back to article Apple replaces boot-loop watchOS edition with unconnected complications edition

It isn't just Microsoft that has QA issues – so does Apple. The Cupertino giant withdrew a watchOS update that bricked the Apple Watch 4 last week, and has now rushed out a replacement containing things that don't work yet which Apple probably didn't want you to see. 5.1.1 supersedes the catastrophic 5.1 update that sent …

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Hmmmm

Probably the same people who do tech support for Vodafone UK

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As always, marketing say release it yesterday

The fact that it's a steaming pile doesn't seem to matter.

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Re: As always, marketing say release it yesterday

Yeh but, is it yesterday still? Anyone have a working watch? Shit... I gotta... gotta... get this update out!

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Re: As always, marketing say release it yesterday

"Yeh but, is it yesterday still?"

I live in Australia, it's (almost) always yesterday somewhere.

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Complications

Embrace, extend, extinguish...a word which was once applied to watches to mean they actually had extra machinery to do different things is being extended to "more features", presumably in an effort to make an electronic gadget which is basically a very small tablet cum mobile phone sound like something made by real craftsmen.

I hate marketing even while recognising the need for it.

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Re: Complications

>> I hate marketing even while recognising the need for it.

Marketing should be the servant, not the master. All too often companies think it is the other way round.

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Re: Complications

>> Marketing should be the servant, not the master. All too often companies think it is the other way round.

So true, I've even been on a IT project where marketing had come up with an idea (stolen from overseas) and had booked the television advertising even before they scoped the size of the project. So we had a unmovable deadline before the project even got of the ground.

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Re: Complications

Apple's "complications" even follow the tradition of borderline uselessness

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Release notes

Whats the point in saying nothing in them ?

They are supposed to help customers know whats changed so they can assess if its likely to impact something that they may need to integrate with and therefore test themselves- as part of their specific risk assessment.

Saying generic rubbish is as bad as saying nothing. Apple - Please either do it right, or don't bother doing it at all.

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Re: Release notes

That's the same "release notes" I see on lots of Android apps when I upgrade them from the Play store, especially the built in Google ones. Or just the same "release notes" over and over again, going on for several versions.

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Anonymous Coward

So easy to blame

QA is the first to get cut, the first to get squeezed on project deadlines.

Yet as soon as something happens, completely QA's fault.

How about the devs who wrote the thing in the first place?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So easy to blame

>> How about the devs who wrote the thing in the first place?

Usually it goes back further than that. It is usually when the project gets sized and quoted on that the estimates that were initially given by the Devs & QA team are reduced by maglement to fit a target budget without reducing the scope of the work. So neither the Devs or Testers have enough time to do things properly.

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Re: So easy to blame

Hmm, apply the same logic to streamlining management that resulted in DevOps,

I wonder if that could be a thing in the near future ??

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Re: So easy to blame

"Hmm, apply the same logic to streamlining management that resulted in DevOps,

I wonder if that could be a thing in the near future ??"

Only if the government thought it could get elected with five million unemployed. The horror stories I hear nowadays of "managers" with nothing actually to manage suggests that an awful lot of white collar workers are actually in non-jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

From the Chimpanzee

Another very un-Apple-like bug. Perhaps without telling us, Microsoft and Apple have outsourced QA to the very same overworked chimpanzee.

Nope. Both have not sent me anything lately.

But the gibbon next-door seems very busy, when he's not getting his tummy unzipped and stuffed by Cleese and Co.

(Congrats to anyone who gets that reference)

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"Complications" feature

Sounds like some internal Apple frustration is leaking out.

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A very Apple like bug

Microsoft, at least, had the excuse that they have to make their OS compatible with a panoply of hardware, drivers, and software that they don't control. Apple controls the entire ecosystem and they still chimped it. They schedule their big conferences before they even start development and release whatever they can.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A very Apple like bug

It is striking, isn't it!

In practice there's no such thing as a single hardware build standard. Apple won't necessarily have a static bill of materials for the hardware in an iWatch. For things like memory, the factory will be buying whichever memory chips happen to be the cheapest at that given moment. Same for passive components, etc. So whilst your iWatch and my iWatch might have exactly the same model number and spec, there's still a strong likelihood that the innards are actually subtly different.

With that kind of thing going on a lot, perhaps daily, it starts becoming infeasible to do comprehensive software testing on every single build standard there's ever been. If they're choosing components daily, that's possibly 365 variants in a year. And without that, there's gaps through which problems can grow.

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Re: A very Apple like bug

Without contesting any of the points made -- they're probably all true to some extent -- how is it possible for makers of really complex equipment like a modern automobile to build products that function at all? I think perhaps there is a bit more to the story than that QA is really difficult.

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Re: A very Apple like bug

"For things like memory, the factory will be buying whichever memory chips happen to be the cheapest at that given moment. Same for passive components, etc. "

If the factory really is doing that, then the purchasing department needs to be shown the door... In a properly run manufacturing setup, you'll have a very carefully controlled list of approved parts which can be used, and which R&D have validated against all critical parameters. Purchasing is then free to replenish raw stock using whichever is the cheapest/easiest to obtain approved part, but any deviation from the approved list should always require R&D authorisation. No ifs, no buts, no "oh, but it's just a resistor, we didn't think it'd make a difference".

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176 Mb

Far out.

This is a watch, and if there's 176Mb there's what...around 2-3 million lines of code? No wonder it's fucked.

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Re: 176 Mb

Most of that will be graphics for various parts, as the updates are full system images. So significantly less than two million lines of code. Still, I agree with you on the bloated part.

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Re: 176 Mb

Pfaaagh! 176 Mb is only 122 or so floppies worth of code. Barely enough to display "Hello World" given current best practices.

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Re: 176 Mb

Facebook Messenger on iOS is 145.1MB. For a single app. 175MB is nothing :-)

(it is 21 times bigger than my first ever RAM upgrade, however.....)

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Re: 176 Mb

Facebook Messenger on any platform is a bloated app. It's over 200MB on Android not including data, so Apple users get off easy. Seriously, though, I've written complex enterprise apps complete with diagnostic logging, phone home, etc., and the images are smaller than that even before symbols are stripped. I cannot begin to imagine how Messenger ends up being so large.

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Anonymous Coward

Management procedure

It's a major part of the management role, in our beancounter lead world, to get costs down. So by definition, whatever the costs appear on the spreadsheet they will be rewarded to the extent that they can reduce this. As far as I can work out, from various meetings and discussions over the years, this bares no relationship to the reality of the process. It's just about the numbers. So screw the punters if you can put a cheaper component in, that will do a poorer job, if it saves 0.1p per unit.. I guess in software development the equivalent is cut out the testing if it seems to work.

It's not a new thing. 30+ years ago I had a lovely little camera. It got damaged on holiday so I bought a new one. By then the only place that sold it was Curry's. As a rebadged, but otherwise identical camera. But that camera just didn't work as well as my original one; the film ( remember that) kept slipping so that images overlapped. When I took a closer look and compared it to the broken one ( I don't know why I'd kept it) the little spiked steel cog wheel that moved the film on had been replaced with a plastic version that the film just slipped over. They can not have failed to know that this would happen, but hey 0.1p saved per camera sold.

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outsourced QA to the very same overworked chimpanzee

I'll look forward to seeing that on Sir Dave's new Dynasties series - chimp examines Apple watch, looks at the support SLAs, presses one random button, and then flings some poo at the PASSED target.

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updates and upgrades

Stopped bothering with Apple Watches, every year, two at most, you have to bin it as obsolete e-waste. Then you add the painful update process, and having to charge it every day...just too painful.

My Tough solar G-Shock get's it's atomic time from the radio tower, and it's juice from the sun, will go forever, perpetual calendar and all. For elegance and style one of my Swiss dress or dive watches comes out, and they can be just as good for my kids in several decades.

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Re: updates and upgrades

"My Tough solar G-Shock get's it's atomic time from the radio tower, and it's juice from the sun, will go forever,"

I used to think my solar powered watch would last forever. The first one got stolen. Rechargable batteries don't live forever though. By the time the second battery died, they didn't make that particular battery anymore. That's when I switched to using mobile phones for time instead of watches. I use a solar panel (hasn't died yet, but looking the worse for wear), to charge a solar battery (on the second one), and then charge whatever phones I'm carrying at the time (currently on the second and third phones).

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