Respected developer Marco Arment is worried about Apple’s future.
In a blog post, he writes, “Apple’s hardware today is amazing — it has never been better. But the software quality has taken such a nosedive in the last few years that I’m deeply concerned for its future.”
Arment was CTO at Tumblr, before he left to start Instapaper, the first app that let users save stories to be read later. He also launched Overcast, an increasingly popular podcasting app. He also records his own podcast that has a devoted following in Apple/developer circles.
He’s not an alarmist. He dislikes people that are alarmist. And he knows the reaction his posts will provoke, so he’s generally careful with his words.
“Apple has completely lost the functional high ground,” says Arment. “‘It just works’ was never completely true, but I don’t think the list of qualifiers and asterisks has ever been longer.”
He blames Apple prioritizing marketing for the problems with Apple’s software. Apple wants to have new software releases each year as a marketing hook, but the annual cycles of updating Apple’s software are leading to too many bugs and problems, he says:
I suspect the rapid decline of Apple’s software is a sign that marketing has a bit too much power at Apple today: the marketing priority of having major new releases every year is clearly impossible for the engineering teams to keep up with while maintaining quality. Maybe it’s an engineering problem, but I suspect not — I doubt that any cohesive engineering team could keep up with these demands and maintain significantly higher quality.
On Twitter, other people that are normally supportive of Apple and what it does chimed in, agreeing with Arment.
Not everyone agrees. Dan Frommer of Quartz said, “Apple can and should do better, but situation not dire.”
For what it’s worth, I have almost no problems with my Mac software. (Though my MacBook Air did recently meltdown for reasons unknown…)
Read Marco’s full post here, it’s already kicking up a big debate >>