“We Don’t Need”

Marco Arment writes:

We don’t need major OS releases every year. We don’t need each OS release to have a huge list of new features. We need our computers, phones, and tablets to work well first so we can enjoy new features released at a healthy, gradual, sustainable pace.

You won’t have missed this piece. It’s been linked to widely. Rightfully so. It captures the zeitgeist of a lot of iOS and even Mac developers.

What I’d like to call out is this particular paragraph I’ve quoted. We don’t. We don’t. We need.

Marco may be passed off as a developer here and dismissed as expressing developer thoughts. The truth is, at least the truth I’ve known from supporting and dealing with people who aren’t technical who use these devices every single day — “we don’t” isn’t about developers.

Sure, it’s a pain in the ass for us at times. But “we don’t” is starting to echo through the people for whom iOS devices were a revelation. These devices made people believe in the magic of technology again. Now? I hear a lot about planned obsolescence and buggy software.

“No! I know these people and I swear that’s not at all their intent!”

That really only goes so far.

The worst thing is that it’s seldom anything big, onerous or serious. It’s just weird little things that don’t work that add up to create the impression that “computers” are incomprehensible.

Nobody ever gave up their evenings and weekends to achieve that outcome.

Marco is right but perhaps his framing is too narrow. This simply isn’t an issue that developers grouse about and move on from. This is something that, at least in my experience, has been affecting customers who have otherwise loved their Apple devices.

The problem seems to be quite simple: they’re doing too much, with unrealistic deadlines.

I agree. Gruber and I talked about this on The Talk Show in early October. I stick by what we said on that episode.

I also really hope that priorities can be examined and release dates changed in order to support the best possible software releases rather than the most systemic.