Apple’s 7 Biggest Mistakes in the 21st Century


Apple may have revolutionalized the smartphone industry, but the company has also made its fair share of big, big mistakes along the way.

Walk into an Apple Store, and you’ll see just how much the company cares about its image. But while Apple may want you to think it’s never done anything wrong, the secret is that Apple makes mistakes too.

Between botched launches and keeping customers waiting on products that are never coming out, Apple definitely isn’t perfect. Here are some of the biggest mistakes Apple made over the past two decades.

1. Antennagate (2010)

iPhone 4 on a white background

Many people consider the iPhone 4 one of the most beautiful smartphones ever. That’s when Apple introduced us to the iconic flat-edged glass and aluminum design. But even though the iPhone 4 was a huge step forward for smartphone design, the device suffered from various technical issues.

The iPhone 4’s Achilles heel was its antennas. Many people reported that holding the iPhone 4 in their left hand caused it to drop calls. That’s because Apple stuffed the iPhone 4’s antennas into the phone’s aluminum frame. Holding the iPhone 4 in your left hand could cause your palm to interfere with the antennas, causing problems with reception.

Although Apple did its best to brush Antennagate under the rug, in 2012, CNET reported that Apple had lost a class action lawsuit against iPhone 4 buyers.

2. The Launch of Apple Maps (2012)

Apple Maps app icon
Image Credit: Apple/Wikimedia

People often criticize Apple for being late to the game when it comes to releasing new products and features. But Apple might have a good reason for doing that.

Today, Apple Maps is one of the best Apple CarPlay apps for the iPhone. But things were very different when it first launched. When Apple Maps debuted in 2012, it was a buggy, unfinished mess. Problems included missing landmarks, bad directions, and even listing parks as airports.

In fact, Apple Maps’ launch was so bad that the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, issued a rare public apology, but the damage was already done. Forbes even dubbed Apple Maps the “number one tech disaster of the year.”

3. Bendgate (2014)

In late 2014, Apple generated a huge buzz when it unveiled the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Users were incredibly excited to see Apple finally redesign the iPhone with a bigger display. But customers weren’t so happy when their brand-new iPhone 6 Plus started bending in their pockets.

Apple gave the iPhone 6 Plus a sizable 5.5-inch display and made it incredibly thin. But the problem was that the device’s aluminum chassis just wasn’t strong enough to support the device. And although videos were circulating online, with people even bending the devices with their bare hands, Apple claimed that only a small percentage of users were having any issues.

A year later, Apple quietly switched the chassis to a stronger 7000 series aluminum for the succeeding iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models, finally ending the “Bendgate” saga.

4. Forcing a U2 Album on Everybody (2014)

U2 band member Bono
Image Credit: Peter Neill/Wikimedia

On September 9th, 2014, iPhone users around the world woke up to a free gift from Apple. That gift was U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence. Apple partnered with the band to add the album to over 500 million iTunes accounts worldwide.

U2 is a household name. But no matter how many fans U2 has, it was still bizarre for Apple to think that everyone with an iTunes account wanted to hear U2’s latest album. Making things more awkward, there wasn’t even an option to delete it. It wasn’t a week later that Apple even gave users the freedom to remove the album from their devices.

They say the best things in life are free, but getting U2’s Songs of Innocence dumped on your iPhone felt much more like junk mail than anything else.

5. The MacBook’s Butterfly Keyboard (2015–2019)

Butterfly keyboard on a Macbook

For years, it seemed like Apple’s design team was pursuing thinness at all costs. And to meet that goal, in 2015, Apple introduced us to the now-infamous butterfly keyboard.

Butterfly key switches have an incredibly short key travel distance, allowing Apple to make MacBooks thinner than ever, but most people hated typing on them. Making things worse, the butterfly mechanism was incredibly fragile. That meant even a small amount of dust or dirt inside the keyboard could severely damage it over time.

Apple spent the next few years trying to get people to accept the butterfly keyboard, even though it clearly wasn’t working out. In 2018, the company created the Keyboard Service Program, an extended warranty to repair or replace MacBooks equipped with butterfly keyboards.

In 2020, Apple finally removed the butterfly keyboard from the MacBook lineup when it transitioned to Apple silicon and brought back a more traditional scissor-switch design.

6. Abandoning AirPower (2019)

AirPower on a white background
Image Credit: Apple

In 2017, during the iPhone X launch, Apple showed the world AirPower, an all-in-one wireless charging solution designed to charge your iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch simultaneously. And although it wasn’t quite finished yet, Apple promised it would be available in just a few months.

Many consumers were ready to give Apple their money, but the company kept delaying the project. In 2019, after keeping the world waiting for almost two years, Apple abandoned AirPower completely.

Although Apple never gave us a clear reason why AirPower never made it to market, many speculated that it was due to heating issues. That’s not surprising, considering a standard MagSafe charger can cause an iPhone to overheat. But while a MagSafe charger has just one charging coil, AirPower was supposed to have three separate coils, which meant more heating issues.

AirPower was an ambitious idea, but unfortunately, Apple just couldn’t get it to work.

7. Stubbornness With the Lightning Port (2022)

iPhone 14 Pro on a white background

People were excited when Apple unveiled the Lightning connector on the iPhone 5. It was a big step up from Apple’s older 30-pin connector. However, just a few years later, USB-C phones started appearing on the market. And when comparing USB-C to Lightning, USB-C charges devices faster and can transfer data much quicker than Lightning.

Most of the smartphone world moved to USB-C years ago, but Apple still forces iPhone users to use Lightning. Ironically, Apple was ahead of the game when it came to bringing USB-C to the MacBook. In fact, Apple has integrated USB-C across its entire product range, except on iPhones.

Future iPhones will come with USB-C chargers, but forcing people to use Lightning in 2023 feels like a cheap cash grab from the richest company on the planet. That’s a bad look, Apple.

Nobody’s Perfect, Not Even Apple

Although Apple is known for its ultra-polished image and OCD levels of attention to detail, Apple has had its fair share of blunders too. Even though Apple has almost unlimited money for R&D and marketing, sometimes things just don’t pan out the way it wants.

We all make mistakes every now and then, and not even Apple, the biggest company in the world, is immune to making mistakes.


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