I generally like Apple products. They are attractive and work well. One complaint that has always been present and kept me from the Mac OS as my primary platform is their dumbing things down too much. When a technical problem arose, they expected users to get help from, well, Apple. Or a reseller. Information on self-help was sparse. They didn’t realize how harmful it was to technical people to have such a closed system. These are the same people that could significantly promote their technology.
And now, they have done it again. They thought they were doing the right thing by providing maximum battery life at the cost of performance. They were thinking for us. They benefited with old phones getting pitched for faster new phones, made more amazing with a greater perceived delta in performance. They didn’t disclose the fact that we could replace batteries to preserve our phones a little longer and reduce “digital waste”.
Apple needs to understand that outside of their fan-base they need to be a lot more transparent. They could have given us an option to adjust battery life vs performance (how amazing of an option would that have been?!). They need to understand that we don’t want to have to change our phones every year (or even two) – that should be our individual decision based on our choices absent of manipulation or potential coercion.
In some ways this is similar to VW Dieselgate in that actions were taken to manipulate the system to their benefit and it wasn’t disclosed until an outside person made it known. I have lived through this debacle thus naturally comes to mind.
While it may not have the same environmental impact, this will cause confidence issues and there will be greater scrutiny into their products. Apple has spent many years to gain the trust of the typical buyer that wouldn’t purchase a Mac and aren’t apple loyalists. How this will impact? Only time will tell. My guess is that unlike the VW scandal, this shall pass despite the betrayal. Phones cost a lot less than cars. Apple still makes a good product that is consistent and easy to support. The iPhone market hasn’t dropped. Apple is taking action that helps us now. While we are temporarily angry (it takes little effort to be indignant while a lot of effort to change our ecosystem) and they have lost long term trust for some, we are now better informed consumers understanding we can take our products to Apple ($29 to replace right now instead of the normal $80) or a 3rd party (accepting risk vs price) for a new battery. Or we can try to replace ourselves if so bold or interested. There is no current fix for most of the formerly beloved VW TDIs and likely no Apple employee jail time.
This is also an opportunity for all (including those hurt) to review the other options available (on the Android OS really) to see if Apple still measures up or if it is time to bail and rethink your platform. Ultimately, the drama will cool off and we will return to our own cool-headed thinking and selection process that represents our best interests for the time being.