The community Q&A also tends to be garbage. I understand that the average consumer is not going to have the same level of technical knowledge, and so I don't fault them for asking the questions. But it seems very strange that Apple allows their product page to be polluted by often confused questions, and also allows random people to answer those questions instead of qualified salespeople.
Of course, that didn't wind up happening; the Apple Store website has basically exactly one product in each product category, with that product being a third-party one only if Apple themselves don't make a product for that category. There's no comparison-shopping to be had, and so no justification for reviews or ratings.
Likewise a 2017 Macbook Pro attracting lots of negative reviews because Apple forgot how to make a keyboard resilient enough to outlast a warranty are equally legitimate.
Pulling them to present an "all is lovely in Apple World" view is incredibly buyer hostile. Even if many remain that are irrelevant complaints and misunderstandings - where there should be some effort to clean up, there is legitimate need for ungamed, unsanitised reviews and ratings.
Of course, but why would Apple want you to know that before you shell out the cash?
> "all is lovely in Apple World" view is incredibly buyer hostile
They're laughing all the way to the bank.
Sometimes being honest about your faults enhances both your reputation for integrity and quality. Honesty really can be your most profitable policy. Especially when you charge a premium for quality.
Apple are a huge tech company. Apple are being very arrogant. Historically that has been a time to sell.
Sure it does. Mathematically. See my other comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21600914
Reviews and ratings only function as a pairwise ordering. If there's only one of something in a category in a marketplace, the reviews don't have any signal to them. (Before you say "maybe the numbers don't, but the text does!"—consider a true monopoly product provider, like a bread line in the USSR. Would you trust a review of the bread, given that the bread line itself is the moderator of bread-line reviews?)
Mind you, I'm not saying it's impossible to accurately review these products. I'm just saying it's impossible to accurately review them in this particular marketplace (the Apple Store website.) If you want real reviews, you need an efficient market. Try eBay.
Apple’s products also cost enough that I doubt most people purchase them on a whim without research.
As an Apple user, I would suggest that is a legitimate complaint, as the cable cannot be replaced separately from the power brick. Fortunately when that happened to me (twice) and I brought it into an Apple store, Apple replaced the entire power adapter even though it was out of warranty.
But those particular users were upset because they lost the magnetic nature of MagSafe.
When you are as big and successful as Apple, literally any decision will meet some form of backlash.
The worst about the Q&A section is seeing that your bug has been around since the Big Cat years and there is still no fix or answers, just a few thousand "I also have this issue"
Apple loves to move forward and drop support for legacy technology (USB A and 32-bit apps being two recent examples) but this inconveniences users and they tend to scream loudly.
You're absolutely right about the Q&A, and Apple isn't remotely transparent regarding bug reports. They also tend to prioritize new bugs over longstanding issues. Will it get fixed, ever? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on which way the Apple winds blow. However if it's more than a few years old often the answer is "probably never."
Still, I think that these reviews were helpful to Apple by collecting the bitching in one central location. It kept the product team on their game.
Of course at some point, people stop trusting reviews in general and so maybe it's time to moveon.
They have a hardware engineering team who are far more culpable.
They pose a problem for a low number of reviews, but with enough of them it can indeed be a valuable metric. You have to know how to read it though.
At least on Amazon Germany this pattern is extremely common.
these people use the reply function of their email client and send back "i dont know" ... which makes amazon append this answer to the question.
You should share the source of your accusations.
But that does not appear to have been be true. As you say yourself, there were tons of bad reviews all over the place.
exactly, you have to be stupid to buy apple products...
UserVoice allows voting on what issues impact people most and allows the company to provide feedback to those issues/ideas. This isn't to say that a company must do all upvoted ideas, Microsoft certainly don't, but it is a useful outlet for both parties.
Microsoft aren't the only major company using UserVoice: https://www.uservoice.com/customers/ and there are competing services offering similar benefits. The concept is maybe more important than that specific product.
Apple seems to lack basic communications channels in both directions. This is a problem regardless of company policy.
Also bug reports are private (due to personal and/or proprietary information as well as potential security issues) so it's hard to gauge whether other people have run into similar issues or if Apple has uncovered the same bug in their own testing. I'd like to see a vetted "parent bug" that would be publicly visible, but Apple would never do this because they don't want third parties to mine their bug reports (which could potentially be exploited maliciously against Apple or its users, or for financial gain.)
Which was posted on their forums but apparently went unnoticed: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15803700
I've resorted to appending my google searches with site:reddit.com or site:forums.* just to filter out all the fucking noise.
… so they fixed the glitch.
¹ e.g. one I'm familiar with http://web.archive.org/web/20191113224149/https://www.apple....
For the typical "elongated black box" notebook charger, a cumulative sum of exactly zero effort was spent on improving it in either form or function. Meanwhile, Apple had MagSafe (which is nothing but function), the extendable prongs to wrap the cable, or the little clip to fix the cable into place. Both Apple and non-Apple adaptors usually have detachable cables, but for the non-Apple variety it's only purpose was to streamline internal processes to provide country-specific plugs, whereas Apple used the opportunity to allow the adaptor to be used with a long cable or a cable-less plug.
Their adaptors are also smaller and lighter, both Watt-for-Watt and even more so considering competitors often choose overpowered adaptors because they happen to be cheap to procure or they already use it and want to keep their inventory simple. And if you search, you'll find that semi-famous deep dive examine the inside of one of their adaptors, and how they are spending at least twice as much on components to safely isolate the high- and low-voltage sides and provide constant quality at any level of power draw.
But yeah, the cable fraying sucks.
- no little clip anymore
- no long cable anymore
- not the smallest Watt-for-Watt anymore (the new GaN ones are smaller)
- and of course: no magsafe anymore...
But I'm sure that three years from now they will have the "courage" to go back to their older superior design.
I have never experienced anything like this with other brands nor with no-name brick chargers. Even Chinese knock-off replacement cables for Magsafe chargers didn't fail like that.
I have boxes of cables accumulated over decades. Every other brand of cable is basically in the same condition it was when it went into storage.
But Apple cables are fucking disgusting (there is simply no other way to say it). Why are they so sticky? Why are they so yellow? Every Apple cable seems to be affected--headphones, power supplies,and dongles.
My guess is it has something to do with the "soft" touch finish and the white coloring.
No idea about why some plastics get sticky, though. I'd imagine it's the plastic's polymer literally breaking down, but it might also be some additive "sweating" out. Maybe it's the very same fire-retardant chemical. (Old yellowing hard plastics don't get sticky, but they don't tend to have plasticizers in them, so they need far less flame-retardant.)
I don't know how much truth there is to this theory though. It doesn't seem to explain the poor strain relief.
"Removal of BFRs and PVC were challenging since alternatives were not readily available at the time. The largest obstacle was identifying a replacement to PVC in AC power cords, where strict safety standards favored PVC and created barriers to its elimination. Apple worked with multiple material suppliers and tested dozens of different formulations until the right combination of performance and safety were achieved with lower toxicological and ecological risk than PVC. Apple then had to persuade dozens of safety agencies around the world to allow it to certify the alternative materials. Millions of PVC-free power cords are in use today with Apple products."
Investigating magsafe cable durability in those countries might be a way to corroborate or refute the PVC theory, though I wouldn't know where to start.
To say it's nothing but function means denying the evidence.
Every charger had the cable completely break apart at
the connection to the brick, because stress relief ruined
the pretty minimalist design.
These things were spec'd to go on table tops and then never move. It's a crying shame because otherwise magsafe was a really elegant design.
If you tie up your cable in the loop-up-then-down-then-sidewise it will improve things, but then you will put it in your bag and it will bend at that spot anyway as soon as some pressure is applied on the up-loop.
This is why every manufacturer uses strain relief, including apple now.
Saying "users are using the product the wrong way!" is the epitome of form over function.
I wish they'd just make these things properly.
Edit: Oh, and whatever they put in that white rubber seems to really attract cats. Not sure what it is, but it's the only cables in my house that the cats like to chew on. Friends/family have experienced the same.
I do buy spares for my phone, but so I can have one for each place I spend a lot of time: bed, home office and work office. But, I only buy them once, and only when the port changes (e.g. Micro USB to Type C). Also, having now had several devices with wireless charging, doubt I'll ever buy another phone that doesnt have it.
Having my wife buy nearly $200 of apple chargers each year is certainly a tax of sorts.
A marketing friend of mine calls this "verisimilitude."
In fact I'm not sure the problem has ever been "solved" - raw sample size of reviews is helpful, but nowhere near eliminates these biases.
How could it even be improved further in theory? I think you'd at least have to incorporate the number of total products sold into the review rating. If there were 10 terrible reviews on a product with 1,000,000 sold, that means something very different than one with 20 sold.
Baseline though, dealing with people, it will probably never be perfect unless the reviewers have "skin in the game". People with positive experiences need some incentive to leave reviews that is as compelling as the negative experience. Lots of Amazon sellers offer some kind of free product or coupon in their follow-up emails - maybe that works?
One example is the classic dark (or at least grey) pattern many mobile app use: Showing a popup with a question whether you enjoy the app or not. If you don't then you are asked to send private "feedback" by email. If you do then you are encouraged to leave a public (likely positive) review and redirected straight to the app store.
How could anyone disagree with this. Just look at Amazon for a shining example of reviews done correctly. They are always so credible, never gamed, and you never have to worry about fake products especially if you buy products labeled as “Amazon’s Choice”.....
Isn't it on Apple to assign resources to fix the problem instead of going nuclear on it? Surely, not all reviews are useless?
> Most of the reviews of the USB-C dongles were just complaining about USB-C, for example.
I've seen this problem with PlayStore too, but Google takes forever to delete the reviews: Even the ones that are unrelated. I wonder why AI isn't employed to weed out or help automate the process of flagging such reviews. May be someone should build it?
What am I going to do with the review? If I need a new Apple charger then I need a new Apple charger. I’m not going to read a review and decide not to buy it am I? It’s useless noise.
If I'm about to drop $3-6k on a laptop, I want to know beforehand that it's going to be a PITA connecting things to it.
The fact that lots of people think it's difficult, and that Apple responded to their problems, is also useful to see.
If people don't like USB-C, they're just going to rate everything Apple makes as a 1.0/5, which, as far as a normalization algorithm is concerned, is the same as rating everything a 5.0/5. It carries no signal and gets completely dropped from the algorithm.
What they have is a perfectly legitimate issue with not being able to use their existing peripherals with a supposedly top-of-the-line professional laptop/desktop with an unquestionably professional price.
Removing the reviews is PR sterilisation. It's appearance management. It's wilfully turning a deaf ear to any feedback that suggests the Emperor may not be fully clothed.
It has absolutely nothing to do with raising the SNR in the store.
Or, for a direct analogy: you can't have Hot or Not where it's just one dude. Is he hot? Is he not? Undefined.
Now, freeform text reviews: sure, they might hold some meaning, even in a single-seller marketplace. (For subtle behavioral-economic reasons, I would hypothesize that they probably don't, but let's pretend they do.) I would posit, though, that whatever's in those reviews is already the result of "PR sterilization." What you're seeing is what Apple wants you to see. It's their store.
Reviews only "work" (i.e. have guaranteed real signal, rather than "maybe real, maybe fake" signal) when incentives in a marketplace are aligned such that even the marketplace owner has no incentive to tamper with which reviews are or are not visible. That is not true here, and so the reviews are not, and never were, trustworthy. They were noise from the start.
More likely, they dislike it because it's inconvenient and difficult to use with their devices.
Hell, APPLES OWN DEVICES don't even support USB-C.
Now apple has wiped the laptop clean and introduced a port that they don't even support with their own product lines, despite it being the only port on a macbook pro for nearly 4 years.
I was one of those owners (the hard drive had already failed). Last straw for me. GrrrApple.
So, you either try to push through it or buy reviews -- and risk getting kicked out of the store entirely.
Reviews are 33% of the reason I shut down my app biz. (And then 33% dealing with the college dropouts in the review department and 33% for taking 33% for making my job harder than it would be without their help.)
Cutting out reviews would be helpful for probably everyone but the top 1%. It would certainly make it less of a shit show for most developers.
this article used app reviews as its source, maybe apple didnt like that. I dont know if the timing makes sense though...
That ship has sailed. Who still expects things to work as advertised?