Jeff's "Apple's Consumer-hostile Design Choices Make Me Nuts" Thread

Discussion in 'Apple/iOS' started by lovelaptops, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    OK, you've all seen (mostly scrolled past!) my whines about Apple's penchant for form over function, leadership in disposable/recycle-only devices, horrific butterfly keyboards (for slimness vs. decent typing, so it's a subset of form over function, but so egregious it deserves its own mention), stubbornness to incorporate popular features (pens for tablets - how long we waited! - pens for laptops, touchscreens on laptops, etc, blah, blah, whine...

    So, I looked for a thread to post to because of this good article about the departure of Ives and his (for the last year+) declining influence on product design and couldn't find one, so I decided to create one! It's a good thought piece, if a little sloppy on details.

    If nothing else, I'll have a place to put my occasional rants on this topic without crapping up threads with other subjects! Have at it!
     
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  2. Cuberdon75

    Cuberdon75 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Nice article.

    To my mind the real problem with Ive's legacy is the end of upgradeability, which has spread to most brands. That is a grave sin against the original ethos of the "personal computer," as well as against environmental sustainability.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Couldn't have said it better! Thank you for raising this point. It is especially dismaying that Apple has become the standard setter, but not at all for excellence or good features (which many of their products have), but rather for bad "features" - eg, no headphone jack or SD cards - and environmentally disastrous ones - no, replaceable or upgradeable parts, permanently sealed devices. Once Apple makes it "acceptable," others feel they can get away with it, and do! Landfills rejoice!

    I truly hope the worldwide environmental/climate crisis movements, and laws that come out of them, will reverse the trend. It will be win/win for many consumers, and a necessity for the planet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  4. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    The sustainability vs. design argument is not just apple , but all the tech companies (mine included)

    Microsoft for example with their surface devices is arguably as guilty as Apple or Samsung.

    I'm not defending (or attacking) any of these companies, but I am a very interested bystander.

    And just to add an additional point to ponder, Apple at least and I'd assume the others are also looking at total environmental impact too. When we went to our briefings for the newest MacBook Air, the iPod touch and the iPad Air, Apple repeatedly talked about these being the most eco-friendly devices from a manufacturing standpoint that they have ever produced.

    Of course all of these discussions have a lensing issue. e.g. clean manufacturing may not adequately address a higher percentage of devices ending up in a landfill.
     
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  5. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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  6. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Touching again on the whole clean or sustainability thing, our company has a dual pronged approach. Take this in the context that we make very niche and highly customized, almost "one off" solutions so we don't have the challenges that a consumer company that makes millions of devices.

    With our products, we try to use recycled materials in manufacturer as much as possible as well as trying to common source (multiple standard suppliers) as much of the device that isn't custom as we can.

    Additionally we require that devices that are no longer in service be returned to us for recycle and disposal. Apple and MS will take and do the same thing, but they don't require their customers to do so (and probably cant practically).

    Apple did tell us that the MacBook Air was 92%? renewable but didn't qualify what that actually meant

    PS: For added context, batteries and displays are the most challenging components to recycle generally.

    PPS: The battery issue has the additional complication of safety. Apple has told us, and we came to similar conclusions that putting a high enough capacity battery in while making it safe (so the unit doesn't catch fire if it's dropped or bent in a pocket for instance) required not making them end user replaceable.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  7. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    What about the old IBM Thinkpad 8/9 cell batteries, Toshiba slice batteries and Fujitsu modular batteries? All those regularly could hold 40-50Wh, were made of plastic, and were end-user replaceable.

    With new ultra-thin, high-capacity battery cells such as those in the LG Gram series:

    [​IMG]

    I don't see why they couldn't make modern versions of modular batteries, with thinner aluminum/magnesium alloy housing for durability.
     
  8. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Well they essentially do by making the shell of the device part of the protection for the battery, to make the device thinner.

    I can't speak to the LG or Fujiitsu batteries but the removable think pad batteries had a fairly short life and the toshibas were prone to sudden failure (we did tons of warranty work on them) Also take in to account that the circuitry to charge and monitor the battery has gotten more complex, again out of safety concerns and wanting to get best performance out of them and its easier and cheaper to put for example the temp sensor in the device where it serves dual purposes.

    Again it's all about trade offs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
  9. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Here's the part I don't understand. You can achieve the same thing with a removable battery:

    [​IMG]

    If the primary concern is safety, once the locking mechanism is engaged the battery is fully protected.

    The impact on thickness would be minor, since the outer shell doubles as the laptop shell once inserted.

    So the rationale of "safety" is what I'm challenging. To me it seems like the reason is simply to reduce design and manufacturing cost (and also provide an "upgrade incentive" once the battery starts to wear :p).
     
  10. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    So the issue is that you are not being broad enough in terms of safety by confining it just to the physical such as impact, when it's much more than just that.

    Additionally you aren't directly comparing Apples to apples here.

    On the safety front, none of those batteries would be approved for sale in the US if they were a new product today. The ones that are still out there are either grandfathered in or were manufactured prior to late 2017. For instance the newer batteries have more complicated charging circuitry that includes thermal regulation and impact detection which those lack.

    It's also these types of regulations that are currently keeping some other battery tech like Aluminum ION out of the market which has considerably more capacity for a given size than Lithium ION, but that are much more volatile if they are bent or broken.

    Not to mention that for a given physical volume and weight those Li-ion batteries are considerably less efficient in terms of actual capacity than the current state of the art batteries.
    And I absolutely agree there is a degree of "me too" when it comes to companies making changes that copy what somebody else like Apple does

    @Marty I'm just providing info from our corner of the world, but you seem to want to take me to task or hold me as representative of the industry at large. My advice to you and others that have real problems with something like this is to use the best tool at your disposal which is to vote with your wallet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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