Seriously, Apple — hire some of your engineers from the 80s

One of the things that used to amaze me about Apple software (and Macintosh software in general) was how it seemed that the engineers anticipated my weird little use cases. Now it often seems that they can’t anticipate the obvious ones.

Here are the steps I’ve taken so far:

  • I took a picture with my iPhone.
  • I connected the iPhone to a MacBook (not the computer I normally connect it to).
  • I ran iPhoto.
  • The photos on the iPhone showed up in the iPhoto window — so far so good.
  • I drag one of the photos from the iPhoto window to the desktop. The photo snaps back to its location in the iPhoto window, without transferring a copy to the desktop.

Sigh. Okay, so I have to import the photo(s) first, then I can drag them to the desktop. But why? Isn’t the input I gave the computer clear? Is there any possible ambiguity as to what I want to happen? There’s a picture on my iPhone, I want it on the computer. Did no one at Apple ever think of this option? Did they think of it, but have some valid reason for rejecting it? Did they think of it, but they were just lazy?

Every valid input to the computer should have a response. If the meaning is ambiguous, ask for clarification. The appropriate response is never simply wagging your finger at the user and saying “Nuh-uh.”

Oh, and here’s the picture:


8 thoughts on “Seriously, Apple — hire some of your engineers from the 80s

  1. Sykes

    He’s talking about moving a photo from iPhone to the desktop. He plugs in the iPhone to the Mac, iPhoto opens up and displays what pictures the iPhone contains. He cannot however get these pictures to the desktop without first importing them to iPhoto. This should be allowed.

  2. AdamC

    Get a life and stop the nit picking.

    Write an app for that so the pix can be transfer to any computer once you hook the iPhone to the any computer if you are that clever.

  3. zenism

    How about using the Mac OS X app named “Image Captue” that should be on your computer? It will allow you to treat the iphone like any camera. It also allows you to pull/delete specific camera images from your phone WITHOUT using iphoto.

    How about we learn to use the computers before we go about generating tripe?

  4. Jeffsters

    Yeah, this would seem to be a function of iPhoto and it’s focus on importing when you’re in the “Import” mode. As was stated the generic “Image Capture” application WILL allow you to drag and drop onto the desktop. I’m not sure this is a bug or even a worthy feature request. It’s like complaining that upon importing into FileMaker that it won’t let you drag and drop a record onto the desktop as a text file. I mean the iPhoto import mode is to IMPORT into iPhoto not as a general camera tool which has been stated is the job of Image Capture. Would it be nice? I guess but so is picking the right application for the intended use.

  5. gopyVision

    So I was going to comment about Image Capture yesterday, and the reason I didn’t is pretty simple: iPhoto is marketed as the way to deal with photos on your Mac. When iPhoto starts for the first time, it asks the user if he would like iPhoto always to open when a camera is attached. The typical user will never know about the Image Capture program.
    The usage scenario gcanyon describes is really common. To put the problem more broadly, iPhoto is not a camera manager. It wasn’t until recently (iPhoto ’08?) that the program offered to hide photos that have already been imported, and it wasn’t until roughly that same version that one could import (only import to the library, mind you) a single photo from a source. iPhoto *still* will not let you see a full-sized preview of a photo before importing, only adjust the size of the thumbnails.
    My suggestion: use Preview in Snow Leopard instead of Image Capture. It’s a more common program, it lets you do more things (one can delete from the hard drive in Preview, and edit/annotate/email/convert), and doesn’t make you deal with iPhoto, which can take a little time to load depending on the size of your library.

    To sum all this up in defense of gcanyon: there’s no reason for iPhoto /not/ to support drag-and-drop from a camera, especially if iPhoto is “the face” of camera management on the Mac, and it’s really hard to say with a straight face that Aunt Tillie should go looking for a program called “Image Capture” (which implies nothing about extract a photo from a camera) or “Preview” (which no regular user understands in the first place, because of the name, mostly) just to grab a single photo, which, again, is an /amazingly/ common practice. Not everyone wants to use iPhoto anyway. The implementation of gcanyon’s desired feature is completely separate from the scenarios Apple is promoting, as the drag-and-drop feature doesn’t detract even a little bit from iPhoto’s “intended” usage scenario. The iPhoto team was so intent on polishing the solution for /one/ scenario that it forgot to make the /other/ scenarios just as easy. Telling someone to use Image Capture or Preview is a cop-out. “It would make iPhoto too complicated” is a bogus answer too, in light of iMovie’s advanced preferences and pretty much the entirety of GarageBand.

    In terms of hiring engineers from the ’80s: engineers aren’t the problem. The problem lies solely in interface. (Another example: all the hidden preferences in Mac OS X. The engineering is done, the UI doesn’t support all of it.)


  6. gopyVision

    Grrrrrr at WordPress for curling the apostrophe in ” ’80s ” the wrong way. I wasn’t sure if the manual ” ’ ” would show up.



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