The Forbidden Fruit: A Look Inside of Apple’s Business Practices

Sometimes your best hope of getting your Apple products to work is praying for help from the divine. Photo of Myles Garcia by Emilio Mejia

Apple was recently in the news for obliterating or altering 11 of the 17 most popular apps people use to control the amount of time they or their children spend in front of a screen.

Apple is insanely successful – it recently hit a $1 trillion market value – but some of its business practices have critics complaining the success is due to business practices that, even if legal, are dodgy or short-sighted. Yet, people are dependent on Apple products: A recent poll from 2012 revealed that 64 percent of American households have at least one Apple product, with the average household harboring 2.6 Apple products.

Is our love affair with Apple masochistic? Evidence is adding up that our relationship with the company producing our must-have products is at best a one-sided.

Slowing Down the iPhone

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

In 2017, Apple confirmed what many had suspected: A recent software update was slowing down older iPhone models. The company apologized for not telling consumers it was throttling the phone’s function, attributed the poor performance to aging batteries, and claimed the “fix” was necessary to prevent sudden shut downs in older models. But many users have long contended the slug bug was intentional and designed to nudge consumers into purchasing newer phones. Apple offered to replace the batteries on older models for only $29 – but that deal ended December 31, 2018.

Frustrating Repair Policy

Photo Courtesy of Axelle B

For years, Apple insisted that all phone repairs be done in house, finally allowing a few authorized cell phone repairers to deal with Apple phones in 2016.

Even authorized repair shops are only authorized to do select phone repairs. If a customer comes in with other easily fixable problems, the repair shop must ship the phone to Apple.

For a store to be authorized in performing repairs, the business must pay a subscription fee, purchase certified Apple parts, and employees must go through official Apple training.

Mediocre Charging Cables

Photo by Emilio Mejia

The iPhone charging cables have an average of two stars in reviews on Apple’s website. The 0.5 m Apple cord (1.64 feet) costs $19. Some suggest that Apple purposely makes this product sub-par so that its customers will replace their chargers every few months. These chords are notorious for fraying after normal use, Alternatively, Amazon offers charging cables twice the length of Apple’s for less than $10 – but customers trying to use superior cables that cost less are always at risk of discovering that their unapproved, non-Apple cable is found “incompatible with this device” when plugged into an Apple product.

Gouging Customers

A stunning exposé released by Canada’s public newscast “The National” last year revealed that “genius bar” employees told customers that minor repairs were not worth fixing (may as well buy a new laptop!) when the problems could in fact be fixed cheaply within minutes. Apple denied systematically overestimating repair costs, but one Mac-friendly repair person in NYC said he saw customers similarly victimized at least 10 to 30 times a day.

Lobbying for the wrong things

Apple goes to great lengths to discourage third-party repair people, threatening them with legal action if they share repair info online, changing parts so they cannot be easily replicated and seventeen states have introduced “right to repair” legislation to allow consumers and repair people to get their devices fixed more easily and inexpensively and to outlaw “software locks” that prevent third-party repairs. The legislation would not only allow repair people to make money and consumers to save money, but slow down the river of toxic tech waste going to landfills. Yet, Apple retains a lobbyist to fight against this legislation and anything else Apple deems not to be in its interest.

Escalating iPhone Prices

iPhone Prices on Release Date. Graphic by Emilio Mejia

The original iPhone (released in 2007) was priced at $499. Ten years later, Apple broke the $800 barrier on the price of the iPhone with the release of the iPhone 8 plus. Two weeks later, the iPhone X was released for over $1,000. When Apple originally released their iPhone to the public, the company had a completely different business model in mind: groundbreaking technology for an affordable price. That no longer seems to be the guiding principle: The new Apple XS Max runs between $1,099 and $1,499, depending on GBs.

This is in part due to the increasing price of Apple products: The first iPhones released in 2007 cost $399 for 4G and $599 for 8G before Apple discontinued the 4G model and then lowered the price of the 8G device to $399.

Apple did not respond to any of the complaints addressed in this article.

GOT Answers? These Game of Thrones Finalists are our Favorites to Nab the Crown

New episodes of HBO’s highly anticipated final season of Game of Thrones are being released every Sunday until May 19. Speculation is rampant as to how the series, based on the books of George R.R. Martin, will end. Betting sites have sprung up for fans to wager on the winner of the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms. What will happen? Here are the smart money’s possibilities.

 

This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC.

Jon Snow

Jon Snow, born Aegon Targaryen, is the favorite to win and for good reason. If you accept that his family, the Targaryens are the rightful rulers, the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen has the strongest claim to the throne.

‘The Bastard of Winterfell’ joined the Nights Watch to escape the bastard status and quickly rose to the rank of the youngest Lord Commander in the history of the Nights Watch, earning his leadership chops.

Complications

Jon Snow differs from other characters in that he has no real desire for power. If news were to get out that he was brought back to life by the Lord of Light, there is no way of knowing how the kingdom would react.

 

 

This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA.

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys the Stormborn, aka The Breaker of Chains, The Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea and the Rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms has dedicated her life to taking the throne.  Do you really think that someone who goes through the trouble of introducing themselves with so many titles would stand compliant and allow someone else take the Iron Throne?

Complications

How she will respond when she finds out that Jon Snow’s claim could be argued as more rightful than her own?

A debate exists as to whether or not the Targaryens have a legitimate claim to the throne.  The last Targaryen to rule, the Mad King, was murdered because he was planning on burning alive the people of King’s Landing.  Will people accept a Targaryen ruler after the severe breach of trust?

 

 

This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC.

Cersei Lannister

Money is power. The current ruler of the Seven Kingdoms has secured funding from the Iron Bank, allowing her to purchase the Golden Company, the most fearsome and skilled group of sellswords (mercenaries) in the free cities.

Cersei has also managed to secure the Iron fleet, granting her the strongest naval presence in Westeros.  Since Cersei currently sits on the Iron Throne, she holds the defensive advantage – and can fight off challengers from behind the castle walls.

Complications

Mercenaries are notoriously fickle, and could easily switch sides with inducements or for their own advantage.  While they were brought to Westeros by Euron Greyjoy, and paid for by the Iron Bank, Euron could easily be convinced to order the Golden Company to fight for Daenerys.

 

 

This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA.

The Night King // Bran Stark

Will evil triumph?

The Night King has access to the formidable – and united – army of the dead.  The lack of unity amongst the living could be exploited by the malevolent Night King as he marches south, adding more and more members to his army with each victory.

Complications

The Night King’s success depends on the divisiveness of the humans. If Cersei, Jon Snow, and Daenerys unite forces, his odds of succeeding diminish.

 

 

This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY.

Gendry Waters

Gendry is the only living son of the last king, Robert Baratheon, but his mother was not a queen, and illegitimacy weakens conventional claims to the throne. Should his heritage be acknowledged and honored, people might rally and support him.  Game of Thrones is known for unexpected twists and turns, so an apparently unlikely outcome for a minor character is definitely in contention as a possibility.

Complications

Although Gendry is the son of Robert Baratheon, he is unacknowledged and carries the last name “Waters.”

Game of Thrones keeps surprising fans at every turn.  As much as we would like to think we know who will rule the kingdom,  the truth is all we can do is wait and see what happens on May 19!

“Shocking and Disappointing”: Female Soccer Players Discuss National Team’s Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Despite being the most successful women’s soccer team in history, players for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, claim that they are not being paid fairly, are forced to play on fake turf while the men get real grass, and take commercial flights while their male counterparts fly charter, among countless other complaints. Their rancor has culminated in a lawsuit filed in March against the U.S. Soccer Administration alleging widespread gender discrimination.

Many members of Chapman’s Women’s soccer team hadn’t even heard of the lawsuit – but they had strong feelings about the conditions their professional sisters allegedly endured, and about discrimination in sports.

Jessica Roux, freshman software engineering major

Although Chapman is a Division III school, Roux wouldn’t consider herself “working any less hard than a Division I athlete or taking care of my body less.” Roux finds the vast pay discrepancy between male and female professional soccer players “shocking and disappointing.”

Jessica Roux believes women and men work equally hard in athletics and should be paid accordingly. Photo by Emilio Mejia

Alex Morgan is the highest paid female U.S. soccer player, earning $450,000 a year. Yet the highest paid U.S. male soccer player, Michael Bradley, makes a whopping $6 million not including revenue from endorsement deals. Yet, the most recent women’s world cup final was the most popular televised match in U.S. soccer history, attracting a total of 23 million viewers.

“Women work just as hard as men,” and go to just as much effort to train and stay in shape, Roux said.

Elly Aronson, junior news and documentary major

Gender discrimination “always stays in the back of my mind” said Aronson who described the the lawsuit allegations as “heartbreaking.” Yet, she’s grateful that unequal treatment of female athletes is in the news.

“I wish change was coming much faster, but I’m glad awareness is finally being brought to the national spotlight,” she added. Aronson won’t let discrimination discourage her, though: “I’ve always competed for myself” she affirms.

Madie Bigcas (left) and Elly Aronson (right) unite in their condemning of female athlete’s treatment. Photo by Emilio Mejia

Madie Bigcas, sophomore communication studies major

Madie Bigcas was dismayed by the comments of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, after being asked in 2015 how to increase viewership for women’s matches: “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts… female players are pretty. If you forgive me for saying so.” Sepp Blatter is currently four years into a six-year ban from all FIFA related activities.

“It really puts things in perspective when someone that high up says something like that. You’re there for the game, not to see women’s butts,” Bigcas said.

“It’s hard to hear” the way that the national women’s team claims it is being treated, but Bigcas said, “I don’t let it get to me.”

The U.S. women’s team consistently draws more eyes and fills more seats than the men’s team. However, these numbers have not translated into financial incentives.

Bailee Cochran, junior business major

International women’s soccer games are commonly played on artificial turf, whereas men’s games are played on grass. The players have made their disapproval for this quite clear: playing on turf provides significantly more challenges than playing on grass. Often, the temperature of the turf can teach 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which results in painful, large burns on the player’s skin if they perform a slide tackle. In addition to injuries, there are questions about the correlation between long-term exposure to artificial turf and cancer clusters.

A photo of turf burn as a result of playing on artificial grass. Photo by Pavel on Adobe Stock

“I try not to expect things” Cochran when it comes to the double standards to which female athletes are subjected. “I focus on going out to play my hardest… if I love something, I’m going to give it my all” she adds, “I’m going to do the things I love and not think of anything else.”

Chapman Drop Deadline is April 12: Is the scarlet ‘W’ as bad as you think?

Should I stay or should I go?

The last day to withdraw from a class this semester is April 12. Some students are wondering if they
should cut their losses and withdraw from a class likely to drag down their grade point average.
The decision can be difficult. You’ve already invested so much time and effort! But what is the
likelihood you’ll be able to elevate a low grade so far into the semester? If you do drop, won’t a
“W” look bad on your transcript, dooming you from grad school or getting a job? Professors
who give little indication of your standing in the class don’t make the decision any easier. How
do you know whether to cut bait or stay the course? Read on…

The first thing to consider is whether you have enough credits to be considered a full-time
student. A university student needs to complete at least 12 credits per semester in order to be
considered full-time. If you do not have enough credits at the end of the semester, you will be
obligated to pay back both your financial aid to the government as well as lose any merit
scholarships you may have been awarded. If this is the case, you’re best off redoubling your
efforts in the class to pull out the best grade you can obtain.

The Scarlet ‘W’

There is a commonly held belief that a ‘W’ on your transcripts brands you as a quitter to
potential employers and grad school admissions committees. However, this isn’t always the
case – especially if you don’t habitually withdraw from classes. “One or two withdrawals
typically does not present much of an issue. However, a pattern of withdrawals will cause
schools to question your academic preparedness . . .to manage a demanding academic load,”
according to advice provided to pre-law students by Baylor Law School.

Graduate schools often allow students to explain the reason why they withdrew from a course
on their application and are “more likely to be forgiving of a drop that was caused by
unexpected circumstances…. than they would if you dropped a class simply because you did not
like the professor,” according to Baylor.

However, the stakes may be different if you’re dropping a class in a subject related to your
planned graduate area of study. “It is wise to consult with your academic advisor, your faculty
advisor, and the graduate/professional school you anticipate attending to make sure a ‘W’ on
you transcript will not adversely impact your admissions application,” as advised by Southern
Utah University.

 

Test your reality by talking to your teacher

Sophomore Benen Weir withdrew from an accounting class he hated last semester on the final
possible day. In a convo with his professor, he admitted to not even opening his textbook and was
told it was in his interest to drop the class. That helped him to realize he did not want to major
in business, anyway: He switched to Strategic and Corporate Communication. He recommends
talking to the professor of a class you’re failing to get a sense of whether you have a hope of
passing. “Office hours!” he crowed. Dropping allowed him to keep his 3.2 + GPA and to land a $20
an hour internship.

Ask the professor what your current grade is and how likely it is for you to improve it by the end
of the semester.

One or two withdrawals is always better than getting a D or F. Some students might even want
to consider dropping in order to avoid getting their first C.

Future Employers

Employers are similar to admission offices in that, having one or two W’s on your transcript
may not be a big deal, according to Southern Utah University.

However, it’s a smart move to never assume how your W may be perceived by a future
employer. “Some employers may request a copy of your transcript and evaluate it before
offering you a job. Having multiple ‘W’s on your transcript may lead them to question your
ability,” according to Southern Utah University.

It’s not a good idea to repeatedly withdraw from courses as a “GPA management” technique so
try to make sure when registering you’re in classes you are likely to successfually complete.

Beware of magic thinking

There are many instances in which students should withdraw from a class and yet refuse to
according to Ximena Pineda, a licensed cognitive behavioral therapist who specializes in
university students. Today’s college students may have a mentality of wanting to pass or obtain
a high grade while putting in the least amount of effort necessary: Such an attitude may not
reap the results they believe they will obtain. “Wishful thinking” and “falling victim to these
ideologies” is likely to result in remaining in a class one has little likelihood of passing. Be sure
to engage in regular reality checks with your professors.

Suck it up

For some students, withdrawing is unthinkable. They reorganize their lives to get the grades
they want. They plan for success early in the semester so withdrawal never becomes a
question.

Calista Lat and Aiyana Adams are freshmen and STEM majors who have never withdrawn from
a class and, yet, never received lower than a B+. They succeed, they said, by planning in
advance and devoting extra time to their most difficult classes. “I don’t procrastinate,” said Lat,
who said she studies two hours every week day and a bit less on weekends.

They key to doing well in school is “going into class and decide to learn by paying attention” so
that you don’t have to spend so much time studying, said Adams, who avails herself of tutoring
options and takes practice tests and quizzes on her own. “You just gotta do what you gotta
do,” Lat added.