we get a walkthrough of all the new features, CEO Tim Cook
typically comes back on stage to tell the audience that this
year’s OS is Apple’s best yet. Each time he makes this claim,
I roll my eyes at the hyperbole. After all, the whole point of
releasing a new version is to improve upon the previous one.
Then iOS 11 happened, and I realized that change does not
always equal improvement.
On the surface, iOS 11 introduced relatively minor changes.
New features included Do Not Disturb While Driving, document scanning in Notes, and a host of changes to the iPad’s
user interface. However, almost immediately after the release of iOS 11, a myriad of bugs began plaguing the devices
running it. These errors included misaligned text in the App
Store, animation errors in notifications, and the Home screen
dock randomly disappearing. Some phones began crashing
at exactly 12: 15 A.M., while others crashed when receiving
a specific character in a native Indian language called Telugu.
Several bugs affected me personally: for a while, every time I
sent a text, the letter “I” would be replaced with what looked
like a Wingdings character; I couldn’t read new text messages
because the keyboard covered them up; and my phone frequently got stuck in landscape mode.
“SMALL ISSUES CAN
ADD UP AND ERODE
AFFORD TO LET
In addition to all of the iOS 11 bugs, it also came out late
last year that Apple was deliberately slowing down older
iPhones. While many people felt Apple was forcing customers into buying new devices, Apple claimed it was throttling
performance in order to protect phones with aging batteries
from crashing. Even if we give Apple the benefit of the doubt
and believe its claim (which for the record, I do), the lack of
transparency on this issue was troubling. By not revealing that
it was slowing down phones due to battery issues, customers were unaware that they could speed them up again by
replacing the battery. The throttling also slowed down many
phones that weren’t previously crashing. Apple has since apologized for its handling of the issue, added an option to turn
this feature off, and offered to replace the batteries of affected
phones at a discounted rate.
While a nuisance, none of these issues has changed my
opinion that Apple makes the best products in the world. That
being said, they’ve raised the stakes for iOS 12. Small issues
can add up and erode customer confidence over time. That’s
something Apple cannot afford to let happen. Not only is Ap-
ple struggling to maintain its own reputation, but Android is
challenging it too, as Google’s mobile operating system has
become much more user-friendly and reliable over time. A few
weeks after the release of iOS 11, I overheard a man in line in
front of me complaining about the new operating system to
his friend. He said that his phone had become so buggy that
he was planning on switching to Android. This is a nightmare
scenario for Apple.
OF IOS 12 FOCUS ON
We won’t truly know how iOS 12 performs until its release
this fall, but from watching Apple executive Craig Federighi
demo the iPhone and iPad software at the WWDC keynote
this year, it appears that Apple has learned a lot of lessons
from iOS 11. The first thing Federighi focused on was how
iOS 12 would run faster on older phones (something that I’d
never heard them talk about before). Apparently, the iPhone 6
plus will launch apps at twice the speed, load the keyboard 50
percent faster, and open the camera from the Lock screen up
to 70 percent faster. While Apple usually excludes additional
generations of iPhone with each new operating system, this
year iOS 12 will be available for every device that runs iOS 11,
implying that it will be an improvement even for fairly old devices. Tellingly, most features of iOS 12 focus on customers’
pain points. Features like notifications grouped by app and
improved parental controls aren’t flashy, but they eliminate
frustrations and make your device easier to use.
Until we get our hands on the public version of iOS 12 in
September, we won’t know for sure whether Apple can deliver
on its promise for a stable mobile software. New features are
a luxury I can live without if it means I can once again pick up
my phone and be greeted by an interface that “just works.” �
David Averbach is the CEO and Publisher of i Phone Life magazine. David has an obsession with all things Apple. He grew up on Macs and now has a MacBook Pro, iPhone,
iPad, Apple TV, and an Apple Watch. David enjoys traveling and Ultimate frisbee. He
has been to over 20 countries. To contact David, email him at David@iphonelife.com.