Google is getting better at product design faster than Apple is getting better at web services, and that’s a sign of worry.
Apple maybe champions in product design, and marketing that product design as the next best thing since sliced cheese, but it isn’t all it cuts out to be when it comes to Internet services. Those are the words of Patrick B. Gibson, an ex-Apple engineer, who on his personal blog lamented about Apple’s slow and tiresome progress of making better Internet-focused applications.
“Almost anything Apple does which involves the internet is a mess,” he wrote. Giving a few examples, such as how Apple can’t update its online store without taking it offline, or how the notes application requires an email address to sync, Gibson said that Apple is far lagging behind in terms of using new Internet technologies. The fact that the iTunes and Apple Store runs on a “mostly dead framework written almost 20 years ago” is a sign of that.
Apple would not had to worry about that a few years ago, but according to Gibson, they should start right about now. Why? Because Android.
Gibson believes that Android, while not as polished and smooth as the iOS, is catching up to be so quite quickly, and that Google’s Internet services for the platforms which “just work” makes it harder for anyone to argue that Android is now not up to snuff with the iOS platform.
“Google, specifically Android, has been steadily improving its entire platform,” he said. “To me, it still doesn’t have the same quality of polish and feel that Apple software does. However, it’s getting harder to argue that point, especially since their web services all tend to Just Work. Features like Google Now and near-instant voice commands are starting to give Android a serious leg up on iOS. Design is coming along as well. Android is still ugly, but it’s much less ugly than it was a few years ago. Google seems to be actively addressing this, and if Apple isn’t worried, they should be.”
Gibson goes on to suggest that Apple should acquire Twitter, not so much for the social network, but for the talent. Twitter runs on some of the most advanced Web technologies currently available, with most of it invented by the site’s engineering team. This could help Apple’s lackluster web skills, which has been plagued by its “inability to recruit or keep talented web engineers.”