Scripting News: Tech reporting is often nonsense.

The horserace school of election coverage has been debunked.

But it’s not the only kind of reporting that’s based on the gut feel of people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Tech reporting is a great case in point.

A picture named mrNatural.gifLook at this article at Business Insider that says because they shuffled the chairs at the top level of management at Apple they can predict that a similar kind of revolution is coming soon in their software. The reporter thinks that Apple’s mobile OS is no longer innovative, so the whole thing will be redesigned, deployed, somehow, in as little time as it takes to move one exec out and the other in. Never mind that the new exec isn’t even a software developer.

“It’s Time For Apple To Unleash A Major Software Overhaul,” they say. Sigh.

You don’t have to be an engineer to be a reporter, but you do have to pay attention. Unless you want to sound like an idiot.

When was the last time an OS got a total overhaul because an exec thought it needed one? Well, that was a trick question cause it happens all the time, of course. And how often are they disasters? Unfortunately for the companies, the execs and most importantly, the users — that happens all the time too. So much so, that a smart company never undertakes such an overhaul without lots of process. Years of planning, and then it probably doesn’t work. Look at how many times Microsoft tried it. Apple too, but in the last decade, they’ve been much more conservative. And that’s a good thing.

Now here’s some more bluntness — iOS is itself the major retooling.

Reading the tea leaves you can see that they had the idea that gradually they would bring iOS features to the Mac OS. If you quickly traveled to 2015 or 2018 and booted up what they’re selling as a desktop then, you’d be booting up iOS, with the old Mac OS in a compatibility box to run your legacy apps. I think this didn’t work out as they hoped it would, that the cultures are so dramatically different, that they couldn’t make the transition work. As a Mac user who also uses iOS — I certainly hope so.

Apple would be ill-advised at this point to rip up the UI of iOS and start over. Too many users. Too many braincells already aligned to the way it works. That’s why progress happens so slowly in OSes. And in so many other everyday things that billions of people use.

You could complain that iOS and Android are very much alike in UIs. And so are the UIs of Buicks and Toyotas. It has to be that way. It’s good that it is that way. It means that our skills are transferable. It keeps lock-in to a minimum.

I guess reporters have to have something to write about, and maybe there isn’t enough. But don’t expect a major overhaul of Apple’s mobile OS. It would be better for everyone if they concentrated in the next few years on fixing bugs and smoothing things out.


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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