Apple Delays Software Development, Emphasizes Quality for 2024 Ambitions

Critical Software Pause

In a rare move, Craig Federighi, Apple Inc.’s head of software engineering, announced a temporary freeze on the development of the company’s next major software updates, including iOS 18 and macOS 15. This decision was driven by a determination to enhance the initial quality of these updates, crucial for Apple’s race against competitors like Google and OpenAI in the realm of generative AI.

Pressure to Excel

With the iPhone 16 slated for a year without major hardware advancements, Apple is relying heavily on the forthcoming software updates to drive sales for the new models. Understanding the weight of this responsibility, Apple’s cautious approach to the software development process aims to eliminate glitches and ensure a seamless user experience.

A Step Back for a Leap Forward

This pause in development, reminiscent of a similar move in 2019, comes after reaching a key milestone in the software development process. Apple had completed the first internal versions of iOS 18 and macOS 15, marking the M1 stage. The break has delayed the commencement of M2 development by a week, impacting the overall timeline but emphasizing Apple’s commitment to quality.

The Pact: A Commitment to Quality

Apple’s dedication to quality is underscored by a policy established in 2019 known as “The Pact,” which asserts a commitment to promptly fixing any regression or build issues. The recent pause in software development indicates that Apple found it necessary to reassess and address potential regressions in iOS 18, macOS 15, and watchOS 11.

2024 Software: Ambitious and Compelling

Internal discussions within Apple’s senior management reveal high anticipation for the 2024 software updates. Described as “ambitious and compelling,” these updates promise major new features, designs, and significant improvements in security and performance. The focus on quality assurance indicates Apple’s determination to provide a groundbreaking user experience.

Hands-on with MacBook Pros and iMac

The latest MacBook Pros and iMacs featuring M3-based chips have made their way to Apple retail stores. Initial impressions reveal incremental improvements in speed but raise questions about design choices. The 24-inch iMac, for example, has maintained its previous colour options, raising eyebrows as Apple typically refreshes colours annually.

The MacBook Pro, however, introduces a new colour option – Space Black. While this might appeal to those in the market for a new MacBook Pro, the speed improvements, while noticeable, may not be groundbreaking for current M1 chip owners.

M3 Ultra Chip Speculations

Looking ahead, rumours swirl around the potential release of an M3 Ultra chip with a staggering 80 graphics cores. Apple’s strategy of baseline, Pro, Max, and now Ultra versions could result in a chip with 32 CPU cores and 80 graphics cores. The deviation from the previous approach with the M2 Max suggests that the M3 Ultra may boast several more CPU cores in addition to the expected graphics boost.

Future Recommendations

The advice for current MacBook Pro and M1 iMac owners is to wait for another generation or two before considering an upgrade. However, the M3 Ultra chip could present an enticing option for those still on Intel-based machines, especially if it lives up to the speculated capabilities. Apple’s broader testing of these components in the coming months is likely to provide more clarity on the highly anticipated M3 Ultra chip ahead of its expected launch next year.