Apple's shift in iOS development pace about evolving scale, not coping with bugs, says for...

Posted:
in iOS edited February 13
Apple's "cultural shift" towards spacing out new features in iOS is more a natural function of development scale, and not really the revolution some people might perceive it to be, according to a noted former Microsoft Windows president.

iOS
iOS "dark mode" concept via Max Angelakis.


"What happens to a growing project over time is that processes and approaches need to re-thought," Steven Sinofsky said on Twitter. "It just means that how things once scaled -- tools like deciding features, priorities, est. schedules, integration test, etc -- are no longer scaling as well."

The shift may feel "dramatic" for people inside of Apple because it's the first time they've witnessed that sort of change, and outside because people are looking for a cause and effect, he elaborated.

"In my view the 'moment' is being manufactured a bit right now because of the perception that the Apple products have become less stable or...'buggy'," he said, while commenting that in his own view, Apple's hardware and software are at "quality levels our industry has just not seen before."

On Monday, a report indicated that Apple's iOS development is switching from loading features into major annual releases into scattering them out over time. That may put less pressure on teams, since they can concentrate on a smaller number of features at any one point.

The change may take effect in earnest with this fall's "iOS 12," which should be previewed during June's Worldwide Developers Conference. Some improvements could include deeper integration of Siri into Spotlight search, and a better "Do Not Disturb" mode.
lolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    It’s ironic that Steve Sinofsky, former head or Microsoft Windows (not sure of his exact title), has become a user and strong supporter of Apple products. He’s knowledgeable about the internal workings of software development in large corporations. Interesting comments and observations IMO.
    randominternetpersonrepressthistipoobrian greenlolliverjony0LukeCagepscooter63stantheman
  • Reply 2 of 34
    <<"In my view the 'moment' is being manufactured a bit right now because of the perception that the Apple products have become less stable or...'buggy'," he said, while commenting that in his own view, Apple's hardware and software are at "quality levels our industry has just not seen before.">>

    That's some heavy PR spin.  iOS 11 has been the buggiest release yet.
    repressthisdysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,891member
    Perception trumps reality. In these forums we are constantly assailed by the negative narrative that Apple’s QA is down the drain. Every itty bitty hiccup is trumpeted as a disaster, a black eye for Apple. And it’s baloney. There is little doubt that the vast majority of Apple’s customers are perfectly happy with their gear, experiencing little if any game stopping issues. If that were not true then Apple wouldn’t be raking in wheelbarrow loads of cash and would not have the market positions it does. Of course the negative narrative is that people are stupid and will buy anything Apple produces... even if it doesn’t work? Really?

    Why do we not hear about the failings of other tech companies? Is it because their products are perfect and bug free? Hardly and we all know that. I read an article a few weeks ago that dealt with how hackers are making millions of dollars a year from Android malware. Android is ridiculously fragmented and many device owners can only dream about getting security and bug updates. But we never hear about any of this do we?

    Finally, the author thinks that Apple’s hardware and software quality is at levels the industry has not seen before. I agree.
    tmaytzm41randominternetpersonJinTechmike1repressthistdknoxspliff monkeymagman1979macplusplus
  • Reply 4 of 34
    lkrupp said:
    Perception trumps reality. In these forums we are constantly assailed by the negative narrative that Apple’s QA is down the drain. Every itty bitty hiccup is trumpeted as a disaster, a black eye for Apple. And it’s baloney. There is little doubt that the vast majority of Apple’s customers are perfectly happy with their gear, experiencing little if any game stopping issues. If that were not true then Apple wouldn’t be raking in wheelbarrow loads of cash and would not have the market positions it does. Of course the negative narrative is that people are stupid and will buy anything Apple produces... even if it doesn’t work? Really?

    Why do we not hear about the failings of other tech companies? Is it because their products are perfect and bug free? Hardly and we all know that. I read an article a few weeks ago that dealt with how hackers are making millions of dollars a year from Android malware. Android is ridiculously fragmented and many device owners can only dream about getting security and bug updates. But we never hear about any of this do we?

    Finally, the author thinks that Apple’s hardware and software quality is at levels the industry has not seen before. I agree.
    "Why do we not hear about the failings of other tech companies? "

    This article is behind a paywall, but if you don't know Paul Thurrott, his site is one of the most popular Windows fan sites there is.  Even he is calling on MS to take a page out of Apple's playbook and focus on quality because the quality of Windows is getting worse.

    https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/152150/microsoft-please-pay-attention-apple-ios

    "T
    oday, Gurman has provided a second report explaining how Apple intends to fix this problem. It is adopting a two-year development approach in which major features are being split between iOS 12 and iOS 13 (due in late 2019), which will give its developers some flexibility, not to mention more time when needed. The “renewed focus,” Gurman says, is on “quality.”

    Exactly right. As it should be.

    More to the point, this is the strategy that Microsoft needs to adopt for Windows. Again."

    edited February 13 tmayrandominternetpersonrepressthisspliff monkeymagman1979jony0pscooter63
  • Reply 5 of 34
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 165member
    I think it's a conscious decision by Apple around the time that Forstall left. Apple management decided it was better to move faster to add features than it was to make sure that all features were well implemented and solid. Apple has adopted a more iterative approach, where they release a rougher product, then refine it. This is mainly a difference in degree, though. Apple still tries to release great first products; they just tolerate a lot more issues than they did previously. I think this is partly because they don't have Jobs any more, so they can't really rely on their "taste" to release a better first attempt. For example, the first watch OS was pretty rough, and their third-party app support was very bad. The current watch OS is much, much more pleasant to use. Under Apple's old way of doing things, the watch would have started as a limited but more refined product without apps, then new features would have added carefully. 

    My tendency is to prefer the refined style, but they have different management now without Jobs and Forestall. Also, it's hard to argue with Apple's success. 
    repressthisHypereality
  • Reply 6 of 34
    waverboy said:

    That's some heavy PR spin.  iOS 11 has been the buggiest release yet.
    In what way would a former MS engineer be doing PR for a competing company he's never worked for?
    randominternetpersonrepressthistdknoxmagman1979lolliverjony0LukeCagepscooter63bonobob
  • Reply 7 of 34
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,568member
    Apple did a 'clean-up and fine tune' dot-level update on OS-X a few years ago.  And everyone lauded the move.  So it's not as if this is the first time they're slowing things down to focus on tidying up.

    Wonder if Sinofsky is angling for an elder statesman/grizzled veteran type consulting gig at Apple.  Not that he's actively seeking one, but I think he'd welcome an offer.  Or seriously consider it.  He has a lot of knowledge and experience that Apple can tap.

    edited February 13 repressthisjony0GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 34
    waverboy said:
    <<"In my view the 'moment' is being manufactured a bit right now because of the perception that the Apple products have become less stable or...'buggy'," he said, while commenting that in his own view, Apple's hardware and software are at "quality levels our industry has just not seen before.">>

    That's some heavy PR spin.  iOS 11 has been the buggiest release yet.
    Yup. One of the most buggy iOS release. Almost like I’m using Android at times. 

    11.2 improves thing a lot but I can’t wait for 11.3. 
  • Reply 9 of 34
    tundraboy said:
    Apple did a 'clean-up and fine tune' dot-level update on OS-X a few years ago.  And everyone lauded the move.  So it's not as if this is the first time they're slowing things down to focus on tidying up.

    Wonder if Sinofsky is angling for an elder statesman/grizzled veteran type consulting gig at Apple.  Not that he's actively seeking one, but I think he'd welcome an offer.  Or seriously consider it.  He has a lot of knowledge and experience that Apple can tap.

    I simply think he’s a fan. As strange as that sound a man in his position should know full well how hard it is operating at Apple scale & get this kind of result. It’s almost miracle. 
    edited February 13 repressthislolliver
  • Reply 10 of 34
    This guys has some really good insights. I like his comments.
    repressthislolliver
  • Reply 11 of 34
    According to Gurman’s report in Bloomberg multi-person conferencing with FaceTime is being explored but probably won’t be ready. But what we will probably get is Animoji integrated into FaceTime. Seems like messed up priorities, unless multi person FaceTime is so difficult to implement and Animoji is easy? But who’s asking for Animoji in FaceTime?!?
    repressthis
  • Reply 12 of 34
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,623member
    waverboy said:
    <<"In my view the 'moment' is being manufactured a bit right now because of the perception that the Apple products have become less stable or...'buggy'," he said, while commenting that in his own view, Apple's hardware and software are at "quality levels our industry has just not seen before.">>

    That's some heavy PR spin.  iOS 11 has been the buggiest release yet.
    No it has not unless you have heavy lapses in memory, IOS 3, 4, 7 and 8 were very buggy and there is a reason public betas came out after the 7 and 8 run.
    emig647repressthistdknoxHyperealitymagman1979lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 34
    According to Gurman’s report in Bloomberg multi-person conferencing with FaceTime is being explored but probably won’t be ready. But what we will probably get is Animoji integrated into FaceTime. Seems like messed up priorities, unless multi person FaceTime is so difficult to implement and Animoji is easy? But who’s asking for Animoji in FaceTime?!?
    Didn't we have multi-person Facetime a decade ago?  When did we lose that?
  • Reply 14 of 34
    ...in looking back are annual 'upgrades' a post-jobsian thing...? 
    I look at MacOS 10.4 & 10.6 (I know not iOS) that seem scheduled on merit vs corporate calendar...?
    This reminds me of the demise of the MacWorld trade show,
    as I recall putting too much pressure on development...?
    macOS version history - Wikipedia
    Apple Leaves MacWorld: It's About Time | TechCrunch
  • Reply 15 of 34
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,623member
    According to Gurman’s report in Bloomberg multi-person conferencing with FaceTime is being explored but probably won’t be ready. But what we will probably get is Animoji integrated into FaceTime. Seems like messed up priorities, unless multi person FaceTime is so difficult to implement and Animoji is easy? But who’s asking for Animoji in FaceTime?!?
    It has nothing to do with "messed up priorities", it's as you say, much easier to integrate more processing on an existing stream than deal with something much more complex that requires syncs, many users, security considerations, many more performance considerations to do it well.

    That's a bit of the curse and gift of the ecosystem, everything you add to it must be integrated initially or at least eventually with the rest of the ecosystem. That demands more resources and slows things down if they don't have the number of devs needed for the task (or they need to retask some)..

    As for animojis,
    People in their teens and 20s with money that buy phones want to have fun. You know fun, the opposite of "not fun", love "imojis" and by extension "animojis"..
    repressthislolliver
  • Reply 16 of 34
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,393member
    Yes iOS 4 was not stable for me until 4.1. I remember not being able to make phone calls until 4.1 as the phone app would quit. Buggiest can also be a relative term. Buggiest how? Crashes? App behavior inconsistency? Battery drain? No consistency between devices? 
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 34
    BluntBlunt Posts: 196member
    Today i had to deal with MS software and man it was bad. Strange errors. Registration went wrong. Changing account password did not work. The mail they sent me was desigend by a schoolkid and looked like spam. Man these guys never learn.
    repressthismagman1979lolliver
  • Reply 18 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,891member
    waverboy said:
    <<"In my view the 'moment' is being manufactured a bit right now because of the perception that the Apple products have become less stable or...'buggy'," he said, while commenting that in his own view, Apple's hardware and software are at "quality levels our industry has just not seen before.">>

    That's some heavy PR spin.  iOS 11 has been the buggiest release yet.
    You live in a delusional dreamworld of hate, simply parroting the false narrative.
    magman1979macpluspluslolliver
  • Reply 19 of 34
    Is iOS 11 the buggiest release yet? No probably not.

    Is it currently perceived as the most frustrating release yet? Absolutely.

    Apple's support infrastructure is undoubtedly swamped with more cases than it has ever seen before due to "issues" with the latest software releases combined with the sheer number of devices which increases dramatically every year.

    Apple has calculated that it would be a cost-effective move to focus on stability for the next round, which enables them to reduce support pressure, increase customer satisfaction, and create a stable platform for launching into the next round after that.
    lolliver
  • Reply 20 of 34
    It’s ironic that Steve Sinofsky, former head or Microsoft Windows (not sure of his exact title), has become a user and strong supporter of Apple products. He’s knowledgeable about the internal workings of software development in large corporations. Interesting comments and observations IMO.
    I don’t think it’s ironic. It’s obvious to me he’s sucking up to them and wants a job there. 

    I’ll never forget his hugely embarrassing product demo failure during one of his Microsoft presentations. Good lord, that was enjoyable.

    Ah, here it is:
    https://youtu.be/4QRWa68MtLc
    edited February 13 magman1979
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