Apple User Complaints — Cords, Wires, Screens, and Maybe More

Apple provides a warranty on all of its products and peripherals, and any device that is defective is covered pretty well. What has not historically been covered well, without an extra insurance plan, are issues with the glass screens and cords.

Cord Issues

From about 2009, Apple used what it called a T-shaped charger design for its devices. This design also had a “mag-safe” component by which a charger was held into the device by a magnet. A couple of issues emerged almost immediately:

  1. Because of the T-shape design and continued manipulation of the cord by users, the outer covering of the wires severed, exposing the wires within. Once exposed, these wires began to fray. Apple refused to replace the cords, stating that customers must be mis-using them. Finally, in 2011 a customer in California brought a class action suit against Apple for breaching its warranty. A federal judge sided with the customers on this one and ordered Apple to replace the cords for any user who requested such a replacement (score one for the “little guys”).
    Customers had until December 31 of 2012 to request their replacements and had to “prove” that their cords were damaged by either taking them to a local Apple retailer or mailing them in.
  2. The other issue that quickly emerged was the magnet feature. This was designed as a safety feature, so that if someone were to trip over the cord, or to try to move with the device, forgetting that it was attached to the charger, the cord would automatically disengage. Unfortunately, the magnets were not strong enough to hold the charger cord securely. So, as a user was sitting with the device in his lap or hands, any movement could disengage the charger, and this was pretty irritating.
    The other, probably more irritating thing was that users would plug in the charger, perhaps overnight, in order to have a full charge by morning. The problem was that they may have jostled the device, and the magnet partially disengaged the charger. What fun to wake up in the morning only to discover that your laptop wasn’t actually charging overnight!

Apple has attempted to improve both the T-shaped design (by offering the earlier L-shaped design as well) and the magnetic issue (stronger magnets on the inside), but then customers began to complain that the internal magnets on some of the devices were now too strong and that they and to wiggle the connector quite a bit to get it to disengage. That could, over time, cause damage to the cord.

Screen Issues

We are all going to drop our phones or tablets — it’s just going to happen! When our screens crack we are pretty angry and, of course, want to get them fixed.

Cracked screens were a pretty prevalent issue on the iPhone 4, maybe because Apple was using glass on both sides of these phones rather than a durable metal backing. Anyway, it refused to replace glass under the terms of its warranty, and another class action suit was launched. This time, however, the judge tossed the case, stating basically that dropping a phone was not normal wear and tear, and that careless consumers would need to pay for screen replacements. Today, screen replacements are easy to get (there are kiosks in every mall), but it will run about $100, unless you have insurance.

Operational Issues

Current complaints revolve primarily around the iPad and relate to frozen screens, failing to charge, and random crashing. In these instances, there are relatively easy “fixes,” most involving turning the device off and then on again, and if they persist, any Apple dealer is pretty accommodating for no fee. And for issues that Apple acknowledges, there are “fixes” that are downloadable once they are devised.

The New AppleWatch

This is such a new device, it will be interesting to see if there are complaints and issues that arise. There are bound to be some, and developers are standing by to come up with the “fixes.”

One device repair group, iFixit, is currently engaged in taking an AppleWatch apart to figure out how difficult it will be to repair them if broken. So far, they have discovered a couple of issues:

  1. Once the back is popped off, to get any further into the watch mechanism, there are some screws that are so tiny, even the iFixit folks didn’t have a screwdriver with small enough. They improvised and managed to get in.

2. Once in, however, they were met with ribbon cables going everywhere and lots and lots of glue. Getting the chip out of one of these things will be a monumental task, and other damage could occur in the process. It’s possible that this was pre-planned, of course, so that AppleWatch owners can only use a company sanctioned and/or owned repair entity.

Piece of advice? Get an insurance plan on your new AppleWatch!

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