Cherished myths: Apple used to be perfect

And now it's not.


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Gilgamesh. Jason and the Argonauts. Helen of Troy. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. From time immemorial, humans have loved and repeated good myths.

Loving and repeating them, however, does not make them true.


Writing for the Forbes contributor network and home of the angry bees challenge where you dump a bucket of angry bees on your head but it’s not for charity or anything it’s just angry bees, Ewan Spence says the “New iPhone XS Problems Damaging Apple's Legendary Reputation.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

The legendary reputation that is largely a myth.

What are the problems?

Take the battery charging issue…

Please! But, seriously, this is a very troublesome problem. Clearly Apple-

…although it has now been addressed in iOS 12.0.1…

Aaand now The Macalope doesn’t care anymore. But, the point is, Apple never used to ship initial releases of software with problems like…

What’s that?

The Macalope is now getting late-breaking news from 2003 that indicates Panther shipped with a bug that would corrupt attached FireWire hard drives. So, OS X users who are also time-travelers will want to look out for that.

Also, note from 2009, iPhone OS 3.0 shipped with an SMS vulnerability that could be exploited to gain root access. There are plenty of bugs that shipped in Apple dot zero releases during Jobs’s tenure as CEO.

The last few percentage points of quality are the hardest to get right, but Apple’s reputation is that it can deliver that final step up the quality ladder to provide magical experiences. That may have been true under Steve Jobs, but as his influence becomes second- and third-hand knowledge within Apple’s rank and file staff, there is a complacency starting to shine through.

The very odd thing about this whole idea that none of this ever happened under Steve Jobs’s magical watch, is that we also keep hearing how his watch was slightly less than magical if you had to work for him. And, one of the primary examples of that was how Jobs lambasted the MobileMe team for shipping a buggy product. One person who worked on the product has gone so far as to say that it was Jobs’s fault because they warned management it wasn’t ready to ship.

The Macalope doesn’t have a stake in who’s truly to blame for bygone software screwups, but he does know that MobileMe shipped under Jobs and it was not good. But, sure, let’s keep pretending that Jobs’s era was sheer perfection and all was kittens and butterflies and corgi kisses.

The truth behind the myth is that Apple shipped products that were so amazing for their time that we ignored their flaws because of the ways they made our lives better. A better way to describe Apple’s problem in the post-Jobs era is that it hasn’t shipped as many new products that do that, not that the products it has shipped haven’t been bug-free. AirPods are the most notable example of late of an Apple product that, while they don’t always work flawlessly, are so much better than what we were used to that we just don’t care.

People often say The Macalope will lay into anyone who complains about Apple. That’s not it at all. He just asks that you complain about Apple accurately.

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