Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Discuss Bloated Software Accusations, Upcoming iTunes Plans

Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi spoke with John Gruber in this week's episode of "The Talk Show," where they commented on recent opinions that Apple's software isn't up to snuff and offered some details on a new version of iTunes coming in OS X 10.11.4.

Last week, Re/code's Walt Mossberg wrote a piece entitled "Apple's Apps Need Work," pointing towards a "gradual degradation" in quality in several Apple apps and services like iCloud, Mail, and Photos. iTunes for the desktop was one of the most heavily criticized apps, with Mossberg saying he "dreads" opening it because it's "bloated, complex, and sluggish."

During the podcast, Gruber asked Eddy Cue about Mossberg's opinion, prompting him to give some background on how Apple wanted the iTunes experience to work. iTunes, Cue said, was designed at a time when people synced their devices via cable, so offering a centralized place with all of a user's content was key. With Apple Music, Apple decided on a design that would put music front and center while also integrating cloud music with hard copies purchased through iTunes.

craigeddyitunes
"We decided in the short term that what we wanted to do is really make it when you're in music and iTunes, all you see is music," said Cue. He went on to explain that Apple is continually re-evaluating iTunes, and there are plans to release a refreshed version alongside OS X 10.11.4 next month.

"That's not to say we are continuing... and will continue to think about what's the best way to architect the app and whether it makes sense to do a separate app for some of the components that are in there or all of the components that are in there. But right now, we think we've designed iTunes and you'll see we've got a new refresh with the new version of OS X that's coming out next month that makes it even easier to use in the music space."

Cue and Federighi went on to talk about the issues that arise whenever Apple makes major changes to software, as there are always people who prefer not to see significant changes. According to Federighi, there's a "tricky balancing act" with software updates.

"People are serious about their music and their collection, and so I think we debate pretty heavily internally the right way to evolve these things. We tend to err on the side of being pretty bold, but there's a lot of responsibility.

The two also highlighted the immense scale that Apple is working on, with more than 1 billion active devices and 782 million iCloud users. More than 200,000 iMessages per second are sent at peak times, and there are more than 750 million transactions per week in the iTunes Store and the App Store. Apple Music has grown to 11 million subscribers and more than 2.5 million errors in Maps have been fixed, a number presented as evidence that Apple is continually working on its software.

"I would say first there's nothing we care about more," said Federighi, speaking on Apple's software and services. He believes Apple's core software quality has improved significantly over the course of the last five years, but pointed towards an ever-raising bar that pushes Apple to keep evolving and implementing new features. "Every year we realize the things we were good at last year and the techniques we were using to build the best software we can are not adequate for the next year because the bar keeps going up," he said.

Federighi and Cue's full discussion with John Gruber about the state of software, the desktop version of iTunes, and Apple's efforts to expand its public beta program, can be listed to over on the Daring Fireball website.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
54 months ago
I don't know. The newest versions of the iTunes have been horrible. Personally, I miss the older older UI
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago
The problem is the insane amount of irritating bugs and glitches. Was that addressed?
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago

He believes Apple's core software quality has improved significantly over the course of the last five years

The phrase "rose-tinted glasses" springs to mind.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago
The fact it's called iTunes but its also meant to hold movies, books, apps etc points to the problem.

They just took what they had and shoved in a bunch of features to deal with other media formats and what you get is bloatware that doesn't do anything particularly well.

They need to start with a clean slate.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago

Craig should replace Tim as CEO. Tim is just the COO.

He's barely competent as software VP. Scott Forstall needs to return and set things straight!
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago
I think iTunes has hit the size of what it does that it should be split back out into multiple Applications

iPod - your own music library
Music - Streaming music service
iRadio - The streaming radio
etc, depending on functionality

Also: start working on web applications for a few of these, like radio / music.

And finally fix the ridiculously large gaping memory leak hole that has existed in iTunes for what feels like a decade already.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

New Low-Cost 'iPhone SE' Could Launch as Soon as Tomorrow

Thursday April 2, 2020 4:06 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's new low-cost iPhone is set to launch as early as Friday, April 3, according to a new report from 9to5Mac that cites a tip from a "highly trusted reader." The site says that while it can't be certain about the launch date, "Apple could reveal and begin taking orders for the new iPhone as soon as tomorrow." The iPhone 8 Apple is said to be planning to call the new iPhone, which is...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...

AirTags Referenced in New Apple Support Video

Thursday April 2, 2020 12:12 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple has accidentally referenced its widely rumored AirTags item tracking tags in a video that it uploaded to its Apple Support channel on YouTube today. The video was first spotted by the blog Appleosophy and has quickly been removed. The video was titled "How to erase your iPhone." AirTags were mentioned in Settings > Apple ID > Find My > Find My iPhone under Enable Offline Finding, with...

Intel Unveils 10th-Gen Processors Suitable for Next 16-Inch MacBook Pro With Wi-Fi 6 and Turbo Boost Speeds Above 5GHz

Thursday April 2, 2020 7:53 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Intel today announced the launch of its latest 10th-generation Core processors for high-end notebooks, potentially including the next 16-inch MacBook Pro. The batch of 45W chips, part of the Comet Lake family, are built on Intel's 14nm++ architecture. The new H-series chips have the same base clock speeds as the 9th-generation chips in the current 16-inch MacBook Pro, but Turbo Boost speeds...

Apple Paid Hacker $75,000 for Uncovering Zero-Day Camera Exploits in Safari

Friday April 3, 2020 3:58 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple paid out $75,000 to a hacker for identifying multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in its software, some of which could be used to hijack the camera on a MacBook or an iPhone, according to Forbes. A zero-day vulnerability refers to a security hole in software that is unknown to the software developer and the public, although it may already be known by attackers who are quietly exploiting...

Apple Offers Employees Deep Discounts on HomePod, Beats Headphones and More

Friday April 3, 2020 11:14 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is offering employees significant discounts on products that include the HomePod and Beats headphones, according to details on the deals shared by MacGeneration and 9to5Mac. Apple is said to be clearing stock of Beats headphones and HomePods, providing them to employees through an internal deals program. The HomePod is available at a 50 percent discount, dropping the price to $149.50,...

iPhone 8 Screen Protector Updated With 'iPhone SE' Compatibility on Apple's Online Store

Thursday April 2, 2020 8:10 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Another clue has surfaced to suggest that Apple's rumored lower-cost iPhone SE successor will likely be released soon. Earlier today, a product listing for a Belkin screen protector on Apple's online store was updated to reflect compatibility with not only the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, but also the iPhone SE. Given the original iPhone SE was a 4-inch device, and the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are...

Apple Adding Some 2013 and 2014 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Models to Vintage Products List at End of April

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:24 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that the following 2013 and 2014 models of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will be added to its vintage and obsolete products list on April 30:MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013) MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013) MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014) MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014) MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2014)Apple defines vintage...

Zoom Updates Mac App Installer to Remove Controversial 'Preflight' Installation Method

Thursday April 2, 2020 11:42 am PDT by Eric Slivka
The popular video conferencing company Zoom has been under scrutiny over the past few days for the method used to install the Mac version of its app, which essentially abused a "preflight" compatibility check to install the app without the user needing to explicitly grant installation permission, as highlighted by developer Felix Seele earlier this week. Screenshot of preflight compatibility ...

Top Stories: Apple Leaks iPhone SE and AirTags, Apple Buys Dark Sky, and More

Saturday April 4, 2020 6:00 am PDT by MacRumors Staff
With the calendar rolling over to April this week, we yet again saw several leaks and rumors, most notably including Apple itself leaking some references to a pair of long-rumored products: a new budget iPhone SE and AirTags item trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple also acquired popular weather app Dark Sky, while Amazon's Prime Video app now allows...