I have been an Apple user since 1999. I got my first powerbook as a bit of a joke. I needed a laptop to work on my thesis in college and I jokingly said “I’ve used every other major OS except Mac. Maybe I should get one.” I did. For my A.A. graduation my parents bought me a powerbook so I could write my thesis.
Once you go mac, you don’t go back… for a while
Once I had that mac, something happened. I realized I wasn’t re-loading my OS every couple of weeks or months. I wasn’t constantly fighting to have a stable enough computer to write a document. I wasn’t avoiding using it in other locations because of everything from not enough battery life to having network problems.
On that first mac, I never “fixed” the OS unless I wanted to. And even then, I almost never did a full reload. Everything would still be there when I booted up into a “fresh” install. Usually I did this to make space for a linux partition. How I miss those days.
Times have changed
I have re-loaded my current mac several times in the past year (This is a lot for a mac). Add to that, the previous macbook went in for 12 repairs before Apple gave up and replaced it with the one I have now. I have to give apple credit for doing a brand new replacement. I have had nine mac laptops (I think, I need to carefully count), and the first six went in for 1 repair collectively. The next 3, 18 repairs (most in the last unit). I may have gotten unlucky now and lucky earlier, but to me, it looks like a quality control problem in Apple products.
The iPhone was fantastic. In 2007 it changed the phone industry from something people would only take “free” models to a full fledged competitive industry. Apple single handedly raised the average price tag people are willing to pay for a phone. That is amazing. It is now 8+ years later and there has been a new iPhone every year since.
The problem is, the quality has also dropped. Siri was supposed to make things easier. However, most of the time when I take out my phone, Siri can’t hear me. Until recently there was a bluetooth control on the screen when Siri is active so you could check if Siri is listening to some other bluetooth device. Well, that’s gone and not only that, it’s not a bluetooth issue. I can turn bluetooth off and Siri still can’t hear me. Not very effective when I’m just trying to say “call mom” while driving. The fix? reboot it. I reboot my iPhone constantly now.
Maps is a disaster. Since Apple took the process from google it has been a roller coaster of stupidity. A very common use of maps for me is taking out my phone and searching for something near me. For example: a store by name. Now, when I do this, I open maps and it locks in to my location. I enter the store name and it will find something in norway by a vaguely similar name. I live in vermont. I don’t bother using maps anymore because so often it’s not only irrelevant results, it’s results that are on the wrong continent. Now I just use google. But if I’m gonna do that, why not just use Android too? I wonder if you can put Android on an iPhone…
Recent data loss
I buy new versions of Apple products nearly every year. When I purchased my iPhone 6S Plus 128GB there was problem after problem. But, the biggest one is Apple’s iCloud backup failed at transferring my data to the new phone. In fact, for 3 months, I lost all my data.
If Apple insists on maintaining a closed system where I can’t run my own data backups, their system needs to work. No exceptions. In my case, I bought a new product and the iCloud backup that the old phone made to transfer to the new phone couldn’t be restored (to the new phone or the original). For 3 months, not a single iCloud backup from my account could be restored. This was due to a backup “bug” involving iPhone 6S devices (I was actually transferring from one 6S plus to another 6S plus because of *another* issue I haven’t gone into).
Since it is a closed system, data from before this period (that apple eventually recovered the data 3 months later) and data that I generated since then could not be merged. So I had the choice of losing older data or losing the last 3 months. Most of this data was apps that don’t use iCloud for shared storage. This includes apple’s own health kit. Yep, Apple thinks losing health data is acceptable. Not on my watch.
Speaking of which, the Apple Watch
This device shows fantastic promise. In fact, having just returned it, it’s the only one of the Apple devices I returned that I miss. However, its quality has been substantially inferior to new products from Apple’s past. The iPhone launched missing lots of features. If they couldn’t build it “right” they didn’t include a broken/half assed feature. Think picture messaging of the first iPhone. The Apple watch came with everything in a half built way. But that wasn’t the major issue for me. I wrote a lengthy series of posts starting with this one about it.
WatchOS 2 came out and bricked my Apple Watches for weeks. You know, because I bought a smart watch just so the only thing I could do was tell time. It broke the ability to share any data with the phone in my particular case. No calendars, no reminders, almost no notifications… etc. Due to their closed system, I couldn’t downgrade to WatchOS 1. Eventually Apple allowed me to return all my watches for a full refund. I’ll give them credit for that. Two days later, WatchOS 2.0.1 was released. And I bought a new watch. And returned it as the issues weren’t entirely fixed and the iPhone fiasco above was just beginning. I got yet another watch with the “final” phone, which went back with that phone this past weekend.
Apple TV disaster
I no longer own the 4th generation Apple TV. For a while the 3rd generation was obviously superior (still using it). This was due to the fact that the 4th generation lost the ability to control the TV from the Apple Watch and the iPhone (try using siri remote to enter a complicated password. I sent it back based on that alone). On top of that, Siri on the Apple TV was not really Siri. It’s more like Siri’s retarded sibling. It simple couldn’t control things like movies and music.
Some of these problems have been fixed, supposedly. But I am already off the Apple bandwagon. So, no new Apple TV for me.
This just shows where Apple is going. Instead of completing a product before they release it, they push whatever crap is done out the door. In the case of the Apple Watch, you have to start somewhere. But the Apple TV had no excuse to remove features that existed on the previous model and/or can function on the phone. This just isn’t acceptable. I didn’t have it long enough to find any other bugs. I was dealing with the other junk above and just decided I didn’t care enough to keep it.
Can’t be an early adopter
I used to tell people there is no point in waiting to purchase Apple products. They do things right, or very close to right on day one. This clearly isn’t true anymore. And in my case, it likely means I won’t be purchasing Apple products at all in the future. It is crazy that there is an iPad Pro out there and I don’t own one. This is the first product Apple has released that I didn’t purchase in 10 years. Not because I didn’t want it, I still do, I just have no reason to think the experience will be better than the other products recently. And it’s not worth even trying out the iPad Pro.
Apple refuses to take responsibility
There was a point in time where only one of my Apple products would boot up and work. And I had 3 iPhones, 3 Apple Watches, an iPod touch and my MacBook Pro in the house at the time. This was when they were replacing products under applecare assuming the device was faulty (it wasn’t, it was a software quality control issue. I don’t actually have 3 current iPhones). The product that worked? My iPad Air. Probably only because I didn’t update it in any way. I barely use it.
See this picture. This is some of the boxes from the last six years of purchases (I’ve been a user for 16). They are not all there and my wife’s products are mostly not here either (doesn’t include desktop mac boxes). I have spent an insane amount of money on Apple Products.
Notice the two boxes in the bottom right corner. That is the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6S Plus. The terrible experience of those two devices is causing me to switch away from Apple.
I asked Apple for a number of things but they are unwilling to compensate me in any way (besides taking returns of the devices, which frankly many companies wouldn’t have done). They did offer me $100 off any $300+ product as long as that product wasn’t an Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad or 3rd party accessory. Couldn’t they have just said they will give me $100 off a mac? I don’t need a mac. That’s the device that still “mostly” works.
Unfortunately, what I have described in this post is only some of the issues I’ve had with Apple products in the last six months. There were order problems, incorrect billing issues, failed to refund properly, failed to process a repair correctly, messing up my AT&T account so it charged me double. The entire company seems to have taken a nose dive.
Companies that hold data should be held responsible
It’s impossible to put a value on personal data. However, the company should have some financial responsibility when their mistake (entirely their mistake) causes data loss entirely beyond the user’s control. There was no method of backup I could have deployed to prevent this. The only option available to me is to not use Apple products. So guess what I am going to do?
I am just amazed that Apple is not willing to offer me anything for the problems their products have caused. Given my purchase history they should be willing to give me the devices involved for free. It would be a minor cost to them to keep a customer like me buying products in the future. It also doesn’t involve putting a value on my data. Instead, I have an android trial phone on order and I’m seriously considering an Android or Windows tablet.
Now that Apple has joined the ranks of companies that don’t care about customers, I’m not sure where I am going to go. But I am ready to say goodbye. (Windows phone? Doesn’t that exist now?). So long Apple. It’s been a good 15+ years but the marriage is over. You cheated on me and I just can’t forgive you. Time to get divorced. Thankfully there are no kids to fight over.
What do you think Apple should do to compensate users in this kind of situation?
What non-apple Smart Phone would you recommend to replace an iPhone?