Removing the Charger from the Box
This is unlikely to surprise anyone, but the biggest thing I hate about Apple is just how easily the Cupertino company implements questionable practices purely for the sake of squeezing a bit more profit. I completely understand that the ultimate goal of any business is to be profitable, but Apple takes this sentiment to the next level – in my mind, they have become the embodiment of corporate greed.We are, after all, talking about the company that normalized the $1000+ smartphone and subsequently made customers pay an additional couple of dollars for a charger. Did I mention that they removed the headphones as well? And to add insult to injury, this was ostensibly done for the sake of the environment. I truly believe there are more adequate ways to combat pollution than to sell chargers separately. The self-righteous element is even more despicable.
To make matters worse, it is precisely Apple that paved the way for other companies to replicate this deplorable pattern and now it is absolutely normal to spend, say $1800 on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and not receive the luxury of being able to charge your smartphone directly out of the box. I simply cannot justify this precedent being set by a trillion-dollar company.
Pricing and (Lack of) Entry-Level Options
Nevertheless, removing the headphones and the charger from the box is just one of the many ways Apple is maximizing its profits at the expense of its users. Another major pet peeve I have is the way the Cupertino company approaches the pricing of its most successful products – particularly, the iPhone.
The average iPhone price has steadily risen over the last couple of years and is projected to soar once again in 2023. Furthermore, instead of Apple trying to make its ultra-premium iPhones better than the competition, it seems the focus is increasingly on making the disparity between the latter and the more entry-level options greater.
I have written a dedicated article on why I believe Apple needs to make its less premium products better, not worse. In a nutshell, however, I have a genuine problem with the way Apple is gatekeeping fairly commonplace features from users in order to create a bigger incentive for consumers to splurge. An $800 price tag for an ‘entry-level’ option with a 60Hz display and a year-old processor is something that is rather difficult to stomach.
The Lightning Port
In my article dedicated to the reasons why Apple is worth loving I singled out the Apple Ecosystem as one of the main reasons why I use the Cupertino company’s products. Nevertheless, it being one of the major sources of Apple’s clout, inherently makes the company’s ecosystem a double-edged sword.
One aspect of the latter I particularly despise is the Lightning port and the lack of consistency when it comes to the adoption of USB-C. It brings about some borderline absurd situations. Not that long ago, I owned a Touch Bar MacBook Pro and an iPhone X. The former featured USB-C ports exclusively, while the latter came with a Lightning Port to USB-A cable. Needless to say, connecting my Apple devices, which were bought within the span of a single year, posed a conundrum.
Many will be quick to point out that I could have just bought a dongle (which I did), but this is beside the point. Dongles should not be a necessary part of a functional ecosystem. And just when you think Apple has learned its lesson, it releases an iPad (2022) with a USB-C port that is only compatible with the 1st generation Apple Pencil, which requires a lightning port to charge. The solution – a dongle. At least this time, they do not charge you extra for it.
The iPad Lineup
Speaking of Apple accessories, another issue I tend to have with the Cupertino company is the way the iPad ecosystem is structured. We are all rather familiar with how costly Apple’s high-end tablets are – and, to a certain extent, they ought to be, given just how powerful the iPad Pro lineup is. However, despite the impressive hardware, the device’s promise for a 2-in-1 fantasy is impossible to deliver without the necessary accessories. This brings us again to the strategy of requiring users to not only spend a fortune on the main product, but also a hefty premium on a number of additional items. An Apple Pencil and a Magic Keyboard can easily cost about half of the price of the iPad itself. But even if you decide to pay such an outrageous amount of money, there is still one major problem.
Apple is intentionally limiting the functionality of iPadOS, making it more of an oversized iPhone than a true 2-in-1 device. An iPad with a Magic Keyboard and an Apple Pencil (which together can easily cost upwards of $1500) is a tertiary device, at best. Why? Because that way Apple can prevent the iPad from becoming a viable alternative to the MacBook. This is why iPads are reduced to glorified toys, despite the very impressive internals.
Marketing of ‘New’ Features
My last point has more to do with marketing than any particular Apple product. I believe most tech users are painfully familiar with the Cupertino company’s tendency to belatedly introduce long-existing features to its products. Case in point – the Always-On Display. It took more than half a decade for Apple to bring it to the iPhone, despite how long it has been present on a plethora of Android devices.
Also, did I mention only the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have access to this revolutionary technology? The even bigger problem is the fact that Apple invariably presents its take on mainstream features as innovative. In 2023, there is nothing innovative about an Always-On Display. Additionally, it is not unusual for Apple to adopt a similar approach when they implement incremental features as well.
The Dynamic Island is a very good example. Is it useful? Yes. Is it groundbreaking and worthy of the absurd amount of promotional materials dedicated to it? Absolutely not. It is a big cutout that serves a niche purpose – for reference, here is how Apple wants the Dynamic Island to work. Full disclaimer: I actually have grown to like the Dynamic Island. However, this does not mean I can excuse Apple’s attempt of presenting it as the best thing since sliced bread.
Undoubtedly, I could go on with this rant for a while. You do not become the biggest tech company in the world without generating a bit of controversy. This naturally means that Apple is guilty of much more than the things I outlined in this article. Still, as I said in my previous article, Apple does many things right. And the issues I listed cannot and should not invalidate the latter.