We Need to Talk About iOS 8

It's no secret that I have been a huge fan of iOS since its inception. It brought many great improvements in security, stability and approachability for the beginner-to-moderate computer user.

Unfortunately, it increasingly feels like those days are at an end. The iOS 7 and now iOS 8 rollouts have simply not been up to the quality of earlier releases.

For sure, iOS 8 is highly ambitious. I have long been an advocate for many of the features that iOS 8 brought: extensions, interoperability and so on. Sadly, complexity has brought with it fragility.

We have seen problems with apps not being updated in a timely manner. We have seen issues with crashing, devices rebooting, rotation glitches, keyboards playing up, touch screens not responding. Indeed I'm typing this while babysitting the full restore of an iPad that one pupil "broke" - through no fault of their own - while updating to iOS 8.

In times past, I was happy to let students update their OS as they saw fit, since it was generally a highly reliable operation and a safe thing to do. No more.

iOS does not provide a way for administrators to block users from updating their operating system. It's never needed it until now. Today, though, I regard it as a critically missing piece of a large-scale iOS deployment.

When iOS was a simpler beast, I tried to see beyond what we had "lost" in terms of, say, multitasking in order to appreciate what we had gained in these other areas I mentioned in the first paragraph. Today, we have regained much of the power but are in danger of losing one of the main pillars of what made iOS great in the first place.

In terms of features and capabilities, iOS 8 brings me a lot of optimism. In terms of robustness, stability and reliability, it's giving me new reasons to worry.