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Is Apple Deliberately Making Flawed Products?
Quote:I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it’s hard not to start connecting the dots on these issues. Over the past few years, we’ve seen AppleCare prices rising. We’ve seen Apple move towards products with extremely high replacement costs, from the glass back on the iPhone X to the high price of repairing the Apple MacBook Pro keyboard — keyboards that can jam from something as small as a single grain of sand. Apple has had to revise the keyboard twice and apparently even the third revision isn’t foolproof.

Then there are the battery issues. First, Apple chose to start slowing down iPhones over time, despite the fact that its general user community was suspicious that the company had always done this. It hadn’t, but the intelligence of embracing an approach that consumers’ suspected and loathed is highly debatable. Apple was forced to back down over the blowback on this issue, but it clearly left a bad taste in the company’s mouth. Tim Cook named users who took advantage of battery replacements as being one component of its lower-than-expected profit guidance this past year.

Meanwhile, analysts have said that AppleCare revenue makes up a much larger percentage of Apple’s total Services revenue than people realize. Morgan Stanley expects Apple’s Services revenue to top $100B per year by 2023, up from $37.2B today. AppleCare revenue is expected to be critical to this growth trend. And one way to ensure that people buy into AppleCare is to make certain that you build products that need AppleCare, all while simultaneously justifying these changes with appeals to the thinness that consumers supposedly demand.

It’s not just whether any given Apple product is more or less repairable than previous generations. It’s a question of whether the company has taken any effort to remove these massive pain points in its own designs. Far from removing them, Apple seems to be adding them, or at the least, has done little to fix these problems. It’s hard not to suspect that the company is building its Services revenue on the backs of bad laptop design. Alex has started a petition for the company to address the issue, available here.
Quote:Apple has once again acknowledged that its MacBooks are equipped with a failed keyboard design. The problem — which the company has now been failing to solve since 2015 — is arguably deliberate at this point, reflecting either a refusal to grapple with the reality of the problem or a pointed attempt to shake customers down for more money.
I don’t believe Apple is sorry about this and I don’t think you should either. Consider the facts of the situation and Apple’s overall conduct over the past few years.
As all of this has played out, Apple has been focused on ramping up its services revenue. The price of AppleCare has shot up. So has the cost of repairs if you don’t have it.

I don’t think Apple is attempting to build products that are secretly more likely to fail, so much as it’s deliberately building hardware that’s expensive to repair. Driving up the cost of out-of-warranty repairs is an excellent way to push people towards AppleCare. In 2017, analysts estimated that AppleCare sales accounted for 17 percent of Apple’s $31.3B in Services revenue. In 2018, Services revenue hit $37.1B.

If Apple was “sorry,” it would stop designing products with $600 – $700 in out-of-warranty repair costs. If it cared about safeguarding the user experience, it would go back to doing so by designing top-notch hardware as opposed to lying to the public (either directly or via omission) about the consequences of its own design changes.

If Apple wants the technical press to believe its apologies, it can stop designing hardware with the kind of flaws that shouldn’t pass muster in a $200 Chromebook and start building machines that deserve to be counted among the best in the business. Until it does, its apologies are worthless.
Quote:Apple is making changes to the "butterfly mechanism" in its MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptop keyboards in an attempt to make the keys more reliable. In a number of reports, the company said it is using new materials in the switch that should keep the computer from missing presses or doubling keystrokes.
Quote:According to a recent teardown posted on reddit by a self-described Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) Technician, it’s not even completely clear that dust has ever been the problem here. Dust is Apple’s explanation. Dust is the explanation we’ve all run with. He states: “My suspicion is that the metal dome experiences metal fatigue and slowly begin to lose connection, or that that little U-shaped cutout in the centre of the dome weakens and starts to easily bounce when pressed, making contact 2+ times.” (This would explain the loss connections as well as the multi-presses.)
If Apple doesn’t know why its keyboard design is failing this way, it would explain a lot. It would explain why the company has allowed journalists to make claims about how each successive generation of repairs should resolve issues but has avoided those claims itself. It would explain why the company has made small reliability changes to the key designs (maybe) but not taken any steps to prevent further dust or dirt intrusion, as near as anyone can tell.

But if the issue were to turn out not to be dust related, it would mean Apple has been lying for years to cover the fact that it doesn’t know what its actual problem is. That also strains belief. It is possible, however, that these keyboards fail in more than one type of way, or that they have multiple interlocking issues. It could be that if dust or debris maneuvers inside the keys in certain ways, it can then be destructive. The exact details are unclear.
I don’t recommend hardware when the company manufacturing it behaves in this fashion. Apple fans would be best served by a better-built Windows PC (possibly configured as a Hackintosh) than by rolling the dice on a machine with known potential defects and no communication from the company on whether they’ve been resolved. Obviously, there will be people — probably the vast majority of people — who buy a Mac laptop and never have a problem with it. That’s a good thing. I’m still not going to accept that people who drop four figures on a supposedly premium laptop should be planning their first repair visit in the back of their minds when they walk out of the store.

Our “Third-Generation MacBook Keyboards Are Still failing” article linked up below contains a chronological account of just the various consumer-hostile moves Apple has made against its customers in recent years, if anyone is wondering why I’m this unhappy over a keyboard problem.

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