I used to simply dislike the Apple computer company. It had less to do with their equipment and software and more to do with the overt and annoying fanboy worship from their most ardent followers. The comment that disgusts me the most is, “It just works” (as if that is an amazing standard that we should all strive to achieve). The issue now runs far deeper with me now as I have to deal with Apple and iOS on almost a daily basis whether I want to or not. The software, deployment, certificate and everything having to do with delivering an app to the App Store is one of the worst experiences of my life and it seems to get worse every time I try it.
A customer called me up a couple of months ago to make a simple change to their app. It was mostly a change in verbiage to help their customers understand everything more clearly. I make the simple change to the app and compile. I get errors. Why? I have to download a new certificate from the Apple Developer website because my developer certificate expired. I generate a new certificate but it still doesn’t work. I cannot find an answer online, so I delete all the out-of-date certificates which gets me past that issue. I compile again and I get some kind of cryptic error which took a few hours of Googling to figure out what the problem was.
Best I could tell, Xcode was out of date and needs to be updated. What caused it stop working? Apple released an iOS update to my phone that requires the latest version of Xcode. Okay, so I went to install the latest version of Xcode. MacOS tells me that there are no updates for Xcode. Another multiple-hour session of Googling establishes that, for my current version of the operating system, this is the highest version of Xcode supported. My next step is to upgrade to macOS Monterey. After about 4 hours, Monterey is downloaded. I push the install button and I have a sense of relief as I know I’m on the way to getting this problem resolved.
My sense of relief is quickly eroded as I receive a “firmware update could not be completed” error. I had no option other than to reboot and try again. I tried it again and the same problem. To say that I’m pissed off by this point is an extreme understatement. More multi-hour Googling gives a horrifying answer: my MacBook does not have the original OEM SSD hard drive which this update requires. What was the solution provided by Apple? Simply put in your old drive and run the update so that the firmware is updated. That would be fine if I HAD THE ORIGINAL SSD – WHICH I DON’T! I bought the MacBook as a refurb, but it was purchased from a refurbishing company that is Apple certified.
There were a few Reddit posts pointing to some WordPress sites that claimed to have a workaround that may work but no guarantees. Yeah, the “solutions” I found did nothing to help me update the firmware. There were some other options to fix my problem like downgrading the iOS version on my phone to the last supported version for the Xcode I have installed. The problem with that is I have to basically wipe my phone to do it. Since it is my daily driver, I really do not want to make a bad problem worse.
I decided to go with the safe solution. The safe solution was to go to eBay and buy an original Apple OEM SSD. I found the cheapest, smallest OEM SSD I could find from a reputable seller and purchased it. I am glad to report that the USPS website is showing the package delivered right to my mailbox. I say that the USPS website is showing the package is delivered, because there is no package in my mailbox. It wasn’t stolen because my mailbox is a lockbox type and can only be opened with a key. I received three pieces of junk mail and nothing else. It was probably delivered to someone else, which my particular carrier is prone to do. But, until someone comes forward with the package or I find out that USPS made a mistake, I am stuck without the SSD that I sorely need.
I know I cannot blame my last stroke of bad luck on Apple, but maybe I can. If I was not stuck in a purgatory of Apple software updates and hardware problems, I wouldn’t have to buy some worthless part off of eBay and have to deal with whatever the USPS issue is. I have been a software developer pushing 30 years now and you know what the hardest part is? How am I supposed to explain to my customer why I cannot make even the most basic change in a timely fashion? The second problem is the fact that I can charge, at most, one hour for a change that is taking me weeks to complete.
Now, let’s go back to one of my main issues with Apple. I am an independent developer. This is how I make my living. What do I get paid for the weeks of trying to get this problem resolved? One hour of time at my standard rate. The people at Apple do not care. They cater mostly to Fortune 500 companies and fanboys. They really don’t care about my plight and would probably have a good laugh at Starbucks if I called to complain.
The same Apple fanboys love to insult Microsoft. With confidence, I can say in my 30-year career that I have never had a challenge that took as much time to resolve as I did with the Apple issue. And, of course, it’s still not fixed. I may run into some other problem when and if I finally get the SSD in the mail. I can’t wait to see what happens next.