18 months ago I wrote about the state of iOS 7:
iOS7 should be an enormous embarrassment for Apple management. They set a timeline that pushed iOS7 out half-baked and I hope they regret that decision.
I still have bad memories about iOS 7 that make me second guess every iOS update. A bad taste still lingers as I watch the Apple announcements. However bad iOS 7 was, iOS 9 gives me tremendous satisfaction for sticking with it.
The entire Apple stack is now showing it's strength. Siri has reached a point of maturity that I can depend upon. Spotlight across OS X and iOS is now a first class feature that actually saves time and effort.1 Handoff is transitioning from cruel joke to high technology. Even iCloud is proving to be a respectable feature of the Apple platform.2
There are fewer functional gaps than ever before and what gaps remain make me hopeful for iOS 10 and OS X 10.12. For the first time, I can see the Apple vision of a unified computing platform congeal into something homogenous.
My positive feelings extend beyond the Apple platform. For the first time in many years I'm thankful for the current state and hopeful for the future state. Email is better than ever with fantastic services, filters and apps. Slack and similar competitors have reimagined the social communication platform we always new that computers could be. Slack is a true joy and one of the first apps I use in the morning and last apps I close at night.
Privacy is also rapidly becoming an actual public touchstone with companies touting their features (or defending their lack of features). The tug-o-war between personal freedom and government is still taking place but the middle ground is still shifting. While I once thought the battle was nearly done, it appears that many citizens care enough to at least consider privacy as part of their purchasing decisions. As the market responds to new revelations about government abuse and massive data breaches we all get better options.
The technology in our homes and cars is still mostly stuck in the nineties but I have hope there too. Not for the Internet of Things (because that sounds awful) but because there are opportunities to actually improve the way we live together. More efficient utility consumption means less waste. Better navigation and safety means safer travel. We're getting there and the next 5 years seem exciting as we see smart devices for our home and world class AI in our cars.3
While 2015 doesn't hold a candle to the visions I had as a pre-teen in the seventies, it's still pretty great. I never imagined the possibilities of the Internet and even Star Trek tricorders were bigger and more limited than my own pocket computer is now. For the first time since I saw the NeXT computer I'm bullish on the future of computers and software. Now, let's work on all these defects in humanity.
OS X Spotlight still has a ways to go to catch up with iOS. The iOS experience just seems smarter and faster. ↩
It's still nowhere as useful and reliable as Dropbox but the integration across the platform is impressive. ↩
I'm not referring to Tesla or self driving cars. Tesla is a luxury car far outside the reach of most drivers and mostly limited to people that live in the bubble of San Francisco. I have no expectation that I will ever see a city of self driving cars. People are too dumb to coexist with autonomous vehicles on scale. ↩