No one can say that Apple is a company that does not take care of its products. The signature of Cupertino has always been characterized by the careful attention given to the details. It has become so popular, in part, for creating products of exquisite design. For the meticulousness intrinsic to every decision made in the conception of their telephones, their computers, their other devices and even their facilities. It took a year and a half, for example, to design a knob.
However, not one of the most valued brands on the planet is exempt from failures. A big, huge and dangerous one we met a couple of days ago. High Sierra allowed to log in as an administrator without a password, accessing the system configuration without the need for a password. A serious vulnerability that even allowed the creation of a user with administrator privileges who would not even need a password.
At 8 o’clock in the morning, local time in California, came the patch that solved this big bug. It did so as a security update that will be automatically installed on all computers running version 10.13.1 of the macOS High Sierra. And Apple apologized, announcing that it will take action.
We deeply regret this error and apologize to all Mac users, both for having launched the software with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our clients deserve something better. We are auditing our development processes to prevent this from happening again.
But there is more.
The tip of the iceberg of a wider and more frequent problem
For some users, fervent supporters of everything that has to do with the company co-founded by Steve Jobs, this serious error is not more than the tip of an iceberg composed, under the surface, by many small mistakes. Faults that may arise with updates or that have dragged time in the respective Apple systems, without anyone doing anything.
Michael Tsai, software developer for Mac, is one of them. In an article on her blog entitled Why Small Mistakes Need to Be Repaired, she has compiled recurring complaints in the community. Minor faults, as is clear from the title, but can not be let go. In attention to detail, as we said, much of the experience resides.
The first example is taken from a publication of Mac Rumors and concerns QuickType 11. The keyboard in iOS, reports the news, not well liked by the term “it”. When users write it, the predictive suggestion shows the possibility of replacing it with “IT”. If you continue writing, even if the prediction is not taken into account, “it” automatically changes to “IT”.
Before this new version of the mobile system, it happened with “the office” or “the kitchen”. When these terms were written and some more, with article, they were corrected automatically adding capital letters. “The Office” and “The Kitchen” were desperate for many users. It solved it, fortunately, iOS 11.
Another quote picks up the complaints of Nick Heer, written in his publication Pixel Envy : “It is alarming to see the issue of recurring errors in Apple’s software and hardware input devices.” Speaks of dust under some keyboards, errors of the autocorrector or the difficulty of using the Magic Trackpad 2 in El Capitan. He is notoriously worried.
“What about the small bugs that remain in multiple major releases? These are tests of a process that does not value quality,” says Tsai. That Apple can not correct errors more quickly than it creates them leads irremediably, says the developer, to worse operating systems and applications.
This is a vicious circle that will demoralize customers and, especially, people who send bug reports for free. If Apple can not pay this technical debt at a time of record profits, stock price and expansion, when can it do it?
The article continues with general opinions on the greater presence of errors in macOS High Sierra and iOS 11, the usual battery problems with new versions of the mobile OS, the perception of an increasing carelessness in the products and services, persistent failures in the interfaces of user, in the connection of external monitors with certain Macs or in the need to restart computers because errors of various kinds end up rendering them useless.
Apple cared about the details. And a large part of the company still cares, but not all. A lot of trash is being sent by people who do not care about the details and their managers do not care enough to notice or straighten them out.
These last lines are signed by the user Maynard Handley in a conversation on Twitter, where he shows failures that he suffers several times a week on his Mac, apparently by chance, with the only solution being the restart.
Nobody will throw the first stone
It is often said that “whoever is free from sin throws the first stone” and we know that no one is going to throw it away. The problem of vulnerabilities, bigger or smaller errors and the persistence of them is not a single Apple problem. We are aware that no software or hardware is perfect, even if they guarantee it.
We speak now of Apple, because it has jumped to the present, but we could talk about Windows and the case of that vulnerability without solution spread by Google, whose patch arrived 20 days later, or of the serious problem that Android has with its applications. To give an example, according to a study, half of top applications in Android inherit vulnerabilities. And we often find fake versions of legitimate apps on Google Play.
That is why although from the outside it seems that certain ecosystems emit an immaculate light, the users who live in them day by day find what normally does not transcend. The security breach that we talked about at the beginning is probably the most serious in the history of Cupertino computers and is not tolerable either in macOS or in another system.
But just as the severe dimension of this vulnerability is indisputable, the perception of many users about the experience that Apple provides with its products is incontrovertible. If they sell a greater neatness, a touch of perfection, creations that go beyond the rest that are in the market, want to notice. It’s understandable, that’s why they buy those products.
Many complaints, as in everything, can become anecdotes. Perfection, as we said, does not exist. Taking into account that they are specific events, they can not be upgraded to a category. But it is no less true that you have to keep promises and, above all, expectations. The company now led by Tim Cook is in a moment of grace, at a peak in its history, in a privileged position at all levels that must be maintained with hard work.