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@Apple and Feature Regression

Keynote IconThis Apple fan boy is growing aggravated with Apple coming out with new software versions that drop features, sometimes significant features, without much, if any, warning.

Recent Example

The most recent example is the new iWork software. I am a huge Keynote user. Yes, I guess I’m a power user, now that I think about it.

The new software is designed to work across OS and iOS devices as well as on the web on a Mac or Wintel machine. Well, that’s just fine and dandy. Cool. Love it.

But to accomplish this, some significant features were taken out of the desktop software. To be honest, I doubt I will ever in my lifetime create a presentation directly on my iPad, or (even more doubtful) my iPhone!

There is feature regression in Pages and Numbers as well, but I use those apps less. Until (if ever) I have feature parity, I’m using the old apps.

Most Outrageous Example

First Apple “reinvented iMovie from the ground up” with their bare hands no doubt, completely changing the software’s UI and workflow. The new version was a featureless train wreck! It took Apple about 3 years to update it so that it had feature parity with the older version.

Admittedly, the new iMovie software is now significantly better than the old. But, why do that to your customers? Why take away awesome features for several years?

Then there was the Final Cut Pro débâcle, which cost Apple an undisclosed percentage of market share with professional edit houses who switched to Adobe when Apple arrogantly stopped selling the previous version of FCP to force the switch to a really lame new FCPX. Apple had cornered the professional market. I was living in LA at the time, and the pros were livid with Apple, hating FCPX. Many still refuse to use it. Change in UI and workflow is difficult enough, but the lack of feature parity is still very disconcerting.

Suggestion to Apple

When “reinventing” software from the ground up, provide a graceful path into the new software that includes file compatibility with previous versions. And carefully study feature parity before releasing a severely handicapped app.