Please Fix This, Apple


My closet is so overfull with boxes from Apple that I hardly have room for anything else. I love my Macs, iOS devices, and Apple software, but there are some things about Apple products that just leave me wondering: why don’t they fix this?

Apple has oodles of cash, and the love of millions of adoring fans. In general, the company also have a very good reputation for quality of design and build, and usability, but there are a few places where that sterling reputation isn’t backed up by experience. These are the things I’d most like Apple to fix:

Lame Headphones

I now own so many pairs of white earbuds I could probably outfit an entire NBA team with the things. Of course, NBA players would never use them, and neither would I. The in-ear headphones Apple released in 2008 were a bit better, but just a bit, and after less than a year, mine failed. Instead of opting for another pair, I went with a third-party solution.

According to a new patent found by Patently Apple, we might soon see better headphones from Apple, with much-improved noise cancellation for making calls. The materials Apple uses in its headset construction do make them pretty much tangle-proof. But if Apple doesn’t pay more attention to actually increasing sound quality, I’ll still leave the things in the box.

Custom Sounds for Text Message and Email

This is just cruel. Apple provides all iPhone users with the option to select whatever ringtone they want, though you have to convert your audio file of choice first. It’s still not hard to do, though.

But what if you want incoming texts or emails to make a noise that isn’t in the stock set? It sure would come in handy when you’re at tech trade shows or special product announcements to avoid confusion. In order to do that, you have to jailbreak your device. All I want is for my phone to make an R2D2 noise when I get a new text. Is that modest level of customization really too much to ask from Apple’s wunderphone?

A Better Mail Program is okay, but it’s just okay. The problem is, there’s scant competition out there, beyond Postbox, which is probably a little too feature-heavy for most users, and Outlook, which is a Microsoft product, so it feels like a betrayal. Plus Outlook is apparently quite buggy at the moment.

Apple’s built-in mail client has remained relatively unchanged for quite  a while. Most frustrating of all, none of the changes it did receive with the Snow Leopard upgrade fixed its most annoying problem: a chronic failure to actually make the “New Mail” sound when new mail arrives. I’ve searched far and wide for fixes, and there doesn’t seem to be a permanent one. At least my iPhone can consistently notify me when I get new mail, even if I can’t change the sound.

Multi-Format Video Support in iOS

iOS devices support at least a few different audio formats, including .MP3, the most widely available variety. But video support is limited only to specially formatted .M4V, .MP4 and .MOV formats. Just give us some DivX love, Apple.

Obviously, Apple wants to make piracy more difficult for users by limiting the video formats its devices can play, but people who really want to use pirated media will be the ones who find the converters that let them do so anyway. All that’s achieved by preventing average users from loading their own videos is device owner frustration.

Yes, apps like VLC have made this less of an issue, but broader native codec support would make things far easier for everyone.

Just Fix It

Like I said, generally speaking, I love what Apple’s doing. Life without my iPhone 4 and iPad and at least one Mac computer is pretty hard to imagine these days, which is why I become really annoyed when I think about these relatively minor things that would be so easy to fix for a company with $50 billion in cash on hand.

There have to be more things like this that I’m missing. If you can think of any, please share in the comments, or on Twitter followed by the hashtag #pleasefixthisapple. We’ll be watching, and your suggestions might make their way into future posts.

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