The Vanguard

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Can Apple maintain its popularity and sales?

Apple has taken away features and replaced them with more things
to spend money on.

Apple has taken away features and replaced them with more things to spend money on.

Kenyan Carter

Kenyan Carter

Apple has taken away features and replaced them with more things to spend money on.

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The year is 2010. Apple released the iPhone 4 to unprecedented fanfare. The iconic feature set for the phone included the FaceTime video call for the first time ever, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone and a new design of glass and stainless steel making it the thinnest smartphone at the time. This was said to be the device that brought smartphone technology into the mainstream. The hype was real with the phone selling 1.7 million units within the first three days, according to an Apple press release.

“This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history,” then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs said about the iPhone 4.

With this release, Apple showed they were willing to try new things, push the cutting edge of modern technology and emphasize quality. More importantly, however, is the amount of goodwill the iPhone 4 earned Apple customers with the company, which continues to this day.

Now we are back to present day. Apple is dealing with the controversy of the company throttling the speed of it’s older devices. According to a report by NPR, iPhone owners were furious when the company admitted that it intentionally slowed down older phones to preserve battery life. Some users filed class-action lawsuits. The phones affected by this slowdown include the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE and the iPhone 7.

The problem with this is that users experiencing their phones getting worse could have just replaced the battery and the phone would be back to running like new. However, with Apple’s lack of transparency regarding the slowdown, it helps vindicate the planned obsolescence strategy pushing users to buy newer phones. Apple, in response to the backlash, issued an apology and lowered the price on a new battery from $79 to $29. According to the Verge, Apple is also beta testing a way to disable throttling in its 11.3 iOS update.

This also comes in the wake of Apple dropping the 3.5 mm headphone jack feature since the release of the iPhone 7. According to a poll done by Macworld, a site dedicated to following Apple products since 1984, 58 percent of voters wanted Apple to keep the headphone jack.

The reasoning Apple gave for taking this commonly used feature away is puzzling. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, attempted to justify the removal during the phone’s debut.

“Now, some people have asked why we would remove the analog headphone jack from the iPhone,” Schiller said. “The reason to move on really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us.”

By moving on, they’re referring to their high-end Bluetooth headphones, AirPods, that come separately from the phone for a hefty $159. These headphones come separately and cordless so the possibility of misplacing them is a real problem, and replacing them won’t be cheap. Apple does include a lightning adapter to allow customers to plug in 3.5 mm headphones like before, but it takes the place of the charging port taking away the ability to listen and charge the phone simultaneously.

So, with Apple’s new devices, they’ve taken away features and replaced them with more things to spend money on. This becomes more egregious when taken in the context that Apple in 2017 was Fortune 500’s most profitable company for the third year in a row. Instead of investing those huge profits into making a more durable and longlasting device, Apple has shown that each generation they will not only do the bare minimum but find more ways to take advantage of their loyal customers who are responsible for their success.

According to Forbes, Apple’s profits dropped 14 percent compared to 2016. The momentum from the success of the iPhone 4 can only last for so long. If Apple doesn’t refocus on customer service instead of profits, even the most loyal buyers will reach a limit.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Can Apple maintain its popularity and sales?”

  1. Scott on February 12th, 2018 1:56 pm

    Amen brother.
    I just got a new battery in my iPhone 6. It was the only way I could get a “new” iPhone with a headphone jack! Even though I have been a loyal Apple fan for years, my next phone will have a jack, regardless of whether or not Apple offers one.

    I think it is worth pointing out that Apple has been bizarrely inconsistent with the headphone jack. They still sell iPod Touch with a jack. Also the new Macbook Pro computers which eliminated most port options still offers a 3.5mm headphone jack. as does the brand new iMac Pro. If there is anywhere you could get rid of the headphone jack, it would be on your desktop, not your phone!

    I used to love Apple design and simplicity. They have become money-mongers like most other companies.

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Can Apple maintain its popularity and sales?