With 2016 just around the corner, I’m taking some time to think about what Apple could do in the next year that would bring advancements to their products. Today, let’s talk about some things that are bigger than any individual product line.
Let me say this up front: iCloud is a lot better than MobileMe ever was, and with the switch to CloudKit, storing data in it is more reliable than ever, but there are still issues.
iCloud is being pushed as the glue that can hold your various devices together, providing data and content wherever you are.
Google’s cloud services are seen as superior by many for the fact that there’s visibility into them. You can get to your data online, and export it all in industry-approved formats. A lot of similar tools exist for iCloud users, but in ways that aren’t always immediately clear. This can lead to a lack of confidence in the platform, and that’s not something Apple needs when it comes to its services.
Additionally, I think Apple could focus on making it simpler to understand what iCloud is and does, compared to things like iTunes Match and Apple Music. Why are all of these services offered as separate things, with separate billing systems?
App Store Changes
The App Stores now being under Phil Schiller may end up meaning very little, but I hope his team is spending time thinking about the price race to the bottom, sandboxing on the Mac and long review times that developers complain about on an on-going fashion. These issues aren’t idle complaints; being an independent developer on Apple’s platforms is becoming harder and harder for some to do and put food on the table. That’s bad for them, bad for Apple and bad for consumers.
The App Store is a powerful — and huge — platform, so I know the company needs to move carefully here, but I really believe that they can improve it for developers and costumers alike.
There are little edges of Apple’s operating systems and other software products that need attention. The barrage of setup screens and pop-ups involved in getting a new iOS device are tiring. iTunes on the Mac is older and creakier than ever. Finder still hangs more often than or not if a server disappears from the network without being ejected.
Things like these examples aren’t show-stopping bugs, so they don’t seem to ever make it far enough up the to do list to get addressed.
Making a Better World
I like what Tim Cook is doing with Apple in the political and social arenas. From building green data centers to pushing for LGBTQ rights, I think Apple really is focused on making the world a better and more fair place to live.
That impact goes far beyond the next iPhone or the car, and I hope that they’ll continue to work hard in areas of labor practices and tax reform to further that story.
A key metric I look at is the diversity of Apple’s leadership team and the people who present in the company’s keynotes. Quite frankly, Apple has a long way to go here, and with Tim Cook talking the talk, it’s time to see some real results in Apple itself.