Years ago, I had no liking for Apple Inc.
I didn’t hate it or anything. I just wasn’t interested. I was a PC guy, and had been since 1991, and therefore had little reason to interact with the opposition. (I had a Mac in the office that I had to use to access the newspaper’s photo archives, because the photo department worked in that universe, but I didn’t like using it at all.)
But then, in (I think) the spring of 2011, I replaced my Blackberry with an iPhone. And I loved it. About a year later, I got an iPad — and if anything, I loved it more.
I still don’t have much use for Macs. They’re very solidly made — PCs feel structurally chintzy by comparison — but some very key functions that I perform without conscious thought on a PC (and have for more than 30 years) don’t work the same way, which slows me down. Also, some of the keys are in a slightly different place, leading to lots of errors. And the errors are hard to quickly fix, because the backspace key is positioned slightly differently.
Never mind that. I love my iPhone and my iPad, and have since the start. What I truly hate is the way Apple keeps changing them, apparently in the grossly mistaken belief that it is improving them.
And sometimes you do get actual improvements — greater speed and storage capacity, a better camera, sharper resolution, etc.
But other times Apple goes out of its way to take away good things, things that make life easier. And I hate that.
Here are the five worst, in terms of lost function on these products. Now, I’ll acknowledge that some of these losses were not inflicted by Apple. Maybe — and with No. 4 on the list, that seems a strong possibility — somebody else did it. And if y’all holler out, “That’s not Apple’s fault, ya eejit! You need to make this or that adjustment in the settings!,” I will be grateful. Here they are:
- Taking away the Home button. This was definitely and purely Apple’s fault, and it is by far the greatest sin on my list. And I have not been able to find a good reason for it. Oh, I’ve read about the business of removing a (theoretical, since I’ve never run across it with my four iPhones) mechanical vulnerability. But I suspect it was really about aesthetics, and that really ticks me off. If I want a bigger screen, I’ll use my iPad — which, incidentally, has a home button. Anyway, this is why I use an SE2, and if I replace it, I’ll get an SE3.
- Taking away the headphone jack. OK, we just dropped way down in importance. While I consider removing the home button a major offense, this one’s more of a misdemeanor — if that. Usually, it’s OK. Except when the only earbuds I can find is the old kind, and the tiny adaptor has gone missing. Or I don’t have earbuds, and want to use the free ones provided by the airline. Or — and here’s the semi-biggie — I badly need to recharge, but I want to use my earbuds at the same time. That’s one’s kind of moot, now that all sound from my phone goes to my hearing aids via Bluetooth. But it was a problem, and I suppose still is for people with normal hearing. And no, I would not consider investing in Airpods. Without a cord, they’re too easy to lose.
- Taking away the “find on page” function. OK, this one has really been ticking me off, because this was a huge part of the way I used my iPhone and iPad. I call up, say, a Wikipedia page that’s a couple of thousand words long, and I use the search function to go straight to what I’m trying to find out. But now, for a couple of months, I’ve had to wait until I’m at my PC to do this. At this point, I would cry out in rage, except, well… NEVER MIND… I finally found out, by searching Google one more time, that they just moved that function from the “share” button to the three dots in the corner. I still think that after this change, they should have prevented my phone from working until I had read a clear notice telling me this, but I’m satisfied. Let’s move on…
- Stopping me from tweeting straight from various apps. OK, I strongly suspect the real culprit here is Elon Musk. But since this is only a problem on my Apple devices, it made the list. And when you read as many different publications as I do each day, and tweet frequently, it’s a pain. After writing the tweet on the publication’s app, I get a notice that it has failed to post, and have to go to the Twitter app, call up “drafts,” and tweet it from there. And this, to me, sounds like a Musk thing.
- Constantly changing the freaking hardware. Have you heard about this?
Of course it we had an Apple Store in this town (a gripe that didn’t quite fit on this list), I could have taken my phone to the Genius Bar first, and wouldn’t have written this post. Because before posting, I made one more effort to find a workaround for some of these things, and I found one for restoring the home button. Sort of. And without my rage over that one, I wouldn’t have started on this tirade.
But here’s the thing — why should I have to find tricky workarounds for things that worked beautifully, simply, obviously and intuitively?
OK, enough. Bottom line, Apple makes some pretty great products. In fact, I almost had to go with only four things instead of five, because I had trouble thinking of the fifth. And in truth, this is not really a Top Five Gripes. It’s more like Five Gripes. But the feature is called “Top Five Lists,” and you wouldn’t want me to mess with the Hornby rules, would you?