What happened to Apple Software?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by dvoros, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. dvoros macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2010
    Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Garage Band, iBook, PhotoBooth, iMovie, iDVD, all great programs from Apple. So, what happened? You hear next to nothing about Apple Software anymore except for its operating systems. Where are new designs for books, calendars and cards within iPhoto? Everything is stagnant. This is not the Apple we have grown to love.
  2. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Machines are same way. They've been emphasizing the phone and pad side of things at the expense of Mac.
    Also now moving more toward 'enterprise' and away from consumer.
    Almost feels like the late 90's out there Mac-wise.
  3. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I think your "all great programs" statement may be a little overblown. Apple has always been about hardware with just enough software to make it's hardware usable. Hardware (in particular, phones not PC's) is where the profit margins are, especially since they now give most of the software for free. We have yet to see how their "services" approach will pan out in the long run. Could very well end up in the same state their current software is. They've always been a hardware/GUI focused company more than a software company. Time will tell, though.
  4. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Garage Band, and iMovie are still around. They get regular updates and occasionally added features. iPhoto was killed off in June 2014 and replaced by Photos.

    JMHO, even though none of the above has had a full overhaul doesn't make them "stagnant". They do what they're supposed to do.
  5. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    They are still updating them, although I find I am using them less and less. They changed direction a few years ago, starting with iMovie. I find they now have less features, but are harder to use.
  6. CrystalQuest76 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    Apple applications are maintained and updated. They are smooth to use and have minimalist interfaces so they mostly look the same on iOS or Mac OS. Naturally there are many more features on the Mac OS applications. However, those features are often hidden, especially with Numbers. I like that I can create a number of conditional formatting triggers in Number on MacOS that continue to function on iOS Numbers, but I can't edit them. Pages is a good program for the average home/school user but is lacking a decent automatic Table of Contents feature as well as References/Works Cited feature. What is really annoying is there used to lots of great advanced features in all of the Apple applications that over the years they have removed.
  7. thingstoponder macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    It's kind of silly to look back 10 years and ask why they aren't developing as quickly as they did then. Desktop software is mature now.

    What can they really do to say Garageband or iMovie? They've got what most people would want or need.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 19, 2016 ---
    Again. Macs are mature there's only so much they can do. Blame intel for never releasing new chips.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 19, 2016 ---
    iWork got a rewrite a couple years ago. Same with Photos. Ground up new app that replaced iPhoto which was a dinosaur.
  8. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I would like to see a lot of improvements. Just off the top of my head:

    Bring back linked text boxes that we had in Pages '09.
    Add cross references so that when reference Figure n in the text it links to Figure n in a caption. Adding or deleting figures will cause the numbering to correct itself.
    Allow hyperlinks inside text boxes.

    iBooks Author
    Add cross references as described for Pages.
    Add widgets for PDFs.

    Add some sort of layers scheme to allow you to work on objects behind other objects.
    Add a sort of light table you can drag down in which you can store stacks of frequently used slides
    Add a timeline to make it easier to synchronize object motions and sound.
    Keynote iOS
    Add all of the drawing tools available in the macOS version and the items just listed.

    Make it easier to share data via the clip board. I sometimes need to copy something out to a text editor and modify it then paste it back. Currently requires a lot of massaging of the data to do this.

    Merge photos, text and drawing panes. Currently you can't annotate a picture or text.
    Add a few geometrical shapes for use in drawing. X-Y graph axes, rectangle, circle would be nice.

    I get it that these are not high priority for Apple. Apple sells a lot of product to people who use them superficially. Some of us depend on this for our livelihoods so I hope Apple shows us some love by keeping these products up to date.
  9. loby macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2010
    With a company as big as Apple is now, I would think they have specific teams working on each app besides Logic and FCPX, but maybe they don't. If they did, wouldn't they come out with more features or improvements every quarter or something so the team can get paid?

    Anyway, as someone said before, I also believe that the mac apps are in a mature phase and is true that all of them basically just got a face lift or recoding a few years ago. You can't keep updating the interface or design every other year on these apps, so people should not expect redesign so often. Wish they would not do that with the OS, but that is another story...

    I think it is reasonable to expect at least a few updates every once-in-a-while from Apple though the apps are now free, but if they no longer have a designated "pages" or "numbers" team etc. I can understand why updates are not that often...

    Plus, Apple does not seem to want to compete with Microsoft with their Office suite etc. Office for Mac now does the job, but I personally still prefer Pages, Numbers and Keynotes over it. Not because I am brand loyal or anything, but I just like what Apple did with the general word, presentation, spreadsheet processing types apps. I have used Microsoft Office since it came out many years ago due to work demands (including most of the others through the years like Lotus, Word Perfect etc., and do appreciate all of the complicated stuff you can do with Office now, but I prefer the simplicity of the Apple products over the others.

    Would be nice if they continue to improve on the iLife and iWork products, especially some type of database software.

    Just dreaming...
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go as far and say the OS is underwhelming as well. Take a look at what major features Sierra has you'll see there's a very short list. I will admit the beta version (won't make Sierra) of the new file system is a big thing

    Yep, Apple seems to have painted themselves in a corner in a number of areas. The 5k iMac and MacBook are the bright spots imo, but the Mini, Mac Pro, MBP all are withering on the vine

    Back to software since the OP is complaining about the applications:
    I loved the application Aperture, it had everything I need, but they then stopped updating it. I used iPhoto because I wanted to easily create Calendars and books. Apple killed them off in lieu of Photos which seems to lack the features I used in Aperture. They're more focused on facial recognition. Perhaps that's a big thing, but I don't need that, and I don't care.

    iWork always seemed to go for periods of inattention, but iLife apps were always being worked on, now it seems neither.
  11. HobeSoundDarryl, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    iPhone became the most important product to Apple. iDevices became most of Apple's revenues & profits. Thus, almost all focus shifted to the most important, most profitable products.

    Apple made decisions to "reinvent" many Mac products for iDevices even if that meant dropping features that work well/better on Macs. Thus a terrific program like Pages '09 was feature gutted so that there was feature parity between the iOS and Mac version of the "new" Pages. Conceptually, this is good because much more numerous iDevice users could be migrated toward Macs where compatibility with their iDevice creations might be very important to them. However, those who create on Macs can be frustrated at the "dummy-ing down" of Mac apps to support that objective.

    Apple could have gone the alternative way and made a Pages Jr. and similar (or kept Pages for Macs and created something else) for their iDevices but that would imply the better experience or more robust capabilities were not available on the most important product, but on the niche product that (relatively) doesn't sell very well. Why do that and imply that iDevices are weaker? It seems that would require Apple to prioritize Macs or present Macs as the pinnacle of the Apple experience. Yet, the marketplace appears (and appeared) to be turning to mobile devices as the high-demand, high-profit opportunity with desktops & laptops becoming "the trucks" of the industry.

    As is so often slung around here as a default tool for rationalizing anything Apple wants to do: "record revenues show that the people do want <whatever Apple wants to serve>" so apparently the dollars prove that people do want a dummied down iWork suite, dummied down iLife suite and so on. "Revenues do not lie." From the Mac user's- maybe the Mac power user's- perspective, this is the other edge of that double-edged sword.

    In short: Apple puts it's focus where it's primary revenue & profits are. While Macs still matter enough to exist and get updates (though even that feels a bit "salt in the wound" right now), it appears they are somewhat in a iDevice hand-me-downs trap instead of getting the dedicated focus to fully exploit their much more powerful capabilities... especially for content creators. Instead of iDevices looking for ways to keep up with powerful things that Macs could do, the ongoing effort is to make Mac software be more and more like iDevice software so that iDevice users feel more at home when they encounter Macs.

    Personally, I wish Apple would set aside teams & resources charged with treating Macs like they were Apple's ONLY product and not revolving seemingly all development around supporting iDevices. A program like Pages '09 was a terrific and simple DTP application that could be revived as maybe MacOS Publisher or something like that. Of course, that doesn't mean that it would be good to sever the relationship between Macs & iDevices. Instead, the idea would be more about the freedom to exploit the individual advantages of each platform to their fullest... rather than favoring one so much more than the other that the one undermines the potential of the other.

    But what do I know: "record revenues do not lie" and "99% don't need..." and "...but who had the most profitable _______", etc. ;)
  12. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Apple's focus shifting slowly away from software, to services, I guess.
  13. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Margin must be much better on that continuous 10 or 30 bucks a month than it is on new hardware every few years.
  14. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    I don't think that's a valid excuse. The one and only thing that matters in a Mac is the CPU? There's nothing else that can be changed, added or innovated? Not one thing? They're entirely dependent on Intel and are helpless to do anything at all on their own? Really?

  15. loby macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2010
    Agree, CPU power is important, but there are other components in a mac that can continued to be improved to make it faster, better and more efficient. Just because Intel has reach a limit in building on silicone does not mean that macs have to stop development.

    I really do not understand why Apple and Microsoft believe that computers are on their way out. Mobile devices and cloud base are very limited and the technology is a long way away from maturity or replacing a computer or laptop, especially for work unless you just use Word or Pages, internet and solitaire.
  16. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Since many are speculating perhaps I'll toss some peanuts into the gallery too...

    Apple is about profit and like to spend as little as possible on lesser markets which in this case (woefully) is software. Does Apple have the capacity to bring new life into rather poorly aged apps and more - yes. - Will they do it, no. It is all about profit and knowing how their fan base and the uneducated are content with their lackluster offerings.

    As for Microsoft, their Office Suite in the beginning was a complete nightmare. They practically gave it away to businesses to get them hooked in with vague promises and outright lies in some cases. After years, they have a very powerful suite and many a good software fell by the side due to "business" tactics. Apple is happy to let their software it seems also go by the side which is a shame.
  17. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    The question should be "What happened to Apple?" - and the answer is Tim Cook.
  18. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    It all goes back to what Apple essentially is... a hardware company. Back-in-the-day, Apple understood that in order to sell their hardware, the hardware needed to be able to do things. They were faced with a chicken-and-egg dilemma... people won't buy hardware if the apps don't exists, developers won't write apps if the hardware base doesn't exist. So Apple seeded the hardware with their own software.

    One of the things that I found most impressive about the early Macs was that out-of-the-box, they were capable of doing so much. A mac + iLife +iWork seemed like a more complete and more polished solution (and possibly overall cheaper) than the equivalent Windows system with respective software.

    As time went by, the customer base grew and developers started developing more apps, the need for Apple to be the standard bearer for mac software diminished. And with that came the dismantling of their software offerings.

    For the purposes of making the platform increasingly attractive to developers, Apple had to sunset those apps. I get it from a business perspective, but from a user perspective it stinks. It would've been nice if Apple spun off their app division to a company committed to the continued development.

    I'm a big fan of ClarisWorks / AppleWorks on Windows (it was the software that convinced me to switch over to Mac) and iWork '09. The things that I was able to accomplish with Claris/AppleWorks made my MS Office-using friends envious.

    iWork is now (as I call it) inactively supported. Just when one thinks that it will be discontinued due to the time that passed without an update, they release a minor update.

    They're trying to make "computers are on their way out" happen. Most likely because the profit margins are higher on mobile devices, turn-over is quicker (how many update their phone every year or 2?), and there are more possible opportunities to differentiate your product from the competition.
  19. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I think you have hit the nail on the head. Nice historical and business summary!
  20. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Yet iPhone and iOS are taking a beating worldwide: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3323017
    14.8% vs 84.1% for android (2016). That's down 3.1% since last year.
  21. Mark Holmes, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016

    Mark Holmes macrumors member

    Mark Holmes

    Sep 22, 2010
    San Diego CA
    I'll add to this - I've posted a similar thread in the MacPro forums - basically said I was forced to abandon the Mac Pro given the extreme stagnation of Apple hardware, and the lack of utility of the redesigned Mac Pro.
    I've used Apple computers since the Apple I in the early 1980s and I'm truly concerned with the direction they've taken of late. Personally I have relied on Apple for all my computing needs because they have (had?) an entire ecosystem that worked together flawlessly. But with their neglect of most of their hardware, and increasingly, their software, that ecosystem is ceasing to exist.
    I have relied in the past on a Mac Pro for my video editing and photography professional work, an iPad for personal and some limited professional use, a MacBook Pro, personal and professional, and an iPhone. My iOS devices, an iPhone 6S+, and an iPad Air 2, I update regularly as the hardware gets regular attention from Apple. My Mac Pro? A 2009 4,1, updated as much as I possibly can with GPU, memory and hard drives - because Apple no longer makes a desktop class computer that allows hard drive, GPU and memory upgrades by the user. So I'm stuck. The MacBook Pro - I'm stuck on a 2010 model because I refuse to own a $2,000+ computer that can't be updated with hard drive and memory.
    On the software side, I've truly lost trust in Apple after the debacle of Final Cut Pro X and the killing of Aperture. While I own and use FCPX for minor things and some titling, the lack of tracks and the overall UI just has never worked for me. And the discontinuation of Aperture truly felt like a betrayal. I still use it, as I'm not a fan of Lightroom, but at some point, with some Mac OS update, it's just not going to work. When Apple announced Photos, they indicated that much of Aperture would eventually be rolled into it. Well, it's been years and that's not happening. Apple seems to have lost any interest in supporting professionals who use their products.
    Whether it is software or hardware, the Apple way lately seems to be to strip out functionality to simply make things appear more streamlined or attractive. Case in point - although these are only rumors thus far - are upcoming iPhones with no headphone jack and MacBook Pros with only USB-C ports. Please tell me how eliminating features adds to the user experience. I still use USB, SD card readers, HDMI out ports, etc. Every other computer company on earth still keeps these while ADDING things like USB-C. If the iPhone arrives with no headphone jack I won't be buying it. If the MacBook Pro arrives with only USB-C, I'll pass.
    It is like the executive team at Apple does not live in the same world we do, and don't have anything to do with people who do. Whether these are decisions Tim Cook, Phil Schiller or Jony Ive are making, I don't know. But they need to wake up and realize their forward thinking means they are no longer in touch with the present.
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yup, that seems to be the case. While in the past software led to hardware sales, they're somehow pinning their hopes on services.
  23. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Right, but that doesn't make sense based on recent declines in hardware sales, unless they intend to intend to jack up prices on a dwindling base.
    It appears someone high up in Apple is not using their noggin.
  24. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    It might appear that way, but it is more likely that they have shifted their focus in the consumer space and that shift has not been made public. We can only theorize based on what we observe.

    Part of their strategy seems to be to increase the price on their hardware. The Macbook Air debuted at a starting price of about $1800. That has dwindled down over time to around the $800-$900. One of the purposes served by the retina Macbook was to reset the price structure of their notebooks. Add $80 dongle to the mix and the entry price is approx. $1400.

    And while it is obvious that there is much new technology in the rMB it isn't obvious how much that new tech cost Apple... both in terms of R&D but in terms of how long the period is that they amortized that cost over. It's possible that the profit margin on the rMB is less than other systems... but it could be GREATER.

    Tablets are more price sensitive so Apple waited to increase the price until the release of the 9.7 Pro. Between the different storage models and additional support for the Pencil, it is a bit difficult again to determine of the effective increase in price keeps profit margins in line with other iPads or increases them.
  25. huperniketes macrumors regular


    Jun 26, 2007
    (0, 0, 0)
    Don't blame poor Tim Cook! While he might not be the visionary Steve was, this path was taken under Steve's watch when they switched to being a consumer-focused company. Shake, Final Cut Studio, Xserves, etc. were killed under Steve's watch.

    Remember this Conan critique of the FCP X launch back in 2011?

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