One reason I don’t use Apple products

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.


4 Responses to One reason I don’t use Apple products

  1. Michael Henley says:

    While in principle I agree, I haven’t had any hardware problems with mine. Also on the being able to open up and repair point, you actually can open Macs up. I have with my MacBook Pro (though don’t tell Apple – as with any manufacturer, if you open it, you will likely void any warranty). The software only eject is a constant pain in the backside, and they should have one of the paperclip manual eject holes somewhere. Trying to install a two disc Windows XP MCE in boot camp and not being able to eject the first disc half way through caused much hair tearing. There is a focus at Apple of design over function, but I am not sure if they are actually much worse than others.

    For the 90% of users not like us who have difficulty figuring out where the power plugs in, they are at the mercy of tech support from Dell, HP etc. and from personal experience, they are pretty crap too. I quite like being able to book in and guarantee to see a person and be able to hand over the device for a repair / replacement there and then. Call centres are the bain of my existence. While Alex can speak to someone from Apple on a phone, like with another manufacturer, I cannot think of a single other manufacturer where you can book in and go to somewhere with people trained in that specific hardware, instead of the leap of faith, return in brown box to unknown warehouse and hope for best. The alternative for people in the real world is the dreaded PC World Tech Desk, and they are pretty damn hopeless.

    There is definitely a need for Apple to increase some build quality, address issues like discs in drives, and definitely make batteries removable on their portables, but from a support standpoint I am not sure whether they actually are any worse than the others. I am not trying to be an Apple apologist, merely that sometimes it looks like they are scapegoated as the worst of the worst, when they are really as bad as everyone else, not that that is saying much in their favour…

  2. gedanken451 says:

    Thanks for your reply Mike.
    I agree with you on most of your points, specifically the one about Apple customer service being possibly superior to many other manufacturers’, including specifically Dell who were very slow with sending me my OS disk; had to boot from Sabayon Linux Mini Ed (LiveCD) for a while. For the average consumer, something like a Mac would be a good choice since (I hear) it hides anything you could touch to make things go wrong from the user, especially hardware-wise. However just to clarify (and a reminder for anyone who’s considering using this post as advice about getting apple products): this post is why *I* don’t use Apple products, hence many of the points are specific to me and are probably irrelevant to many people who may read this.

  3. Peter Meades says:

    you should also note that apple products have severe battery problems, and the computers overheat like hell, not to mention the static build up from all of the aluminium – take turd’s laptop for example – because he plays wow so much and rests his wrist on the side of his trackpad, the static build up between his hand and his macbook pro causes the anodised aluminium casing to flake off periodically, so that it would appear as if some maniac had attacked his laptop with a pair of compasses.

  4. egbertonline says:

    As far as the genius bar goes, I think people aren’t looking at it from the right angle. It sounds like a nice idea doesn’t it? “Great, all I have to do to get one of these Genius’s hard pressed time and attention for a 15 minute slot is have to go online and make an exact appointment and schedule my whole day around it, arriving 10 minutes early of course, and waiting about 30 minutes to be seen” and then you realise, if I had bought the computer at say, any other shop, I could just turn up whenever I like and speak to the guy behind the desk, which is much less likely to be necessary seeing as I have a PC which I could either fix myself, easily change the parts myself, and if I don’t know how, easily access an online PC forum, which outnumber Mac OS X forums about 20 to 1. The genius bar and concierge is not a bonus service! It is a way in which they can restrict and complicate the service they actually give you, en lieu of just having a simple show up and moan arrangement.

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