Apple’s been busy over the past few weeks. We now have public beta versions of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple Music has launched, Apple Pay has finally arrived in the UK, and the company even updated its iPod line up with new colours. Nobody can complain that Apple is twiddling its thumbs.
People do complain, though. We’ve heard people grumbling that, having installed the beta versions of the as yet unreleased operating systems, their apps don’t run the way they expect them to. What do you expect when you sign up as a beta tester! There wouldn’t even be a beta program if the software wasn’t going to be buggy – it’s your job to identify these bugs.
Don’t install beta software on your main device if there is a chance that you will need to run critical apps on it. For example, we found that Apple Pay doesn’t work on iOS 9 when we were in the middle of filming a video about how to use Apple Pay… [Watch that video here: How to use Apple Pay]
Because the beta versions of the operating systems are likely to cause problems with your apps, Apple has stopped people who have installed the beta software on their device from leaving third party app reviews on the Apple App stores. We think this is a completely fair thing to do – it wouldn’t be fair on developers if suddenly their app received a ton of criticism because it doesn’t work in an unreleased operating system. And yet, people are now complaining that Apple has sidelined developers because they can’t see if people testing the betas are having problems with their software. You can’t have it both ways.
Up next on Points of View is Apple Music, which is also attracting criticism. Apple Music has the unfortunate status of being a bit rubbish when you first start using it because it needs to spend a bit of time with you before it can gather the information it needs about you to give decent recommendations about the music you might enjoy. After using Apple Music for a few days things improve, but how many people have stuck around for that long.
Apple Music is also perhaps not as intuitive to use as it could be, which has lead to a lot of confusion. For example, if you’ve been listening to some music and then later think you’d like to listen to it again, tracking those tracks down seems to be a little confusing for some people. We found out how to see what you’ve been listening to, by the way, just click on up next and scroll up through your history. It could certainly be more intuitive though.
Another problem with Apple Music is people’s distrust of the “three month free trial”. The fact that during sign up Apple’s wording suggests you will be paying £9.99 a month is stopping some people from starting the trial. But it is possible to uncheck the box that will cause your subscription to be auto renewed after three months, we show you to make sure you won't be charged for Apple Music here.
Moving on to Apple Pay and the disappointment here is directed more at the UK banks than Apple. At launch only a handful of banks offered Apple Pay - Lloyds were absent, for example, even though it has confirmed it will join Apple Pay later this year. Barclays has been putting all its resources behind its bPay system and initially had no plans to support Apple Pay, but now, in an about turn, we’re hearing that the bank will be supporting Apple Pay after all. [There’s a list of all the UK banks supporting Apple Pay in this article]
The other problem with Apple Pay right now is that fact that, like any contactless payment terminal, it is limited by the standard, and that means that right now you can’t use Apple Pay to pay for transactions over £20. That value is due to increase to £30 in September, but because Apple Pay is more secure than a debit or credit card - because it relies on your finger print to work - it is hoped that eventually you will be able to spend any amount using Apple Pay on any contactless terminal. For now, only a few terminals will be able to take larger transactions.
There’s one more concern about Apple Pay. Now that you can use your Apple Pay equipped device touch in and out on the Tube there are concerns that if your battery runs out on your device you could end up paying twice. More about this here: How to use Apple Pay on the London Underground. Our advice: make sure the device you are using to pay with is not about to run out of battery.
On to the new iPods. Apple hadn’t updated the iPods since September 2013 so the updates are welcome, although perhaps the iPod has had its day. It seemed logical that the update to the iPods would help Apple to push Apple Music out to even more customers, but only the iPod touch is capable of connecting to the Apple Music streaming service. The lack of Apple Music compatibility has lead to criticisms, although it’s hardly surprising as Apple Music needs an internet connection and neither the nano or shuffle offer that.
There was one more thing that attracted criticism this month: Apple’s Financial results. The company beat its estimates and its revenue and profit, and sold more iPhones and Macs than it had in the same quarter last year, but Wall Street wasn’t satisfied. Even worse, iPad sales declined again.
As for the Apple Watch, Apple didn’t reveal exactly how many it sold, but it did reveal that it sold more Apple Watches in the first nine weeks than it did of the original iPhone and iPad. And research is suggesting that Apple has 75 percent of the global smartwatch market already. And yet people aren’t satisfied. That’s what happens when you are too good, everybody has such high expectations that even the best isn’t good enough.