Known for its industry standard-setting products and features, Apple is not immune to often unintelligible products that make little sense to even its more ardent users. Here we look at some such products and services that have failed to impress, even annoyed users.
The cumbersome lighting port on the iPhone
From the lightning port to the lack of USB-C, Apple has chosen to keep its user base scrambling to find the correct cable to charge the iPhone and connect it to other devices.
The iPhone 15, to be released later this year, is expected to ship with a USB-C port. Thanks to regulations from the EU that require a single mobile charging port for mobile phones, tablets, and cameras. Reports suggest the company is working to integrate its Made for iPhone (MFi) certification with USB-C in the iPhone, potentially restricting charging, or data transfer speeds in the process.
This may seem like an insignificant detail but it could have a larger impact for users as they may have to purchase MFi-certified peripherals for their iPhones, including USB-C headphones and memory sticks.
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The move, however, is unsurprising as Apple has made its users jump through hoops to ensure compatibility. In 2020, when Apple removed the charging brick from the iPhone’s box, the charging cable shipped with new iPhones came with USB-C to lighting connection. However, users found themselves forced to purchase new charging bricks since the older 5W bricks came with a USB-A port.
So, unless they were already using the charging brings for the Mac or iPad which came with USB-C ports, there was one more brick they had to purchase.
In 2022, Apple began rolling out lossless audio for Apple Music users. The roll-out was aimed to provide an enhanced listening experience.
However, there was a catch. The company no longer provided wired headsets with the iPhone and lossless audio is not supported on Bluetooth devices. The only way to make use of the feature was to either purchase a USB-lightning to 3.5mm jack, use the inbuilt speakers or use an external digital-to-analog converter.
Unsurprisingly, headphones with the lighting cable cannot be used with the Mac or newer models of the iPad, as they do not have the lighting port. And even if users did spend the extra ₹2,000 on the EarPods with the lighting connector, the volume controls did not work with the newer iPhone models.
Apple positions a large part of its products in the premium category. Understandably then they come with a premium price tag. However, users may not expect some of the accessories for these products to be priced as high as the products themself.
We are talking about the ₹69,900 Apple Mac Pro Wheels Kit, which are basically “custom-designed stainless steel and rubber wheels” for the Mac Pro.
Similarly, the pricing of a polishing cloth at ₹1,900 may seem brazen to users, but Apple did it, nonetheless. And if users feel it ends there, think again, because Apple sells the stand for the Pro Display XDR for a whooping ₹95,000.
Fumbling across formats
If users have ever tried using a memory stick with the M1 MacBook Air to transfer files on a Windows laptop, they might be in for a surprise. The pen drive does not show up on Windows.
That’s because the M1 Mac uses a format called Apple File System, a proprietary file system developed and deployed by Apple Inc. for macOS Sierra and later, which Windows devices are unable to read.
So, to use a pen drive first used with the Mac, users are required to create a partition on the pen drive using the MS-DOS (FAT32) format, which can then be read by Windows and smart TVs to transfer and view files. Personally, We would rather use a pen drive first on a Windows device and then on a MacBook to avoid falling into this trap.
The intruding notch
Despite being relegated to the memories in most Android devices, Apple chose to stick with the notch up until the iPhone 13. Even with the change in the iPhone 14, the bathtub notch gave way to the “Dynamic Island”, which is a pill-shaped notch, at best.
The “island” intrudes into the content on the screen making it hard to ignore. We believe the notification and other features offered by the notch could have simply existed as another notification appearing as a drop-down from the top of the screen.
The promised compatibility for third-party apps is also slowly making its way to the users, as developers try to figure out how they want to make use of the “Dynamic Island”.
It is not all bad though, the Apple ecosystem is one remarkable way to ensure connectivity and compatibility within Apple devices. Apart from the occasional hiccups, the ecosystem works beautifully if users are willing to pay the premium. We would, however, like for Apple devices to be more integrated and easier to use with devices from other manufacturers, even though it may be a distant dream.
With Apple moving towards improving compatibility in messages and bringing the USB-C port to the iPhone 15, we hope to see more such updates that will make living with Apple devices and services easier.