Why Is Apple Losing Its Touch?

By Sam Gibbs on at

What happened to "it just works"? Apple used to be the king of simplicity. With products you could buy, update, and use without any real technical knowledge. Recently, Apple seems to be losing it, with bricking updates, pulled software, and delayed 'special builds' that don't make it out in time. This isn't the Apple we're used to.

Reports are sprouting up around the web that Apple's latest and greatest update to its 'hobby', the Apple TV, is bricking devices, creating a £100 paperweight. The update was originally rolled out at the end of September, and brought with it a couple of streaming TV add-ons -- primarily for the US and not the UK, it has to be said -- but seems to be disabling an unknown number of Apple TVs. Thankfully a manual restore to an older software version, if you've already downloaded the old firmware that is, seems to revive the bricked TVs, but it's not the exactly user-friendly Apple we've come to expect.

It's not just the Apple TV that's having software update problems either. Perhaps a much bigger issue is the latest roll out of OS X 10.8.2. Most Macs updated fine through Software Update as they should, but Apple quickly pulled the Mac Mini's software upgrade for an unknown reason (probably more bricking), and disabled manual updating without telling anyone. That resulted in people apparently spending hours trying to force the update through, which seems a bit daft to me, but I guess some people are, quite rightly, OCD about updates.

If that wasn't enough, Apple's latest raft of new machines don't seem to be able to grab that 10.8.2 update either, with the new retina 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 21.5-inch iMac out for the count.

I don’t know what's going on in Cupertino that means its universal update strategy has gone to pot. Maybe Apple's finally bitten off more than it can chew with too many devices and variants of devices out there? The more products you have, the more coding and more testing that's required, I guess, but bricking devices and stalling security updates, well -- that's just bad form. Come on Apple; you've got to pick it up a bit here, OK? Let's not turn into the nightmare of Android or Windows Phone updates, please. [Wired, Cnet via TechRadar]

Image credit: Brick from Shutterstock