Welcome to our Apple Breakfast column, which brings together all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy summary. We call it “apple breakfast” because we think it goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s great if you want to read it during lunch or dinner as well.
What is the most important Apple product? Financially, of course, the iPhone makes more money than any other product category—Mac, iPad, and all the wearables and services divisions—combined. But in terms of securing the loyalty of the customers who buy these iPhones, there’s an argument that iOS is even more important. People buy an iPhone not because it has the best specs or the most innovative design (which is debatable to say the least), but because it offers the most user-friendly and user-friendly experience, thanks in large part to the operating system.
With that in mind, of course, the annual release of a new full iOS update is to be expected even more eagerly than the release of some new iPhone phones, which are probably similar to the previous generation phones. Well yes and no. It’s worth watching the software announcements at WWDC, and a particularly tasty iOS update can make you feel like you’ve got a new iPhone without spending a dime. But there’s a difference between important and interesting, and boring software updates are just as important to Apple’s health as brilliant ones. iOS is like an indoor plumber or a cricket umpire: it’s best when she’s invisible. If I’m forced to think about the sewers, or the LBW law, or my security settings, then you haven’t done your job, which is to silently do things in the background.
This week, a credible report claimed that Apple has changed its strategy for iOS 17, this year’s update, from bug fixes to feature additions. What experts previously expected as a “technical update” aimed at improving performance, now apparently boasts several “nice” features, including some of the most requested ones. Applause, general merriment, a running ribbon parade, etc.
I’m far from raining on someone’s parade, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a good idea. I’d rather see Apple focus their energy on making sure everything works the way it should, rather than adding a bunch of extra stuff that could go wrong the new way. Not that iOS is particularly error-prone in its current form. While “it just works” is mostly cited satirically now, Apple products remain the market leaders when it comes to simple reliability. But there are some problems, and I would like them to be less. (Or less. Can you see how important it is to get the basics right?) Take Siri, for example. Would you rather Siri be able to respond to a wider range of queries, or would it respond more reliably to current ones? This is what I was thinking.
The problem is that by introducing a new version of iOS, Apple is trying to please two different groups at the same time: iPhone owners, who will end up using the software every day for a year without knowing anything about it, and these sages like the current writer, who rant, analyze and dwell on everything that has changed. The phrase “tech update” is mostly used pejoratively, and an update without a flagship feature will be met with the equivalent of a raspberry in the column on every major tech site. But I’m arguing that a common flagship new feature like iOS 16’s much-touted customizable lock screen does less to increase world happiness than a simple tweak like SMS passcodes automatically appearing above the keyboard. One is trying to change how you use your iPhone, while the other is trying to make your life easier.
With that in mind, I’m ready to make a promise. If iOS 17 turns out to be a repair update, I’ll refrain from writing heated complaints about it. Who is with me?
Trending: breaking news
Okay, everyone hates Apple’s AR headset, and that’s haven’t even sent it yet.
Apple Watch Ultra Action button this is exactly what the iPhone 15 lacks.
Now you can download Apple Music Classical, but there are some unexpected restrictions.
Apple Pay later finally available, but only for “randomly selected” US users
Apple Acquires ‘Content Awareness’ Startup AI video compression.
We are going to meet Chip B1? The leak claims that Apple’s next chip will be dedicated to the iPhone 15 Pro’s buttons.
Podcast of the week
You can watch every episode of the Macworld podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own website.
Software updates, bugs and issues
iOS 16.4 released with new emoji and critical security updates. We have 3 reasons to upgrade right now, plus some great hidden features.
Scary Mac Stealer malware went for iCloud passwords and credit card details.
Apple has finally fixed a heavily exploited Webkit error on older iPhones.
Perfect timing, iOS 17 inevitable: it’s easier to install beta versions of Apple.
Apple has already started testing macOS Ventura 13.4.
First iOS 16.5 Beta arrived with “minor” changes as the iOS 17 launch approaches.
That’s where we ended up this week. If you would like to receive regular news updates, subscribe to our newsletters. You can also follow us on twitter or on Facebook to discuss the latest Apple news. See you next Saturday, enjoy the rest of the weekend and stay Eppley.