Apple Products' Vaunted Reputation for Quality: 10 Major Shortcomings

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-12-03

Apple Products' Vaunted Reputation for Quality: 10 Major Shortcomings

Apple’s products are widely viewed across the market as the finest available. From computers to smartphones to tablets, today’s customers believe that if they get their hands on an Apple product, they’re going to get something that will last them years and be worth the high price.

If one listens to Apple’s legion of fans that want nothing more than to see the company grow, it would appear that the products it sells are absolutely flawless.

However, that’s simply not the case. Apple’s products are generally of high quality and in some cases they are the best devices available. However, they’re not perfect, and all of them suffer from a series of issues that turn many customers away.

Customers are buying Apple products knowing that they lack certain features, don’t support important industry standards or are overpriced. It’s as if those folks go to the store close their eyes to the flaws and plunk down cash to buy an Apple device. That’s unfortunate and it shouldn't be that way.

Read on to find out about the issues that all Apple products suffer from:

1. Reparability

Apple’s new iMac is a design feat since the combined CPU and display unit measures just 5mm thick at its edge. However, the computer has also received some of the worst scores in terms of reparability. It’s not only the iMac. Just about all of Apple’s products are designed so it’s not easy for them to be taken apart, making it extremely difficult for do-it-yourselfers to actually fix broken or hobbled devices.

2. A culture of what you see is what you get

For years, Apple has made it clear that it wants no part of its customers trying to get more from the products they buy. Want to add a new graphics card to that MacBook Pro? Don’t even think about. Want to wait for Apple to offer a free refresh or update to get more functionality? Don’t hold your breath. For the most part, when you buy an Apple product, whatever it does out of the box won’t change over its lifetime. So you will have to wait until you’re ready to pay to buy an upgraded model.

3. Lock it down

On the software side, Apple loves to lock down its operating systems. Although many developers would like an open-source iOS, Apple will never deliver it. And those trying to run other apps than those in the App Store will find that they need to go through the painstaking process of jailbreaking to do so. Even Apple’s OS X is locked down. Don’t expect openness from the iPad maker.

4. The enterprise is an afterthought

The corporate world has always been an afterthought to Apple since the early days of the company. But that never really mattered to Apple. It’s hard to see whether or not it matters now when enterprises are more open to Apple products than ever. Apple doesn’t care about making OS X more enterprise-friendly and when the corporate world wants to see more enterprise-focused applications, Apple typically ignores those calls. Sadly, Apple is still a consumer-obsessed company.

Apple Products' Vaunted Reputation for Quality: 10 Major Shortcomings

5. Pricing, obviously

It’s hard to write a roundup of Apple’s product flaws without mentioning pricing. Apple’s products are extremely expensive compared to alternatives. Go ahead and try to buy a Mac with all of the bells and whistles. Chances are, it’ll run you much, much more than a comparably equipped Windows PC. Even on the smartphone side, it’s difficult to say for sure that the iPhone justifies its $199 starting price that you only get from a mobile carrier along with service contract. Pricing is a huge concern in the Apple ecosystem.

6. They’re really not major upgrades

Apple has big product announcements to draw the media and fans that are intended to show off its latest products and technologies. However, unlike years gone by, nowadays, the majority of those updates are iterative. From the iPhone to the iMac, Apple’s product upgrades don’t represent major technical advances these days.

7. Simplicity for simplicity’s sake

Apple has always said that when a person uses one of its products, “it just works.” However, today’s tech user is far more sophisticated than those who picked up a Mac 10 or 20 years ago. They want to be able to do more with their products. Just look at the Mac Mini Mountain Lion Server. Save for simpler small business tasks, the “server” can hardly live up to its name. It’s about time more sophisticated features come to Apple’s product line.

8. A sense that users don’t know what they need

There’s a general sense across all Apple products that today’s customers really don’t understand what it is they need in any device they buy. So, Apple forces them into certain features and applications that might do some, but not all, of the things those folks want. The same might be said on the hardware side where Apple waited far too long to deliver many of the features customers wanted in the iPhone, including a larger screen and 4G LTE service.

9. Design over usability

Apple sometimes goes too far with its design ideas. For example, a key reason for its changeover to the new Lightning adapter was its desire to make a smaller, thinner iPhone. The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina Display lack an optical drive because of Apple’s design concept. Even the iMac lacks some key features because of its design. At what point will Apple realize that sometimes, design compromises are OK if it means more usability?

10. They’re more vulnerable to security flaws than most think

Apple has found a way to skate by many of the security woes that have impacted consumers and enterprise users over the last several years. In fact, many believe that both iOS and OS X are secure from outside attacks. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Like Windows and Android, OS X and iOS are vulnerable to attacks, and it’s incumbent upon Apple to make sure its customers know and understand that.

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