Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you think Apple is sabotaging the camera focus on iphones that are 12 and older?

Asked by JLeslie (65196points) 2 weeks ago from iPhone

It seems like the new photos and videos I’m taking the quality is worse now than several months ago.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

Forever_Free's avatar

Of course. It is in their business model to sabotage their product.

chyna's avatar

They admittedly sabotaged their batteries in the past, so why not their cameras?

ragingloli's avatar

Consider that at their “genius bar”, they push you towards either buying a new replacement, or “offering” you to replace large parts of the device at a repair price higher than a new device, for a repair job that would cost a few bucks at an actual repair shop.
Their entire business model is sucking money out of the pockets of gullible rubes with more money than sense.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Possibly, is your camera lens clean?

jca2's avatar

NY Times had an article about Apple phones the other day – something else that they’re sabotaging. I think it was that they slow down the old phones purposely. That’s one reason why I won’t buy an Apple phone. It seems to be a lot of hype.

janbb's avatar

I didn’t see a marked difference between my old SE and my new 13. I love my Apple phones but I know there are issues.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am concerned by the power we give large technology companies. I know I don’t read the terms every year when companies make annual amendments. I simply click “accept”. I don’t even question it.

Apple did it before, so we’re sure they are capable of such behavior.

I have a Google Pixel 6 phone, and it has recently started to run down the battery much quicker than in the past. I began to wonder if Google had put something in an update to cause that to happen since the phone is 2 years old. Having such a suspicion makes me sad.

My parents owned a Maytag washing machine that ran for probably 20 years.

I am well aware that a computerized device such as a smartphone is not comparable to a washer, but I’m simply trying to describe that I have the feeling goods used to be manufactured with the idea that they will last for many years. Many items aren’t made to last for many years anymore.

I’m not opining for the “good ol’ days”. I know that’s silly. I am trying to say that I think companies want us to replace goods more quickly than they did in the past.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake The battery draining faster on these phones is a symptom of a rogue app. Delete what you don’t need and I bet your battery life will come back.

jonsblond's avatar

I have a 14 Plus and I think it’s great!

elbanditoroso's avatar

Sabotage or benign neglect?

Overt sabotage seems more unlikely.

Neglect to improve (which is passive, not overt) is far more likely to be the case.

jca2's avatar

NY Times: Nov 12, 2023

You Paid $1,000 for an iPhone, but Apple Still Controls It
The company codes its devices with software that complicates repairs by triggering safety warnings and malfunctions.

For a decade, it was easy to get help repairing an iPhone. Cracked screens could be replaced in minutes, and broken cameras could be exchanged without a hitch.

But since 2017, iPhone repairs have been a minefield. New batteries can trigger warning messages, replacement screens can disable a phone’s brightness settings, and substitute selfie cameras can malfunction.

The breakdowns are an outgrowth of Apple’s practice of writing software that gives it control over iPhones even after someone has bought one. Unlike cars, which can be repaired with generic parts by auto shops and do-it-yourself mechanics, new iPhones are coded to recognize the serial numbers for original components and may malfunction if the parts are changed.

This year, seven iPhone parts can trigger issues during repairs, up from three in 2017, when the company introduced a facial recognition system to unlock the device, according to iFixit, a company that analyzes iPhone components and sells parts for do-it-yourself repairs. The rate at which parts can cause breakdowns has been rising about 20 percent a year since 2016, when only one repair caused a problem.

In a series of tests, iFixit determines which parts cause issues when swapped between working iPhones of the same model. The results reveal that the number of malfunctions has increased with later iPhone generations.

The software phenomenon, which is known as parts pairing, has encouraged Apple customers to turn to its stores or authorized repair centers, which charge higher prices for parts and labor. In recent years, only approved parts and sanctioned repairs have avoided the problems. Replacing a shattered screen typically costs nearly $300, about $100 more than work done by an independent shop using a third-party screen.

To put it another way: The cost of replacing a cracked screen on a year-old iPhone 14 is nearly equivalent to the phone’s value, which Apple appraises at $430 in trade-in credit.

Apple’s grip on the repairs creates an incentive for customers to spend up to $200 on device insurance, known as AppleCare, which provides free battery replacements and screen repairs. Apple collects an estimated $9 billion annually for the service.

It has also spurred questions about Apple’s commitment to sustainability, with independent repair advocates saying the company could more effectively meet its goals of reducing carbon emissions by lowering repair costs to encourage people to maintain devices rather than buy new ones.

An Apple spokesman said the company supported a customer’s right to repair a device and had created a self-service repair program to help. “We have been innovating to offer our customers the best choice and options when their product needs service,” he said.

State lawmakers from New York to California have responded with laws that aim to make repairs easier. The Biden administration has encouraged the Federal Trade Commission to advance rules that would stop smartphone makers from restricting independent repairs. But most of the regulations don’t include explicit restrictions on parts pairing.

The iPhone 7, released in 2016, has been lauded as the last easily repairable model.It has only one function — Touch ID — that stops working when the home button of the phone is replaced in a non-Apple-authorized repair.

The release of the iPhone X in 2017 represented a significant shift in the design of iPhones. Parts pairing increased, and more parts, including the front display and the front-facing camera, stopped working correctly when replaced.

Apple’s latest phone, the iPhone 15, has more features and, with them, more parts pairing.

Using software to control repairs has become commonplace across electronics, appliances and heavy machinery as faster chips and cheaper memory turn everyday products into miniature computers. HP has used a similar practice to encourage people to buy its ink cartridges over lower-priced alternatives. Tesla has incorporated it into many cars. And John Deere has put it in farm equipment, disabling machines that aren’t fixed by company repair workers.

Apple and other companies have defended the practice by saying it protects customers’ safety and the company’s brand. Shoddy parts, like a faulty face scanner, could compromise the phone’s security, and if an independent shop messes up a repair, the customer often blames Apple instead of the shop, the company has said. The practice also allows Apple to create a record of parts in the device, which can be helpful to buyers of secondhand phones.

But the increase of pairing parts with software has animated a movement that wants to make repairs cheaper and easier. Proponents, which include iFixit, say it would be better for the environment and customers’ wallets to extend the life of devices. They have urged lawmakers to simplify repairs, asking: “Who owns the device after it’s been purchased? The customer or the manufacturer?”

“You basically have to ask permission before doing a repair,” said Nathan Proctor, who has lobbied states for repair legislation on behalf of U.S. PIRG, a nonprofit largely funded by small donors.

When Apple expanded its software limits in 2017, it upended repair businesses. Shakeel Taiyab said iPhone repairs at his independent shop in South San Francisco had decreased about 15 percent this year. Some customers with issues like cracked screens keep using the phones because they find repairing or replacing it unaffordable.

Free Geek, a nonprofit based in Portland, Ore., that donates repaired computers and smartphones to underprivileged people, decided that Apple’s software made iPhones too difficult to service, said Amber Brink, Free Geek’s director of technology.

Last year, Free Geek received thousands of donated iPhones but repurposed only 280, Ms. Brink said. “It’s a headache,” she added.

Consumers who opt against paying top dollar for an Apple-authorized repair may suffer the consequences. In February, after Gio Grimaldi, a 15-year-old in New Hampshire, shattered the screen of his iPhone SE on a snowboarding trip, he took it to a nearby repair shop.

He said the closest Apple Store was 90 minutes away and had quoted $130 for replacing the screen — 40 percent higher than the independent store. When he took the phone home, it worked fine but was lacking True Tone, a software feature that adjusts the screen’s brightness and color to match the ambient lighting.

“That’s just plain stupid,” he said. “I always love Apple as a company, but they’re really stuck up about third-party repairs.”

Over the past year, New York, Minnesota and California passed bills requiring that electronics manufacturers provide parts, tools and manuals to third parties.

After years of lobbying against such rules, Apple signed on to support California’s law and honor it across the United States. It has also encouraged the federal government to adopt similar rules, said Brian Naumann, the head of Apple’s repair service efforts, who spoke about the right to repairs during a White House event last month.

“Apple has taken significant steps to expand options for consumers to repair their devices, which we know is good for consumers’ budgets and good for the environment,” Mr. Naumann said.

But the California legislation failed to directly address Apple’s practice of using software to control the repair process. In Oregon, State Senator Janeen Sollman, a Democrat representing an area outside Portland, is part of a group of lawmakers aiming to pass a state law that would prohibit Apple and others from having restrictions on repairs.

As the Oregon legislation has progressed, Apple has encouraged lawmakers to scale it back. Apple paid for a half dozen legislators to visit its Silicon Valley headquarters this year, and tried to impress on them how important security and safety were to repairs, Ms. Sollman said.

She left California unpersuaded. “I said, ‘You’re making it more accessible, but it’s not a true right to repair if you have ultimate control,’” Ms. Sollman said.

(The article also contained a chart, but I can’t cut and paste the chart to Fluther. If you have access to a NY Times subscription and you want to see the chart, you can see it online).

Blackwater_Park's avatar

This proprietary bullshit has been Apple’s business model from day 1. This is just one reason tech geeks with hardware expertise run from Apple. I feel it’ll always be popular with the software kids and tech bro business grads. It’s about the image there. Put a bunch of practical I.T. nerds and electrical engineers in a room, and you’ll see Thinkpads and Pixel phones. I hate to derail a thread just to bash Apple, but… I can’t help it.

gorillapaws's avatar

No. I don’t think Apple is deliberately sabotaging your older hardware via updates.

Forever_Free's avatar

Apple has never been known for their products to be workhorses and the best TCO (total cost of ownership). They have been innovators from the start. Marketing genius as well to make you think you need their product before you even know you have that need.
I have seen this over the decades of me being an Electrical Engineer and Technologist making a living out of it.
This is all a function of consumer demand and product development. Why do they come out with a phone every year? Because we ask for more things and people develop things we use on our devices. You could not have a device today that evolves and changes like we ask for without obsoleting the products before it.
This is not a phone on the wall from AT&T that changed only measured in multiple decades. Rotary phones changed to push button. Straight cord changed to curly cord.
Innovation will obsolete prior products capability. Battery, Network speed, demanding apps are just the surface.
It is also not a wash machine or a lawn mover that has one job. Manufacturers design and build now for price point and not for being able to will it to your children.
Apply the same logic to the car industry. Nothing lasts forever and things fail on electro/mechanical devices.
Apple is not sabotaging your camera on your phone. If you want a camera for the long haul then go buy a Nikon or a Canon. Even those have evolved with technology from SLR film to DSLR, mirrorless, yadda, yadda, yadda.
End Rant

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Forever_Free innovators – ha! Jobs stole the whole GUI idea from Xerox, this is well documented.

They don’t invent at all. They use other company’s ideas and dress them up in very pretty packages (style/design). But innovation? Not so much.

Forever_Free's avatar

@jca2 That is a myth and simply wrong. FACTS: Douglas Engelbart did work to evolve computers from simply number crunching machines.
The Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute was the first to take concepts originally developed for the Air Force. Early works on machine augmented intelligence were discussed in the 50’s and 60’s.
A bit of historical reading for you
From there it evolved to Xerox PARC. Jobs looking for new ideas to work into future iterations of the Apple computer, traded US $1 million in stock options to Xerox for a detailed tour of their facilities and current projects.
Perhaps you should understand that these types of research centers were about being open in ideas to stimulate and advance. Xerox did not patent many things and left it open for others interpretations. Xerography was patented and yet Canon and others interpreted the 7 stages of xerography to lead the world in desktop laser printers.
Innovation is not simply the beginning source of an idea or the inventor.
I respectfully disagree with you that Jobs was not an innovator. He is such alongside Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and others.

janbb's avatar

@Forever_Free I don’t think that was meant for @jca2 ?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

“He is such alongside Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and others”

LOL, no.

jca2's avatar

@Forever_Free I have no idea what you’re going on about.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Forever_Free “Jobs was not an innovator. He is such alongside Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and others.”

I agree. He was a genius of human interface design. After leaving Apple he founded Pixar and NeXT. Both were revolutionary and brilliant. The code being written in the early 90’s became the bedrock of what made smartphones possible decades later.

We’re getting off topic though.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Jobs had to be begged by Apple engineers to even enter the smartphone market. If it were not for them, it likely would not have happened the way it did with an Apple logo.

Forever_Free's avatar

apologies jca2 that was meant to tag elbanditoroso response.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@gorillapaws The true pioneer of the HMI was Jean-Marie Hullot. Much of the work at NeXT comes from programs he authored. Then there is the iPhone, which was his idea.

Jobs was not an inventor. He never coded or invented anything. He was a master marketer, the closest thing he came to inventing was taking ideas and inventions that others came up with and instructing others to put them together. It’s questionable that he came up with any of this on his own, either. Frankly, the only actual credit that he is owed was helping to make the cases look pretty on early Apple computers.

Aside from marketing Jobs can be credited with creating the environment that fostered and rewarded innovation. That’s no small thing, that changed the way silicon valley operated for a long time but the innovations came from others. Many others, who unfortunately remain mostly uncredited. Marketing and business leader, yes. Inventor/innovator…not just no, hell no.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Rounded rects on windows and buttons and fonts/digital typography are two examples that immedicately come to mind that were directly from Jobs (not the coding implementation, obviously). I’ve been told by people who knew him that he could walk into a room with x device (a car, washing machine, toothpick dispenser, whatever) and tell you everything that’s wrong with it in just a minute or two—and he’d be right. Some people may not find that kind of skill valuable, but he had a huge roll in the design and prototyping process.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@gorillapaws I don’t doubt it, but we have to be honest, he is not the tech genius he is made out to be. The people who really did those things should get the credit.

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