Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hey Apple: Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us?

I have been an Apple fan boy ever since I owned my first Apple Computer (an Apple IIe) back in 1984. Beyond the aesthetics and hype surrounding Apple, I have always believed, even in dire times, that they had an edge over their competitors. The deep integration of Mac OS with Apple hardware and services made for an unsurpassed user experience that could not be found anywhere else.

As much as I hate to admit it, I have, unfortunately, grown very frustrated over the last few years with their latest services because they don't just work anymore! The philosophy of Apple products used to be about making things simple for the end user by empowering them with metaphorical and intuitive tools that made every task a tap or a click away. Hence, the legions of blind Apple fans that have been blessed by such a wonderful and unbelievable user experience that their dedication to the brand can only be compared to a religion in which Apple Stores are churches, and masses are held by "Genius" priests… One can't help but wonder why services don't end with Apple flavored drinks at the bar.

Ok, ok... I digress… Let's get back to my point:

We now live in the age of cloud computing and I must confess that if there is one thing that Apple never got right it is Cloud & Sync services.

iDisk was their very first attempt at creating an online Hard Drive for Mac users and it was an epic failure… As much as I wanted to use it, I could never understand how they expected me to use such a slow and buggy tool… Upload speeds were close to zero, iDisk would often crash the Finder and files kept disappearing…

The came MobileMe which promised to be "Exchange for the rest of us"… Even Steve Jobs admitted a year after the service was released that it was unreliable and didn't quite fit with all the great products that Apple had.

Then came iCloud that, I'll give you that one, worked for a few years… Syncing contacts, calendars, Notes, Reminders and backing up iPhones & iPads mostly worked as advertised… Mostly because sometimes Apple fan boys that trusted iCloud to back up their iPhone data learned the hard way that iCloud backups were not to be trusted as they would sometimes only partially restore their data when in need to do so…

But Apple didn't learn from their mistakes… They went on to release iCloud Photo Library which promised to solve everyone's problems with photos and videos by automatically syncing them to the cloud and across computers… What a brilliant idea… If only it had just worked…

I was one of the first users to blindly install the update as soon as it became available. After a whole week of uploading 100Gb worth of data, I came to the painful realization that the service magically resurrected long deleted photos that were not present on any of my iOS or Mac computers… To put it in a simple way: Apple had kept hidden from me pictures that I thought were gone forever after I had carefully deleted them from my camera roll, photo stream, and deleted pictures folder… This is just not acceptable in terms of privacy.

Although this may have disastrous consequences in the lives of many, it keeps getting worse as iCloud Photo Library (the one and only stop Apple would want you to think of when it comes to saving & syncing hundreds of gigabytes of photos & videos) can't deal with large photo libraries… Oh wait ??? Isn't this service all about such huge libraries?

Well… I have 100Gb worth of photos and videos. I use an iPhone 6 Plus with 128Gb of memory and have activated the "optimize iPhone storage" option for photos & videos (otherwise I wouldn't have much memory left to use my iPhone for anything else).

Every time an app needs to access my photos it takes about 15 seconds… I can only name two apps that behave correctly in doing so: Facebook & Instagram. Those 2 apps actually access, by default, the most recent photos instead of accessing my entire library. This is an easy and simple work around that every app should use and most importantly that Apple should enforce and write guidelines about. Unfortunately, none of these measures have been implemented since iCloud Photo Library was released more than 6 months ago.

When I take a picture, it sometimes takes 30 seconds to show up in my camera roll (using the buit-in camera app and camera roll)…

For the last 6 months, I have been dreading doing anything that involves photos or videos on my iPhone 6 Plus and iPad because I know that I am going to have to wait 30 seconds for any task related to this… This is not acceptable…

There are forums describing this problem which seems to appear with Photo Libraries that have more than 25.000 pictures… I have 52.000 pictures and 600 videos in mine…

So, as sad as I am to announce this: I'm not gonna buy Apple's next iPhone and am switching to Android as I have lost faith in Apple which made my user experience a nightmare for the last 6 months.

So long Apple…


Anonymous said...

This is sadly all true. But I still have faith in Apple. But they better shape up!

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