How to charge your Apple device

And other sexy design decisions — it just works, right?

Josh Hild — Via Unsplash.

Imagine a beautiful Azure coastline. Now imagine yourself in town — you’re summoned by a friendly server outside a sea-facing restaurant. They offer you a seat on the veranda for what turns out to be the meal of your life.

There’s a breeze. It’s warm, gentle, and perfect. This moment is flawless. There’s no before, no after, only right now.

That was pretty good, huh?

Vernazza, Cinque Terre — beautiful, isn’t it?

Now, imagine the logistics to get there.

The 12-hour plane ride, a train strike, an 8-hour bus ride, a water taxi, dropping your phone in the water, forgetting your passport in Berlin, not to mention KLM losing your luggage — or anything else that might put the kibosh on getting to experience that moment.

It might go a little something like this…

This is how I feel when I’m trying to get to that perfect user experience that Apple sold to me.

Apple does this thing where they justify sacrificing consumer needs in this “you don’t know what you need until we tell you,” narrative. They got rid of headphone jacks, MagSafe, FireWire, USB, Thunderbolt 2, The Floppy Disk, some of which they invented and made us use, only to kill them a few years later. I’m not the only one with a box of Apple cables that will never be used again.

I went to wake up my iMac today, and my wireless keyboard didn’t work. I plugged it in and it jolted into action. It was charged, but Bluetooth decided to disconnect randomly, as it sometimes does. It’s that feeling, that little annoyance I get every time this happens with Appple and it’s starting to add up.

It’s not just the wasteful decisions, it’s the lack of accessibility that comes with a mindless design or constant proprietary change — all of this is at the expense of the end-user.

Here’s an off the top of my noggin’ rambling of my on and off-ramp quandaries with Apple products.

The Magic Mouse 2

Where function bows to form

I dislike door handles on cars, and gas doors — I think they ruin the sleekness of the overall design. This is why concept cars look so cool. When they get to production, the designs have drastically changed because at the end of the day, crawling in the window or trying to reinvent how gas gets into a car (sans behind license plate or electric vehicles) is impractical, more trouble than it's worth as a daily driver.

Every time my mouse dies, I’m in the middle of something, without fail — it's actually why I chose to write this article. It's annoying. It doesn't take long to get enough power back to use again, but since I’m in the middle of a task, I never let it charge to 90%. I wait just long enough until it can be used again and I always forget to put it back on charge overnight.

If the primary goal is to use the mouse wirelessly, but it has to be plugged in to charge it, the bottom of the mouse is unnecessary to continuously do its only job. Again, it's annoying and this design doesn’t have the user in mind. Google it. Everyone hates this.

See: Why can’t Apple make a good mouse?

Special shout out to an old school temperature check below;

Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves — Steve Jobs

Powerbook G4 17"

Before the Macbook Pro, there was the Powerbook G4. This was my favorite laptop Apple created. I loved the large, 17" matte screen, and the many ports they gave you access to on the device. You didn’t need to buy dongles and converters unless you had a specific task in mind.

You could also easily replace the battery and it had a little button on the bottom to test its life.

Still, It had some serious issues, though none of them as stupid as the Magic Mouse 2.

It was heavy — about 7 lbs. For comparison, the current MBP weighs about 4.3lbs.

The actual computer would bend if you held it or picked it up by one corner. I believe it’s because they switched from Titanium to Aluminium casings. I had a dent on the top of mine which caused the part adjacent to the screen to have a white haze on it. Very similar to Bendgate that would happen to iPhones 12 years later.

See that metal tip with the ring sleeve? This is the pre-Magsafe charger. Tripping on this cord would not only send your computer crashing to the floor, but it could also bend the contacts on the plug, or worse, the DC-in board on your laptop.

Replacing a DC-in board was a 22 step process, and expensive to do if you couldn’t DIY it, and Apple Care didn’t cover it because this was considered negligence.

This happened to pretty much anyone that owned one of these power bricks. They created the MagSafe in 2006 on the first Macbook Pro release and used that until 2019. That's where Apple decided to go back to a similar design on the new laptops, except its USB-C.

My cat pulled a 2020 MPB off the coffee table with his tale a few weeks ago and I’m still pissed about it.

Dongles

Stereo to lightning, VGA, Mini Display, Thunderbolt, USB-C, Firewire 400–800 — You name it, I have it. At home, or at the studio, boxes of these things exist and most likely will never get used again. That’s because most of these connect to antiquated technology, and unless I’m firing up an old hard drive from 15 years ago, they’ll die where they lay.

In 2016 Apple killed off most of the ports on the Macbook Pro, replacing them with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. How do they expect us to connect all of our peripheries?

You guessed it-more dongles!

We’ve gone through Apple’s Firewire phase, Thunderbolt 2, both of which were proprietary and most of us are numb to having to purchase another accessory.

UX Designer w/ a background as a photographer and digital artist. I’m a visual storyteller dedicated to solving complex problems & producing creative solutions.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store