The best and worst of Apple in 2015

By , Dec 30, 2015

best worst apple 2015

This has been a busy year for Apple from a product release standpoint. The company launched the Apple Watch in April, the first entry in a new product category for CEO Tim Cook. Then it released a new MacBook, a new iPhone, a whole new Apple TV, and the iPad Pro. And of course there was Apple Music, iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. Busy year indeed!

As 2015 draws to an end, the iDB team takes a look back at the last twelve months. From software to hardware, to services, each Editor shares what he/she feels is the best and worst of Apple this year.

The best of Apple in 2015

Christian: tvOS

At long last, the Apple TV runs third-party apps and games. The hardware is surely impressive in and of itself, but it’s the App Store that matters most. Not unlike the App Store’s debut in the summer of 2008 which let us personalize our iPhone with apps, no longer does the Apple TV confine your experience to stock apps. Apps like Infuse turn it into a home theater center and games like Asphalt 8 make it a powerful console for casual gaming. But these apps are just scratching the surface of what’s possible so the key takeaway here is: the Apple TV is now an expansive platform which Apple has big plans for. Whatever your quibble with the Apple TV might be, you can count there’ll be an app for that.

Cody: Apple TV

The fourth generation Apple TV is an obvious choice for Apple’s best effort in 2015. It improves upon the company’s previous set-top box in nearly every way, and adds a number of new features such as universal voice search, a new touchpad remote, and a native app store loaded with apps and games. Starting at $150, this is easily the best bang-for-your-buck you’ll find in Apple’s lineup right now.

Jeff: more RAM for iPhone

Finally getting 2GB of RAM in the iPhone was the best move that Apple made in 2015. Lack of RAM has always been a noticeable bottleneck for the iPhone, and for the first time ever, it’s no longer a major issue. Having more RAM means less Safari tab refreshing and overall improved app performance. The iPhone 6s is tops, and a lot of that has to do with finally having enough RAM.

Lory: Apple TV

The best thing that Apple did in 2015 was release Apple TV 4. I’ve been waiting for years for the company to follow through with the television experience that was talked about so much. While it isn’t a full TV set, Apple TV 4 has opened a lot of new options for me. I love playing games like Oceanhorn using my MFi controller and looking at awesome photos on 500px. My favorite feature? Streaming Apple music on my big screen hooked up to my vintage Pioneer speakers.

Sébastien: Apple Music

I’ll be the first to admit that Apple Music is a convoluted and messy app with a complex UI, but once I got passed that, it became clear Apple Music was the product that changed my life the most in 2015. A long time music lover, I had lost interest in new music or just listening to anything new, but Apple Music changed that. It renewed my passion for discovering new music, and helped me discover a bunch of new bands, several of them I ended up seeing live. The fact that it’s integrated with iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV makes it an even easier option, because it just works with all my devices. It definitely has room for improvement, but to me, having most music in the world at my fingertips makes Apple Music the most radical product from Apple this year.

Timothy: iOS 9 multitasking features

Out of all that Apple has done this year, one of the best steps forward to me has been the workhorse multitasking features introduced in iOS 9, particularly for the iPad Pro. Slide Over and Split Screen have changed the way I use my iPad Air 2, and these new interactions are only enhanced by the larger 12.9-screen of the iPad Pro. With iOS 9, Apple brought a new level of productivity and content creation to iOS and the iPad Pro, altering the direction of app design and the types of new apps being developed. The entire ideology behind iPad apps has taken a turn for the better, and I only see it getting better from here.

The worst of Apple in 2015

Christian: Apple Music

Apple spearheaded the digital music revolution so it goes without saying that I had high hopes for its subscription-music play. Don’t get me wrong, Apple Music is great, especially Beats 1 radio, and I use it all the time. But the sheer number of problems that are more complex than simple teething issues have me losing my faith. Apple’s sloppy execution coupled with Apple Music’s convoluted, complicated and illogical user interface leaves a lot to be desired. For a company that prides itself with simplicity, this is hugely disappointing. Worryingly, it indicates that software quality control continues to slip rather than improve within the walls of 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino.

Cody: Apple Watch

Picking the Apple Watch as Apple’s worst moment of 2015 was a no-brainer for me. You couldn’t find one in-store for some 3 months after launch, and it took 6 months for the wearable to properly support third-party apps. It’s the sloppiest I’ve seen Apple in recent years, and that’s not counting all the hardware and software issues. Here’s hoping we see a significant improvement with Apple Watch 2 next year.

Lory: putting Jimmy Iovine on TV

The worst thing Apple did this year was let Jimmy Iovine talk to CBS This Morning about the new Apple Music advertising campaign starring Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington, and Taraji P. Henson. He basically took what was already a fairly stereotyping commercial (though, arguably identifiable) and turned it into a “mansplaination” for how to find music. Let me remind you of what he said: ” So I always knew that women find it very difficult at times – some women – to find music, and [Apple Music] helps make it easier with playlists, curated by real people.” Oh, he also said this: “Girls are sitting around talking about boys – or complaining about boys. They need music for that, right? It’s hard to find the right music.” Thanks Jimmy. I couldn’t have figured out how to discover music without your giant man brain.

Sébastien: Apple itself

To me, the worst of Apple in 2015 was Apple itself. The company mostly praised for its tasteful design, product integration, and simplicity, has failed on many levels this past year. From questionable design decisions (Smart Battery Case, Apple TV Siri Remote), to untimely releases (Apple TV Remote app), to the mess that are the Apple Watch and Apple Music user interfaces, a lack of real care became more apparent. Apple seemed more worried about quickly pushing products out the door (Apple Watch and Apple TV) rather than fine-tuning these products to make sure they are indeed ready for prime time (watchOS still is disappointing software despite reaching 2.0 status in less than 6 months). Of course, Apple has good reasons for doing what it does, and we could sit here all day making excuses for the company (ie. limited amount of resources available), but I think Apple tried to do too much in order to prove it still has what it takes to be an innovative company. I’d go as far as saying it spread itself too thin.

Timothy: Apple Watch user interface

Apple’s biggest misstep this year is probably the user interface of Apple Watch. While I own a Stainless Steel Apple Watch and a number of bands, and although I thoroughly enjoy wearing my Watch daily and consider it well ahead of the competition, I wouldn’t describe the internal hardware and software as a good attempt at Apple’s first foray into wearables. The hardware could be much snappier, and the software could just work better overall. While Apple Watch is a great device, it needs work in multiple areas, with the overall UX lacking in terms of speed and efficiency. With solid design and optimization improvements in the software and more robust hardware packed into the device, Apple Watch can push even further ahead of its competitors in the wearable sector.

What about you? What do you feel was the best and worst of Apple in 2015? Make sure to share your opinion below.

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  • IOSGuru9

    I love my Apple Watch, can anyone share some insight on why the Apple Watch receives so many bad things about it?

    • Wilber Alexander Flores

      No idea, I don’t love my watch to death but it could be better but I do use it daily and has helped me in not missing phone calls or messages ever again 🙂

    • Lucus Bendzsa

      People are expecting a phone on your wrist. This is not a phone on your wrist it is an extention. I get a lot of notifications and am in a lot of meetings so the quiet reminders are nice. Also, being able to change the song on the other side of the room, a quick calculator, or Keith telling the time. I always forgot to put on my Pebble but I have never forgotten to put on  Watch.

      • David J Delgado

        This. People forget that the smartwatch idea as a whole is meant to be an extension of your phone, an accessory, if you will. The Apple Watch for its small size does a lot and while there could be some slight improvements here and there, overall it’s one of the best smartwatches in the market (and it’s a 1st gen product). The Samsung whatever they call it now smartwatch does allow typing and stuff but have you seen how HORRID that thing is? It looks like you have a gameboy on your wrist.

  • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

    The worst of Apple: The Music app on 8.4 and higher. Apple ruined the Music app for non-Apple Music users. Granted, jailbreak tweaks like Aria 2 can bring back some functionality like Album/Artists/Songs tabs, but other great features such as “Repeat” “Shuffle” and “Create” buttons being gone from the Now Playing screen shows that Apple does not care about non-Apple Music users. And the Now Playing screen itself is bad. It’s no longer a screen, but more of a mini player. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In short, the Music app on 8.4+ sucks!

    • Wilber Alexander Flores

      If you got to setting/music/sort albums/by title it helps 🙂 I prefer by album title not by artists and looks better no artist covers

  • nonchalont

    Worst (kinda): 2gb of ram. I want 3gb+. I need more ram for my jailbreak needs and longevity of the device, but I’ll take 2gb. I know Apple is not here to support jailbreak needs. Only enough ram to allow a couple iOS updates.
    Worst: Apple Watch. Terrible device for the price. Waiting for a better watch. Hopefully Apple Watch 2 will deliver significantly.
    Best: iOS. Appreciate iOS updates are quick on release. Wish we could downgrade iOS versions or allow a phone to downgrade iOS only once per iOS update.

  • Fede777

    Wow, nobody even mentioned the 16GB option for the iPhones, it needs to die.

    • Lucus Bendzsa

      If you want more pay more and stop whining.

  • Ryan

    The Apple Watch, I feel like they tried to put too much into it, I preferred the early minimalist concept design

    • Wilber Alexander Flores

      I like my watch sure it doesn’t do much but the amount of messages and missed calls I would have had if it wasn’t for me feeling it or hearing it on my wrist as opposed to phantom vibrates. Those are a thing of the past now 🙂

  • Jake Platt

    Best: iPhone 6s. Although the main feature for me is the 2GB of RAM, I am using the overall device as Apples best move of 2016. The 6s is a brilliant phone which feels like it has significantly more power and longevity than its predecessor. Everything that the iPhone 6 lacked, Apple delivered convincingly with the 6s.

    Worst: iPad Pro. Unsightly, overpriced and cumbersome, the iPad Pro is a horrible device in my opinion. Every device has a sweet spot for size, price point and practicality, and the IPad Pro is too large to be practical and way too expensive. $1500 for an iPad? Who wouldn’t rather a good laptop for that. The iPad Air 2 (and 3 in 2016) is the ideal tablet. The size is perfect, the price is reasonable for what it is, and it is portable and functional. The IPad Pro has no appeal whatsoever, at least to me.

  • tariq

    Apple pencil was probably the worst thing invented lol the iPod 6 was the best!

    • Lucus Bendzsa

      It cuts hours off my work.

  • tariq


  • Javan Denton

    what about the ridiculous iPad Pro with the pointless pencil

    • Lucus Bendzsa

      It seems pointless, but as a professional, it has brought something entirely new to my industry.

  • Felipe Queiroz Drumond

    Magic Mouse 2: RUBBISH.
    3D Touch: USELESS.

    • Lucus Bendzsa

      A tool that is used for professionals that you will never understand.
      A right click.

      I have replaced my Mac and now make my game graphics on iPad.
      I have thought right click was so useless I broke the Button off my mouse.

      Stupid troll

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    Best: (1) the extra RAM on iPhone 6s / 6s Plus. (2) 3D Touch on the new iPhones, force-pressing on the iOS keyboard to go from one end of what I typed to the other is great. (3) ability to have content blockers on iOS.

    Worst: (1) iTunes, it has become utterly useless! What’s the point of the “Backup” and “Transfer Purchases” button again if I can’t transfer my purchases and podcasts over? Utterly useless. (2) as Sebastian said, Apple itself, spreading itself too thin. Trying to rush as many products out the door just to prove that they “still got it.” Products and software are half-baked to say the least (bugs and unreliability found everywhere across both iOS and Mac OS X. I just miss the reliability of Snow Leopard, glad my old mid-2009 15″ MacBook Pro still runs it.

    To end it, I hope Apple can keep bringing us great things in 2016. But please oh please take your time Apple, no more pushing so many things out the door just to please the critics, you didn’t use to care, it was all about the product.

  • Smegmatron

    I’d like to know what Jeff hated the most

  • Marcus

    I would definitely say more RAM on iPhone and Apple Music.

  • For me:
    Best: Apple Watch: Having all important notifications piped directly to my write saves on anti-social situations where I have to look at my phone. I also miss less phone calls, and also good for reminding me to get off my butt from time to time.
    Worst: Apple buying out FoundationDB. This is more of a business issue. The company I work for was using it for a few of its projects. We had just bought a support plan from them, only for Apple to buy them out, turn around and cancel all support and licence contracts, and withdraw the production from the general public. There were quite a few red faces that day in the office.

  • NotTodayThx

    the worse thing must be the modern day slave labor they use in China where the Foxconn factories have suicide nets installed due to the high rate of suicides, they do onsite abortions at these factories so that productivity is maintained.