Apple’s reputation may not be at its most sterling right now. Indeed, the innovative tech company has run into its fair share of missteps and problems in the last few months.
No company is perfect. Mistakes are part of any business endeavor, particularly one as vast and complicated as Apple’s. But it’s safe to say that, in recent history, Apple has seen an increased frequency of problems.
Whether Apple is making more mistakes, or if this is just the result of a shift in public perception and media attention, is up for debate.
What’s not up for debate is that, for long-time fans of Apple, these recent events could be a bit concerning.
Of course, there’s the “batterygate” issue. If you’re familiar with it, then you know the primary problem is not that Apple throttled older iPhones, but rather that Apple wasn’t transparent about the ordeal.
The fact that Apple kept it from the public at all plays into the “planned obsolescence” narrative perfectly — even if Apple has no intention of maliciously slowing down its devices.
The Cupertino tech giant is taking its first tentative steps toward fixing its public perception with its apology and discounted battery replacement program. But recent battery fires at Apple Store locations suggest that it may not be completely prepared for those steps.
To be clear, the battery fire cases aren’t necessarily a cause for concern. Repair technicians are only human, and the culprit of the recent fires is likely just human error under a dramatically increased workload. But it stands to reason that Apple could have anticipated the upswell in repair orders and implemented measures to mitigate any issues.
All in all, we can probably attribute “batterygate” up to the fact that iOS is a closed system — part of Apple’s “it just works” philosophy of design, and perhaps its notoriously secretive culture.
The solution isn’t a completely open-source system like Android. But a level of transparency about its policies and decisions could bode well for Apple going forward.
Recent Major Software Goofs
But the battery problem isn’t the only issue. Apple’s recent software releases are plagued by bugs and security vulnerabilities to a degree we haven’t seen.
A few weeks ago, a major exploit was discovered that allowed root access to macOS High Sierra with a blank password. And, despite Apple’s promise that it would try to prevent similar issues from happening again, another password issue was discovered in System Preferences.
Despite being admittedly less critical, the second password blunder still doesn’t paint Apple in the best light.
Further back than that, there were the major autocorrect bugs in early versions of iOS 11. That software version was also bogged down by general glitchiness, battery drain issues, and other problems.
Additionally, Apple also mistakenly allowed users to downgrade their operating systems for a small period of time this week. That’s not strictly new-software related, but it is a misstep tied to Apple’s software.
Is Apple Being Stretched Too Thin?
None of these blunders are unforgivable. But they do suggest that Apple, despite its deep coffers and vast resources, might be stretching itself a bit too thin.
Apple’s engineers are continually developing and patching multiple operating systems (iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, etc.) while accounting for a wide range of devices. Presumably, this might get worse if it comes out with a new operating system — such as the rumored “rOS” for augmented reality glasses.
And consider the Apple leaks prior to the unveiling of the iPhone X. When Apple made the HomePod firmware available, it inadvertently revealed a wealth of details about the iPhone X. Somebody at Apple also leaked the iOS 11 GM, which caused other Apple secrets to spill out into the blogosphere.
If you combine these software problems with Apple’s increased product delays and other issues, you start to paint a picture of a company that’s diverting its attention across a slew of initiatives.
That could be one reason why Apple is exploring unifying its various operating systems into a single, cohesive platform, as Bloomberg reported on Dec. 20. This may not solve all of Apple’s software problems, but it may make it easier to prevent them or squash them earlier.
Apple’s devices and software are incredible, and they’ll likely remain incredible in the future. But along the way, there will undoubtedly be bumps in the road. How Apple goes about smoothing those bumps remains to be seen.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.