Kelly Sims

Musings on life, web design, beer and what happens when they collide.

Coming apart at the seams

For some time now, I’ve been noticing a steady decline in usability for my older Apple devices. With each software upgrade, things get worse and worse. I hate this; it feels like forced obsolescence. While I say “older,” I don’t really consider these devices old.

Take my AppleTV. I have the 2nd generation AppleTV, only 3-4 years old. It’s been a solid workhorse for me. I use it almost daily to watch Netflix, movies, and to stream internet radio to our speakers. I love it. But somewhere along the way, sometime in the last year, it got wonky.

It started getting sluggish when I’d start up Netflix. Things would take a long time to load, shows would stop playing. I thought it was a Netflix issue. But then HBOGO, and almost any other app would do the same. Now, any time I start it up and select an app, I have to wait for it to reboot itself before I can watch anything. It’s become so normal I don’t even question it anymore.

I also have an iPad2 that I use daily for reading and browsing the web. The iPad has become a favorite of mine to use at night after work. But some time during the 7.0 OS updates, it also become sluggish. Now at 8.2, it’s almost unusable.

Browsing websites on my iPad2 has become an exercise in frustration. Any app I choose to use on it now routinely freezes up for minutes at a time, and many outright crash each use. I’m not the only one seeing this either.

I got called in for tech support to my mother the other day for her iPad2. She wasn’t able to see her email in the Mail app. It just showed nothing at all. Somehow her settings had changed and turned off mail for her Gmail account. When I turned it back on, Mail app would crash every time we opened it up. She’s now forced to read email via website, which has it’s own issues as noted above.

I’ve owned Apple computers for years now. Never before have I had to deal with OS updates causing the device to become unusable. It strikes me me as terrible to think Apple allows these older devices to upgrade. And there’s no way to downgrade either. Once you’ve updated the OS, you’re stuck with it.

And so now I wonder, should I buy a new iPad? All the well knowing it may end up becoming unusable in a year or two because Apple updates kill it? No idea yet.

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