Is Apple the new Microsoft?

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.Dave Rogers [permalink isn’t working, sorry]: “My tech obsession with modern Apple and its current products is definitely and completely over. There’s little “special” about Apple anymore. They’re simply the latest incarnation of the 600-lb gorilla. First there was IBM, then there was Microsoft, now there’s Apple. Eventually it’ll be either Google or Amazon. Apple today is just another Microsoft, and there’s little that’s going on there that’s exciting, or even very good. Siri is a joke. Photos is a cruel trick. I actually stuck up for Apple Maps in Colorado, using it to navigate whenever it was my turn, as none of my traveling companions trusted it. I was rewarded for my loyalty by a total mapping clusterfuck on our last day, as Siri tried to get us to ‘take an immediate right’ from an interstate at 70mph.”

Scrappy companies, like Apple pre-iPhone, are able to move a bit more quickly than big companies. IBM went through its own growing pains, so did Microsoft, and now it’s Apple’s turn. From the inside there is probably a bit of grumbling from the ranks, but nothing too bad. I’m sure there are folks on the ground, in multiple groups, that would like more time to improve their efforts. This ties right into something I spotted on Twitter last night.

Steve Frank is a Panic co-Founder and by all accounts a fantastic software developer, just look at their well regarded lineup of applications as proof. I have a great deal of respect for Panic and its team, just as I do for Apple and its teams. I’m a nobody but I have worked on a couple complex software systems through the years. When you’re working on a system with dependencies on other teams it slows things down and introduces strange behaviors and bugs. As much as everyone cares about the end product, it happens.

I’ve never worked at Apple and I don’t know how it works on the inside. But you can bet it’s full of software engineers that know their craft and care deeply about shipping a quality product. Big systems are inherently difficult to maintain and change.

Apple has been making moves over that last few years that introduce greater complexity and deeper integration between their own hardware and services. These are the same moves Microsoft was making in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Deep integration. When this stuff works, it’s like magic, when it fails it’s often times extremely frustrating for the user. You have no idea where things went sideways. Was it the client, the service, or somewhere in between? Which piece of hardware blew it? Why did my notification arrive an hour late, or not at all?

Like other big companies that take these deep dives Apple will work itself out of the weirdness.

Is Apple the new Microsoft? That’s a question for you to answer.

P.S. – I completely understand the place Steve is coming from. He wants to dig in and not come up for air until he’s solved big problems. That’s very admirable.


Firewatch is coming!

Panic: “Have you heard of our upcoming game, Firewatch? (It’s a first-person mystery/drama/adventure set in the Wyoming wilderness. You’re Henry. You just got a job in a Firewatch tower. You make contact with another watcher who only exists on the other end of a handheld radio. And then… things happen.)”

I’m not much of a gamer, but this is a game I will purchase. It’s going to be really nice seeing it on a Mac running under Metal. The addition of the Playstation is quite exciting as well. Maybe those of us with an Xbox console will get a port later?

No matter. Firewatch looks like a keeper.

Development Mac

Don’t Panic!

CodaPanic: “Coda 2 has now been in development for about a year and a half. All of us have been working incredibly hard on this forthcoming release. We’re finishing up new features, boosting up the editor, dramatically cleaning up the UI, and improving what Coda already does well today, all while, hopefully, keeping things extremely light and lean. By the time you see it, Coda might look a little different than you’re used to, but we think it’s for good reason. We’ll see how it shakes out, but we’re very excited.”

I’m sure the Coda update will be a work of art, Panic doesn’t know how to create bad software.


Gettin’ Geeky With It

Panic Blog: “Sounded like fun to us. Just one problem, though: we knew we had to load Stewart’s “cassette tape” source into the Apple //e’s audio input. But we didn’t exactly have a cassette deck lying around.

What did we have? An iPad.”

The Panic crew is so darned talented. Great apps, great design(just look at their beautifully designed weblog), and they’re real geeks.

What more could you ask for in a company?