Attacking Apple By Proxy

October 22nd, 2015

So shortly before I wrote this column, I read an article from one blogger usually critical of Apple that quoted another blogger critical of Apple as if that was something significant. The main focus was iOS 9 and the perceived problems with the latest and greatest mobile operating system from Apple. The complaints were typical. Poor touch sensitivity, losing Wi-Fi connections, app crashing and decreased battery life. As I said, the usual range of complaints one hears.

Now I’d be the last to say that iOS 9 was problem free out of the starting gate. But as of Wednesday, Apple has released three updates, with the first, 9.0.1, arriving just one week after the original release. 9.0.2 arrived the following week. Three weeks later, we’re at 9.1. So Apple has been busy, and each release fixed bugs and added some enhancements. For 9.1, the tentpole feature consists of 150 new emoji characters. A similar change was made with the first El Capitan fixer-upper, 10.11.1. It’s also a feature that doesn’t interest me in the least. But that’s just me.

I do not know if the new updates fix all the problems users have reported. But if you’ve held off upgrading to El Capitan or iOS 9, this might be the time to take the plunge. Happening on the day when a couple of bloggers are attacking Apple for buggy software sounds disingenuous. It’s not even certain whether they’ve tried the iOS 9 updates, and certainly they didn’t try the latest unless they are developers or members of the public beta program.

What bothers me the most is not that they are skeptical or frightened of iOS 9. That’s their privilege. But a good reporter would or should look for trends, rather than the problems reported by a single user. Or at least that’s what I’d do. One possible source of information is Apple’s support discussion boards. Even there, however, the most significant issues are the ones reported by a number of people, not just a few. With so many possible installations, most any problem is going to arise — for someone. The real issue is how frequent those issues might be, and if a number of people report similar problems, it’s worth investigating.

That said, the initial release of any computer operating system — mobile or desktop — is apt to have problems. But saying you shouldn’t update because of someone else’s experience, even if that someone writes for a supposedly respectable publication, is just shoddy reporting. At least if you can easily duplicate the problem, or the other blogger cites loads of similar experiences, you might have a point.

I wonder if these same people would have urged you to avoid the first release of Windows 10 because of serious bugs. Microsoft fed a number of fixes in the first few weeks. It’s not an indictment against Microsoft, or Apple for that matter, because problems always occur in the initial release. And, yes, I did find a few articles urging you not to upgrade to Windows 10 until the worst problems are repaired. At least one of those articles was based on the author’s personal experience and not just quoting somebody else without trying to verify anything.

And I haven’t begun to address Android.

As most of you realize, nothing I say or do will stop people from being foolish. As I’ve said many times, there’s an advantage to putting Apple or an Apple-related product or service in the title. It is sure hit bait if the headline or the implications are lurid enough. So if Apple must be doomed to failure, true or not, that’s enough to get attention. If a new product or service, or operating system upgrade, is fatally flawed in some way, real or imagined, that’s important too. Facts do not matter.

This doesn’t mean Apple is immune to criticism, or that new operating system releases are always problem free, or ever problem free for that matter. Some El Capitan users have reported glitches in our comment area, and certainly some apps weren’t compatible out of the starting gate. Microsoft Office 2011 and 2016 both had serious problems. Some of those have already been addressed by Microsoft, others were addressed in the 10.11.1 update. There may be more. Microsoft apps tend to be glitchy, and sometimes it takes a few attempts to straighten things out.

The El Capitan update also reportedly fixed the usual glitches with Apple Mail. I had just one, the occasional tendency for the app to freeze in place for 30 seconds or so. Clicking on a message or message folder did nothing. But that problem soon disappears — until it happens again. It may have been fixed by Apple. The release notes for 10.11.1 state, “Resolves an issue that prevented display of messages and mailboxes in Mail.” That sounds familiar.

Yes, I am running the update as I write this, but I can’t say if this particular problem is gone. Otherwise, apps have pretty much worked properly, although I had to install a few updates for full compatibility.

And I assure you that if the newest batch of Apple updates are flawed in any way, I won’t hold back. I’ll be writing from personal experience and doing lots of research to see if others have similar problems.

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2 Responses to “Attacking Apple By Proxy”

  1. cashxx says:

    At least Apple is and can update the OS if there are problems! How many owners of Android phones are open to attacks and on older OS’s?

  2. Kaleberg says:

    I’m waiting for Apple to fix the POP mail problems with message bodies and attachments being deleted before I upgrade to IOS 9. Since the two of us share a POP account and use it on multiple computers, we all read messages, but only one computer ever deletes them. It would be possible but complicated to develop an IMAP work around. (We’d have to start by splitting the original incoming account into two IMAP accounts using mail forwarders. Then we’d have to redo a fair bit of other stuff. It’s doable, but a lot of work with lots of potential pitfalls.)

    I’m waiting for various signed drivers to become available for El Capitan. I program Arduinos, so there are several drivers involved. I’m waiting for Default Folder X to work without compromising security. I’m waiting for several libraries to work so I can use my 3D graphics stuff. In other words, it may be another three months to a year before I make my move. I’ve been playing with El Capitan on an old 17″ MacBook Pro, and it looks pretty good. It even supports POP accounts and EyeTV which is good news.

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