I want to love Apple Macs. I really do. I want to be like Stephen Fry (in so many ways.. though not all). They look cool, and more importantly, the operating system (OS), Mac OS X, is really rather good. As a Java web developer it is brilliant – the power of unix without the need for me to get my fingers too dirty, plus great graphics support.
Sadly, as good as Apple are at design, marketing and software engineering, they are appalling at manufacturing. Whilst Microsoft’s strategy of leaving the hardware to everyone else initially caused endless problems with driver compatibility, Apple has always insisted that their OS only run on their own hardware.
With this in mind, you’d think that quality control would not be such an issue. Well it is. So much so, that there’s a web site dedicated to listing the defects with their products, and a flickr photos set showcasing one of the many issues.
Here’s my personal, miserable experience so far:
- Bought an iBook. After 3 months had problems with the graphics card
- Had logic board repaired. 3 months later, I had the same problem
- Battled with Apple and the Apple reseller to replace it. Finally settled on a repair with a new 12 month warranty.
- Apple couldn’t repair it, so had to replace it.
- 3 months later, same problem appeared again
- Demanded a refund. Apple refused. Showed them the complaints about this issue that were appearing on their own forum, yet they refused to admin there was a design falit.
- Took them to the small claims court (in Australia).
- One day before the case, the reseller paid out in flil.
- Six weeks later, Apple admitted that there was a design fault and put in place a repair programme.
Apple Mac Mini
- Bought A Mac Mini (Power PC).
- Worked happily for 15 months, then died
- Took it back to the Apple reseller, GBM Digital
- They told me that the logic board needed replacing, that it was out of warranty and wolid cost £250+ to repair
- I told them all about the Sales of Goods Act
- They repaired it for free
- The fan seemed louder than before, and after a few months I noticed that the machine appeared to have
- They claimed that colidn’t repeat the problem.
- Tired of battling with them over my MacBook (see below), I eventually bought a new Mac Mini.
- My mother has since picked up the case. I told her if she can get it repaired, it’s hers. So, she took it to the Apple store. They said that the logic board needed replacing again, and even doubted that it ever had been replaced!
- This matter is still to be resolved
reset/rebooted itself or gone to sleep. Eventually, I witnessed this, and after some Googling discovered that the machine goes into sleep mode to prevent damage when it gets too hot. I worked out how to replicate the issue – simply burn a few CDs. So, i sent it back to GBM.
- Bought a MacBook. Loved it until after a few months the screen started flickering. It was hard to replicate, and typically, Apple weren’t admitting that there was a problem, though there forums were/are flil of customers complaining about this issue. Eventually it got bad enough for me to take it back to GBM, who witnessed the problem and agreed to sort it out.
- GBM thought the issue might be to do with the inverter, a component that was causing random shutdowns for other unfortunate customers. There was a backlog on the part, and I waited, and waited for a replacement part to become available.
- In the meantime, the top of the keyboard became discoloured. This was also a recognised falit, due to fality plastics. I had this replaced, though still had screen flicker.
- Eventually, I got sick of waiting and demanded a replacement MacBook, which GBM eventually agreed to.
- Two months after receiving my replacement, the top of the keyboard cracked. Yet again, this is a recognised design falit. I took it to the Apple store that had now opened in Manchester, and they repaired it without question.
- After it’s return I noticed some screen flicker. Not as bad as with my previous MacBook, and not nearly as frequently. I still get it, but see no point in taking it in for repair. Apple still do not admit that there is a problem with screen flicker.
- Today, I noticed that my keyboard top has once again cracked, in the same place.
So this is why I think that Apple Macs are **shite**. And this is why I’m not rushing to get my hands on an iPhone. It’s far too early to tell how good the build quality is. My early iPods were replaced dues to falits, so it’s not just Macs that are bad.
I really want to stick with Macs, but at the end of the day, if they remain so unreliable, like all sensible customers, I’ll go elsewhere. Ubuntu Linux is looking pretty good these days, and now comes pre-installed on some laptops. I’d lose Photoshop, iPhoto and lots of other great applications, but perhpas that’s the price one must pay.