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Criticism of Apple

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Apple is one of the world's most recognized brands. However, they have been heavily engaging in planned obsolescence and vendor lock-in practices, have historically built functionally inferior devices, and have been involved in many scandals.

This article documents criticism of Apple. Everyone is invited to contribute.

Planned obsolescence[edit]

Apple is known as a primary example[note 1] among modern-age technology companies for invoking planned obsolescence.

Popularizing non-replaceable batteries[edit]

No entity has contributed more to the market transition to the great transition from user-replaceable batteries to non-replaceable batteries than Apple, a design trend that is by definition planned obsolescence.

Poor design[edit]

Even though Apple purports itself to be a premium and high quality brand, Apple products have been suffering from repeated design-related and circuitry failures.

Examples include a design where the fans of a Mac Book laptop computer blew hot air against the part that fastens the upper (display) part to the bottom (keyboard) part, causing it to wear down and disintegrate very quickly.[1]

Apple products are deliberately designed for poor repairability.[2] Practices include proprietary fasting screws[3] and the presumably deliberate Error 53 restriction that makes the device unbootable if it can not verify that its home button is manufactured by Apple, rather than third-party vendors.[4]

Form over function[edit]

Apple is notorious for building devices in a way that discriminates functionality.

Extreme minimalism[edit]

Apple products have historically been designed with form over function-extremism, such as sacrificing battery capacity for slim design and overprioritizing minimalism (also known under the euphemism cleanness) by, for example, designing some laptops with no more than one port, making it heavily dependent on adapters which would have been criticized by Apple cult members as bulky, had any other vendor done it.

Laptops[edit]

As mentioned above, several laptop computers (so-branded Macs) by Apple only have very few, sometimes only one port, making it heavily reliant on adapters and sacrificing user convenience.

Magic Mouse 2[edit]

In Apple's poorly designed Magic Mouse 2, a wireless computer mouse with a charging port located "at the bottom surface and a non-replaceable battery, making the device temporarily unuseable after running out of battery charge.

Battery inferiority[edit]

In the years 2012 to 2014, the then latest iPhones (iPhone 5, 5s and 6)[note 2] had, in addition to their batteries not being user-replaceable, around half the battery capacity as the then latest Galaxy Note mobile phones: the Galaxy Note 2, 3 and 4,[note 3] all three of which were equipped with user-replaceable batteries, and the Note 4 with 15 Watts of charging power using Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0.

Even in the years afterwards, iPhones had significantly smaller battery sizes than devices of competing vendors.

Also see § Slowdown scandal.

Poor functionality[edit]

Many generations of Apple iPhones lacked functionality that had been present in the devices of competing vendors for years.[5][6][7]

Apple products have exclusive restrictions built in such as requiring an Internet connection to initially set up the device.[8]

Since 2013, the screen resolution and pixel density of iPhones have been heavily lagging behind.

In addition, no iPhone so far had any of these features:

  • User-replaceable battery
  • MicroSD card reader
  • Navigation keys such as “Menu”, “Return”, “Tasks”
  • MHL-to-HDMI (Mobile High-Devinition link) output
  • Universal serial bus charging port
  • File transfer over:
    • Bluetooth
    • NFC
    • WiFi Direct
  • FM Radio receiver
  • LED notification light
  • Infrared transmitter

Pricing[edit]

Although offering less functionality, Apple devices tend to cost more.

Vendor lock-in[edit]

Apple takes extraordinary measures to keep users trapped in their proprietary ecosystems (vendor lock-in). Such measures include proprietary ports, protocols, file systems and messaging services.

Proprietary messaging services[edit]

Apple has the messaging service iMessage and the video conversation service FaceTime, which is exclusively supported on Apple devices.

On non-Apple devices, these services may only be accessible by heavy unofficial and unreliable workarounds.

Proprietary file systems[edit]

By default, Apple computers only have poor support for file systems other than those developed by Apple themselves.

For the default Windows file system NTFS (New Technology File System), Apple computers preclude read-only support. Support for the common Linux file system formats ext2, ext3 and ext4 is missing entirely, making Mac OS dependent on third-party software to access such file systems.[9]

To comply to Apple's compatibility restrictions, some hard drive manufacturers pre-format their disks with the technically deprecated exFAT file system, rather than the more modern and reliable NTFS.[note 4]

Proprietary plugs[edit]

Most non-Apple mobile phones released between 2010 and 2015 use an USB-B-Micro charging ports, and USB-C since 2015.

In contrary, Apple has always used proprietary connectors in their mobile phones.

iPhones until the iPhone 4 (2011) use the iPod charging port while iPhones since the iPhone 5 (2012) use a connector branded as “Lightning”.

Proprietary communication protocols[edit]

Apple devices use exclusive proprietary protocols, such as AirPort for file sharing (AirDrop), multimedia streaming and screen sharing (AirPlay), while historically lacking support for file sharing over Bluetooth, WiFi Direct, NFC and Miracast (also known as Screen Mirroring), the first of which many mobile phones have been equipped with since the early 2000s, and the other three since the early 2010s.

Although being equipped with Bluetooth hardware since the first generation (iPhone 2G, 2007) and NFC since the 2014 iPhone 6, the usability and versatility of the hardware has deliberately been severely limited.

AirDrop has been introduced in iOS 7 (2013), while other methods of file sharing have been available on other devices, namely Bluetooth, several years earlier.

Scandals[edit]

Signal issues[edit]

Due to its metal frame antenna system design, the signal receptivity of the 2010 iPhone 4 could be disturbed with a specific hand grip, known as the death grip.[11]

This scandal pressured Apple into giving away free phone cases made out of rubbee.

Bendgate[edit]

Due to the flat and slim form factor of the iPhone 6+, the device is more vulnerable to being bent from torque. The metal frame may not be able to handle stress caused by bending with bare hands.[12]

This problem has persisted on iPads released towards at least 2020.

1970 time bug[edit]

A 2015 software bug in “i Operating System” (iOS) caused the system to become unuseable and get stuck upon setting the system date to 1970, caused by an integer underflow error by a date/time calculation attempted near the UNIX epoch time.[13]

Water resistance hoax[edit]

Shortly after the release of iOS 7 in 2013, a photorealistic hoax infographic appeared on the anonymous image board 4chan, claiming that “advanced algorithms” introduced to iOS7 control the delicate circuitry in a way to prevent water damage.[14][15]

Several users have destroyed their device getting fooled by the hoax.[16]

Apple wave hoax[edit]

An internet hoax in the year 2014 has encouraged users to put their iPhone in a microwave oven to allegedly charge it within seconds.

Some iSheep have destroyed their devices getting fooled by the hoax.[15]

Effectively powerless[edit]

In early 2015, an iOS vulnerability known as the Effective Power bug surfaced, where sending a specific text string using iMessage could crash the device's operating system and cause a reboot.[17]

Crash from video file[edit]

In November 2016, a video file known as IMG_0942.mp4[note 5] has spread on the Internet, which exploited a vulnerability in the iOS hardware video decoder.[note 6]

After playing back said video file, the system would appear to run normally for a few seconds, then gradually slow down until becoming entirely unresponsive, then crash and reboot.[18]

Some people jokingly shared it using social media and online video platforms, hoping to crash viewer's devices, not knowing that social media and video platforms usually re-encode the video file.

Website crashing Safari[edit]

In April 2015, a website named CrashSafari.com was created, exploiting a discovered JavaScript pushState vulnerability in Apple's Safari browser, caused by attempting to store longer strings in the browsing history than the mobile phone's RAM could handle.

The website gained popularity in January 2016.

The narrow 1 GB RAM capacity of the iPhone 6 and 6+, which already was a low-tier capacity upon release date[note 7], has contributed to this vulnerability.[19]

Throttling scandal[edit]

Upon the late-2015 release of iOS 9, the earliest released device type to receive an update to it was the 2011 iPhone 4s.

However, due to the increasingly decrepit and failing non-replaceable batteries in the three to four year old devices, the operating system deliberately significiantly throttled the processing speed to prevent unsolicited power-offs.

Such power-offs would be caused by the voltage of the overwhelmed battery dropping to deep because of too much current being drawn from it for the chemical reactions of the Lithium-Ion battery, which slow down with battery age, to keep up with.

The voltage threshold below which mobile phones cease to operate is around 3.0 volts.

Because iPhones historically had a low battery capacity to begin with, their batteried were susceptible to faster degradation at similar amounts of absolute usage compared to counterpart devices of competing vendors.

This throttling lead to significant performance drops and massive user complaints.[20][21]

Low overvoltage tolerance[edit]

A 2010 test of the iPhone 4 showed that an input voltage of slightly more than 6 volts, just one volt above the default USB voltage of 5 volts, is enough overvoltage to destroy the device.[22]

Although not tested so far, this suggests that several later Apple iPhone models also have a poor tolerance for USB port overvoltage.

Censorship[edit]

People sharing legitimate repair advice on Apple's self-hosted tech support forum have been banished, including Jessa Jones, the founder of iPad Rehab and Right-to-repair advocate.[23]

Customer service[edit]

A 2018 video by Linus Sebastian (Linus Tech Tips) describes how Apple refuses to repair an iMac tabletop computer that costs over $5000 dollars, even if Linus was ready to pay entirely for the repair.[24]

A 2018 short documentary by CBC News exposed how Apple's Genius Bar customer service suggested charging over $1200 for a repair that would have cost a mere fraction of that price, or purchansing an entirely new device as the alternative option.[25]

Patent tyranny[edit]

Advertising[edit]

Japanese camera[edit]

In a hypocritical and projectory 2006 commercial for the iMac computer, the person representing the iMac is able to communicate to a Japanese woman representing a camera[note 8], while the nerd character representing the Windows PC is not.[26]

It is unclear which protocol Apple was referring to, regarding Microsoft Windows supported both MTP and PTP, commonly used by cameras over a USB connection next to mass storage.

The irony of the commercial is that Apple historically is the one electronics vendor with the greatest vendor lock-in tyranny, having proprietary plugs such as Lightning, poor support for non-Apple file systems and proprietary communication protocols such as AirPort (used for AirDrop and AirPlay) while never having supported file sharing over Bluetooth, WiFi Direct, NFC or screen sharing over Miracast.

Apple cult[edit]

Members of the Apple cult tend to devalue functionality on devices of other manufacturers while envaluing the same functionality if released often years later.

Notes[edit]

  1. „Paradebeispiel“ is a dedicated German term for an infamous primary example of anything.
  2. Battery capacities: 2012 iPhone 5: 1440 mAh; 2013 iPhone 5s: 1560 mAh; 2014 iPhone 6: 1810 mAh; 2015 iPhone 6s: 1715 mAh; 2016 iPhone SE: 1640 mAh.
  3. Battery capacities: 2012 Galaxy Note 2: 3100 mAh; 2013 Note 3: 3200 mAh; 2014 Note 4: 3220 mAh + 15 watt fast charging (Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0).
  4. Also a criticism of Microsoft Windows is its lack of native support for extFS, even though CEO Satya Nadella claimed in 2015 to “love Linux”.[10]
  5. The original IMG_0942.mp4 file is 540052 bytes long and its hash sums are: MD5:a92aaf9dc6307e5387cb3206e6faed48, SHA-1:2cbdd6beddcfbeb740c766b9d4c2b729fc600018, CRC32:0af5eca0.
  6. When examining the file using mediainfo, one notable line is Duration_LastFrame: -33ms, notably a negative number. This could be related to the decoder bug.
  7. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 flagship device, released in September 2013, one year prior to the iPhone 6 and 6+, has been equipped with 3 GB of RAM, which is triple the RAM capacity of the iPhone 6 and 6+ which were released a year later.
  8. Japanese camera vendors include Panasonic (Lumix), Sony (CyberShot), Canon and Nikon.

Resources[edit]

Related articles[edit]

Related navigation boxes: ElectronicsMobile phonesData storageUser experience and user interfaces

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Videos: The horrible truth about Apple's repeated engineering failures. by Louis Rossman on April 24, 2018
  2. Video: Apple uses spite to force planned obsolescence. by Louis Rossman, 2015-09-16
  3. Apple’s Diabolical Plan to Screw Your iPhone by Kyle Wiens, iFixit, 2011-01-20
  4. What is iPhone Error 53 and how do I avoid it? by Ashleigh Macro, MacWorld UK, 2018-07-26
  5. List of 100 things Android phones can that the iPhone 5s still can not. (2013-09-22)
  6. Functional comparison: iPhone 5s vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (2013)
  7. Functional comparison: iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (2014)
  8. Poal.co post: Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV) cannot be [set up] without Internet (/u/Remove27; 2020-09-06)
  9. How to manage Ext2/Ext3 disks in OS X (by Topher Kessler, CNet, 2012-06-22) “OS X cannot natively read the popular Ext2 and Ext3 filesystems, though support for these filesystems can be implemented if needed.”
  10. Microsoft loves Linux (2015-05-06)
  11. Apple responds to iPhone 4 reception issues: you're holding the phone the wrong way (by Joshua Topolsky, Engadget, 2010-06-24)
  12. Video of iPhone 6+ being bent with bare hands.
  13. Video: Why 1/1/1970 Bricks Your iPhone (Tom Scott, 2016-02-12)
  14. “iPhone ad hoax tricked users into destroying thwir handsets” (TheGuardian on 2013-09-26)
  15. 15.0 15.1 “The great iPhone massacre” — Short documentary movie by Internet Historian about several iPhone-related scandals
  16. Angry tweet by Twitter user Joe Sweeney (@sweenz001) after having destroyed his iPhone getting fooled by the iOS 7 water resistance hoax.
  17. Video: The Effective Power Bug: Why Can Weird Text Crash Your iPhone? (Tom Scott, 2015-05-29)
  18. Video: This Video Will CRASH ANY iPhone! (Filip Koroy, 2016-11-22)
  19. Video: How "Crash Safari" Reboots Your [i]Phone (by Tom Scott, 2016-01-25)
  20. Wong, Raymond (December 31, 2015). "Apple faces $5 million lawsuit over allegedly slowing the iPhone 4S with iOS 9". Mashable. Archived from the original on June 21, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  21. Gibbs, Samuel (24 September 2015). "iOS9 making your iPhone slow? You're not alone". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  22. Video: iPhone 4 stress test (at 03m09s) by GadgetStress.com (uploaded on2010-10-01)
  23. Jessa Jones CORRECTS Apple on data recovery and gets BANNED! on the channel of Louis Rossman
  24. Video: Apple REFUSED to Fix our iMac Pro on Linus Tech Tips, 2018-04-17
  25. Video: Genius Bar caught ripping customer off ON CAMERA by CBC News, uploaded by Louis Rossman on 2018-10-08
  26. Apple iMac commercial with Japanese camera