Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Apple Services

Ryan Christoffel:

Services are a key component of modern Apple. The way the company defines itself, along with the numerous services shoutouts in quarterly earnings calls, prove that.

Despite Apple’s increased focus on services, the common narrative that the company “can’t do services” still hangs around – in online tech circles at least.

But is that narrative still true, or has it grown outdated?

Going through the services he lists:

Update (2017-05-04): Nick Heer:

Despite their presently-good state, however, I get a wary look whenever I recommend many of Apple’s services to someone who asks. A lot of people have been burned before by bad experiences with Maps or iTunes, and are reluctant to trust in more Apple services.

Update (2017-05-06): Nick Heer:

A week later, I received an email from someone in iCloud engineering. She scheduled a call and worked on my case personally. She was able to resolve the bug on my iPhone remotely, but found that a similar bug with Photos on the web wasn’t fixed yet. She filed an internal ticket; nearly a month later, it was fixed, too.

A system like this isn’t scalable. iCloud bugs are such a mysterious black box that a technician at an Apple Store or typical phone support would not be able to assist with resolving them.

Update (2017-05-10): Jordan Merrick:

My experience has been the same as Ryan’s: Apple’s services really are very good and that poor reputation isn’t reflective of what the company achieves today. I’ve since gone all-in and even moved away from some popular third-party alternatives completely.

Update (2017-05-13): Dan Masters:

I used Google Maps for navigation for the first time in ages.

I am flabbergasted by how superior it is to Apple Maps in almost every way[…]

Update (2017-09-04): My mother shoots photos with an iPhone, which uploads them to iCloud Photo Library. Unfortunately, her iPad that syncs with iCloud Photo Library never ends up with a complete set of the photos. It gets about 95% of them, but it’s as if the rest never existed.

Update (2018-10-04): Dominik Wagner:

Messages does have an exceptionally bad day today for me. Total stall around noon where not a single message got out and needed restart. Now late buzzing notifications on many of my devices while messages are already read instantly on laptop. sigh

Felix Krause:

I’m so glad Apple prioritized iMessage stickers over showing text messages in the right order and syncing messages across devices

10 Comments RSS · Twitter

The article doesn't mention iWork and Reminders sync. Productivty apps are very important when we're considering wheter a service is very good or not.
And since we're at it, the article also doesn't talk about Services support in platforms other iOS or OS X: is never mentioned when people talk about Apple Services.
Also not mentioned is iTunes and iCloud on Windows, which are both supported by Apple, and both doesn't seem to be reliable, at least looking by complaints at the Oficial Apple Forums. The latest iTunes update, for example, where many Apple Music users have trouble connecting and playing songs, and where the community experts advice is to try to downgrade iTunes to an earlier version.
Or about the non-existent Linux support (which google supports, mostly).

iCloud: Seriously need to do this for my personal stuff too.
Apple Music: mostly works and better selection than Spotify. Plus, Spotify hangs everytime my Mac sleeps so I'm fed up with it.
Photos: Mostly seems to work for us... though a bit terrifying. I've simply not spent the time to figure out a good alternative. Maybe dropbox?

So when are you switching to Linux?

Here's a recent Photos horror story: two weeks ago my mom turned iCloud Photo Library on on her iPhone and immediately half of her 5600+ photos vanished. These are not photos that were uploaded and then deleted on other devices by mistake; they simply vanished.

Notes: I love it over Evernote since it looked downright awful when I ditched it 2 years ago (plus there was some data loss issue). It has the best of plain text (great format control and looks good everywhere) and rich text (attachments, web page links, doodling). And on iPhone 6s it is fast enough for me to start jotting down ideas anywhere with 3D Touch Quick Action.

Apple Pay: it is just easy in Canada where wireless payment readers are everywhere. Almost all credit / debit card supports tapping so Apple Pay didn't feel like an alien when launched (however late)

[…] use Google Maps instead of Apple Maps: my experience is very much similar to Michael Tsai’s. Where I live, Google Maps is basically flawless when it comes to displaying updated, correct […]

In my experience, Notes sync really well now - I've been using them more and more.

But Safari Bookmark Sync is horrible - unreliable, full of duplicates, and I still occasionally get a modal message that tells me I can't add a bookmark while theres a sync event.

[…] advisors were caring and motivated to help, but the problems were left unresolved due to software bugs out of their control. With a few, the advisors seemed to want to help but didn’t have much […]

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