10 signs Apple listens to its customers

We’re often told Apple is “arrogant” or even “controlling”, but the company frequently shows it listens to its customers and is not afraid to change its ways.

tim cook
Credit: Jonny Evans at Computerworld

San Francisco

Apple decided to use Helvetica Neue light as the regular default font in 2013’s iOS 7. This wasn’t a popular choice, developers (the only ones with access to the OS) complained. Frequently critical yet widely cited developer, Marco Arment, called the font choice, "one of Apple’s biggest recurring flaws…” Apple changed its mind, using Helvetica Neue in normal weight. iOS 9 introduces the new San Francisco font as used in Apple Watch – a much more readable choice.

iOS upgrades

Complaints concerning problems installing iOS 8 were insane. Not only was it possible to install it using iTunes, but many in the media neglected to mention that fact, creating unhappy users who need not have been unhappy. This won’t happen with iOS 9, as Apple introduces three ways to make installations lightweight: At 1.3GB the iOS is a smaller download; the installer will also be capable of deleting and reinstalling apps to make space for the upgrade to take place; and Apple’s App Thinning technology optimizes installation for your make and model of device, saving even more space.


“We want third-party keyboards,” critics moaned. Apple listened, in 2014 it introduced these, and this year it extended them and (particularly in the iPad) made them its own. This isn’t the only iOS feature the company has added in response to popular demand – even the App Store that launched the digital transformation of everything was introduced in response to feedback, apps were originally to be HTML5 and run in the browser.


Apple listened to its customers when it came to Maps, firing a senior executive and putting significant investments in place to improve the service. Today Maps is about to offer transit details in iOS 9 even while the company’s cars dash around the planet to create a Google Earth competitor. It’s not clear if public perception will ever shift when it comes to Maps, but Apple’s service has improved hugely since launch.

iPad switch

Recall the original iPad? On launch the hardware switch would prevent the accelerometer from switching display orientation. A few months later Apple made the switch the mute button, but relented following numerous complaints and made it a user configurable item.

Final Cut X

Recall the launch of Final Cut X? Apple faced a tirade of criticism for missing features and more. What did it do? It made commitments to introduce features missing in the first release, kept its promise and steadily continues to add or reintroduce features today.

iTunes for Android

There have always been some who believe Apple should introduce iTunes for Android – at least at the high end. Sure enough, Apple listened to its customers and now intends doing so in Apple Music starting in Fall.

Working conditions, the environment, equality

Apple has spent billions addressing criticisms of these things, and seems on trajectory to spend many billions more. “While we have made significant progress, gaps still exist, and there is more work to do,” Apple has said.

Taylor Swift

Remember last week when Apple Music wasn’t going to pay for music streams across the first three months of the service? Apple changed its plan and now it is signing indie labels in droves for the launching-next-Tuesday streaming service.

Not about the money

Here’s the secret to beating the downturn, building economic prosperity and creating a better economy: It’s not about the money. Apple has become successful by focusing on core values, customer satisfaction being key. The effect? The Apple economy is growing even while austerity-obsessed governments appear both ethically and economically moribund as they drive their nations into despair.

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