It Just Works!

We all miss ya, Steve.

Apple used to have the corner on the market of ”It just works” tech. 

Now, no one does. 

Apple products and services don’t always work as expected. (If you don’t believe that, you don’t use the Reminders app across multiple iOS devices and on a MacOS device running the latest software.) As Apple began to rely more and more on cloud technologies for linking devices and apps together, the control over the end-user experience that Steve Jobs mastered got further and further from the control of Apple’s engineers and designers.

And I read a news article that a Tesla on auto-driving mode had run into a parked patrol car. That’s not good. Tesla’s are software with fast electric motors and wheels. But they are reliant upon a network, too. And they’re reliant upon a dependable power grid. If Mr. Musk was in Texas during the recent winter storm that took down much of the grid, he probably wasn’t able to silently tool around very much in one of his Model S’s. And if there’s any other software bug, well, those seem to get discovered IRL when a collision happens.

I don’t use Android devices because I don’t trust Google. I don’t use PCs because although they will all run a variant of Windows, or Ubuntu Linux, or whatever, each part of the hardware may come from a different manufacturer and the parts don’t always play well together in terms of integration and optimization. 

I’ve never been a Windows user because of its famous buggy, virus-and-hacker-prone-ness. (I do use it via Parallels on my Mac for one proprietary business software, TurboTax Business which does LLC and S-corp tax forms and only runs on Windows).

Technology is built on dependencies. One piece depends on the other. An iPhone 12 Plus is just a fancy iPod if the GPE Network crawls, or you’re not near a reliable cell tower, or you can’t charge it up when the battery goes dead. You can build the world’s fastest CPU, but if the RAM bus won’t handle the throughput, or your heat sink and fans won’t cool it, there’s your bottleneck. You’ve got an expensive portable heater.

For a long time now, the bottleneck has been the Network itself, because all of technology depends on reliable, repeatable network protocols for linking to other devices and communicating. When that breaks, the dependable, controllable world of technology becomes just as frustrating as Real Life. We don’t communicate well in it either.

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