7 Ways Apple Screws Over Their Customers

Apple’s business model is fairly straightforward: Their goal is to move as much money from you to them as humanly possible while giving you as little as possible in return. I know this because I was an Apple customer myself, and I had good reasons for leaving. What you are about to read will be partially pulled from my own experiences as an Apple customer, and partially pulled from additional research that I’ve done on the web. The extent to which Apple screws over their customers is magnificent and if I were to recount every individual example – every class action lawsuit, intentional design defect, etc. – this article would take weeks to write and days to read. So I’m just going to look at some of the general patterns in Apple’s parasitic business model. Let’s begin…


7. Apple’s devices are constantly breaking, and they charge a fortune to repair them.

Much of Apple’s revenue stream comes not from selling new devices but from forcing you to get expensive repairs or replacements for devices you already own that are deliberately designed to break. That’s the only explanation I can think of for why Apple repeatedly makes the same mistakes over and over again and makes such obviously bad design decisions that there’s no way they didn’t know what they were doing.

On top of this, Apple repair shops are deliberately wasteful with their materials (in spite of numerous PR efforts by Apple to masquerade as a “green company”), forcing you to get your entire motherboard replaced due to a single chip failing. I know this because it happened to me in 2012 when my MacBook Pro failed to boot due to either the CPU or the GPU running too hot and failing, and instead of offering to replace the failed component, they told me I had to either get the entire motherboard replaced or just buy a whole new computer. Since the cost of a new motherboard was almost as much as the cost of buying a new laptop, I ended up doing the latter.

Recent history provides no shortage of examples of Apple knowingly releasing defective products. One example is the MacBook Pro A1286, which was falsely advertised as a unibody. The screen on this laptop was made of two pieces of aluminum that were haphazardly glued together, and the CPU fan was placed directly under the screen hinge and would blow all the hot air from the computer into the screen hinge, melting the glue and causing the frame to come apart. This failure was only possible because the MacBook was specifically designed so that hot air would be blown directly into the glue, so I have a hard time believing that this flaw wasn’t deliberate, given how unlikely it is that a design flaw this perfect could have been accomplished by accident.

A second example is the infamous butterfly keyboard, which customers were having problems with ever since it was first introduced in the 12″ MacBook in 2015, and which Apple only just discontinued in 2020 after a class action lawsuit. Random keys on this keyboard would break if even the tiniest bit of dust or debris got in them, and when they did, the entire MacBook had to be taken apart and the keyboard replaced. It has been argued that Apple was sacrificing functionality for the meme of “muh thinnest laptop ever”, but an argument can also be made that a sizable revenue stream was generated from people taking their laptops in to get the keyboards fixed.

Moving on to smartphones, we have the infamous Bendgate from 2014, which affected the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Bendgate refers to an issue with these phones where the aluminum chassis would bend under pressure, usually when left in the user’s pocket. This bending would subsequently lead to “touch disease”, where the touchscreen would fail to respond properly to touch due to the graphics chip coming unseated. Although Apple claimed that the chassis bending and touch disease were the result of people abusing their iPhones, recently revealed documents show that these problems resulted from a design defect that Apple knew about from the very beginning, even before the affected models were launched. And to add insult to injury, users still had to pay an additional $149 to get the defective phones replaced under Apple’s repair program.

Various other design defects include issues like the rubber feet on the Macbook Pro popping off for no reason, the cord on the power adapter fraying and breaking so that a new one would have to be purchased for nearly $100, the hard drive flex cable overheating and melting, the GPU randomly failing and causing a kernel panic, and a host of other problems. And of course Apple’s response to all of these is to deny all wrongdoing, blame the customer for not using their device properly, and in most cases not bother to fix anything until they actually get sued.


6. If your device hasn’t broken by the time a new model comes out, they will break it for you.

Everybody knows about Batterygate, the case where Apple was accused of deliberately slowing down older iPhones. Only after being called out on it in a viral Reddit post did they finally admit they were doing this, and they stated that it was to extend the life of the battery as the phone aged. Some people speculated that Apple was trying to frustrate people into buying new iPhones. Although this has yet to be proven, given Apple’s track record and their lack of honesty about issues with their devices it makes you wonder.

It’s also the fact that this wouldn’t be the only thing Apple has done to try to force people to upgrade to the latest device. According to Luke Smith over on YouTube, Apple also makes new software updates incompatible with older iPhone models, so that when a new iPhone comes out, all of a sudden you can’t install new apps on the iPhone you currently have. I can’t confirm this personally as I’ve never owned an iPhone, but it seems likely that this is what they’re doing.

All in all, there’s just a lot of weird shit going on with the iPhone that’s really suspicious and doesn’t reflect well on Apple, and makes it hard to believe that they’re not deliberately disabling old devices to get people to buy new ones.


5. Apple forces you to buy expensive add-on components just to get basic functionality.

Probably the most infamous example of this is when Apple removed all ports from their MacBooks and replaced them with two proprietary Thunderbolt ports, requiring users to buy expensive dongles to plug anything into them. This was a design decision that made absolutely no sense from a functionality perspective, but made a lot of sense from a moneymaking perspective.

Then there was the time Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone, making it so that cheap third-party wired earbuds could no longer be used, and customers had to pay $169 for a pair of AirPods. In addition to injecting a steady stream of harmful Bluetooth radiation directly into your brain, increasing the odds of getting a brain tumor down the road, wireless earbuds are also more easily lost and are prone to accidents like getting lodged in your inner ear if you get hit in the head.

There are a lot of good reasons not to use wireless earbuds, and as a general rule, it’s better if consumers have a choice. But that’s not Apple’s concern. They know they they don’t have to give people choices, because they already have their customers hooked and most of them will never leave no matter what, and if they just force people to buy the AirPods, they will happily comply as they always do.

Then of course there’s the iPhone 4, famous for the “You’re holding it wrong.” meme. Due to a poorly designed antenna, the iPhone 4 would randomly lose reception, and rather than fixing the issue, Apple blamed the customers for holding their devices improperly. Their eventual solution was to come up with a new $29 case for the iPhone that would supposedly fix the antenna problem. So basically, Apple’s solution to a defect in their own devices is to come out with yet another add-on that you have to pay for.

These are just a few examples of how simply paying the exorbitantly high price of the device itself is not enough to get you a functional device, and you have to pay for extra parts just to get the bare minimum functionality needed for everyday use. Imagine if other companies did this. Imagine if your car dealership sold you a car with a faulty transmission, or no transmission, and you had to pay thousands of dollars for a new transmission immediately after buying the car. Things like this should not be add-on components. When we’re talking about basic functionality, it should be part of the initial package. Only Apple is able to get away with making essential components an add-on.


4. Apple repair shops fix devices without actually fixing them.

Story time, everyone! I’m going to tell you all about my final straw as an Apple customer, how I finally decided Apple had fucked me one too many times. So it’s 2018 and I’m using my Macbook to do some graphics editing, and suddenly it freezes and I get the spinning beach ball of death. I hit the kill switch, then turn it back on, and I get a boot failure with the blinking folder icon. Classic sign that the hard drive cable has melted. So I take it in.

Turns out it was indeed the hard drive cable. I leave it with the repair shop, they say they need to replace the cable but all the other components are in good health, and so I let them do their work trusting that they know what they’re doing and I get it back in a few days. Then mere weeks later, my Macbook with its brand new hard drive cable has the same exact boot failure with the same exact symptoms – freezing, spinning beach ball of death, blinking folder icon, the whole shebang. It’s pretty clear at this point that the cable they used to replace the broken one was not actually new, but rather it was a cable swapped out from another Macbook that was mere weeks from failing.

After having done some research, it turns out this is basically a modus operandi for Apple. They don’t just do this with hard drive cables, but basically any component that’s failing due to a design defect that was entirely Apple’s fault. They’ll remove the broken component and swap it out with another defective component that is destined to fail again within a few weeks. This is how they keep you coming back. Because when they “fix” your devices, they don’t actually fix them. They perform a temporary fix that only delays device failure for a brief period, long enough for you to shut up about it and go away, and then a few weeks later you’re back at the repair shop again. It’s a vicious cycle, and the only one benefiting is Apple.

Another good example of Apple’s temporary fixes for permanent design defects comes from Louis Rossman’s channel on YouTube. Louis Rossman did a series called The Truth About Apple about three years ago, and this was basically the starting place for my research for this article. This video shows how Apple “fixed” an improperly soldered chip – by gluing a piece of iRubber over it…


3. If you buy one Apple device, you have to buy all Apple devices.

As a general rule, Apple devices only work well with other Apple devices. Apple ensures this through a combination of proprietary file formats that only Apple devices can read, proprietary form factors that most devices don’t use such as Thunderbolt, and a number of other tactics designed to make interfacing between Apple devices and non-Apple devices more difficult.

Basically everything on an Apple device is proprietary and will cause difficulty if you try to use it on another device. This includes Apple’s new filesystem APFS, which only Apple devices can currently read and other vendors haven’t been able to create functional drivers due to Apple’s refusal to release full documentation for the filesystem.

It also includes Apple services such as iCloud, which until very recently could only be accessed from an Apple device. That’s like if Google barred anyone not using a Pixel phone from using Google Drive. Apple did eventually cave in and made some Apple services available to non-Apple devices. Not all services though, and there still seem to be some roadblocks even with the ones that they have enabled.

In addition to this, Apple software restricts what file formats you’re allowed to use. You can’t use Pages to create a Microsoft Word file or even a file in the OpenDocument format, and of course Pages can only be run on MacOS, which can only be run on a Mac. This effectively makes it impossible for non-Apple devices to read word processing files created on an Apple device, unless you use third party apps like Microsoft Office or LibreOffice.


2. You have to open up your devices to do basic everyday maintenance, but doing so voids your warranty and automatically disqualifies you from future repairs even if you pay for them.

There are two maintenance tasks that you should be able to do with your devices without having to get them serviced. One of them is replacing the battery when it gets worn out, and the other is cleaning dust out of your computer. In Apple’s case, both of these require you to take a screwdriver and physically open up your computer, which can only be done by a licensed Apple technician.

Let’s look at the dust issue first. Apple laptops are designed in such a way that dust gets caught inside the chassis, blocking the air vents in the back and preventing heat from escaping. This can cause your MacBook to overheat and possibly suffer component failure. I know because this happened to me when I was using a MacBook. Here’s a quick visual aid that I pulled from DuckDuckGo:

Dust caught in a MacBook, blocking the air vents

Unfortunately, despite the MacBook needing to be cleaned periodically, you’re not allowed to open it to do it yourself. Doing so automatically voids your warranty and can make you ineligible for future repairs, even if you’re willing to pay the full service price. So you have two choices: either pay about $100 or so to take your laptop in for cleaning every six months, or just allow it to overheat and eventually suffer a component failure. And remember, if one component breaks, they’ll make you pay for an entire new motherboard.

Then of course there’s the aforementioned battery issue. As everyone should know by now, even rechargable lithium ion batteries don’t last forever. Every time a battery is recharged, the electrodes become slightly warped, causing them to wear and eventually stop working. So replacing the battery is something you will have to do eventually. Virtually every other laptop or smartphone in existence allows you to easily swap out the battery for a $20 replacement, without having to use a screwdriver or any special tools. But not Apple devices. Apple devices require you to completely unscrew the chassis and take your entire device apart in order to actually get at the battery. And, as with the dust issue, you’re not even allowed to do this yourself. So the result is you find yourself paying not just the exorbitantly high price of an Apple battery, but a service charge as well.


1. Apple has ways of retaining customers even while repeatedly screwing them.

Like a battered wife to an abusive husband, Apple customers will always keep coming back for more despite being routinely fucked with. This is partly because of brand loyalty and the fact that Apple gets away with shit that literally no other company can get away with, but it’s also because Apple tries to make it as painful as possible for you to switch to another vendor. They try to lock you in to using Apple products so that it’s nearly impossible to stop using them without losing all your data, losing large amounts of money, or something similar.

One example of this from my own life: This was long after I ended my paying relationship with Apple. I had two broken Macbooks, and I wanted to recover all my old files from them so I could use them on my Windows and Linux computers. So I took one of the laptops into an Apple store to get it done. I was told that if I supplied an SSD they could back up all the files to the SSD, but it would be using Apple’s proprietary filesystem, which as I said earlier can only be read by MacOS. So in order to access files created or saved on a Mac, you have to use a Mac. Basically I had to either accept that my old files were gone forever, or go back to using Apple products again.

There’s also the fact that if you buy an iPhone, you’re locked into an expensive AT&T contract that lasts a certain number of years, so if you want to switch to a non-Apple device, you have to pay for a whole new contract while still paying for the AT&T/Apple contract that you’re no longer using. AT&T also has family plans for the iPhone which make it extremely inconvenient for a single family member to switch to a different contract with a different phone. Basically, Apple colludes with AT&T to make it as painful and expensive as possible for their customers to leave.

These are just two examples of how Apple tries to trap customers into remaining loyal. This also goes hand-in-hand with #3, which means if you have multiple Apple devices, it can be difficult to switch one of them to another vendor without switching all of them, and often you end up losing all your files and data in the process.


So there you have it, just a few of the ways Apple tries to extract as much money as possible from customers while giving them nothing in return. I hope you enjoyed my little rant. Be sure to like, follow, and share on social media if you did. See ya.

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2 thoughts on “7 Ways Apple Screws Over Their Customers

  1. The emperor has no clothes!

    Stockholm syndrome.

    Apple fans tend to pay the price of not looking around, and also refusing to learn anything. As soon as you are willing to learn anything about computers, the idiocy of using Apple is apparent. When I had a work Mac (I would never spend my own money on one) first thing I did was put MacPorts on it.

    They force you to use YOUR purchases THEIR way. Mainly by removing hardware ports and using proprietary formats.

    They are expensive but not very good. They control the hardware and the software but still fail. Does that grey curtain still come down from the top of the screen when the OS locks up? I have avoided Macs for 10 years, so I don’t know any more.

    They are expensive. Duh, we all know that.

    Support is lousy. 3 years is their standard for a version of their OS. Microsoft, as much as people criticise them, supported Windows XP for 12 YEARS and Win 7 for 10 years (and Vista, which I never used, 10 years too), and you still get the odd update even now for Win 7 and Office 2010. Linux support is of course completely variable. On the other hand, Linux is free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t even know about the support thing. That’s interesting. I also know Apple tries to get around warranties whenever they can. They just want to avoid servicing your device or your software so you’re forced to upgrade.

      Like

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