Apple’s software quality…


A lot has been made recently concerning the perception that Apple’s software of late, isn’t up to the moniker of ‘it just works’.

We all know that’s just a marketing term, that like most, doesn’t stand up to detailed scrutiny in any company, least of all Apple.

We’ve all had that situation where a certain feature isn’t reliable and we just end up not using it, or finding an alternative way of doing that feature.

However I think we’ve reached a tipping point here where the drip, drip affect of increasing unreliability has brought all this to a head.

I can reference other people’s experience, but this time I’ve plenty of my own.

I purchased a new MacBook Air 13″ for my son for Christmas. It was an upgrade to his existing MBA 11″, which was trickling down to his brother.

A few weeks before Christmas the package arrived, and shortly after I decided to transfer the account from the old Air to the new one.
Switching the new Air on, I set up the account, and the Air tried to connect to my network. It could, but kept dropping the signal.
I’d heard about Yosemite’s wi-fi ‘issue’ so I upgraded to 10.10.1. This didn’t help.

So I thought that maybe transferring the account would solve this, as the other Air (and other Mac’s, iPod’s & iPhones in the house had no trouble).

I couldn’t get it to work. Both Air’s were on the same wireless network, but I couldn’t get them to connect.

Googling, I found that wireless transfer of account wasn’t a wise choice, so I purchase a Thunderbolt cable and did it that way. It still didn’t work.

So in the end I used a Time Machine backup to restore the account. This worked and 15 minutes later the Air was ready.

It still had the wi-fi issue, so I hoped that an update before Christmas would sort it out.

Christmas came, and an initially happy boy was disappointed that he couldn’t stay online.

The specific symptoms were:

1) On restart the Air connected fine.
2) 10-15 minutes later, the wi-fi stopped working.
3) The wi-fi was ‘on’ in the menubar, but with no wireless access points listed.
4) Opening up network prefs, it said wi-fi was off. Pressing the ‘on’ button did nothing.
5) On restart it worked again, but 10-15 minutes later… ad infinitum..

Over the next 2-3 weeks I tried everything. Pref files, resets, settings, terminal – nothing worked.
So I took it to a Genius and he of course couldn’t replicate the issue and reinstalled Yosemite.
On returning home, it couldn’t even see my wireless network.

So in frustration I rang the 90 support line. They called it in.
2 days later they managed to replicate the issue, and swapped out the wireless card and it’s now working fine.

But this wasn’t a hardware issue. The issue was solved by swapping hardware, but I erased and emergency recovered the OS prior to sending this back. It took about 2 hours, on my network – no wireless issues at all.

The emergency partition doesn’t use Yosemite drivers – therefore it’s a software OS problem.

Phew – that was my issue, lots of others have this issue, with lots of different configurations.

But my main problem is on principal – Apple sold me a brand new Mac that didn’t work.

Let me repeat that – Apple sold me a brand new Mac that didn’t work. A £1k Mac, a premium product – it didn’t work, fresh out of the box.

These are the kind of stories that you used to here from Dell users, bargain basement PC’s that simply didn’t operate correctly.

They could blame Microsoft (and Microsoft blamed Dell), but this is Apple.

Apple for christ’s sake.

Something is going on here, something in the OS development process at Apple is seriously wrong – and it needs to change.

I’m following a thread on Apple Support Communities here, and some are reporting that 10.10.2 hasn’t solved the issue for them.

I haven’t installed 10.10.2 on the 2 Air’s yet, I’ll make sure I’ve got a TM backup if I need to roll back, but this is Apple people – I shouldn’t have to be this careful.

It seems that Apple’s ambition of Handoff & Continuity isn’t ready for primetime – they need to fix this, or admit there’s an issue, and disable it.


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