About Recent Apple Updates

January 30th, 2015

Apple had a real busy week, first with those stellar financials. Wall Street seriously undercounted iPhone sales, and sometimes Mac sales. Based on Apple’s figures, there are incredible numbers of iPhones being activated around the world. Indeed, it’s now claimed that Apple and Samsung are selling roughly the same number of smartphones. But the Samsung numbers are actually rough guesses, so it may be that Samsung sold somewhat more than Apple, or a few million less. But it sounds better to say they are tied.

With Samsung reporting declining revenue, profits, and smartphone sales, it’s clear the public is not so enamored of the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 phablet. All Apple had to do was to make larger iPhones, and they sucked the air out of the Android market. Sure, Android is still the number one mobile platform, and Samsung still sells more more mobile handsets of all kinds than Apple. But most are cheap feature phones that are bought on a budget, or by people who just need a mobile phone without the frills.

But Apple is not free of problems. While the media was poring over Apple’s financials, customers were downloading iOS 8.1.3 for their mobile gear, and OS X 10.10.2 for their Macs. Or at least the gear that could run the newest operating systems. The bill of particulars revealed plenty of fixes, but not everyone is satisfied.

So for iOS 8.1.3, Apple reduced the size of the OS installation file, so folks with gear stuffed with apps and photos, particularly the 16GB and 8GB variety, would have an easier time installing the upgrades. But nobody stopped them from using iTunes on their Macs or PCs rather than over-the-air. It makes for a less storage-intensive experience, but some commentators don’t seem to have noticed.

Despite the fixes, there are still reports of some Bluetooth and Wi-Fi issues. I haven’t encountered any myself, but grant that enough have, and thus Apple may have more work to do. There is also an iOS 8.2 waiting in the wings. Developers have received several betas, and the most notable feature is support for Apple Watch. Since Apple’s smartwatch is not due till April, it may well be that iOS 8.2 will be held up till then as well. But if it gets an earlier release date, perhaps more of those lingering problems will be addressed.

With OS X Yosemite, it hasn’t quite gotten the love, although it’s reported that up to 50% of all Macs have been upgraded by now. With such a large user base, you can bet that even small numbers of reports about bugs will seem large. If you check the Mac App Store, you’ll see that it’s getting a user rating of around three stars out of five. There are still loads of complaints, though the positive ratings have risen slightly.

With the Yosemite 10.10.2 update, Apple took another stab at fixing those annoying Wi-Fi connection issues. I suppose they were attempting to address situations where the previous fix, in 10.10.1, didn’t take. Understand I’ve installed Yosemite on two iMacs, including an old and new iMac, and a 2010 MacBook Pro, and never ran into this issue. But I wonder why the latest update still hasn’t fixed the problem for some users.

The one bug that continues to annoy me is a curious symptom in Apple Mail. I have several large email folders, and maybe that’s a source of the trouble. So after a while, the title bar no longer displays the number of messages in a mailbox. That entire entry, such as “(2200 messages)” disappears completely. I have not been able to trace it to anything but the time the app is open and the fact that I routinely navigate from folder to folder during that period.

I have actually tried deleting and adding all my email accounts, but the problem has not been solved. Since it happens with all of my accounts, which include iCloud, Google and a number of my business addresses, I have been unable to find a trigger. For the most part, it’s cosmetic, except, of course, when I actually need to check a mailbox and see how many messages are in it.

I do understand that Apple is aware of the problem, that a bug report was even marked as a duplicate, but I’ve not yet heard of any plan to make a fix. Typically, software bugs are sorted by priority. Obviously anything that can cause a crash or data corruption gets high priority, and I presume Wi-Fi bugs are also important. In that list, my little problem probably doesn’t rate very high.

So maybe I’ll have to wait until 10.11 for a fix.

Now some are saying that Apple is trying to do to much and has allowed software quality to lag. I hope that’s not true, and that maybe the greater focus on the company these days has made the usual round of bugs seem all the more significant. But if it requires public attention to force Apple to push out a fix, so be it.

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3 Responses to “About Recent Apple Updates”

  1. DaveD says:

    I’ve been through the OS X 10.1 experience on a brand new PowerBook back in late 2001. The OS X was slow with a few standard features deprived and OS 9 was very snappy. But, OS X was the future and all I had to do was wait. In my opinion, the best OS X versions were Tiger (for PPC machine) and Snow Leopard (for Intel).

    Got a MacBook Air in late 2012 with OS X Mountain Lion which was so-so. I did not like see the free space on a small internal drive getting gobbled up with the proliferation of swap files. When OS X Mavericks came out with promises of new techniques, I moved to it quickly and it was a blessing. Mavericks was quite good.

    However, moving to OS X Yosemite early was a poor decision. Something in the foundation had been altered. I was looking forward to a couple of new features and had to find out late that one I cannot use within my current setup of Macs.The OS X was no longer snappy and I have to restart the MacBook weekly to clear out the swap files. I even have to close and reopen Safari often to free up memory.

    The MacBook doesn’t have Wi-Fi or Mail issues. The transparency feature turned off. Still some lackluster performance lingering. For a snappier one, it seems that I have to wait a little longer.

  2. Ryan says:

    I agree, Mavericks brought back the feel of Snow Leopard. Yosemite has too many issues on top of that its ugly too, butt ugly.

  3. DaveD says:

    I performed the OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 update. I always used the combo updater, but had to wait for a revision. Fortunately, the web brought notices that something was wrong as the earlier combo updater would not accept a Mac with OS X 10.10.1.

    Is this a continuing sign of sloppiness in the quality control?

    The ugly performance of WindowServer that I experienced at the start of a new OS X Yosemite hasn’t disappeared. I still see an occasional short spike of 90+ percent of CPU, idling is back to under 10%. It is better. However, I find out that this issue was present from day one from Topher Kessler’s MacIssues (formerly the great MacFixit that CNET closed down).


    The transparency is a “lipstick on a pig” feature for me and my MacBook Air. Looks like back to wait for the third update before upgrading.

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