Welcome to our weekend Apple Breakfast column, which includes all of the Apple news you missed this week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.
Apple has certainly made some missteps with this year’s new devices and OS updates. The new iPhones have been afflicted by a serious camera shake bug, while the Camera app itself has been reported as opening annoyingly slowly. iPadOS 16 has been delayed; iOS 16 has a Mail bug that causes an endless loop of app crashes, and Apple has been obliged to admit that its best feature may be draining your battery. These are not the headlines Apple wants.
But the coverage of these issues–on this and other tech sites, and in the general press–is also ample demonstration that Apple is not getting a pass. Indeed, it never gets a pass. Apple is the most scrutinized tech company in the world, and every mistake it makes is pounced on with something close to glee. Even decisions that eventually turn out to be perfectly reasonable get roasted at the time.
Just look at the response when Apple dropped the iPhone’s headphone jack in 2016 or stopped including a charger with new iPhone purchases in 2020. In both cases, widespread condemnation from the media and mockery from rival companies… which then quietly followed suit a short while later to considerably less negative coverage. Apple is a fun and traffic-friendly target for criticism, and that means it ends up taking the flak and giving cover to other companies.
This isn’t a bad thing, of course. Scrutiny is good, and keeps companies honest; that’s especially important for a company as powerful as Apple. Errors are more likely to be addressed if they’re publicized in the media. (The camera shake and other iOS 16 bugs already got a fix in iOS 16.0.2.)
And the fact that Apple acts as a lightning conductor for so much scrutiny can be a powerful force for change. The average phone manufacturer might be queasy about the idea of dropping the charger from the box, just as most PC makers were nervous about dropping optical drives. But Apple has both the power to get away with it, and the profile to draw all the criticism, thereby emboldening the rest to do likewise. Indeed, only this week my colleague Jason Snell has praised Apple’s courage to change the world by dropping the physical SIM.
Apple’s high profile is a double-edged sword. I doubt Tim Cook would change places with any other CEO; criticism comes with the territory when you’re number one, and I won’t be shedding any tears over Apple’s negative press coverage. But I do think it’s a bit much that the latest entry on the endless list of Apple criticisms is that it doesn’t get criticised enough.
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And with that, we’re done for this week. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy your weekend, and stay Appley.