Apple quality problems | The decline of Apple quality

Having repaired Apple devices since 2012, operating out of my own Shop in Canada. I have acquired an extensive base of knowledge to speak from. As a technician, I have seen the progression of Apple devices since the release of the iPhone 4, more intimately then the general population, and have witnessed first hand Apple quality problems, and the decline of Apple Quality since the passing of Steve Jobs.

iMacs were once built using quality materials that lasted and were easily serviceable. The old 2009-2012 iMacs had a glass magnetically attached to a quality aluminum frame, separated from the LCD. This made it easy and cost effective to change or replace the glass, LCD or any broken components inside. The old iPhones 4/4S were assembled almost entirely using screws and durable metal frames, the iPhone 4 could take a licking and keep on ticking! Parts for the old model iPhones were cheap and fairly easy to replace either yourself or at a third party service provider, so customers were able to get many many good years out of their old iPhones.

The Apple of past times released one or two new devices per year, so customers knew their device would maintain value for many years and each new device was a breakthrough technological evolution no one had seen before. Apple would only release new firmware updates a couple times per year, with minor bugfixes in-between. Each firmware version was well coded, with significantly less bugs then modern releases, and all the old devices could utilize the new iOS versions.

Apple OS X was a breakthrough operating system designed with simplicity in mind and it was expertly designed at that. Apple computers were easy for less tech savvy users to use…even grandma and grandpa.

Fast forward to 2020 Apple Quality Problems and Decline of Apple Quality and Innovation

Apple quality problems | Apple Release schedule for new devices

Apple is pumping out multiple new iPhones, iMacs and MacBook’s every single year, so many I’ve lost count and record of all the different models. Each new device Apple releases lacks innovation, with hardware improvements so minor its not worth upgrading. Unless you always want the latest model and have disposable income, which I guess is their target demographic consumer anyway.

Apple quality problems | Apple firmware woes

New firmware versions are released so frequently its become a burden to upgrade, with bugs and glitches rampant in each new firmware version. To top it off Apple revealed that its new software updates slow down older iPhone devices in order to allow the batteries in older models to keep up with new features, which means if you want to use a new supported firmware version you have to deal with a slower device. Apple was slapped with a class action lawsuit for just that reason.

Apple quality problems | Apple device quality and reparability

iMac screens now have a screen with glass factory fused to an LCD and nearly impossible to remove. If glass breaks the entire screen assembly has to be replaced at a cost of $700-$1200 just for the cost of the part. The new iMac screens are attached to the frame using double sided foam adhesive strips that are troublesome to remove, and have to be replaced each time the device is opened. The reparability of new Apple products has gone down with each passing year. Apple introduced the butterfly security screw on new iPhone devices, to hamper consumers or 3rd party service providers from being able to repair Apple devices.

Apple quality problems | The Apple flexgate lawsuit

I’ve received several Macbooks in for diagnosis, with the well known flexgate issue. Check out the Flexgate lawsuit against Apple here. Take a look at the picture…Apple changed the LCD cable from a durable rubber cable to a thin flex cable, they shortened the cable and made it wrap around a metal edge so that each time the Macbook opens and closes it wraps around the metal edge, wearing down the flex cable until eventually the notorious “flexgate” stage lighting effect renders the screen damaged. Apple has some of the brightest minds and most skilled engineers in the world, so its hard to believe this “design flaw” wasn’t intentional.

Apple is not alone in designing products to break down and be hard to fix, the automotive industry has been milking consumers for decades…designing vehicle parts and repairs to be their cash cow and primary source of revenue.

It’s no wonder apple revenues are at an all time high… with Apple devices becoming harder and harder to repair, and the average target consumer having disposable income, most Apple customers simply throw out the couple year old device and fork over $2k + to buy a new device which besides being an unnecessary waste of money, contributes to landfill waste and is bad for the environment.

Apple quality problems | OS X and iOS from simplicity to complexity

Where the old OSX and iOS were a pleasure to use, the new Apple iPhones and Macs have been overloaded with features carelessly integrated, to the point that doing something on a Windows computer or Google phone, is often far easier then on its Apple alternative. A good example is the Photos App! Something as simple as taking a photo backing it up and copying it from place to place. On a Windows PC I can copy and paste a photo, back it up to a hard drive or cloud as easily as click and drag. I’ve been trying to back up my mothers entire 80,000 collection of photos from the cloud for months now, in order to free space on her full capacity iPhone. I can’t backup from the iPhone, because the feature has been enabled to only store low resolution photos on the iPhone, and the full resolution photos on the Cloud. So I have to download the photos from the cloud. The full resolution photos are stored on the Cloud (which she pays for) but I can’t simply select all and download from the cloud, no it’s not that simple. I have to export all the photos from the photos app on an iMac as originals or converted and then backup those exported files. However the photos export function takes days on an old iMac, and due to the volume of photos, it freezes, and lags and produces errors during the export procedure so I end up having to upgrade the old iMac to an SSD just to export the photos from the photos app and backup to an external hard drive. Phew!

The Navigation on iPhones is so convoluted and changes so frequently on new iOS versions, that even I have trouble remembering how to navigate to preform certain functions on an iPhone, and forget looking up guides online, because iOS is changing so frequently now most are outdated and no longer guide a user to do anything other then get frustrated. Certain less tech savvy family members and clients are having so many issues navigating functions on their iPhone, I spend half my time showing customers how to do things and explaining it to them, when this was never the case with the old iPhone 4/4S. The menu was simple and straightforward, there was one way to do things and it was easy to do pretty much everything, that was part of the appeal of iOS…it used to be easy for less tech savvy people to use, not more complicated.

Why I started repairing Apple computers so cheap I barely made any money

I simply wanted to help the environment by reducing waste, and consumers to save money. A cheap fix using a quality part, or a minor upgrade that brings your old device up to speed vs buying a brand new device and throwing out a perfectly good computer or iPhone. When other repair shops were cutting corners to get each repair done fast to make a quick buck…I would take 20 extra minutes to make sure every piece of foam and tape was factory perfect and didn’t charge an extra dollar. Unfortunately people often went to the cheaper guy, and didn’t even know that corners were cut in the repair of their device, unless they brought it in to me.

Apple quality problems | Steve Jobs and Innovation

Steve Jobs was a great man, maybe not the nicest guy, but he did have one thing going for him…He wanted to change the world, and positively impact the lives of people with his devices. To that end Steve Jobs would dump billions into innovating new devices, when his company wanted instead to cut all funding to innovation and keep selling the old computers, because they made the most money. There’s a great Documentary style movie Jobs with Ashton Kutcher based on actual events. Pay close attention in the Jobs movie, to the part where the company executive tells Jobs he is spending too much on product development (its based on what really happened.) Did you know that Apple fired Steve Jobs and the Companies decline was so bad they begged him to come back, which he did, but then he fired most of the staff that were involved in firing him!

Apple has historically had an ironclad privacy policy

Apple has made data collection opt in during OS X Install, so users can consciously decide if they want any meta data collected from their activities on their iMac or iPhone device. In a well known Lawsuit Apple fought 11 charges issued by the United States district court in the FBI-Apple encryption dispute and won. This was concrete proof of Apples conviction to user privacy.

Fast forward to 2020 and Apple Helps FBI Track Down George Floyd Protester Accused Of Firebombing Cop Cars Is your data any more private on an Apple device, then on a Google Android device? Sure probably allot more secure, simply because Apple has a more secure operating system with more strict App Store policies, collects less data and you can easily opt out of data collection on an Apple device.

But when it comes down to it Apple is just as willing as any other company to divulge user information located on the cloud, even if the nature of an alleged crime is controversial or in dispute.

Planed Obsolescence and modern manufacturing

Planned obsolescence “is the calculated act of making sure the existing version of a product will become dated or useless within a given time frame”–Investopedia. At a point in the past the leaders of industry realized they could make more money by designing products to break down. That way they can profit off the sale of parts, repair costs and sales of new models. Products are not designed to break down due to manufacturing limitations or even material costs…products are being designed to easily break down because it makes the companies more money, end of story. Planned obsolescence is detrimental to our environment, with old devices and broken down products piling up in landfills. Planned obsolescence is unfair to consumers who are constantly forking over their hard earned money to buy products that are intentionally designed to easily break and become outdated or obsolete.

Dollar voting and demand side economics

Dollar voting “is the act of carefully considering the impact of your purchases. Its an analogy that considers every dollar spent as a vote for what you believe in.” You as a consumer have the ultimate power in your hands to help companies to rise, and to drive companies into the ground…do not underestimate the power of your dollar! You as the consumer create the demand with your dollar, and the companies supply based on your spending choices. If you put money into a company, you support everything that company represents.

People complain about companies all the time…about poor quality products, or poor work practices, the environmental impact, etc…but you as the consumer are responsible for everything those companies do because you support those companies, by funding them. There are alternative companies out there that support your morals and ethics, and you have the power to help those companies rise to power. No company can survive without revenue, and you have the power to give or take away that revenue. Remember that!

Research businesses you buy from, seek out alternatives in line with your values, and reward companies that provide higher quality products and services, because in the end it creates a better world for you and for your children.

Rant done.

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