Apple’s 7 Biggest Mistakes in the 21st Century

Apple may have revolutionized the smartphone industry, but the company has also made its fair share of big mistakes along the way.

Go into an Apple Store and you will see how much the company cares about its image. But even though Apple wants you to think it’s never done anything wrong, the secret is that Apple makes mistakes too.

Between failed launches and keeping customers waiting for products that will never ship, Apple definitely isn’t perfect. Here are some of the biggest mistakes Apple has made in the last two decades.

1. Antenna Gate (2010)

iPhone 4 on a white background

Many people consider the iPhone 4 to be one of the most beautiful smartphones ever. That’s when Apple introduced us to the iconic glass and aluminum design with flat edges. But despite the fact that the iPhone 4 was a huge step forward in smartphone design, the device suffered from several technical problems.

The Achilles heel of the iPhone 4 was its antennae. Many people reported that holding the iPhone 4 in the left hand caused calls to drop. That’s because Apple stuffed the iPhone 4’s antennae into the phone’s aluminum frame. Holding the iPhone 4 in your left hand may cause the palm of your hand to interfere with the antennas, causing reception problems.

Although Apple did its best to sweep Antennagate under the rug, in 2012, CNET reported that Apple had lost a class action lawsuit against buyers of the iPhone 4.

2. The launch of Apple Maps (2012)

Apple Maps app icon
Image credit: Apple/Wikimedia Commons

People often criticize Apple for being late to the game when it comes to releasing new products and features. But Apple might have a good reason to.

Today, Apple Maps is one of the best Apple CarPlay apps for iPhone. But things were very different when it was first released. When Apple Maps debuted in 2012, it was an unfinished mess. Problems included a lack of landmarks, bad directions, and even listing parks as airports.

In fact, the launch of Apple Maps was so bad that the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, issued a rare public apology, but the damage was done. Forbes he even called Apple Maps the “number one tech disaster of the year.”

3.Bendgate (2014)

In late 2014, Apple caused quite a stir when it introduced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Users were incredibly excited to see that Apple finally redesigned the iPhone with a bigger screen. But customers weren’t so happy when their new iPhone 6 Plus started bending in their pockets.

Apple gave the iPhone 6 Plus a hefty 5.5-inch screen and made it incredibly thin. But the problem was that the aluminum chassis of the device was not strong enough to hold the device. And while videos were circulating online, with people even bending the devices with their bare hands, Apple claimed that only a small percentage of users had any problems.

A year later, Apple quietly changed the chassis to stronger 7000-series aluminum for later iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models, finally putting an end to the “Bendgate” saga.

4. Force a U2 album on everyone (2014)

Bono, member of the band U2
Image Credit: Peter Neill /Wikimedia Commons

On September 9, 2014, iPhone users around the world woke up to a free gift from Apple. That gift was U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence. Apple partnered with the band to add the album to more than 500 million iTunes accounts worldwide.

U2 is a household name. But no matter how many fans U2 has, it was strange that Apple thought that everyone with an iTunes account wanted to listen to U2’s latest album. Making matters more awkward, there wasn’t even an option to remove it. It wasn’t a week later that Apple gave users the freedom to delete the album from their devices.

They say the best things in life are free, but receiving U2’s Songs of Innocence on your iPhone felt more like spam than anything else.

5. The butterfly keyboard of the MacBook (2015-2019)

Butterfly keyboard on a Macbook

For years, it seemed like Apple’s design team was chasing thinness at all costs. And to meet that goal, in 2015 Apple introduced us to the now infamous butterfly keyboard.

Butterfly key switches have incredibly short key travel distance, allowing Apple to make MacBooks thinner than ever, but most people hated typing on them. To make matters worse, the butterfly mechanism was incredibly fragile. That meant that even a small amount of dust or dirt inside the keyboard could seriously damage it over time.

Apple spent the next few years trying to get people to accept the butterfly keyboard, even though it clearly wasn’t working. In 2018, the company created the Keyboard Service Program, an extended warranty to repair or replace MacBooks equipped with butterfly keyboards.

In 2020, Apple finally removed the butterfly keyboard from the MacBook lineup as it transitioned to Apple silicon and brought back a more traditional scissor-switch layout.

6. Giving Up Air Power (2019)

AirPower on a white background
Image credit: Apple

In 2017, during the launch of the iPhone X, Apple showed the world AirPower, an all-in-one wireless charging solution designed to charge your iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch simultaneously. And although it was not quite finished yet, Apple promised that it would be available in just a few months.

Many consumers were willing to give Apple their money, but the company kept delaying the project. In 2019, after making the world wait for almost two years, Apple ditched AirPower entirely.

Although Apple never gave us a clear reason why AirPower never hit the market, many speculated that it was due to heating issues. That’s not surprising, considering that a standard MagSafe charger can cause an iPhone to overheat. But whereas a MagSafe charger has only one charging coil, the AirPower was supposed to have three separate coils, which meant more heating issues.

AirPower was an ambitious idea, but unfortunately, Apple just couldn’t make it work.

7. Stubbornness with the Lightning port (2022)

iPhone 14 Pro on a white background

People were excited when Apple introduced the Lightning connector on the iPhone 5. It was a huge step up from Apple’s old 30-pin connector. However, just a few years later, USB-C phones began to appear on the market. And when comparing USB-C to Lightning, USB-C charges devices faster and can transfer data much faster than Lightning.

Most of the smartphone world switched to USB-C years ago, but Apple still forces iPhone users to use Lightning. Ironically, Apple was ahead of the game when it came to bringing USB-C to the MacBook. In fact, Apple has integrated USB-C into its entire range of products, except for the iPhone.

Future iPhones will come with USB-C chargers, but forcing people to use Lightning in 2023 feels like a grab for cheap cash from the richest company on the planet. That’s a bad look, Apple.

Nobody is perfect, not even Apple.

Although Apple is known for its ultra-slick image and TOC levels of attention to detail, Apple has also had its fair share of bugs. Even though Apple has almost unlimited money for R&D and marketing, sometimes things just don’t go his way.

We all make mistakes from time to time, and even Apple, the world’s largest company, is not immune to making mistakes.

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