Why has Apple’s reputation plummeted?

“When a company falls 24 places in a reputation survey, you know something is wrong,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “So what’s going on at Apple? Well, a few things spring to mind.”

“Just over the last few weeks of the year, we saw both macOS and iOS hit by several high profile bugs,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “And what’s worse is that the fixes that Apple pushed out — in a rushed manner — themselves caused problems.”

“I’ve written at length about how it feels like the quality of software coming out of Apple has deteriorated significantly in recent years,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “Here’s what I wrote back in December of 2017: ‘Apple owes a lot of its current success to its dedicated fanbase, the people who would respond to Windows or Android issues with ‘you should buy Apple, because that stuff just works.’ Shattering that illusion for those people won’t be good in the long term, which is why I think Apple needs to take a long, hard look at itself in the run up to 2018 and work out what’s been going wrong and come up with ways to prevent problems from happening in the future.’ Apple, maybe the time to take that long, hard look at yourself is here.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The time for Apple to take a long, hard look at itself was years ago, at least as far back as January 2015:

“Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better” – MacDailyNews, January 5, 2015

But, of course, at that time, Apple was hard at work in the final stretch of an eight-year effort to create a linen-bound, $300 hardcover coffee table book featuring specially milled, custom-dyed German paper with gilded matte silver edges, using eight color separations and low-ghost ink.

Former Apple employees reflect on Siri’s ‘squandered lead’ over Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant – March 14, 2018
Apple tumbles 24 spots – from 5th to 29th – in Harris Reputation Poll – March 13, 2018
Apple shakes up software development strategy to focus on quality – February 12, 2018
Apple on Mac flaw: ‘We apologize to all Mac users. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes.’ – November 29, 2017
Tim Cook’s sloppy, unfocused Apple rushes to fix a major Mac security bug – November 29, 2017
What to do about Apple’s shameful Mac security flaw in macOS High Sierra – November 29, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
On the future of Apple’s Macintosh – February 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “AZguy” for the heads up.]


  1. When you have a wildly-overpaid, visionless, uncharismatic, caretaker CEO who thinks his job is to save the world instead of running the company with a disciplined, obsessive focus on delighting customers, your brand’s reputation is bound to diminish.

  2. 1-Mac mini 2014- no update and is now sealed shut.
    2-Mac Pro 2013- no update.
    3- Has apparently abandoned Wireless HW (Airport).
    4- Abandoned the server OS.
    5- Cheapened Logic and Final Cut.
    6- Is now allowing Crypto Miner SW into the app store.
    7- Through IN app purchases has allowed scam ware on iOS and mac OS.
    8- Has sealed shut replaceable batteries in it’s overpriced Keyboards and Trackpad while pretending to be a green company.
    9- Has steadily marched the price of the iPhone to the stratosphere.
    10- Has intentionally kept HealthKit, HomeKit and other tech from the Mac OS.

    Plenty more.

    1. You’re judging them as if they were still Apple Computer, Inc. They are Apple, Inc. now. No longer a computer/information technology company, they are a lifestyle brand marketing tech to specific identity groups. They have become a combination of Sony and Nokia.

      I wish they would spin the Mac off. They seem to prefer standing on the throat of the platform and watching it choke to death.

        1. I think its an excellent explanation. Apple is the iDevice company. Primarily the iPhone company. iPhones are dull. There’s just nothing exciting coming out of the company except product updates that are way late and too expensive.

          Once upon a time, a long time ago, Esquire ran an article that asserted the Mac vs. PC war wasn’t about which is best, it is about who you are. I believe this is still true. I look at Apple’s products now and I think, “This is not who I am.” I’m more of a bleeding edge tech kind of guy. I don’t get that from Apple. I get the sense I just opened a Vogue magazine and I can smell perfume.

      1. They could license the Mac OS on a highly restricted basis to select makers and it would not be the problem like the clones back in the day.
        Back then Apple’s existence was owed to the Mac- it is now less than 10% of the company. Let H-P build the computers- after the company split they make the money making PCs and are trying very hard these days.
        I could not care less about Jony’s fascination with thin stuff and no seams.

    2. I agree with you on most points.

      I disagree with you on point #10. Well, sorta. The high-end iPhones were always $850 without the carrier subsidy (i.e. unlocked). Many carriers have simply stopped subsidizing, so a lot of folks are finally seeing how much these phones really cost. With its $1k iPhone, Apple has raised the price by a couple hundred dollars, but they haven’t doubled or tripled the price.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean with point #6. If you mean Trojans equipped with malicious cryptomining software, then I agree wholeheartedly. But if you mean clearly-marked crytomining software which people knowingly and deliberately install on their Macs, then I disagree; I don’t see a problem with people voluntarily mining cryptocurrency; I just think it’s wrong when it’s forced on them by a malicious program (including malicious JavaScript).

      But on point with #8, they’ve also made it incredibly difficult to replace MacBook Pro batteries, starting with the Retina MacBook Pros in 2012. On a MacBook (Pro, 12″, or regular) it takes a couple of hours and a ton of work to pry the battery out because it’s glued to the case instead of being secured with screws. However, on a non-Retina MacBook (Pro or regular), it only takes about ten minutes and a small amount of work.

      I gotta agree with you on Apple making its products disposable while claiming to be a green company. I even remember years of Keynotes where Phil Schiller would brag about how green Apple’s stuff was: “Glass and aluminum enclosure…PVC- and BFR-free..”. Now, pretty much all of Apple’s stuff is either impossible or extremely difficult to repair. My current Mac is my first and last. My next machine will be running Debian (Linux) because you can pretty much use whatever hardware you want with Linux. I just hope Blizzard will eventually bring StarCraft over to Linux so I won’t have to run it with Wine.

      I actually considered making a Hackintosh a couple years ago, but I discovered it’s actually easier to set up and work with a Linux box than a Hackintosh – not to mention the fact that you don’t have to violate a EULA to do it (and possibly risk a lawsuit).

  3. As a disabled person, it’s failing because Microsoft has released not one, but two apps developed to help the blind in reading short text, reading whole document pages, recognizing people, scenes, money, colors, light sources, and probably a few I’m forgetting, and a mobility aid using 3D audio. Apple? Well, they put in a small, rarely useful feature for Voiceover to identify text in inaccessible app elements, and that’s about it. Of course, I use the Braille screen Input typing mode on the iPhone a lot, but Microsoft is full speed ahead on accessibility, while Apple just says “why didn’t I think of that?” Now I’m just waiting for Windows to become better in its basic usage, like text selection naturally, cursor movement like macOS, and so on.


    1. in products/innovation for the disabled community. Apple has been the company of “why didn’t I think of that” characterization for a number of years…apparently in the services for disabled, but as well in the non-disabled realm.

  4. Appl’s reputation has taken a beating because the tech media is engaged in non-stop Apple bashing for clicks.

    Given the media coverage, you’d think that Apple’s products and software are a complete mess.

    As a daily user of multiple Apple products, I can honestly say that my experience is the exact opposite of the narrative that the tech media is blasting. Apple’s products, software, and ecosystem work better than ever, way better than competing products by Microsoft and Google.

    1. The decline is mainly because Apple Management as a whole has lost the ability to communicate. Communication is a two way process, both sides speak to agree on the message between each side. But Apple is now so afraid of offending anyone they can not even participate in active communication. They sit, listen and nod like Bobbleheads, but never hear or understand. If they do understand they lack the integrity to stand up and do what’s right.

  5. I continue to contend that Pages is not Pages if you can’t link text boxes on more than one page. It’s really just Words. Why could Pages ’09 link text boxes on unlimited pages and Pages ’18 can’t? Progress? I don’t think so. Cmon Apple. Fix it!

  6. Ben Franklin quipped that one should never confuse motion with action. Over the past five years Apple has been the scene of lots of (co)motion, but how much real work has been accomplished? Cook’s job is to ride herd on the VPs below him and to get rid of the non-performers. IMO he’s not up to the task.

    1. Exactly. The software is no longer “It Just Works”. It’s more of “It mostly works, but crashes and has all these glitches, but we are adding more useless features, so we are too busy to fix the bugs”.

    2. Agreed. Also, Apple like all business needs to keep their opinions to themselves and focus on their company rather than recent events and changing the world. It isn’t their job to do so. Cook, can have his own opinion it’s his perogative but don’t speak it in the name Apple, he has no business doing it, just shut up and work on your software it’s desperately needed.

  7. Have you been to an Apple store lately or tried to get a Genius Bar appointment? Genius Bar appointments are now about a week out, which is a totally unacceptable time to wait for something that has become part on our everyday lives, Terrible customer service.

        1. No point in speculation, Artist. Since Apple has less than 10% of the world market for PCs, you would expect them to have an order of magnitude less in help requests with all other things being equal. Of course they aren’t equal since Apple products are sealed configurations with little or no customization whereas Wintel PCs can be optimized for very specific tasks, price points, etc.

          My experience is that Microsoft has continued to slowly squash the bugs while Apple has been coasting. The annoyances on a Mac persist for several years without resolution despite plenty of user feedback. It is obvious Apple doesn’t care about Mac owners. The bean counters are in charge now.

          1. Seems like it’s bean counters. I woder if Forstall, as bad he is a people person, could quash the incompetence and bugs to the low level before Jobs died. And I think that Forstall was a sacrificial goat for the bad maps PR.

            1. John, the Maps fiasco was just an excuse to remove Forstall from the command chain. Cook saw the friction between Ive and Forstall as an impediment. Jobs had seen it differently, as a competition of ideas that he would adjudicate, but Cook couldn’t function like the psychological manipulator Jobs. He was hesitant to fire his design chief so he fired Forstall instead, believing that engineers were a dime a dozen compared to specimens like Ive.

            2. Replying to Herself,

              With the respite introduced by Cook from friction caused by competing ideas showing that it has produced a laxness and neglectfulness, Apple needs a Jobs-type of manager at the top once again. That might be Forstall. And I suspect that Jony’s MO could be continued by one of his top designers should he quit if Forstall would return. I strongly suspect that Ive’s accomplishments were 50% Jobs’; The two personalities and thinkers produced all those great products so that, witout Jobs, Ive overdoes the design aesthetic such as slimness, flatness, and color desaturation. And Tim should resign himself to being the senior executive of the supply chain where he excells, and perhaps to the social consiousness priesthood. But I have not read that Forstall has that vision that leads to the puck. For his return, he would have to hav e it otherwise it would not work.

      1. the busyness of the Genius Bar may correlate to an increase in soft/hardware issues? I would think there’d be more of a “public voice” saying so? Whatever the reason, I hope Apple continues to provide the “customer touch” in the attempt to solve the issues, whatever they are. As soon as there is a restriction/lessening of the touch, Apple’s main distinguishing factor, the fork is being inserted.

        1. I just read an article on Business Insider that was the “voice” mentioned above. It was a loud and consistent voice of frustration with the Apple Retail. The common refrain was the long wait times at the G-Bar. Reminded some of the DMV. Not good at all.

        2. Working with Genius Bar staffers use to be a pleasure now they make it a huge waste of time and usually don’t solve anything. Phone support just sends you to the bar, their people are not filling out case files, so as you get passed about you have to explain again and again. Being told by some Genius that I am using my iPhone wrong or its your environment is BS.

          I manage IT for 86 Apple devices between three family households and two offices. You use to get some respect as a business owner and family that invested in the Apple life style now they could give a rats ass. They don’t care about pros any more or the people we helpped switch to the Apple platform.

          Basic stuff not being fixed that is critical path like the calendar location issue/hanging. After five? updates to os11 is just BS. Going to the Genius Bar with Bluetooth, WiFi and cellular connection issues and being told you need to reformat the iPhone and create a new profile which we always do anyways to check phone issues before we call or come in.

          They just don’t care about customers anymore, were a dime dozen now

  8. Re: Reputation drop – I didn’t know there were that many disgruntled pros out there. Heh. Apple sometimes overthinks why it thinks it must do to BE Apple. The Mac Pro 2013, the Cube, and other items are indicative of this. Using their customers as guinea pigs but risking platform alienation. Trying to “think different” than thinking “useful, practical and upgradeable” is far better. Also not a sign of weakness getting your customer’s input (pro in particular) on their own expectations.

    1. Well said, if you would indulge me to go one further…
      Different alone is not enough, it’s superficial. What’s impressive is ifferent and does more things capably. If they want to be as good as they think they are, that’s my take.

  9. 1) Mothership move distractions
    2) Loss of interest in anything Mac
    3) Resulting dull Mac hardware and OS updates
    4) PUSHY marketing of macOS 10.13 High Sierra, despite it being unfinished and buggy.
    5) Multiple bugs in 10.12, despite multiple bug reports, again indicating the loss of interest in macOS at Apple.
    6) Multiple promised but delayed products and functionality.
    7) Too many catch-up products and a decline in innovative products.
    8) Submission of Apple business practices to Short Term Thinking; Long Term Catastrophe. Customers are forgotten in pursuit of maximum immediate profit, killing customer morale.

    …More later…

    1. Android actually isn’t so bad, especially if your device can run LineageOS, which is Android without the Google stuff. And if you’re worried about installing malware from Google Play, you can just get most of your apps from F-Droid.

  10. I think the main factor is the battery gate. People expects batteries to hold less charge over time, but they don’t expect a 2 years old battery to go from 100% charge to shutdown within 10 minutes. This is not a normal behavior, this is a defect. So the fact that Apple did covertly throttle the iPhone to mitigate the issue, that there is no appology nor recall to fix the problem, that if you go to a Apple store to get a replacement you are told that batteries are out of stock and the fact that this issue was mass publicized with government investigations on going worldwide. Ya if this isn’t a PR mess, I wonder what is. In people’s eyes, Apple looks like Samsung (a gready arrogant multinational).

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