitive about the design. I found this page because I cannot remember how to add a new album. The “Help” is useless. Drag and drop doesn’t work, even though it appears to be doing the right thing. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Apple has become increasingly frustrating to me. Don’t even get me started on iTunes and my iPhone… holy living f…k!
Thanks john for the motivation, indeed a good work.
Lion killed me. I have been a semi-enthusiastic Mac user with windows and linux in my life also. Having a bsd based system is nice. But Apple seems to be getting more talented at finding the most obscure manner to get in the way of what I want to do … getting rid of Spaces would be my first thought. Reverse scrolling the second. Ad nauseam …
Apple is, to my mind, krufty.
I use Windows 7 at work and iMac at home along with iPhone and iPad. I want to punch my screen in at least twice a day on my work PC. I’m amazed at the comments here. How about the annual flush your Windows PC hard drive and start over routine.
It’s not you. It’s the downhill decline of Apple. Let’s see, I have a perfectly functioning iPod Touch 3rd generation, and now I cannot buy any more apps, or even download free apps and games, because Apple only makes available the latest version for an iOS that my iPod can’t upgrade to. So, really, toss out a device, buy a new one for $200+ to be able to buy $.99 apps? Don’t think so. Spent hours trying to figure out why Time Machine, supposedly designed for turn-it-on and don’t-think-about-it use, wouldn’t work on a particular external USB drive. Gave up, employer bought a Firewire drive. Ditto on intermittent black outs of Apple Cinema Display. I’m a designer, I have used Macs since 1992, but I am at the point of total exhaustion with how g-d hard anything is to maintain, update, or troubleshoot.
John, I’m right there with you. The problem is the Mac developers we knew have all retired, having been replaced by their techie-kids who assume everyone has time or the inclination to keep their noses in something electronic 24/7. Personally, I like pursuing other things in life.
I began using Macs in the late 80’s in the office. Bought a new LC when I had the money saved. IT WORKED FOR 20 YEARS. When we moved to “the city,” I gave it away. I had used a simple “Quicken for the Mac” money program. Decided to buy a new shiny white Macbook, spent the money, and then learned there were no decent money programs for the Mac. That’s just one example. Don’t talk about iPhoto pictures disappearing into “the Cloud.”
Remember how Macs used to be organized. Simply. I’m 72, retired. I’d like things simple again. I’m not stupid. I just don’t want to take the time to learn a bunch of stuff when the simple way worked fine and didn’t waste time. I have a program called RAGE Macintosh Explorer which helps keep me sane. Thanks for allowing this old gal an opportunity to rant right along with you.
happy to be of service!
That is one of the most brilliant, down to earth and honest articles I have read in a long time. Man, I am so pissed off at the iPad 2. In fact, at Apple in general. Staring at the same old boring interface, knowing that if you want to get anything functioning correctly passed the so called ‘limited trial phase’, you are going to have to once again fork out even more cash. I mean, I don’t mind paying for the odd application when it is actually a joy to use the device, but, seriously, it feels like every time I need to accomplish a simple task with iOS software, I have to take my wallet out and be grovelling at the feet of the supreme Imperialist sheep herding device. If my calculator told me I needed to pay $100 dollars each time I pressed the = sign, I would go find the company directors that make said device and stick it so far up…..you know where.
I mean, why? They have a popular product(or at least used to), they make billions off their hardware and they then still do not even have any software developers of their own that can actually design an interface. I suppose paying somebody from the NSA to set up your security software and hide the back hand dealings and price fixing, might cost a fortune. But common, at the end of the day, what this crapple is actually doing is cutting off their own oxygen. So, I have two choices, struggle my arse off every day, to do simple tasks while apple dips into my bank account like it is their born right to do so, or, get a windows PC/Laptop and an android phone/tablet and then just have a real good time with technology that communicates with ease, while I do not have to sell my gold coins just to send a freakin email.
Anyways, yeh, I won’t get carried away, made my mind up, I will never use an apple product ever again, okay, maybe if I felt the need to burn or punch something, it would give me satisfaction, a smashed crapple product that is. Thanks for your article bro, you have most definitely hit the nail on the head. But I wouldn’t worry, many, many people are getting tired of Apples gestapo sales tactics and greed and I reckon soon, apple will have signed their own death notes by playing against the popular freedom of choice alternative like Android. Okay, except for the trendy teens, who have pictures of Justin beaver on their walls and an iPad on their desk just to show how ‘hip’ they are. Oh yeh, maybe a few of the apple directors might have one, somewhere, that they use when the boss is looking while hiding their android tablet under their desk.
My. Thanks Kyle. I do sense a tide turning.
Ha, thanks John your a legend. It is so strange, just after writing the comment to your awesome article I stumbled on one of those ‘best 60 apps for ipad’. They do in fact actually charge for a full functioning calculator. I reckon I am going to donate mine to charity(my ipad 2, not my calculator since it doesn’t require me to pay in order to be spied on), I cannot with a good conscience waste money on something that should be viewed as free knowledge. I can’t wait until we as the human race realize that money, wealth and the pursuit of material objects doesn’t in fact bring happiness, it only makes us slaves to that which we THINK we own. And true progress will only be made once money falls away and we simply have a system that’s sole purpose is the advancement of humanity through exploration, invention and the sharing of resources for a sustainable future. Either way, we will however end up suffering the consequences of our greed before we are forced to consciously bring about a paradigm shift. No worries, mellow article, thanks friend.
This has got the be the worst product i have ever seen.. instead of making my life easier as it should it has complicated it to the point where i want to take my ipad2 and its useless operating system and throw it on the ground and watch it break into a thousand pieces. I then want to take a hammer and break each of those thousand pieces into thousands of smaller pieces. It is the biggest joke of a product especially comparing with android and windows and even linux! Those systems actually work and do things. The camera connection kit no longer works with 6.1.3 so why then did you market it and then make my harware useless, and make me feel like your stealing from me? Why also can i not just copy and paste as i do with my android phone. I have great reviews about android but il never.. ever… buy any apple product! it has wasted so much of my time its unbelievable. literally days! trying to get things into the right configuration just to be able to use my own files on one particular device is taking me back to the dawn of computers. I cannot get my work of this silly tablet without having my computer next to me. So why then do i have this tablet?? i didnt even buy this silly tihng which im glad about.. it was a present ..and im about to walk out right now and buy an android tablet as soon as i finish writing this. I have not felt this frustrated in .. i dont even remember the last time. its unacceptable to market such rubbish.. cant even get a grace period on the app store like in andriod to see if apps work and ask for a refund if they dont.. its junk! not worth the materials used to build it!
I’m pretty mercenary like when it comes to product loyalty, and I used Windows all my childhood life. After working for a few years and earning, I really thought the iPhone and Macbook air and getting into the Apple ecosystem would make life easier / smoother. But it is NOT user friendly. Every product has its problems, and I think the bottom line is that every product is user-unfriendly to new users.
I’ve actually never figured out how to use iTunes, I’m always worried that it will delete my music. Why can’t I connect my phone on my iTunes on my PC and my Mac, why can’t I just drag and drop songs, it just baffles me why they made it like this.
Anyway, i just changed my usage.
1) I use Gmail for all my contacts and everything, no point in tying myself to the Apple ecosystem
2) I use my Macbook air as a simple laptop that is super light and has great battery life, it is pretty much used for browsing, and max some simple spreadsheet work nothing else. I have my desktop PC that I use for anything needing serious processing power or work related.
3) I own a Nexus 4 now
Don’t feel alone; I’m using OSX ML 10.5.8 on an almost-new iMac, and ML has been one frustration after another; it doesn’t play nice with Gmail, and ten or twelve times a day, forwarding a link, it will bring up a second Gmail window after I start typing in the original one.
Moreover, it’s taken to bringing up a Yahoo search page, without me clicking a link; I’ll be just reading a post, and up comes the Yahoo search page, without any kind of request that it do so. To quote Hendrix, Mountain Lion is a frustrating mess. I could write pages upon pages of all the hinky stuff it does on its own.
And hey, “caveat” is always a noun, never a verb. Using it as a verb makes about as much sense as using “kiosk” as a verb.
Apparently not getting any better. I finally switch to Mac and they turn it into a windows machine, too funny, and about that iPhone iOS7, what idiot …
I LOVED reading your rant. I am happily married and apparently so are you, but I still love you. We TRY to pay Apple for movies on Netflix but there is always some need for a password entry, and it is never the right one – so OK, stop everything, find the password list that must have dates for Apple apps, make another new one, and recently they are all variations on FuckYouApple1 or IFucking Hate Apple2 (because …1 was already in use). The Apple “help” sites are useless, and yes it does seem to be our faults – such unworthy Apple worshipers are we. I Googled “apple passwords” and got a bunch of apple.com hits – changed the search to “apple passwords + fucking annoying” and got 49,200,000 hits. Ha ha. And yeah, they don’t care. Well, Mr. Battelle, I hope you got some satisfaction somehow – you made my evening.
Thanks! An honor to have you here!
I was opening a screen shot as wanted to crop it with iphoto before sending it on and it took 40 minutes as iphoto kept “not responding”. This is a task that should take less than a minute tops. But that is not possible either as it takes about 5 minutes for iphoto to open once you select it.
This happens every time I use it. When I started using home computers more than 10 years ago Windows had software that did all this in minutes, now 10 years on with the leaps in technology and the supposed fast processors why is this an issue??????
I had been using a ma pro book for the last 5 years. When it died I decided to go on with mac because of its simplicity of use and I really did not want to take time or energy in learning windows all over again, even though I could get a PC at a third of the price for what i needed. 3 months ago I bought the mac air. It has been a never needing struggle to understand what the heck is going on, and my first thought was ah well now that Steve Jobs has passed its just not the same anymore. I have had much the same frustrating experiences as you and your wife, and to be honest at this stage Im really sorry I spent the money, as I could of gone back and learnt how to use the windows with the same amount of energy, So this is one very unhappy customer, and there is no one really to complain to.
Glad you could at least vent here!
Bad translations lead people to get into a better place. File maker is the example on how frustrating and annoying is to get the essential of a common DBRMS environment. I will continue to use my mac for what it’s worth for and continue to enjoy Windows to do my business. and that’s it.
I know this is an old post, but I’m so frustrated with my macbook air. I bought one in September. I have no clue why, i was thinking of durability. Worst decision ever. Not only did it cost me so much, I can’t do so many things on it. Everything is 10X more difficult to navigate around than PC. One time I spent one hour just trying to find out where my Library folder was. Yes, it was nowhere. Not to mention, all the other things that i can’t download and use that I used to do on my PC. The macbook randomly decides to shut off and not wake up at all. It does its own thing. I was told that its a common thing with MacBooks. Wish I had known beforehand. Sometimes it wakes up in a few seconds, but other times it takes 15 minutes or more. I’ve used it for 4 months and I still feel so unfamiliar with how things work. PC users stay away. Apple products are only pleasing on the eyes and are durable, but difficult and frustrating to use.
I’ve also been a fan of Apple’s OS for many years, decades, in fact. I haven’t had the same issues, as you, mostly because I kept well away from the iphone for its first few years. I saw little changes in OSX over the years as Mac jumped the cat, but nothing really bugged me until the dumbo decision to drop ‘Save as’. Then, a few months ago, my brother gave me his old iphone 3GS and, boy, was I surprised to find…
1. It wouldn’t let me transfer files using bluetooth or let me connect to my macbook air or any other computer without a cable, something my ancient Sony Ericsson can do, no problems.
2. The alarm wouldn’t work when I turned it off. Again, all my other old phones never had a problem keeping the alarm functioning when switched off. With the iphone’s thirst for power, it seems even stupider that they didn’t have this function. Airplane mode’s an option, but that still draws more power than if switched off.
3. There was no memory card as an alternative means of back-up or transfer.
4. Files stored in the unit’s memory couldn’t be accessed via the device.
5. It wouldn’t interface with non-Apple programs, e.g. I couldn’t add a ringtone to the phone without using itunes.
6. Alarm couldn’t be set for gradual increase in volume.
7. Same was true with ringer.
8. The only way to send to or receive images from the iphone was through an attachment to an email.
9. There was no access to the sub-folder items except via apple’s programs.
10. Even with every, and I mean every, setting governing data communication switched off, it would still send and receive information. I found out because I was being charged for data and nobody, Genii and their masters included, could tell me why. This was in Australia though. Maybe different on other networks.
11. I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to make my own ringtones.
Now, I know some of this stuff’s probably been fixed in later iphones, but It became apparent from a large number of the design limitations that the real problem was that Apple had gone bad.
The fact that jailbroken phones could do things that Apple’s releases couldn’t (Video on early iphones, for example, or transferring contact info from the phone to the SIM) revealed that Apple had withheld capabilities from its phones as a means of planned obsolescence, and their design and usage restrictions were intended to corral customers into dependence on Apple systems. In short, they moved away from making money by making a product that people would want because it simply and practically served their customers’ needs and gave some of that up to move instead towards making their money by turning their customers into cattle to serve Apple’s machinery, both corporate and actual, and promoting pretty idols.
I’ve been in IT for close to 30 years. Spent 20 of those working with Apple products. I am what most people would call a bigot or Fanboi.
In my opinion, there is no doubt Apple, along with any other electronics manufacturer have become harder to use.
How may on this forum can set a microwave clock, let alone set your iPad to remotely control your Apple TV or port forward video through your router, so you can show Grandma her Grandchildren on your iPhone.
I think we are all expecting so much more from our daily IT and there is no real instruction manual for it. Does not matter if it’s Apple, Samsung, IBM, LG or who ever.
Though I personally used to expect better from Apple and they have joined the nerds only community in the last few years.
John I am standing at your side…been a Mac Hac for a quarter century….the old systems didn’t do as much but what the did DO IS WORK…so productivity was king not the colour of the box. The thirteen year olds have take over our ship…colour is king…toys r’ us…but productivity is down the tube.
Just bought an iPhone…love it and hate it…ps…bought the 64G and wished I didn’t… now that I know you can swap out the memory for a tenth the cost…Apple is just another proprietary drone….you need to be a techmech but you can swap out your own replacement battery…But the Apple gouger’s even chip the power cords etc…to scare or prevent you form using them…plug in third party cords which you paid less than ⅓ the cost of apple’s…manefest a POPUP…”this is not Apple approved…your machine, your data and your home could blowup before you can call 911 if you use this power cord and not our overpriced ones we make out of recycled coat hangers.”
WHY is there not a smart little video that comes installed…and POPSUP when you open the box and says————
“hey fella…you want to make your life easy and find out neat stuff like double tap the space bar and you get a period…the camera works as a great macro and telephoto…but you need to know how…and you can even use you earbud remote as cable release….blah blah….if you haven’t got time now come back when you get frustrated and we will show you how to make all the settings work for you…” and “when you want more space you can scrub this video or leave it on for when YOUR memory goes.”
IT AINT you JOHN…it is Apple which has become rotten to the core and festering with CUPIDITY! As many have said they are the new Billy Boxes that MicroSoft peddles.
CUPIDITY has trumped PRODUCTIVITY, Sadly…money corrupts and big money corrupts BIGGLY, PIGGLY and HIGGLY!
PS…when I wrote below…this was Tuesday – March 18, 2014
and with all the latest updates on both Macbook Pro and iPhone 5s…not much has changed…except better and faster ways to sell books, music, printing, disk space, accessories and consumer anguish.
THEY have shot themselves in the foot…complacency doesn’t work in retail.
Word. And it’s gotten even worse since this article was written.
Oh man…I was looking on the internet to see if anyone felt similar to me in that Apple has declined….you nailed it. I laughed, I cried, and I felt hugged by your article. iPhoto can suck it!!!! And this new post-Jobs Apple as well…not to be beating a dead horse (heh) but come on, it’s an awfully weird coincidence that Apple started becoming shit when Cook took over.
I love how these comments keep coming in!
Amen! I’ve also been a mac guy since the 80’s, and I’m fairly tech savvy. Apple’s appeal has always been ease of use and intuitive design. Not only are they now constantly pushing new useless frills, their “fixes” are upgrades which add little new value and simply create more problems. I’m so sick of having to re-learn how my phone works every 3 months! Do I really need to learn a new alarm clock, I mean seriously how many “new” ways are there to wake up? I actually think they started down this road with itunes and the concept of sync, which was a good idea they totally blew out of proportion. Whatever happened to true drag and drop? I want this file on this drive, I just did it, done! Now I have to fumble through countless setting to ensure one file syncs to a different device and stays there! The beginning of the end….
You’re right. I have an IQ of 150 and I’ve spent many hours just trying to figure out what the hell is going on with my photos.
I’m going to spend another 15 hours, probably, resolving the fact that I can’t get all my music in one place and “iTunes Match” isn’t working and my old Apple IDs keep popping up.
My observation is that the source of this “incomprehensible user experience” issue lies in the word “intuitive”. Apple uses the word “intuitive” to give their products an aura of effortlessness.
That’s a mistake for two reasons:
1. Effortlessness is an impossibility because it’s an idea where “the current amount of effort required to do a task is unacceptably high” is a sentence that applies at all times and creates infinite dissatisfaction with any required effort at all. Doing things “the easy way” is a doomed way of going about life or anything. Life takes effort; learn to enjoy the exertion.
2. You don’t know something until you learn it. That’s too simple for some to digest so let me rephrase: If you don’t first tell me that the photos in the photo folder called “Photostream” get deleted after a month then I won’t know that fact. I thought my photos were safe there–but they weren’t and I lost about 50 photos. FLUNK! That. Is. Not. Intuitive. Tutorials for things are in the obscure corners of Apple’s website. Though half the time you search for a solution online, you just encounter other people with the same problem and no solution.
“Intuitiveness” has gotten out of hand and it’s time Apple starts telling us how to do
things before we try to do them.
Apple, you are not simple anymore. Please become simple again.
My boyfriend’s getting on (I’m older) and he cannot “get” the new ical; 1. it’s grey; he cannot see it. 2. the lines are too thin; he cannot see them. but worst of all because he can not really see the grid, he’s entering his appointments under the date, yes, but it’s the wrong date because the grid & text are almost invisible, he doesn’t see that the date is at the Right (incorrect) side of the space; he’s entering his stuff for Tuesday under Wednesday, and is consequently a day late. Together we are trying hard to second-guess every darned appointment; I’m on an older mac so I can read the type and see the grids so I’m the date champ. But I’d like to help him more, and give him a version of my old ical. Help please; I’m getting older too and what if I have to have a new computer then we are both f****d. I’m beginning to despise Apple; Steve would NEVER have approved the latest icons on that darned phone.
no you are correct, I use apple stuff but the products and service of apple has become very bad. my ‘genius’ bar appointment just deleted itself and apple don’t know or care why… my mac laptop always dies and apple can’t / don’t help, the ‘genius’ kids at the shops never know anything and all say different answers to the same question. apple products are way over-priced, the culture is elitist and smug, everything breaks as much now as my old PC hardware, they change everything but never actually make anything better. update update for the sake of it. nothing is intuitive anymore. i would not be surprised to see apple decline it’s market share a lot in the future over google and microsoft even though i can’t stand either of those. i will use my sketchy apple stuff only because i don’t have any choice.
Was impressed and converted when the Mac came out.
Soldiered through Vista, and the tried the newer Apple products
Tried ipad – went back to Windows XP (I love you) and 8
Tried iphone – went back to blackberry (sorry I said all those mean things about you)
Maybe I’m missing something, but unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands, the patience of a saint, and you enjoy poking yourself in the eye, Apple products are CRAP.
But full marks for marketing and fooling people that it is a “superior” system.
I’d rather use Linux.