Some of Apple’s own users have been teeing off lately about the quality of some of its software, specifically the default Apple apps that often clog up space on the iPhone. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber had Apple execs Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi on his podcast this week and he asked them to address some of the criticisms that have been made about the quality in Apple’s software made by well-known Apple bloggers such as Walt Mossberg and Jim Dalrymple. The execs acknowledged that some of their users weren’t having the experience they wanted but defended the company’s software quality overall.
“There’s nothing we care about more,” said Federighi when asked whether the overall quality of Apple’s software had declined. “I take very seriously any time one of our customers says they aren’t having the experience they expected from us… I know our core software quality has improved over the last five years and it has improved significantly. But the bar just keeps going up, and that’s a bar that we embrace.”
Federighi then went on to say that now that Apple has more than a billion devices out there, their software problems get more widely reported and then amplified by the tech media in a way that they didn’t even five years ago.
Gruber pressed them on this point, however, and asked them to explain why Apple’s own internal metrics show that their software is improving while lots of users are saying they’ve taken their eye off the ball.
“The vast majority of our customers are happy with our products and the feedback that they get,” Cue said. “It’s not to say that we don’t have any bugs or we don’t have any issues, every piece of software does. We care deeply about it.”
“We’re frustrated overall to hear this characterized as the quality is dropping overall because we know that’s not true,” said Federighi. “At the same time there’s certainly a reality that if people are having these experiences then there’s something we can improve.”
Gruber pressed a little further and asked them to address specific complaints about iTunes, which he said has been getting universally panned for years despite once being a loved Apple program on both Windows and Mac.
“We looked at [Mossberg’s performance issues] and it had nothing to do with iTunes,” Cue said, which is a little strange since complaints about iTunes are everywhere these days. “We [originally] designed it at a time when everyone was syncing directly via cable. So the things didn’t exist directly in the cloud. And having a centralized place where having all your content there to sync was really key because it made it really easy to do… When we went to do Apple Music… one of the things was we didn’t just want the music to live in the cloud… Right now we think we’ve designed iTunes that makes it even easier to use in the music space.”