CNNMoney Tells Apple To Focus On Its “Mediocre Software”

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CNNMoney has hit out at Apple by saying that it should momentarily forget about its position as an acclaimed product manufacturer and instead “focus on its mediocre software.”

While acknowledging that Apple builds some of the most coveted laptops, tablets, and smartphones around, writer Adrian Covert nevertheless singled out the company’s suite of software applications as the “one dark cloud” which looms over Apple. Although apps like iPhoto, Pages, iCal and Mail are functional enough, Covert claims, better alternatives exist, while iTunes and defunct social network Ping are varying degrees of broken.

“But the biggest disappointment of the iPhone era is iCloud,” Covert writes.

No it wasn’t the outright disaster that Apple Maps was, but it should be the most important Apple service — and instead, it’s caught in a constant state of WTF. In an attempt to simplify the experience of interacting with the cloud, Apple has stripped away many important functions, making iCloud less user friendly than its competitors. 

iCloud has no real central hub for maintaining the files you store there. Navigating the labyrinth of menus is a pain. And tying to decide which iTunes Match service files are matched with Apple’s own files,and which ones are taking up your own cloud space requires a heavy lift.” 

Adrian Covert is hardly the only writer to criticize Apple of late. Coming off a disappointing financial quarter, and amidst claims that Tim Cook is acting too conservatively as CEO, an increasing number of pundits have thrown their hats into the ring by suggesting that Apple is being overtaken by its rivals in various aspects of business. Recently Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Communications Frank Shaw implied that Apple’s “struggling, lightweight productivity apps” were being given away for free in part because they are not of sufficient quality to sell. Since Apple’s past success as a company hinges on its reputation for taking nascent technologies and executing them better than anyone else, this accusation is one that strikes at the core of Apple’s identity.

Do you agree that Apple’s software is mediocre? If so, which apps in particular? Drop us a line below with your comments.

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  • Gregory Wright

    CNNMoney, give me a break…….The average consumer probably use a fraction of the potential of an Apple device. If there is a lapse on the software side from Apple non-Apple developers are filling the void.

  • CharilaosMulder

    “make it all more functional, throw as many options and functionality in it as possible, its not bloatware, its just choice of options for whenever you happen to need them. oh and make it a little more like android, please”

    what would be the point in doing that? its already done and apple serves a vastly different audience.

  • ParkLins

    I don’t agree with much that CNN writes, but here’s something we can agree on. Apple’s recent decision to downgrade it’s iWork is just another example of a need to wake up and smell the coffee about software. Making great hardware is fine, but great software is what helped Apple get its momentum back — iTunes, iMovie, AppleWorks, and later iWorks. It is tempting to just let third parties worry about the software end of things, but that does two negative things. First, the quality of hardware is often judged by the software it runs; if a brand of computer doesn’t run software for things you want to do, you won’t buy it. For long run hardware loyalty, it’s useful to develop beyond the “popular” buyer and have something powerful enough that it will also be used everyday by the “pro”. Microsoft has lingered far beyond its proper life expectancy, because it made products that the professional could use and appreciate. It looked as if Apple was going that direction and begin to capture the professional segment with increasingly powerful software, while maintaining its trademark “for the rest of us” simplicity; then, it unbelievably backed off and dumbed it down. I don’t know any regular iWork users who are using the new offering of software. Second, depending on third party software developers to create great software for you takes the innovation initiative away from Apple. On the other hand, taking the initiative to make great software gives Apple (an innovative hardware producer) a great opportunity—to create great, innovative software, AND the hardware (maybe the only hardware) to run it, doing things no one has dreamed of before—creating new “must have” products.

  • AnthonyLooij

    The vision of Apple to make Mac OS X more like iOS disturbs me the most. One example is launching an ‘upgrade’ of Pages and deleting important features. Features that made pages better than Microsoft Word, imho. Now pages is more inline with the iPad version, and not suitable if you are working with big documents like researchpapers. The biggest problem is that I need a powerful text editor that I can use on multiple platforms. I like making an document on my Mac and edit it on the way on my iPad. Now I can’t, cause Pages 5 for Mac, is useless for me. So, yeah I find the new Pages, Numbers en Keynote app’s for Mac mediocre.

    Also, I always liked the way Apple was thinking e.g. simplifying the interface and the way how something works. But they went to far and need to pay more attention to the costumers who professionally work with Mac’s.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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