I’m generally a great fan of anything that contains the word Unix in its literature. Unfortunately there is one company which defies my rule: Apple.
My reason this time is, leaving aside what people may fallaciously argue about superior software and nicer looks, Apple products do break, and in fact do so more frequently than most people think; and when they do break there’s nothing you can do yourself. iPods and iPhones and other i-am-a-little-apple-portable-gadget’s are simply not meant for reverse engineering. Which means you end up wasting days on end at the ‘Genius bar’ while your friend who uses a PC has already sorted his problems by himself.
Evidence? Take a look at Alex Muller’s blog post. Now, normally if a CD gets stuck in a non-Mac computer it’s fine, even if it’s a laptop: it’s a mere matter of pulling a lever to open up the machine, taking out the optical drive, and applying a screwdriver and some brute force if necessary. With a Mac? The best you can really do is stare at the white plastic airtight sealed bubble that your CD has been eaten by and despair. Apart from that, there are numerous stories of iPods simply not working for no apparent reason and iPhones getting wet with no way to take them apart or even to turn them off to dry.
By contrast, I’ve had: a Dell Dimension 9150 for almost five years which has not failed me once (apart from the time I reinstalled the Intel drivers which was really my fault for not letting the installation finish); a crappy mp3 player which runs off AAA batteries and also a relatively new Samsung one, both of which which have worked drenched in pouring rain; a 10-year-old (or older maybe – I don’t know) Compaq which has been running Ubuntu reliably as a server for several weeks now; a Palm Zire 21 (yes, one of the old B&W ones) for … years which has again never failed me apart from running out of battery; a Toshiba Satellite A300 Laptop for two months which has not had any hardware problems (it’s on Vista, of course it’s had blue screens); the list goes on…
So my reason, in short, is that I wouldn’t be able to cope with being entirely at the mercy of the support team at the Genius Bar, and would far prefer to do my repairs and sort out my problems myself.