Problems With Using Apple Products
If you’re like me, you probably just saw the news that Apple is the first tech company to be worth over $1 trillion. And if you are also like me, you probably keep asking yourself why on Earth should Apple deserve to be worth over $1 trillion. Despite their innovations running dry, and problems arising more and more with their products, it seems that the company can’t stop making money, especially with their competitions like Samsung and Microsoft trying new things and going in new directions to keep up with the market.
Ultimately, I think Apple products are generally ok. In fact, I don’t think Apple should get the amount of hate from people who generally don’t use them. However, I also don’t believe they deserve the amount of praise they get from their fans, especially with some of problems that I believe prevents me from calling Apple products fantastic. Because I believe that if it weren’t for Steve Jobs charisma in selling and glorifying Apple products, people wouldn’t be so forgiving on overlooking the flaws.
In this piece, I will explain a few problems I have with Apple products, and why they should address and fix these problems.
Please keep in mind that this is all a personal opinion. If you like products like the iPhone and MacBook Pro, good for you and I hope it makes you happy.
So without further ado, here are some of my problems with Apple and its products.
This is a good place to start because the first interaction you have with a product is buying it.
If there is one common complaint that most people have with Apple products, it’s that they charge way too much for their hardware. If you compare the prices of their products to their respective competitions’, you realize that what Apple charges does not match the value of the hardware they are selling.
Let’s start with laptops, because they tend to be the biggest example for the problem with their pricing model. If you go to Apple’s website to check out the prices for it’s newest 13-inch MacBook Pros (See the link here), you find that they charge $1,300 to $2,000. All of them have only 8GB of RAM, Intel i5 processor, and 128 GB to 512 GB worth of SSD storage.
Compare that to literally any gaming laptop $1,200 or under (See the laptop prices here). You will find that these laptops generally have better RAMs, better graphics card, better CPUs and better processors. Yet, they are far cheaper than any Apple MacBooks Pros you hope to get. So, I see a much greater value in getting more powerful computers with a cheaper price than buying prettier computer with a higher price. To be fair though, MacBooks do look prettier than the other laptops mentioned, but I find greater value in buying some more powerful than to buy something more aesthetically pleasing.
However, many would argue that it’s not the MacBook that showcases Apple’s good pricing model, but it’s the iPhones and iPads that shows the value in its pricing model. So, in terms of phones, let’s compare Apple to it’s biggest competitor in this realm: Samsung.
When comparing the new iPhone X (see the specs from Apple website here) to the Samsung S9 Plus (See the specs from Samsung’s website here), you will see that although the phones are very similar in specs and the Samsung S9 Plus is slightly better than the iPhone, it nevertheless is still cheaper than the iPhone X, making it a much better value when it comes to price. The iPhone X’s prices range based on storage from $1,100 to $1,265(You can check the price of the iPhone X here) while the Samsung S9 Plus’s price range based on storage from $840 to $970.( You can check the price of the Samsung S9 Plus here), even though you can add an SD card in the Samsung S9 Plus to have more storage and having a much better OLED screen, bringing even further value compared to the iPhone X.
So, I believe that Apple charges too much for their products, and with little variety in their line up, it’s too hard to argue otherwise.
DEALING WITH SOFTWARE
Now, after buying an Apple product, you would want to care about using the software within it. After all, Apple just provides the operating system and the hardware, but we use everything else that needs to be run on Apple’s machines. Please keep in mind that many of the complaints in this realm is from my personal experiences. Although, some of the concerns I write here are shared with many people I talked to.
So, let’s start with a line up of software very commonly used in Apple computers: Microsoft Office. When it comes to using Microsoft Office on Apple, it can become dreadful. I can’t tell you how many times I ran into lags whenever I use Excel on my MacBook Air, and how many times Microsoft Word can get stuck and I keep seeing the stupid pinwheel. At some point, the computer lags just from opening the Excel program by accident.
I know that it can be petty to complain about using Microsoft Office, especially when you can run into these problems even when using it on Windows, but Microsoft Office is one of the most important products you can use nowadays because you should use it in schools and offices. Even if you are a programmer or an artist and you spend most of the time using other pieces of software, you still need Excel or Word to write reports, letters, and many important documents for the institutions you are apart of. You even need it if you are applying for a job, since writing a resume nowadays requires using a word processor. I mean I could use Google Docs and Sheets to write important documents and spreadsheets, but they would require online connectivity and they’re not as good as using Microsoft Word or Excel. So having Microsoft Office working perfectly on the machine is important for efficiency reasons.
Some would argue that it is unfair to complain about using Microsoft Office on Apple machines since Microsoft would clearly make their software work better on computers running Windows, and maybe they’re right. However, running into software problems is not just limited to Microsoft products, but with other software tools made for both Mac OS and Windows.
For example, while I was pursuing my MBA back in Hofstra University, there was a desktop application for the printers around the campus. When I first came to Hofstra, I used an old beat up Samsung laptop that no longer performs the way it used to because it was a 2011 model. I installed the software fine and worked the way it should with no lags or problems. However, when I downloaded the Mac version on my MacBook Air, not only did I run into problems installing the program, but I couldn’t print anything from the Mac desktop application because of the lags I ran into that keeps the pinwheel running forever. Till this day, I did not manage to print anything using the desktop software and had to rely on the web interface for Hofstra’s printing software to print anything.
I heard that other applications such as the ones made for artists like Photoshop works even better on the Mac, but as a developer and a student willing to use this machine for on-the-go work activities, I am not that impressed, and I hope Apple can do better to address the problems using third party applications on their machines.
INNOVATIONS RUNNING DRY
I remember when the first iPhone came out. Although I wasn’t a fan of it at the time and was just a regular Blackberry user, I was impressed on some of the innovations that Apple brought into the phone market, such as using the gyroscope to change the orientation of the screen that is now widely adopted throughout the market, and finally perfecting touchscreen inputs on mobile phones that was pretty bad during the late 2000s. I even thought that it was a bit shameless of Samsung to more-or-less copy the look and feel of the iPhone. In fact, I even liked how Apple more-or-less became the catalyst for the tablet market when Steve Jobs released the iPad.
I even remember when Apple changed the music industry by introducing the concept of buying individual songs through iTunes rather than buying an entire album of the artist to combat music piracy that occurred in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Although you can argue that people at Apple did not have that many innovations even back in the day, you can say that they were innovative enough to actually make you want to buy the products and services, especially with their designs.
Things changed, however, and Apple has turned from a company that makes innovative designs and great features, to adopting Samsung’s old strategy of copying phone designs and features, then calling it innovations. Right now, even when Samsung comes out with features and designs that never existed on other phones (such as facial recognition), Apple would blatantly copy the feature and call it innovation. There are many popular examples, such as copying the Android phone’s top screen notifications, using facial recognition to unlock the phone from Samsung, and even following Samsung’s trend of making bigger phones that can still fit at the palm of your hands. Before, Apple used to make its phones smaller, while Samsung made its phones slightly bigger each time, going for a halfway between a tablet and a phone.
What’s even more astounding is that Apple is now taking away features and calling it innovation, such as taking away the headphone jack from the iPhones and iPads to make you buy wireless headphones. And it is not like it made sense from an engineering and design standpoints, since Samsung and other companies proved time and time again that you can keep these features while making the design nicer and the engineering intact. Heck, they can even perform better than the iPhone. I find that keeping your features intact while not comprising the design and engineering of your device is actually innovative in and of itself. Take a look at the image below shared with me on Facebook to know what I am talking about.
So, I suggest that Apple should get back into the game and actually make great innovations, rather than relying on cheap tactics and calling it innovations. We need your innovations to be great again, Apple.
PROBLEMS WHEN DEVELOPING FOR THE iOS
Now, I’ll be honest, at the time of writing this article, I wasn’t a long time iOS developer or a developer using the Mac OS. So, maybe iOS developers and developers on the Mac OS can argue differently about what I am about to say and they would probably be right.
Last year, I released a game called Quick Ops on Google Play for Android devices. It was built using a framework called Unity , which is used for building games on multiple platforms. You can also try playing this game on your computer using a browser here.
Although building the game with embedded ads was difficult in general and I had a bunch problems with Google on embedding these ads, compiling and building the game for the Android devices and testing it on my device was relatively easy because Unity can build the .APK file directly, requiring just clicking the “Build” button.
When it came time to cross my game over to the iOS devices, it was nothing but constant frustration.
Of course, I needed to use a Mac OS to release it for the iOS devices. I had a MacBook Air just so that I can build the game and release it on the App store. The idea was that I would download the Unity editor on the Mac OS, build the game legally (not using virtual machines to run Mac OS), and just release the game on the App Store.
When the time came and I clicked the “Build” button as demonstrated above, the game was not built but instead I had an XCode project generated for me so that I can build the program using XCode. I don’t understand why Apple would require Unity to put this extra hurdle. Nevertheless, I downloaded XCode on my device and decided to build the game using it.
However, when it was time to build the game using XCode, I keep running into errors after errors, usually from using Unity Ads or other third party software. I kept looking up online on how to deal with the errors on XCode and came up with few answers that never worked for me. Had Unity got the permission from Apple to integrate the XCode compiler on the Unity editor, life would have been much easier, and it would have made it easier for Unity developers to release games for the iOS. Say what you will about the Android and Google Play, but at least building Unity games for the platform is far easier and accessible.
Also, what I don’t like about releasing games at the App store so far is that I have to pay $100 each year to have my account running to release and maintain the mobile applications on it. What disappointed me even more is that, although Google Play is not free, it only required a one-time fee of $25 to have a console and account up and running to release an application on the Android.
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t hate Apple or their products. I just think that they have issues that needs to be resolved in order me to buy more of their products. At this rate, it seems that despite me trying to have Apple being part of my lifestyle, the problems I mentioned above keep pushing me away as a consumer and as a developer.
I know that many people love Apple, and that’s why they are worth $1 trillion at the time of this writing, but unless Apple resolves the issues above, I think it will impress me less as consumer, as a developer, and opens up opportunities for another company to take Apple’s place.