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Apple gets kicking for painful design failings

Pogue slams 'worst Apple design blunder since the hockey-puck mouse'

Apple is used to insults, but even its biggest cheerleaders are now wading in with the insults.

Even when reporting 23 percent year-on-year growth and a quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion Apple was slammed for lackluster and disappointing results.

The fact that they’re coming up to a year since its messianic founder, visionary and spiritual leader Steve Jobs passed away makes these shortcomings look like major weaknesses.

Apple launched a new ad campaign based on its Genius Bar staff, which aired for the first time during US coverage of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Reviews of the ads were damning, with Apple fans calling them ‘embarrassing’, ‘cheap’, ‘cringe-inducing’, and ‘dreadful’.

Ken Segall, the Chiat\Day marketing man Steve Jobs turned to for the best creative ideas both at NeXT and Apple, was another slamming the new Apple genius ads.

“It feels like something Best Buy would do. Maybe even Dell,” commented Segall.

It doesn’t get much more insulting than that for Apple.

Now one of Apple’s biggest fans in the media has laid into Apple’s new hardware.

New York Times technology columnist, Missing Manual publisher, and Emmy-winning CBS news correspondent David Pogue loves Apple’s new laptops but hates one little part of them.

Pogue, author of Mac For Dummies and many how-to guides on Apple's hardware and software, is livid about the new MacBooks’ MagSafe 2 power connector.

Apple MagSafe 2 power connector

That might sound like a minor gripe, but it’s the finer details that Apple nearly always got right under nit-picking perfectionist Jobs.

They’re a big part of what made Apple’s products stand above the copyist crowd.

“I think the MagSafe connector is one of Apple’s best ideas ever,” says Pogue in his New York Times technology blog.

See also: Apple news and reviews

“The beauty of the MagSafe connector was that Apple had found precisely the right balance between attachment and detachment. Strong enough to hold the connector in place, weak enough to detach if it gets yanked.

“The MagSafe 2 connector fails that balance test. Badly.

“The magnet is so weak it keeps falling out. It falls out if you brush it. It falls out if you tip the laptop slightly. It falls out if you look at it funny. It’s a huge, huge pain.”

Pogue explains that this “weakness is compounded by a second problem: a return to the “T” design of older MagSafe connectors”.

“This thing comes straight into the side of the laptop instead of hugging the side with the cord parallel, like the old “L” connectors.

“You can’t rest the left side of the laptop on your thigh. It’s constantly getting bumped. And since the magnet has all the grip strength of an elderly gnat, guess what happens?

“The poorly designed MagSafe connector is infuriating.

“It’s the worst Apple design blunder since the hockey-puck mouse.”


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