Nope, you GTFO.

From naive to delusional to insulting.

Radar or GTFO!

That’s an old joke in Apple developer circles which was meant to be cute but…really wasn’t. It was often remarked you shouldn’t be speaking to Apple developers about some bug if you don’t already have the bug report number at hand. You could still approach them, of course; it would usually end with some nodding on their part with advice to file a radar and let them know. Back when Apple was still an underdog, it was even some point of pride to publish your RDAR number. Like — “see, I did my part” to make it better for everyone.

That attitude was delusional back then; it’s downright insulting to ask for it today.

Even when Apple was an underdog they were still a multi-billion dollar company. They were losing money like crazy but they were still a huge company that had all that money to lose. This expectation that indie developers should invest their own time (=money) to work for free was ludicrous. But hey – that was the sentiment due to Apple wielding a lot of goodwill in its small developer community.

Apple is not an underdog anymore, they are the largest and most profitable company in the world. That goodwill largely evaporated in recent years due to Apple’s attitude and hostile actions towards 3rd-party developers.

Most importantly though — Apple never appreciated all that work. Despite all the talk you would hear from developer evangelism team or particular engineer’s occasional proactivity, Apple as entity has never done a concerted effort to appreciate all the free QA work they were getting.

That RDAR service was praised by every Apple employee I spoke to, as the best bug tracking service they have used. Maybe internally it was, I’ve never used it as such. From outside though — it was a horribly buggy, crash-prone web UI which was so frustrating to use that multiple people spent time to write Mac apps to workaround its issues. There were at least two public web wrappers / mirrors built around it, so people could publish what they reported so that other don’t waste time chasing the same issues.

It was so bad that there was an attempt to nudge Apple to do better, if they expect people to continue filing bug reports. There were many blog posts explaining how to file a bug report so it’s actionable by Apple engineers.
Few years ago, Apple did replace RDAR with Feedback Reporter which wasn’t much better. It took them a year to make it even remotely usable but it’s still slow today, it remains a chore to use.

So what happened if you actually persevered and filed a bug report? Usually: nothing. Literally nothing.

Open cases would linger unanswered for months or years. Maybe once a year you will get automated response to “re-check if the bug still applies to newer xOS version”. In some cases they would ask you to custom-build a project demonstrating the issue, since apparently description of the problem was not enough. Even if you make the project example, nothing guaranteed response nor resolution of the issue. I believe the number of cases yielding any useful result was abysmal.

Apple was and still is expecting people to do free QA work for them without any obligation from their side.

But the worst thing (to me, at least) is that every June, after WWDC, I would see breathless “call to arms” from non-Apple people to file feedback as soon as you can if you want “your bugs” fixed in time. If you want it done for major .0 release, make sure to spend your June/July filing issues you find. Install betas, test what you can, hurry up!

Can we collectively stop with this nonsense? 😖 Please!

Apple earned billions from the App Store in the last year alone, more than 99% of 3rd party devs earned combined. It’s their obligation to deliver reliable SDK they expect us to use. Because our apps are improving functionality and increasing desirability of their devices / platform.

Apple does not lack the means to do the correct thing.

An approach like this would very likely make people feel appreciated and potentially willing to make an effort and do all the things that Apple expect for granted: make example projects, collect sys info etc.

An approach like this would also give Apple an immense pool of potential future developers and engineers. All such QA interns building projects will learn their tools, learn their APIs and will strive to either work for Apple or build apps for their platforms as 3rd party. There are few nicer initial points on your resume in this particular industry than “Software QA at Apple Inc” thus I have little doubt that Apple would have issues finding people to fill-in these positions. (As long as they don’t insist they live in Bay Area.)

This is not rocket science and I don’t propose anything radical. Many client-service-oriented companies do exactly this.

Design community learned long ago to say NO to spec-work, to not “work for exposure”, to reject various other attempts to extract work for nothing. I really hope that Apple dev community learns that lesson too: you don’t owe Apple anything.