Does Apple Suck Now?


I’ve been an Apple fan for years. Even since I bought a 2010 white MacBook for college, I’ve been on the side of their design principles. I love macOS with so much of my heart. Using Windows or even Linux feels painful in contrast to a well-designed operating system. Do I like it because it’s pretty? You bet I do. Because if I’m going to stare at an interface for hours a day, I want it to look good, dammit.

But even though I’ve been on the side of the angels, I’m starting to doubt Apple still has what it takes to live up to their hard-won reputation. We’ve seen mistakes both stupid and strategic over the last several years, with a number of high-profile incidents dotting the landscape since the start of 2018. As much as we hate to admit it, it seems Apple is starting to lose its verve.

Mediocre Hardware At Massive Price Premiums

 

The limited number of configuration Apple sells means you’re often required to purchase features you might not need. Things like ECC memory are great to have, but their not necessarily features that consumers would seek out. It’s nice to have when you have it, but I doubt folks would be willing to pay significantly more to get it. But if you want an Apple computer, you’re locked in to certain requirements almost immediately. You’ll also pay a premium for those features. Apple has routinely lagged behind PC manufacturers in implementing the latest hardware: their MacBook Pro languished for years without a meaningful update. While Apple has recently shown signs of reform, they’ve only just recently included 8th-generation Intel processors in their MacBook Pro lineup. And that hasn’t gone terribly well either.

You might think, well, it’s always been this way. Apple has always made decisions on behalf of the consumer. And that’s true. They’ve always limited  your options to what they believe are the best options. And when Apple knew what you wanted before you did, that was awesome. Apple was selling the best stuff in the world, and it was worth the price premium to get amazing specs inside of a beautiful package. But today, the choices Apple makes about product specs are less solid. Some are even a little suspect. When you buy an MacBook Pro, you’re no longer getting the best specs inside of the best designed laptop. You’re getting last years specs inside an overheating chassis that looks beautiful but limits cooling options.

Apple’s Many Mistakes

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx8J125s4cg]

This doesn’t even touch on missteps and errors Apple has made recently. Take the most recent kerfuffle over their 2018 MacBook Pro refresh, started by the video above. As part of updating the line to eight-generation Coffee Lake processors, Apple released some some supposedly high-end i9 configurations. As it was soon discovered, these laptops couldn’t keep their base clock speed under heavy load. In testing, they performed worse that models with lower-end i7 processors, sometimes dropping as low as 800 MHz under heavy thermal throttling. This means the i9 version of the MacBook Pro was verifiably worse than the i7 version. For those following along at home, that’s not good.

It turns out that Apple somehow left out a digital key, and that led to this poor performance. Part of the problem surely also came from Intel’s poor communication about the thermal requirements of the i9 chip—a chip that only exists because Intel felt pressured by AMD to release something with more cores. And given how little applicability the chip’s design has, it probably shouldn’t exist. Instead of a chip designed from the ground-up for superior performance, it’s a marketing label slapped on to high-binned silicon in a panicked effort to keep consumers from defecting. If you were so inclined, you could lay part of the blame at Intel’s feet.

But you shouldn’t.

Apple is a grown up company. They know how to make things right. Yet time and again this year, they’ve made fundamental errors in product design. How could this thermal limitation not appear in testing? If it wasn’t caught in testing, what kind of design process is Apple using? Because it’s clearly deficient if it permits such a massive oversight. Trying to blame Intel or parts suppliers or anyone else is a misdirection. Apple is to blame.

What Would Steve Jobs Do?

There’s a tendency is Apple circles to blame Apple’s new direction of St. Steve’s premature departure. But I’m cautious to venerate someone who was apparently so difficult to work with. And even if he led the company well, his reign was not free of missteps. Recall the iPod Hi-Fi or the hockey puck mouse. These failures came not only on Steve’s watch, but directly because of his intentions. They were his mistakes.

But Steve’s Apple always had more good than bad. There was an unerring focus on quality and experience, from start to finish. Today’s Apple might pay lip service to that legacy, but their products don’t live up to it.

You might also like the complaints about Apple:

Why are there so many macOS and iOS bugs?

Is The MacBook Pro Keyboard Lawsuit a Big Deal?

Can Apple Still Make Pro Hardware?


Alexander Fox

27 Comments

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  1. Right on the money. Yes, to answer your question. After 30 years of building a business with their products, its time to say goodbye. It always starts when a company begins to believe they know whats best for their customers, instead of listen to their needs and coming up with better solutions.
    I guess the question really is- Who have become Apple’s customers? Its not you and me, anymore.

  2. I was really pissed when Apple cut off FCP 7 and now, High Sierra won’t even allow FCP 7 to work at all. Apple has turned into a “regular” company. Think of the thousands of pro-photographer that Apple hosed when they shut down the Aperture program. So Apple has pissed off ALL of the film pros AND all the pro photographers. People that use FCPX know that, at any time, Apple could shut down that program as well. They only care about their iPhones -which are now lagging behind the competition. I used to be a die-hard Apple fan -those days are long gone.And all this crap started when Jobs died.

  3. Fox, I’ve been an Apple fan since the company started. I saw it through tough times under Sculley et. al., only to be overjoyed when Steve Jobs returned to the fold. For the most part, I was passionate for all things Apple, not that it did no wrong but rather that it had far more hits than misses, and it strove to bring the very best user experience to its customers. I loved the hardware, but was passionate for the OS. The User Interface is where Apple really distinguished itself. And I got it. But Steve Jobs passed, and over time Apple has lost its way. Fox, the Apple you know and love is not even close to the Apple of yore. The devil is in the details. Also, today, it behaves as a corporate behemoth. I miss the scrappy underdog that flew a pirate flag over its campus. There’s nothing that cannot be undone at Apple, and it can be truly great again. But it probably won’t under current management. It’s not in their DNA, apparently. If it were, why would be here today. There is not a single Mac made today that interests me. iOS blows, and macOS is being dumbed down and locked down (in ways that are inelegant at best), becoming less exciting with every major release. I haven’t even bothered to upgrade past El Capitan. The cons outweight the pros. That is a first for the OS; I was always champing for the bits for the newest and greatest. I haven’t given up hope, but I do look at Apple today and think… meh.

    1. THIS. My “real” experience with APPL only goes back to OS 9 (boyhood gaming on OS 8), but man are they slipping FAST. The real clincher for me is their completely unacceptable and inexcusable decision to start limiting what an admin can and can’t do. I can’t copy my Time Machine backups into a new backup folder, for instance. Or delete garbage bloatware like “News” and “Stocks” because they’re “required buy the operating system”. There you have it. APPL OS can’t run without Stocks.app. That says it all.

  4. Reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from the 1970’s, a kid is helping the author with his bike. The kid messed up about 5 steps in a 12 step process; not only didn’t know, but didn’t care.
    Probably human nature to not care about quality which made the earlier Macs so amazing.
    They actually drove the gigantic “this is the way it is because-we-said-so,” Microsoft to be better.
    Now, Apple just another behemoth.
    Glad I was here to see it when it was truly a pioneer in excellence.

  5. I fully agree. I am an apple customer since 20 years with iMac, Macbook Pro, Apple TV, iPhones and iPads. Beside of the usual office applications I do music on the Mac with a lot of external euipment (audio, midi – Interface, midi keyboards, external HDD).

    But I don’t understand the development of the company anymore:

    – The last design desicions lead to a giantic grow of addtitional equipment (docks, cables etc.).
    – The price you’ve to pay for storage is far behind the market.
    – configurations I would need are not on the market
    – the technical solutions are not up tu date anymore
    – ypu pay for functions you never need
    – after 6 years easch of my macs had a hardware problem
    – gererally the quality is not anymore Apple
    – Apple dictates what the customer has to like
    – Apple became like McDonalrds – you get everywhere the same without a chance of individualisation

    I am considering seriously to go away from Apple.

  6. I am tired of Apple wanting to control everything I do as a consumer. I have to pay $40 for an official Apple charger or ear piece, because whenever I update the OS, it freezes out all other cables which are not Apple. I grew up with Apple, but I am out growing them now. I am on my last iPhone.

    1. Ugh that’s so frustrating! I know you’re on your way out of the iOS ecosystem, but I’ve had good luck with the Anker Powerline cables on Amazon. I’ve never had those not charge.

  7. I’ve been using mac since they were being cloned! A long time. Had every model of iPhone up to 6, apple TV, iPad, Ipod. Etc…. no longer! Iphone been gone for a over a year. Love my note8, apple TV gone. Thank God! iPad, yes a great product but with apples BS iOS and dealing with iTunes drove me to leave that device too. I still use a mac computer but I’m I’m sure once apple cuts off my ability to use it since I wont update the OS I’ll be done completely with apple. Pretty sad that my note8 synced better with my mac then my iphone!

  8. Apple is not even stable always as it used to be, when email causes my iMac to lock up at least once a week and iMessage needs to be reset up after every OS update, i am done. I will continue to use my over-priced MacBook Pro but have mostly returned to a 5 year old windows 10 machine that surprisingly still has better performance then my 2018 apple products. I wish i would have been an apple user when they were worth owning using, i hear the tales of the good old days of apple in these responses and think to myself that i totally missed it, apple products that are worth having that is.

    David new to apple in 2017 but not for long

    1. It sucks that your experience with the Mac has been so dismal, but you’re right: many of Apple’s default programs are buggy, especially Mail.app. To make your use the Mac more comfortable until you return to Windows, I would strongly suggest trying a different email client. I use Spark, but Postbox is also a fan favorite.

  9. The Downfall of Apple
    Yes, these comments all ring true. I too have been a Mac user since the IIsi in the early 90’s. (Mac OS 7). I peg the peak of awesomeness at Lion era (10.7), though even Mavericks (10.9) was ok. The big ‘dumbed down’ changes really took on full dominance at Yosemite (10.10) and beyond and I have not enjoyed it.
    Prior commenters nailed it about the interface no longer serving my needs or offering something even better than I imagined, but took away those good parts and replaced them with less useful features that I definitely don’t need or want. They even intrude on my workflow, rather than enhance it.
    In 2018, I was forced to use Windows for a piece of software only available for that platform and chose Fusion to run a new Windows 10 on a Mac mini. I was blown away how far Windows has improved from opening the installation package (thumb drive) to the completed install it was as smooth as silk-even down to tiny touches as no blue screen flashes or the momentary appearance of lines of code. I was impressed. Even new Mac OS installs don’t look all that clean anymore.
    Now, this iPhone X running iOS 11.3 has enough glitches I don’t think we’ll buy another Apple product either.

  10. Apple truly sucks! I was ready to buy an Apple computer but will never buy Apple again! I recently fell for their IOS 12.1.2 software in my ipad air; the bastards removed the iPad user guide; these money hungry pricks want you to buy it. Well, go to hell, you lost a customer!

  11. I share the opinion that Macs have gone WAY DOWN HILL over the last few years. I was a HARD CORE mac guy. I used to love opening my laptop and it was on, ready to go, no waiting. Get shit done. I didn’t like loosing the features of the PC version of MS Office but I’ve managed with the Mac version. As of late, I get the pinwheel of death all the time, it starts so slow, and it’s always getting hung up on something. It used to be worth the extra money, but I fully intend to replace all my macs with PCs in the coming year.

    1. The thing that stops me from making a switch is how frankly TERRIBLE Windows 10 is. It’s ugly as sin, first of all, and that matters to me. It’s like the number one reason I use macOS, because it doesn’t look hideous.

    2. I think the big dividing line between Apple fans and Microsoft users (I don’t call them fans because they are not) is Apple fans have a tendency towards “style over substance” and MS users are just trying to get the job done with as little drama as possible. No judgement intended, just two different approaches that keep them from seeing eye to eye.

  12. Apple sucked for years now, it’s nothing new, but it’s good to see more people waking up and realizing that truth. Maybe they were brainwashed by the entire “Apple lifestyle” nonsense, or were just ignorant about their underpowered overpriced hardware and weak, closed OS, or, or maybe they’ve finally heard about thes tax evasion schemes and such – who knows, but either way I sure hope Apple will fall, because it’s the Nintendo of the XXI century.

  13. I would never purchase apple products again.

    Apple just sucks, they are so self important , they make everything do difficult

  14. “Things like ECC memory are great to have, but THEIR not necessarily…”
    “When you buy AN MacBook Pro”
    “they performed worse THAT models with”
    “There’s a tendency IS Apple circles to blame”

    The first 2 are unforgivable in a real writer.
    The last 2 are probably ‘mistakes’ (typos?).

    Anyhow, it’s a very good article. But why can’t someone EDIT these articles? “Writers” don’t know the difference between their, they’re, and there? Don’t know the difference between “a” and “an”? I say go learn (on your own…they don’t teach English grammar in America any more).

    It’s my personal opinion (judgment) that Apple has suffered a real lack of excellence ever since Steve Jobs died. Right now, my iPad won’t let me do a simple copy/paste and that’s if it lets me copy at all. Other bug problems are daily aggravations (sometimes can’t copy anything on the Net).

    Settings say I’ve got about 50G left and yet my iPad is totally bogged down and operating at a crawl. All I can say is I’m really disappointed in Apple.

  15. PARENTAL CONTROLS.. I FEEL UNSAFE CUS OF FUCKING STEVE JOBS. XD but still my iPad is slooowww af and I don’t feel safe with parental controls because it tracks every little thing I do.

  16. Used Apple computers for 10 years. Currently, maintain a fleet of about 200 using Jamf and all I have to say is they are complete and utter shit boxes. 2015 MacBooks were the best MacBooks ever period. Everything now just blows. Slow buggy and crap OS. I finally had enough and purchased a Lenovo t580 and run PopOS 18.10 (Ubuntu 18.10).

    Literally, the best decision I ever made. Better keyboard. Simple. No bullshit. Fun to use. If I need a Mac I just use a cloud-based one that I vnc into from my Thinkpad. Best of both worlds.

    Apple truly used to have world-class hardware and software.

  17. Apple is out of touch with their customers that have traditionally turned to them for their computer needs. Too many restrictions, up-charges for features and hardware, limited IO, and the generally controlling nature of their software has turned me away. PC software has largely caught up and surpassed Apple software for the purposes I use a computer. PC hardware is significantly more powerful and less expensive. And most importantly, PC’s can be upgraded easily. Apple simply wants to sell you another very expensive, less powerful, and overpriced computer.

    My Mac and Mac Pros have long been retired and replaced with PC’s. My phone is the last piece of Apple hardware I still use. When it stops working, and it will stop working because it’s designed to become obsolete, I will replace it with something that is not made by Apple.

    Apple needs to wake up and realize that I am one of innumerable thousands that feel alienated by the brand. If Apple hopes to recover from this, as a company, they will need to restructure themselves and hit multiple home-runs in the consumer market. But they wont. They are so addicted to their profit margins of the past. Those margins only existed because, for a brief moment in history, they were unchallenged in the market. They were leading innovation and doing it better than anyone else. That time is over. Now, everyone else is doing it cheaper, better, and even offering better support. Think, can you buy replacement parts for your Apple products and repair it yourself? Oh no, that’s illegal. Those parts, even if genuine Apple parts, are confiscated at the border and declared counterfeits. Apple doesn’t want you repairing or upgrading, they want more money for new hardware.

  18. When Steve Jobs died, Apple lost its specialness I guess. It’s still good! It’s just that we see Apple make mistakes like others do, and we’re not quite used to it.

    This author said… “….their not necessarily features….” but should know better. ‘their?’
    But everything in our culture, including ill-defined re-definition of words, seems to be taking us downward daily.

    Thanks for the good article!

  19. “The limited number of configuration Apple sells means you’re often required to purchase features you might not need. Things like ECC memory are great to have, but their not necessarily features that consumers would seek out. It’s nice to have when you have it, but I doubt folks would be willing to pay significantly more to get it. But if you want an Apple computer, you’re locked in to certain requirements almost immediately.”

    This is literally the same exact thought restated four times. Did you learn to write by padding term papers to please your teachers?