Apple in 2014: the good, the bad and the hideous

The Bad

Apple in 2014: the good, the bad and the hideous

1. Dwindling iPad sales

iPad sales are in a slump, with The Guardian arguing we’ve reached ‘peak tablet’. Clearly, the iPad’s hardly dead tech, though - Apple’s still selling millions of the things every quarter. But 2014 was the first year its ‘magical’ device was questioned, and 2015 will in part have to be about reinvigorating sales.

2. iPad mini 3

And this isn’t the way to do that. Usually, we recommend getting the newest and greatest iPad. In 2013, the iPad mini 2 was phenomenal value, almost identical to the iPad Air. This year, the Air 2 got some major upgrades and the iPad mini 3 got… Touch ID. The iPad mini 2 is now a much better buy than its successor, and that’s just crazy.

3. Bendgate

Every iPhone gets its *gate, and this time it was claimed the iPhone 6 would bend just by keeping it in your pocket for a bit. Subsequent independent testing showed this to be codswallop - Apple merely got a handful of complaints, and the new iPhones were on par with other devices of similar size, in terms of ‘bendiness’. But the tag stuck, and Apple had another PR headache on its hands.

4. Enforced U2

Last time we joked about this, a disgruntled U2 fan ragequit our Facebook feed, so we won’t dwell. But, yeah, it was uncool for Apple to inject Songs Of Innocence into everyone’s library; worse, it made some people think they’d been hacked.

The Bad (continued)

Apple in 2014: the good, the bad and the hideous

5. iCloud celeb ‘hacks’

Undoubtedly one of the worst tech stories of the year, celeb nudes were spread online by people bereft of empathy or kindness. An iCloud hack was initially blamed, but Apple argued the celebs had most likely been caught out by phishing. Regardless, this was a bad moment for Apple and, frankly, the entire tech world.

6. Apple TV

We love the Apple TV, but we’re not sure Apple does. The little black box has merrily sat there throughout 2014, getting the odd new ‘app’ and not much else, while the competition’s blazed past. C’mon, Apple - don’t give up on the little guy!

7. App rejection craziness

The PCalc widget gets featured on the App Store while simultaneously being threatened with expulsion. Launcher’s dev claims Apple has his app publicly pulled as a warning to other devs. Papers, Please is told to scrap dystopian pixelated nudity, which Apple considers “pornographic”. File manager Transmit for iOS is forced to remove iCloud upload, and therefore Apple’s standard iOS Document Picker. Most of these decisions were later reversed, but this was not a good year for the apps review team.

8. Upsell hell

Upselling is part and parcel of capitalism, but Apple’s gotten cynical. Its kit used to be ordered ‘good/better/best’. Now you get ‘no way in hell/OK, FINE/best’. Apple should simply not be selling 16GB iPhones and iPads any more; the low-end iMac is also a joke. This feels like accountants figuring out how to boost earnings rather than a company with products where you’d say to someone: “Get whichever model you want - they’re *all* good.”

The Bad (continued)

Apple in 2014: the good, the bad and the hideous

9. Bugs

In 2014, it often felt like Apple was doing too much. An iOS 8 update temporarily removed iPhone cell capabilities; a ‘reset all settings’ bug wiped iCloud files; and OS X Yosemite can be crashtastic. ‘It just works’ became ‘It just works… mostly’, and that’s not very Apple.

10. iCloud storage

It was good to see Apple drop iCloud’s ludicrous pricing tiers to a level that was less ludicrous, but the free 5GB tier now looks pathetic, and should at the very least be increased to allow back-ups across all your devices. We shudder to think how rapidly iCloud accounts will fill when Apple properly turns on auto-uploading every photo you take and edit you make to Photo Stream.

11. iOS install lag

At Apple’s October iPad event, Apple oddly for the first time spoke about combined install figures for the last *two* major releases of iOS. This is because iOS 8 had stalled. Maybe this was because of the whopping amount of space required for an over-the-air update (hey, Apple, we keep saying about those 16GB devices…), or perhaps it just didn’t look that different to the average punter. Even today, it lags behind iOS 7 uptake during the same time period (around 60%, compared to high 70s for its predecessor), and that’s not good (even if Android would kill for similar figures).

12. Death of the iPod Classic

Most of us saw this coming, but that little music player was representative of the ‘new Apple’, and it’s sad to see it go. Still, it’ll live on for a while in news reports of crazy people buying whatever stock remains of the 160GB model, for crazy prices; because, clearly, a device being on sale for *five years* doesn’t provide enough time to place an order!


Apple in 2014: the good, the bad and the hideous

1. That new Finder icon

Someone thought this was a good idea? Seriously?