Who's the Sheep? Pointless accusations against Apple

by Uluroo — January 5, 2018

When you go this far to call someone a fanatic, maybe it's time for you to think different.

A lot of people like to accuse Apple users of being "sheep" who will buy whatever the company makes. Like this guy, who basically said that there's nothing that separates iPhones from their competitors. Uluroo thinks that the real sheep are those who are willing to mislead themselves and their readers in order to write an anti-Apple story.

Like this guy.

Writing for Computerworld, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols would like to introduce you to "Rotten Apple."

Uluroo supposes "Rotten Apple" pretty much sums up the company in a nutshell.

The iPhone battery ripoff shows Apple for what it really is: a company determined to make bucks at your expense.

Well, it wasn't a ripoff, for reasons we'll get into later on. And second, don't all companies make money at their customers' expense? Maybe Steven means at your unrightful expense (which is also not the case).

Golly! Some people are excited about being able to take advantage of Apple’s “generous” offer of cheap batteries for earlier-model iPhones.

Does Steven think this isn't generous? The price for battery replacements was cut by $50, which appears to Uluroo to be an example of the comany not trying to get a few more bucks from consumers.

Give me a break. Apple deliberately ripped you off by slowing down out-of-date iPhones. It’s time to stop drinking Cupertino’s Kool-Aid and see Apple for what it really is: rotten.

All those who want their iPhones to randomly shut down under high-performance conditions may raise their hands now.

Caught red-handed, Apple admitted that, yes, it was deliberately putting the brakes on iPhones with older batteries. But worry not! It’s a feature!

Steven goes on to mention the public statement Apple gave, in which it explained that the reason iPhones sometimes get slowed down as they grow older is so that the phones do not randomly shut down. Before we move on, note that the speed throttling only happens if A) the phone's battery health is low or B) the phone is operating under high- or low-temperature conditions and C) the user tries to do something that is too powerful for the battery to handle. (As iPhones get older, their capability to provide peak processing power dwindles.) Without speed throttling, the phone would probably reboot itself. With speed throttling, the phone's processor slows down neglibibly.

Remember that Uluroo said "neglibly." Geekbench scores show large performance decreases on phones with older batteries, but here's a quote from an interesting TechCrunch article:

Remember, benchmarks, which are artificial tests of a system’s performance levels, will look like peaks and valleys to the system, which will then trigger [speed throttling]. In other words, you’re always going to be triggering this when you run a benchmark, but you definitely will not always trigger this effect when you’re using your iPhone like normal.

So users will often not notice the speed reduction happening. To the feature preventing unexpected shutdowns from happening, Steven says:

Thanks. I need features like this like I need a hole in my head.

So, Steven says that Apple should let iPhones randomly shut down. (Does he realize that's what he's saying? Did he read the Apple statement he quoted?)

If an iPhone is shutting down because the battery isn’t 100%, how about, oh, I don’t know, telling us that! You know, with an alert like “Your battery needs replacing.”

Uluroo understands why Apple didn't show the alert; it's because, unless your battery is really bad, you'll barely notice your phone slowing down, and your phone returns to normal after you get the battery under normal usage conditions. And if your battery is really bad, there's already an iOS alert that shows up.

Also, Apple is set to introduce a feature in an upcoming iOS update that will show users how the state of their battery affects their phone's performance. Apple is hardly "rotten" for listening to consumer feedback and making a change.

Instead, all Joe and Jane User knew was that their iPhones were slowing down. “Oh, what to do! I know! Buy a new iPhone!”

First, consumers rarely notice this happening, based on the conditions Apple gave; outside of extreme conditions, gradual iPhone performance decreases are natural. Second, do we actually have any proof that unnecessary upgrades have been happening? In other words, do we know how many users upgraded their iPhones because of slow performance versus how many were compelled by the new products?

It’s all just part of Apple’s tried-and-true sales method of treating its customers like rats to condition them to always buy the newest, i.e., more expensive, products.

Steven links to another of his articles, entitled "You WILL pay a grand for the iPhone X," in which he essentially says that the iPhone X is not worth the $999 price tag and that Apple is manipulating consumers into buying the latest phone. Uluroo wanted to laugh hysterically when he saw this, but it's kind of sad that the person telling Apple users they're sheep is the real sheep for looking this hard for problems. Oh, and Steven displays a thorough misunderstanding of inflation!

Millennial: I paid $999 for my 1st iPhone.
Baby Boomer: I paid $999 for my 1st car.
Greatest Generation: I paid $999 for my 1st house.

Steven is spreading nothing but fake news here. He must be smart enough to realize that inflation is a thing, unless he's not a fan of math. He must be smart enough to realize that there are reasons outside of Apple's psychology tricks for people to want to buy the iPhone X. But, unfortunately, he deliberately chooses to mislead his readers in an effort to make Apple look bad. And he gets paid to do it.

Apple claimed in its “apology” for its battery software update that “we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

Yeah. Right. So why did Apple deliver this “feature” in such an underhanded way?

Because the feature is neglibible. What Apple didn't anticipate was the backlash, and how consumers felt about it. That's what it's working to fix, and it seems that it's doing a good job.

Computerworld’s Evan Schuman, a longtime Apple fan, analyzed Apple’s “apology” for its battery shenanigans in great detail and found it sorely lacking.

Uluroo refers you to the Macalope's latest handiwork, in which he addresses Evan Schuman's article. Here's the Macalope's conclusion, and Uluroo thinks he addresses this issue pretty well:

But did [Apple] think “Heyyy, this could work out for everyone!”? Yeah, maybe.

That may not be exactly what we want and the company needs to improve on that, but it’s not the same thing as maliciously taking advantage of its customers.

Uluroo would like to end on that note, but back to Steven:

Some of my friends in the business think this revelation will finally wake Apple customers up and they’ll stop buying iPhones like lemmings every time a new one arrives. Some point to the class-action lawsuits coming Apple’s way... I don’t think so. When it comes to pure unthinking loyalty to a brand, I’ve never seen anything like those under the spell of Apple’s reality distortion field.

Uluroo cannot stress how little respect he has for those who make the "Apple sheep" argument. Apple makes good products, which people often find better than its competitors'. They buy those products because they find them better, not because of some magical reality distortion field. It's not unthinking loyalty to a brand; it's loyalty to the quality they see in Apple products. Some will argue that the quality is not there and use things like Batterygate as proof. But if you look at the real facts, it's easy to see why people aren't so mad at Apple about this that they won't buy its products anymore.

I think Apple’s fanatic fans will put up with at least one more massive screw-up before they give up on the brand. That may be remarkably foolish of me, but then I don’t pay a grand for a smartphone either.

Apple certainly screwed up last year. The macOS security flaw was arguably the biggest flub. But Uluroo and many others can understand that, although Apple has plenty of room for improvement, overall it's plausible to see it as better than its competitors. Yes, Apple makes mistakes. But the willingness to forgive Apple is not the same as being a "fanatic." Sure, there are some people who go over-the-top with Apple fandom. But that's not Apple's fault, and it certainly isn't everyone.

Steven, here's a message especially for you. If you have to do all this to try to prove that Apple fans are fanatics who can't see the truth, you're the real fanatic. You are being the sheep, leading yourself unquestioningly to whatever conclusion makes Apple look bad. The facts you see, you misinterpret. The facts that contradict you, you ignore. And in the process, you're misleading yourself and your readers — and being exactly what you accuse Apple and its buyers of being.