iTunes 11.0.3, Mac AppStore and the iMac – All seem to spell trouble!

It seems that Apple is really undertaking a huge change on the desktop apps and the iCloud backend, or, is headed further down ever since Steve Jobs left the scene and iOS 6 came along.

The new iTunes release is probably the buggiest and slaggiest of all that I have used so far. There seems to be a complete dis-joint between all the product teams at Apple currently and I will give examples of the same.

Firstly, iTunes 11.0.3. Since this release, I have had a hard time getting to the AppStore screen or checking for App updates. It seems to get stuck, comes back with the “memory” error (as mentioned in a previous post). This happens regardless of the AppStore I access, US or otherwise.

Just when I though the state and status errors seem to be fixed, not to be. Although the update apps seems to be fixed in the sense that if you click on “update all” apps, it will happen only once, the older issues still remain. Some apps will keep showing “update” on a perpetual basis even when there is no update as such, even after downloading an app, it would still show “free”/”buy (price)” on iTunes. The worst part is that you can actually re-download the app even when you already have it.

A very interesting fact is that the size of the app shown in iTunes description, when you actually download it (iTunes download window), and the OS X finder size of the app are all different. Seems someone forgot the basic computation of a size translated from bytes to kilo/mega/giga across teams at Apple! It’s not just the size, it’s also how long file names are displayed. While in the iTunes download window, you would see the first part of the file name following by “…”, in the OS X finder, you would see the first and last part with the “…” in between. Also, the order of the updates displayed in iTunes is completely different from the order of the actual downloads. Although this last one might seem to be insignificant, but, to an experience eye, the dis-joint across teams shows. In reality, there are simply too many such small issues that show a dis-joint and a complete lack of experience or a complete un-willingness towards improvement and excellence.

The biggest issue of iTunes (and iDevices) still remain. The pathetic, single threaded download of apps. music etc. I have never had this issue with any Android handset so far. Even though Google does not have an equivalent of iTunes, I have faced no such issues related to downloads on the Android devices. The main reason I still use iTunes is so I can start/stop downloads to get the maximum speed in the process. More often than not, a small, few MB download on iTunes (or iDevice) can take hours.

Another major issue with iTunes, which, actually, stems from the download issues stated above, I use different user accounts (for my family) on my iMac for all (almost) the iDevices to sync them from iTunes. iTunes wants re-authorisation of every account every time I sync a device. Pathetic!

Is that was not enough, the moment I have 6 or more user accounts on my iMac, the logins go off the screen and the only way to get to them is by using the keyboard since a mouse or a trackpad cannot scroll the login screen. Once again, Pathetic!

Even though you can set a magic mouse or the trackpad to respond to a tap for a click, it does not work on the login screen. Just to repeat, Pathetic!

The MacAppStore as it stands in the current release is no exception. It suffers the same numbers and single threaded download issues. It is clueless as to which screen to start with. More often than not you will notice the progress circle with nothing happening. If you click on “updates” and then click on “featured”, nothing will change until the search for updates has been completed, or, times out. Okay, so now I am tired of the repeat, so one last time…Pathetic!

Another interesting fact that I noted was that if you switch your internet connection in between a download, the download cannot resume and it is re-started!

About the iMac, after the earlier screen quality and warranty issues, I got another scare today from both, my iMac as well as my older MacBook Pro. Both of them just “hung” and then refused to boot at all!

Turned out to be a temperature related issue. It was a hot day today (like it is at this time of the year) and since it had gotten quite cold from the air-conditioning, I switched it off for a while. While the iPhone and iPad had no issues, the iMac and the MacBook Pro just stopped working. I had to shut them off, forcibly, turn on the air-conditioning, wait for about an hour, and then they started working again. This happened without any warning from the system.

Considering the fact that OS X still has an 18th century UI/UX and that the iOS UI/UX has been stagnating since arrival, I can only wish and hope that either Google or Microsoft come up with viable and reasonable alternates to the iPhone and iPads.

Personally, unless Apple really comes up with some drastic changes and quality control, I would probably never purchase an iMac or a MacBook ever again. For me, it was an investment based on the iPhone and iPad experience and I can only say that I regret buying the iMac for the bad screen quality and flawed warranty. The two MacBook Pros I regret since OS X is worse than Ubuntu Linux as it stands currently and the UI/UX is light years behind Windows (barring Windows 8 which I deem unusable by the majority).

Small wonder that the OS X updates, initially, seemed so attractive based on their price compared to Windows. While one can actually see and feel the changes and work put in by Microsoft (good or bad is a separate issue), there is no change on OS X that warrants even the marginal update cost. For example, consider one of the latest and greatest and touted features of the latest OS X Mountain Lion…it finally show you file copy progress!!! Hello…we had all this and more even in the good old console and DOS days!

This fact is even mentioned on the Apple web site…they are proud their lame designers and programmers finally managed to show file copy progress on OS X, which, incidentally, is meaningless since the progress has no details and can only be seen in the folder the files are being copied to.

In case someone thinks this is Apple bashing, yes, it is! Excepting for my iPhones and iPads, the rest of Apple stuff seems to be a big no no in every way. This exception, I hope, Google or Microsoft (or some other major) takes away, some day. The Apple hardware, the screen, volume, warranty etc issues are all too prevalent on the net, including the Apple forums, with apparently no answers from Apple about these.

For me, like for most people, the expensive Apple hardware and ecosystem is an investment. This investment, seems to be going down the drain as of now. I still have hopes that there will be changes within the Apple top management that would allow the iPhone legacy to continue and carry forward all with it, let’s see.

The WWDC should come up with some pointers. Meantime, we would have some time to see what Google comes up with after the announcements at the recent I/O. If all that Apple can come up with is a lame iOS 7 update and cheaper and a larger number of iDevices along with the same old incremental updates, one can be certain that the Apple and iPhone era is indeed going to end very very soon.

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