Something long time Apple fans have been complaining about of late is that the quality of a lot of Apple software has gone downhill. It’s not that Apple didn’t always have crappy products or software they introduced and never really supported. That’s always been true. Rather it’s that the number of poorly written or poorly supported pieces of software seems to be increasing quite rapidly. Further sometimes it’s pretty key software that runs poorly.
Case in point the Macintosh App Store (MAS). You’d think that of all things Apple makes they’d want the MAS to be a great experience. This really drives a lot of the Mac market. Yet even ignoring all the gripes developers have about the MAS with things like sandboxing there are basic issues for users as well. I’d go so far to say that of all the software Apple provides, the MAS is the worst. And given the OSX calendar and contacts not to mention their infamous maps and podcast apps that’s really saying a lot!
Let me list a few of the problems. First up the inexplicable loss of account information for apps. You can tell this problem from the frequent “to update this application, sign in to the account you used to purchase it.” Of course you don’t use other accounts. Further the apps in question typically are up to date as well. So it’s a bit of a double whammy.
I get about four or five apps (always different ones) encountering this about once a week. I’ve no idea what is going on but it sure is annoying. If I struggle with it I can’t imagine how the typical naive user views the issue. The end result is that you don’t trust the MAS to update your software. This may be why many developers are seeing sales outside of the MAS increase relative to MAS sales. The advantage of the MAS was always for naive users. This pretty well freaks them out so they don’t trust it.
Nice job Apple.
That’s not the only problem though. There’s also the phantom updates. The dock icon and the update icon on the icon bar both show I have 2 updates but the screen listing updates shows I have none. If I go into Purchases I discover about a half dozen that show the “update” button.
Once again how am I supposed to respond to this? But more importantly how do we expect a causal user to react?
I wish those were the only two bugs but there are tons of other problems. First off the app is ridiculously slow to open, to switch between screens, to list updates, and so forth. When you make updating iOS apps in iTunes seem like a speed demon you know something is wrong even though the MAS has a tiny fraction of the apps or users than the iOS store does.
Further system updates are frequently problematic. I constantly am receiving messages to update my printer drivers even though they don’t need updating. When I click yes I get told it can’t find the update. The dialog box telling me I have system updates can’t be dismissed to update at a later time. I could go on the death by a thousand cuts.
Apple’s really been having growing pains the past three years. Even as it is at the height of its power it’s been unable to scale its offerings. Some apps or system functions get close attention and the best coders. However who ever is managing many other important applications is letting a lot of stuff go by. Further these just aren’t getting fixed. There is absolutely no excuse to leave the MAS app to wait for the next system update. Apple needs people focusing in on this issue.