I appreciate that Apple offers a single software updater for all its free Windows software. But one thing annoys me about it.

It opens a window, then opens a message box showing a progress meter as it checks for updates. Only one problem: It fills out the “New software is available” caption before it actually checks.

New software is available from Apple.... Your software is up to date.  No updates are available.
New software is available… oh, wait, no it isn’t.

This isn’t an issue on Mac OS X, because the progress meter is shown as a sheet, which drops down from the top of the main window and obscures the caption. But on Windows, that caption is visible from the moment the window appears, saying that you really do have something new available, raising your hopes that maybe, just maybe, Apple has finally gotten around to releasing that new version of Safari, or that security fix for the flaw you heard about a week ago, then dashing them to the ground.

Or, less dramatically, it’s jumping to conclusions, providing potentially false information.

And then, even if it turns out there isn’t anything new, the caption stays in place…leaving you with two contradictory statements as to whether any updates are really available.

8 thoughts on “Apple UI Nitpicking

  1. This should of course have been filed under Viruses, being about the “Apple Software Update”-worm/spyware/malware that infest not only those arbitrary play thingies (“Mac”) but also the working tools of serious information workers, the ibm-compatible pc’s 😉

  2. It is like this because on the Mac Apple Updater, that part of the window is covered by the progress bar the entire time and status messages show up also covering the headline. Because Apple Software Update is originally Mac software, I don’t blame Apple at all. Its just one of those kind of funny things that happened as a result of the OS wars.

  3. I’m fully aware of why it does this, and described it in the original post, right below the screenshot.

    It’s still bad design, like a program that only looks at the last digit when deciding how to create an ordinal number, and prints out the “11st” (elevenst) “12nd” (twelvend) and “13rd” (thirteenerd). You can tell what they meant, but it’s sloppy. It’s particularly ironic for a company that prides itself on its UI design.

  4. A hobby? I know! I can surf the internet looking for random people, then make disparaging comments on their personal blogs! Does that sound like a better use of my time?

  5. @Blanknull: Here’s a hobby for you; writing a blog about things that haven’t really been acknowledged and therefore is brought to the attention of the general public. That’s what this guy is doing, and he’s doing a hell of a job. Keep up the good work, Kelson.

  6. Funny, I was going to post a complaint the other day about Android doing this with its system updater, except telling you it *is* up to date before checking (instead of just telling you it’s checking).

    Bad UI designs are eternal. *sigh*

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