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Apple in 2016: The Six Colors Report Card

Jason Snell of Six Colors has issued his report card on Apple’s 2016 efforts, relying once again on a panel of 37 industry watchers, including many TidBITS and Take Control staffers and authors (Adam Engst, Tonya Engst, Josh Centers, Jeff Carlson, Kirk McElhearn, and Rich Mogull). The consensus was that Apple had a rough year compared to 2015, with lower scores for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and hardware reliability categories. On the positive side, the panel felt that Apple improved in a few areas, including the Apple Watch, cloud services, home automation, and developer relations. See if you agree with the panel’s ratings!favicon follow link


Comments about Apple in 2016: The Six Colors Report Card
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B. Jefferson Le Blanc  2017-01-18 15:24
I'm surprised there is no feedback here on this article. I can't afford the Six Colors subscription so I couldn't comment there (I can afford a TidBITS subscription). I think it's great Jason is doing these surveys. No doubt they help readers get a feel for how people even more steeped than we in the Apple ecosystem see things.

I agree Apple software is slightly improved over 2015 if for no other reason than it has moved on from the hot mess that was OS X 10.10 Yosemite. OS X 10.11 El Capitan and now macOS 10.12 Sierra are definitely more stable than Yosemite, which I couldn't get to work on my system no matter how well I cleaned it up. As for the rest, Photos, iTunes, etc., they seem to be stuck in some sort of stasis where progress, let alone improvement, is impossible. The easy explanation is that Apple is spread too thin to give these programs the attention they need—and that we deserve. But Apple isn't short of resources, at least not of the financial kind. If Apple personnel are spread too thin it's because Apple management wants it that way.

To borrow an expression, by their fruits you will know them. To stretch the metaphor, Apple's fruit is getting wormy, obviously so. You don't need an MBA or a degree in computer science to see that Apple has ceased to progress. The lack of significant improvement shown in Jason's survey over the last two years is evidence that my cynicism is not misplaced.

But the validation I get from the surveys is not really important. What is important is whether or not the powers that be at Apple are taking notice of what their most dedicated and well informed fans are thinking. Just how impervious is that bubble they live in? I think it's significant that their financials are now telling them the same story. What excuses are they making to fool themselves into believing their critics are misguided and that everything's not rotten in Denmark—to borrow another metaphor? If they don't wake up and smell the coffee then Apple's long decline of twenty-five years ago will be repeated, though in far more dramatic fashion than last time around.