If you have heard it once, you have probably heard it at least a dozen times by now: “Apple is doomed”. This rhetoric has been going around for years, but Apple still manages impressive quarterly numbers, sales numbers in the millions, and continues to earn high percentage numbers in the customer satisfaction polls.
I can’t help but wonder if Apple is in a strange situation at the moment. No, I don’t think Apple is doomed by any measure. But I am starting to wonder if the customer satisfaction metric is starting to get chipped away. Not necessarily in just the software or hardware quality, or in terms of store policies, or repair policies. But just . . . in general.
This isn’t a declaration of unhappiness for a specific product. At least, not completely. This is meant to be more meta than that. As the title of the article suggests, I’m wondering if you are happy with Apple right now — as a whole. The company has been taking a lot of knocks lately, and, in a lot of these cases, it really does come down to the fact that Apple’s “we know what’s best” tactic is running aground, and a lot of customers might be wondering if that is indeed the case.
Just to get this out of the way: I’m not here to argue for or against Apple knowing “what’s better” for the customer. I know that I prefer iOS over Android, and macOS over Windows — and that feels like the only reason I’m still using Apple products. Because I can tell you right now that I still dislike the notch on the iPhone X a great deal. As my second-generation butterfly keyboard gets older, I start to hate it more and more. And as I adopt more devices into my home that aren’t part of the Apple ecosystem, I find myself wishing the company was a bit more accepting of devices that don’t have the Apple logo.
But the reality in 2018 is that Apple has been knocked around quite a bit lately. So let’s go over the quick bullet points (and feel free to add any in the comments if I miss them). Before the end of 2017 we heard about battery throttling as Apple tried to tell us it knew what’s best for customers when it comes between choosing battery life or software performance. The start of 2018 saw Apple introducing a cheaper battery replacement program, a direct result of that throttling fiasco.
And then in 2018 we saw numbers that indicated Apple’s second-generation butterfly keyboard has a ridiculously high failure rate. That led to opinion pieces calling out Apple’s design, which might’ve been fine in the 12-inch MacBook because it’s designed to be super portable, but when they brought the keyboard design to the MacBook Pro lineup, that didn’t seem to go over well. That eventually led to lawsuits claiming Apple knew the butterfly design would fail, and yet sold it anyway — and continues to sell it. We saw that culminate into an admission that folks were having issues with their keyboards because Apple launched a repair program for the first- and second-generation butterfly keyboard, which supports devices as far back as 2015.
There was a moment of hope, though, when Apple upgraded the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar earlier this month. It provided the hardware with under-the-hood improvements that prosumers had been requesting for months. But then Apple said the new third-generation butterfly keyboard wasn’t designed to address aforementioned issues (which has subsequently been debunked). But, even worse, the MacBook Pro with Intel’s Core i9 processor has some major throttling issues, which actually sees people putting their laptops in freezers to try and make sure the device doesn’t compromise on performance.
And then we can pick-and-choose things like the notch on the iPhone X. Dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack a couple years ago. The fact that the only free iCloud tier is 5GB and that is a woefully small amount of storage for basically anyone anymore. And I’m sure there are other issues, too.
Apple has its issues. Every company does. But I don’t think I’m the only one that sees Apple as the most difficult of all those companies to actually make any changes to address those things, simply because of the way Apple handles its business. Apple knows what’s best — it might not matter at all what the internet echo chamber has to say. But then again, Apple might not have a reason to listen because it has the numbers to back up that mentality. People keep buying Apple products so they must be happy with Apple, right?
I honestly don’t know if switching to Android or Windows is even a possibility for me, which is why I deal with the stupid notch and this aggravating keyboard. But what about you? Are you happy with Apple right now? If not, what is the company doing that is making you unhappy? I don’t think I’m happy with Apple in general right now, but I’m not mad enough to actually make a switch. Yet.