Frustration with Apple after all these years

I am extremely frustrated with Apple after all these years.

I just heard back from the Apple liaison again. She says the engineering team claims my iPhone 7 Plus really is brighter but I just can’t see it, which makes no sense to me.

Nevertheless they are going to send out one more unit and see if it’s better. If you look at Apple’s home page at (see screenshot) in addition to claiming it is 25% brighter it says:

“So what you see will be noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.”



If something looks darker and looks dingier it is impossible to say it is “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” The word “noticeably” means something you can visually see. If you can’t see it, it isn’t noticeable.

Also, my U.S. friends’ iPhone 7 Pluses, when they visited last month, were noticeably brighter than mine.

I think Apple must admit there is a manufacturing quality enforcement issue going on. If there is such variation in display quality there must be something going on.

I do hope this next device change fixes the problem. If not, regrettably this will be my last Apple purchase. It becomes a basic trust issue at that point.

In that case I will have to decide how to “phase out” using Apple products. One example might be just keeping this iPhone 7 Plus until the end of the contract. Or maybe I’ll wait until after using it for 6 months. Then I can unlock it and sell it for a good price. At this point I wish I could reverse the entire transaction, but that doesn’t seem possible or practical at this point

If I give up using iPhones I will be in the market for an Android I guess. Something with a good camera and the other features I need. Though I am also tempted to go for a “middling” model of something so I no longer feel vested in having “the latest and best” product. When you have something in the middle you figure, “well, it’s in the middle, so I shouldn’t expect too much.” If you go for something that is supposedly the best, it’s irritating when it really isn’t.

I don’t think I like the “materialistic” feelings that come from owning products like these.

If I give up my iPhone I may very well sell my MacBook Pro, which is in like-new condition after a final fix-up under AppleCare last month, and consider switching to a Windows 10 notebook computer with a touchscreen display.

I just went through the history of all the Apple devices I’ve used over more than a quarter century and now just feel weird about the whole thing.

I think I computers, and smart phones, should just be tools for practical purposes. I should never have gotten so caught up in it.

Anyway, I will test this so-called “last device” when it comes and see if it is an improvement.

More on the iPhone 7 Plus screen dimness issue – disappointed with Apple’s false advertising, but what can I do?

OK, am I just being too obsessed over this or what?

I upgraded from my iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 7 Plus after the election, partly to “cheer me up.” What my friend, Sue, called “retail therapy.”

But the fact the new iPhone is dimmer than my old iPhone 6 Plus really irks me.

I posted side-by-side photos about it in a discussion thread at the Apple support forums ( You can see the photos there.

Below is an email I just sent to Tim Cook because Apple has not been helpful.

Am I making too big a deal out of this? Should I just “live with it?”

At the moment I’m so upset at Apple I feel like completely getting away from their whole ecosystem and going full Windows and Android. Would that be cutting off my nose to spite my face?

But I feel so sick of Apple at this point. The fact that their new MacBook Pro series is overpriced and gets rid of all the standard ports for all my devices doesn’t help my feelings towards them at this point either.

Getting rid of the iPhone 7 Plus would also be costly because I’d still be responsible for paying it off with my carrier. Though I suppose I could do that and sell it somewhere and take some loss. Would that be stupid though? Should I just live with it for two years and then gradually just move away from Apple rather than doing something rash I might regret?

But the iPhone 7 Plus is not as advertised, and I feel that is wrong.

Should practicality take priority over principle though?

Here’s the email I just sent to Cook:

Dear Mr. Cook,

As a last resort I’m writing to you, but I despair that Apple simply doesn’t care to help in this case.

A week ago Saturday I decided to “upgrade” my iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone 7 Plus.

At it says, in addition to the new phone being 25% brighter, that, “…what you see will be noticeably more brilliant and vibrant. Because we all deserve a bit more brightness in our day.”

I would like that, but it’s not true.

While the iPhone 7 Plus seems to work well in all other respects, the display is important. I’m not saying the iPhone 7 Plus display is bad, per se. But as soon as I took it out of the box on Saturday it was obvious that it was dimmer than my iPhone 6 Plus, even before comparing it side-by-side.

Apple is advertising the iPhone 7 Plus as 25% brighter, and “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant” – but that is simply not true. And Apple refuses to assist me (you can refer to Case number 100064822147).

Attached are photos I sent in to “Michael” ( who was handling my case, but won’t provide further assistance.

I took the photos with my iPad Air. I took 6 photos from different distances and angles. Brightness settings are the same. In fact all the settings are the same. Both are set at maximum brightness for these photos. No hue tinting or other display changes have been made on either phone.

The phone on the left is my iPhone 6 Plus, which I was using with KDDI AU until Saturday. The phone on the right is my new iPhone 7 plus, which uses the Softbank carrier to which I switched when I upgraded.

Everybody – the sales person, friends, and the technician at the service center I visited the day after purchase (Apple service center inside Bic Camera at Hachioji, Tokyo station) all agree that the iPhone 7 Plus is not not “25% brighter.” It is not “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” it is actually dimmer than the iPhone 6 Plus. And the whites are not as white.

We did try an exchange with a new iPhone 7 Plus at the service center last week, but both the technician and I agreed the exchange unit was even dimmer than the one I brought in. So we did not make the exchange. That made me wonder if this is a general problem with the new iPhone 7 Plus.

Just before, “Michael” called to tell me that’s “just the way they are.” This Michael person is trying to claim that the iPhone 7 Plus might not look brighter but it really is. That makes no sense at all. Your advertising says it is supposed to be “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” If you can’t see it how can be be “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant”? And Michael refuses to help and says there is nobody else at Apple I can talk to about it and it’s not Apple’s responsibility since I bought it from my carrier.

Obviously that is not acceptable. The carrier says it’s Apple’s responsibility. And I agree. You are advertising something that isn’t true.

I think even you will agree that the iPhone 6 Plus on the left is brighter, and the whites more white, than the iPhone 7 Plus on the right, which is clearly dimmer.

I hope you respond, and help, but I am despairing of Apple assisting. If the iPhone 7 Plus is not as advertised – and that seems to be the case – I want Apple’s assistance in reversing everything with the carrier, Softbank. Softbank won’t help; they say there are no returns allowed and that it is an Apple problem.

After all these decades of being a loyal Apple customer I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to be brushed off like this.

I suppose if Apple refuses to help the next stop would be the Japan consumer affairs agency. But I am hoping you intercede first.


Doug Lerner

MacOS vs Windows and the new MacBook Pro series – some more thoughts

I’ve been a Mac user since Windows 3.1 came out. I figured since I liked a real GUI environment I might as well go with the real thing. My first Mac was an LC way back when. Yet… I don’t consider myself a “fan boy.” I really think 6 of one is half a dozen of the other. It depends on what you are used to. Since I also use Microsoft tools, like Office, and Dropbox and other cross-compatible tools from Google and Evernote, etc., I like to think of my Mac as “just a tool” rather than something I’m in love with.

I prefer the Mac OS. And lately I’ve come to enjoy the Mac ecosystem more with things like Universal clipboard.

I use my Mac mostly for software development and then all the daily things people do with their computers. I find it mostly stable and easy to use. But it is far from the original “it just works” idea.

Objective studies on usability show it’s really a matter of what you are used to. There are many people I know and respect who are highly skilled developers in the field of computer graphics who do all their main work on Windows machines. They are not Mac haters. It’s just that the tools they use (Maya, etc.) are only available on Windows and that’s the way it’s been for a long time and so they became used to that environment.

When forced to use a Mac, rather than instantly fall in love, they are just as confused by MacOS as Mac users are when trying to get things done on Windows.

I also run Windows (7 and 10) in Parallels on my MBP – mostly for browser testing – and find it awkward to use. but I’m sure that that’s really because I’m just not used to it.

Getting away from the entire Apple ecosystem is difficult. And there is no reason for me to consider giving up my current late 2013 Retina MBP, which is specced out (for the time) with a 512 GB SSB and 16 GB of RAM. It works just fine. But I did wanted to upgrade, because 512 GB is too small for my data now.

But the new MBP series is just too expensive. Real sticker shock. So I suspect I’ll just keep going like I am for a few years – or possibly sell this one and upgrade to an older model that’s newer than mine with more capacity.

But I don’t see anything in the new MBP that makes it worth the price – especially since I would need to get the even pricier 1 TB option.

Panasonic LED lantern

I’m not usually taken in by ads so quickly, but coincidentally I had been looking for a convenient night light for next to where I sleep. I had been just using my iPhone for this, but was looking for something a little more convenient. Then yesterday I saw an ad for this new LED lantern from Panasonic. I ordered it from Amazon last night and it arrived this morning.

It’s cordless, lightweight, really cool and can be used as both a tiny portable lamp or as a flashlight with dim and bright settings. The cost, including batteries, was only around $15. On dim, the bulb lifetime is 1,000 hours (on dim, the battery lifetime is 850 hours).

It seems very convenient. Video and pictures below.