In 2015, Apple made a series of flashy new introductions of both hardware and software. Several seemed amazing at first, but on closer inspection, they were all disappointing. Here is the year in Apple things that sucked.
Apple’s latest vision for an overhauled laptop is a gorgeous piece of industrial design that borders on unusable. I never thought Apple could design something so thin and light that I actually resented it. Furthermore, Apple, sweet job designing a $1300 laptop that only has one port. Only one! You need an $80 dongle to actually connect more than one cable to the MacBook. Remember the MacBook Air? Remember the MacBook Pro with Retina? Those were good laptops. The MacBook is not.
Great! You can look at your wrist to read a text message—plus a bunch of other useless crap. The long-awaited, and ultra-long-rumored Apple Watch finally hit the street this year and... it’s lame. While true to Apple’s deep love of simplicity, the industrial design ended up just looking boring. And the watch, like most Android Wear watches, doesn’t do enough to justify the inconvenience that comes with a gadget you need to charge daily.
What’s most galling is that Apple wants you to pay thousands for “Edition” versions of the Watch. Get outta here! Apple and other retailers have been discounting the Watch in an effort to convince rational humans that they should want it.
Apple was late to the game on streaming music. This doesn’t say much because Apple is chronically late on all sorts of innovative ideas, but then usually introduces something so groundbreaking that its tardiness doesn’t matter. Not this time. Apple Music is a regurgitation of the passable Beats Music product it was based on, which was released nearly two years ago. Its newest features, Connect and Beats One, both fell flat. When is the last time you used any of them? But hey, exclusive Taylor Swift concert video. That makes up for all of it.
This is how you’re supposed to charge the fucking thing:
Apple’s 12.3-inch jumbo tablet is undeniably beautiful, but you might as well put it behind museum glass for all the functionality you get for a starting price of $800 (without the keyboard!). The core problem is that it’s a big ‘ol screen running iOS, a mobile operating system that’s not optimized for lots of big screen tasks. A keyboard, you say? The iPad Pro still won’t ever be a laptop. A stylus? See above. The Surface Book is cooler.
Perhaps inspired by the moving images in Harry Potter movies, several companies—not just Apple—have gambled that people want photos that move a little bit. The Live Photos feature on the new iPhone 6s camera does just this, capturing about a second of a scene in addition to the actual still snapshot. Neat? In execution, it’s a nightmare. Timing shutter snaps such that you get both the motion and the still shot is awkward. I have yet to see a single Live Photo that doesn’t just look like somebody accidentally took video.
I have to say that out of anything else that came out this year, this was the biggest disappointment. 3D Touch makes the iPhone 6S’ screen sensitive to degrees of pressure. Regular taps work as before, but push a little deeper, and you activate 3D Touch, which works a bit like right-clicking on a desktop. In theory this opens up lots of functionality, and should make using the iPhone a multitasker’s dream. In practice, it’s less useful than we anticipated. Sample usages: I can use it to shortcut to recent Tinder messages by pressing the app icon; or, I can quickly start a new email straight from the home screen. Each one of these shortcuts saves me a tap or two, but it’s not a compelling enough time savings for me to actually build the habit of 3D Touching. Hopefully, developers will find some more interesting applications for the admittedly impressive tech.
Transit directions in Apple Maps
It’s about damn time. Google Maps is still infinitely better. Word on the street is that more people use Apple Maps than Google Maps on iOS. Congratulations Apple, you forced your inferior homegrown app on users and it worked.
.Top image via CBS.
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