Is Apple Products Hardware Quality Starting To Decline?

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I picked up the following piece from an online forum. It explains quite well what I wish to discuss in the particular blog post. I am sharing it first and will follow it up with some of my own thoughts on the topic.

“Is it just me? Or is their quality declining, or at least, noticeably lower than their competitors? I have been a more or less loyal Apple customer, but lately, I have noticed all around me people with ‘dead’ Apple products to which Apple’s answer is ‘sometimes electronic products fail.’ The truth is, I have a 15-year old computer, an 11-year old laptop, another 8-year old laptop, a 12ish-year-old iPod Mini, a 10ish-year-old iPod Touch, a 4ish-year-old Samsung Galaxy SIII, multiple ‘old flip phone’ era phones…

I can keep going. All still working just fine. But in the last couple of years I saw my wife’s iPhone 5 failing twice, fortunately, fixed by Apple, my dad’s iPhone 6+’s death (on its 14th month!!! And Apple did not take care of it), my son’s iPad (on its 3rd year, and Apple said ‘sometimes that happens’), an uncle’s iPad (a couple years old), failing for no apparent reason, my son’s Mac, still in guarantee fortunately, with a scrambled HD, just to name a few close to me. I am not talking about water damage or abuse. Simply, one day you will wake up and they are dead. They either simply don’t come on, or they stay stuck in the Apple logo and there is nothing you can do about it.”

As an aside, has anyone noticed that your ‘micro’ or ‘mini’ USB cables are also just fine, but the Apple cables tend to break in a matter of a year or so? And they happen to be the most expensive in the market?

So, we are wondering…What is going on?

Is the strategy to lower Apple hardware quality to force replacement?

My Thoughts On The Topic

Okay, I have to toss this out there.

There’s this thing where people can order Chinese parts direct from China to assemble their own Apple devices. Does this mean all the Apple components come from China now? What happened to everything with the Apple logo on it being assembled in the United States?

With this in mind, I have to ask: 

If the components are no different than any other components on the market when it comes down to mobile manufacturing, why are Apple products so um, pricey… expensive compared to its competitors?

What exactly gives these overly expensive and pricey items their value? Is it the Apple name?

Well, let me interject here about mobile devices.

As it turns out, the majority of the mobile devices I see in our data recovery laboratory are iPhones starting from 5 and up. It seems that the most reliable phone to come from Apple was the 4S. Or at least, that’s what I can deduce from the phone traffic that has passed through our lab over the years.

As for the issues we found with mobile devices in our lab, they were usually bootloops, corruption, and bad boards. In other words, the issues we dealt with (and continue to see) with mobile devices is faulty components. Essentially, that boils down to poor quality components that can’t handle the wear and time of use.

As for Android devices, the majority of the ones we see in our lab come to us for one main reason. We see Android products simply because people are trying to jailbreak them and end up bricking them instead. I will go on record as stating that I have yet to have seen an Android phone that has failed for no good reason.

I have to emphasize that I am not trying to build up Android. If you have read any of my past Apple blog posts you’ll know how I feel about the product. Again, even with my feelings about Apple, I am simply not trying to push Android. I am just stating a fact based on the number of Apple phones we see in our data recovery laboratory versus Android phones.

What do I really think is going on here?

Well, sadly, I suspect that since the Apple creator has left us, the quality of the products has taken a drastic dive. I don’t really see it as a strategy to force Apple device owners to have to replace them after a certain time frame. I just agree with the forum post noted above that there was a time when the quality of anything that had the Apple name on it was indisputable. Sure, a tad on the expensive side, but the quality was there. 

That was more or less the original concept when the company was formed and computers became commonplace. Apple always stood out from the crowd because of the high standards of quality that were associated with the brand. The name stood for something out of the ordinary and reliability.

However, things tend to change and possibly in order for Apple to remain relevant in the tech world we now live in, they have resorted to lesser quality components to fill their rather pricey devices.

About the author: Yevgeniy Kapishon is a hardcore techno enthusiast, a senior data recovery engineer and a blogger at Aesonlabs® Data Recovery Systems, living in Toronto, Canada. In his free time, he likes to wander and explore the back alleys of his neighborhood or carve into his favorite sci-fi flicks.

Picture of Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

2 thoughts on “Is Apple Products Hardware Quality Starting To Decline?

  1. I have a mid-2012 MacBook Air that performs flawlessly. I upgraded the internal drive to a 1 TB OWC Aura SSD, and everything is perfect. I could not ask for a better machine.

    However, I also have an early-2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, and it has been a neverending source of trouble: the 1 TB Apple (i.e., Samsung) SSD died, so I bought a 1 TB OWC Aura Pro X NVMe SSD, and that keeps generating kernel panics when the machine sleeps or wakes. I have been soldiering on with it for a while now, relying on APFS to protect me from any significant data loss every time there’s a kernel panic (though I know that APFS has what I consider to be woefully-inadequate data redundancy for a modern filesystem). I’ve bought a 1 TB NVMe SSD from Fledging to replace the OWC one (which will hopefully make a useful external drive in a suitable enclosure, i.e., not one made by OWC, who seem to be incapable of making a drive enclosure that will not kill their drive), and I hope that will stop the kernel panics once and for all (the logs all show that the NVMe interface was involved).

    How come, in the space of three years, Apple went from producing a rock-solid 13″ MacBook Air (2 GHz Core i7, 8 GB RAM) to a malfunctioning piece of junk in the form of the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro (3.1 GHz Core i7, 16 GB RAM). It’s a beautiful machine while its working, but it’s annoying to play roulette with it, where maybe 10-20% of the time you open the lid from a sleep, and find out that a kernel panic had occurred.

    A number of colleagues at work have also experienced failures of Samsung-made Apple SSDs, so there’s a quality-assurance problem somewhere. If only Apple had gone for a standard M2 connector, rather than their own custom design (though apparently the pin-out signals are the same as M2; it’s just that the physical design is different), users could have dropped in any one of a vast number of M2 NVMe drives. That argument is now moot of course, since Apple moved to zero-upgrade models, with everything soldered on to the motherboard. It seems insane that if your soldered-in SSD drive dies, an Apple repair centre will rip the whole motherboard out, toss it in the skip, and install a new one (and for how many years after that model ceases production will a motherboard of your specific CPU/RAM size/SSD size be available? Eight years? Probably not a cat’s chance in hell.

  2. What a load of anecdotal bullshit. No fanboy, but seriously, the 4S as the last reliable iPhone?

    You’re clickbait.

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