Apple's 4 biggest design crimes

Four products that were Apple design crimes on an orange background
(Image credit: Apple / Future)

Apple is a company that’s firmly associated with great design. It’s what it’s built its name on. But even Apple has its off days, and sometimes it even stubbornly sticks to infuriating design decisions that feel like flaws to many users.

Below we recap four of Apple’s worst designs, from last year's infamous Apple Pencil dongle to the frustrating Magic Mouse and the ‘trashcan’ Mac Pro. See our pick of the best Apple deals for savings on Apple products that got things right, but in the meantime, let's take a moment to marvel at Apple’s biggest design crimes.

01. Apple Magic Mouse

Apple Magic Mouse 2

Of all the places to put the charging port (Image credit: Apple)

Apple makes many sleek accessories, and, on the face of it, the Magic Mouse looks like yet another one. Indeed, it is very stylish and there’s a lot to like about the Cupertino giant’s wireless clicker. But – and we think it’s a fairly big but – why oh why did it put the charging port on the bottom of the device. Run out of battery? Put your feet up, because it’s going to be a couple of hours before you can get back to work. See our full Apple Magic Mouse 2 review for more.

02. The Apple Pencil 1 adapter for the 2022 iPad 

Apple Pencil plugged into new iPad

Sleek (Image credit: Apple)

We’re not saying the Apple Pencil itself is a design crime; far from it. Apple’s original nifty white wand was the best iPad stylus around when it was launched and it’s still a joy to create digital art with, even if it’s been surpassed by the second-generation device both for its shape and features. The design crime was Apple’s insistence on sticking with the original Apple Pencil on the 2022 iPad when all of the superior iPad models have been upgraded to use Apple Pencil 2. Worse than that, Apple dropped its lightning port in favour of USB-C on the latest iPad. That means that charging the Pencil requires an adapter, which feels ridiculous in comparison with the neat magnetic charging of Apple Pencil 2.

03. Apple's MagSafe Wallet

One of the most bewildering Apple design crimes was its MagSafe Wallet, launched for the iPhone 12 in 2020. It turned out not to be the safest place to store your credit cards. While the magnets are strong enough to keep the wallet attached to the back of the phone when it’s being handled, the wallet simply pops off when tapped. And it seems Apple hadn’t considered where a lot of people put their phones. Slip the iPhone into your pocket and the wallet slips right off it it catches on the side of the pocket.

04. The 'trashcan' Mac Pro

Mac Pro

The 'trashcan' in all its glory (Image credit: Apple)

Finally, this Apple design controversy goes back a decade this year but is still remembered with a shudder by some. The 'trashcan' Mac Pro was so controversial that Apple uncharacteristically apologised a few years later, admitting that the machine’s lack of upgradability was a huge flaw and that it had to rethink the Mac lineup as a result. 

Lacking internal slots for upgrades, the black bin was unable to adapt to changing hardware trends. Apple didn't seem to know what to do with it either, with the machine languishing without an update for over six years before being entirely redesigned (see the best Mac Studio deals for the device that Apple had maybe been wanting to make back then).

Of course, these are four exceptions, and Apple makes plenty of products that we love. Just see our gushing MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) review and iPad Pro M2 review.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.