For Apple, change could be a good sign
Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:55 AM
Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:09 AM
Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:25 AM
Changes in the management chain are sometimes good. Other times it results in turmoil, because the focus on the product gets diluted into looking at the way things are done rather than what is being designed. The great managers and designers are dragged off onto projects to improve the design process, rather than the design itself. This would be fine, except that many times the process really wasn't in need of much change. The new management team was thinking more about how to improve yield (make more money) rather than how to make the product better. This often happens when intermediate management didn't really understand what went on in their organization, or the product itself, before making changes and putting their stamp on things. In the end, their efforts were a detriment because the great designers were left with a substantial amount of their time devoted to creating people performance measuring tools. Once implemented, the tools ended up as a tax on all the designers, as they took time away from product design just so management could analyze yield.
Not-so-great periods in a company (in my experience) were also the direct result of a lack of reward for great design. Great managers have an ability to get great results from people, and inspire them to excel. Others have the ability to frustrate and stifle. Rather than promoting from within for great performance, outside managers with little or no knowledge of the product are brought in because of their willingness to go along with the upper level management. When the company gets to the state that both the upper level and the lower level managers don't have any real product design experience, the stage is set for mediocrity.
We'll have to see how Apple is doing on all of this. They've historically had new and great innovative products every 4-7 years. They've been known for excellence in their software design, both OS and application software. The 4-7 year clock for ground breaking design (iMac, iPod, iPhone) is due to toll. I consider the iPad a derivative of the iPhone (2007), so 2012-2014 is the period where they need to roll out the next big thing. If we don't see great new innovation within the next 2 years, we'll know there's a management problem.
There's evidence in that application software design isn't getting the attention it needs. iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes are evidence of this. There have been disturbing changes mixed in with the improvements. The results show a loss of standard basic features that have made the Mac great. Like having similar features in the same place, and window designs that all do things in a similar way. Losing the Save-As in iMovie was disturbing and horrible. Not being able to open multiple windows in iTunes is horrible. The changes made to their flagship video software Final Cut Pro to make it more iMovie-like were a disaster. iOS-ifying OS X is another source of great frustration. They must focus on what is great about OS X and OSXify iOS, not the reverse. Issue an OS X lite dumbed down if you must, but don't compromise what's great.
Enough rambling. Nice article Jason. Change truly is inevitable, and we will find out whether Apple will improve things or just change things.
Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:29 AM
Also, after almost 30 years of being a customer, I've bought my last Apple computer. The iMac is being made into a totally closed product; if you want more RAM than the ridiculous small amount that Apple provides standard, you can no longer up it after purchase. Apple is forcing you to pay 200% more for the larger amount of RAM at purchase.
Looks like it will be nothing but 2011 Macs and earlier bought used for me, or move on to Windows.
Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:08 PM
I think iOS is/was a good marketing venture to lure more people to Apple desktops and laptops, but I also think the operating systems for handhelds and desktops and probably laptops too, should be separate entities. Yes it's more work for some developers, but they already make sites and browsers different for handheld devices and desktops. And it seems to me that we the consumers do a lot of the final testing, through feedback, for the developers to tweak anyway. I've seen far too many people getting prescription glasses after some years of staring at their small screens. I'll stay with my 23" dual monitor setup until I can afford dual 27" or larger IPS monitors.
After reading romad's comments, I'm getting closer to cementing my thoughts on going to Linux. Too much forcing of people to do what Apple wants at our expense.
With each OS change I've lost workflow items to more steps to get where I wanted to be. They still leave the options in contextual menus, but are grayed out, so I have to make other choices to get where I'm going.
And Paul's statement, below, in his comment rings true with my dissatisfaction.
"This would be fine, except that many times the process really wasn't in need of much change. The new management team was thinking more about how to improve yield (make more money) rather than how to make the product better. This often happens when intermediate management didn't really understand what went on in their organization, or the product itself,"
Apple hired one of Camino browser's best developers to work on Safari and that didn't help Safari, in my opinion, but it sure hurt the development of Camino, which I still use as my main browser just because it does most all of what I want, handles cookies better and uses way less memory (than any browser).
I'm still using Snow Leopard on my main Mini, Leopard on my MacBook and, yes I still have this working, Panther on an eMac. I didn't like all the seemingly valid complaints about Tiger, so never switched until well after Leopard came out and was mostly debugged. Bit the financial bullet when Snow Leopard arrived, because I had to have an Intel machine.
Maybe, but I doubt it, this new replacement and direction will get me what I want. Separate operating systems for handheld gadgets and desktops.
I had to use Sea Monkey browser just to post this as Safari, Camino, Opera nor Omniweb would allow a click through on the Add your comment button.
Thanks for your article.