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Apple's Growing Pains

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the because-pcs-are-perfect dept.

375

Tyler Too writes "Is Apple having an unusually large number of quality control problems since its switch to Intel? Ars Technica runs down the litany of problems MacBook and MacBook Pro users have experienced since their launch. From the article: 'Is Apple's quality control slipping through the cracks with this Intel transition? Given the volume of available evidence that has appeared in such a short timeframe, it's simply impossible to say that Apple isn't having problems.'"

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375 comments

All Gen 1 in 1 year (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877442)

I do not think it is as much as an issue that Apples Quality Dropped but just the fact their entire Macintosh Product Line is now Generation 1, systems. Normally Apple Spaces out their system releases and refresh their product line in 3 year cycles. This time they did major changes internally to their entire product line. Normally the rule of thumb is to wait for Gen 2 but with all their products Gen 1 there is little to choose from. The MacBook Pros seem to get some minor fixes.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (5, Informative)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877456)

I have to second this.

However, let me say that the new Intel Core Duo Mac Mini has been rock solid. I have two of these. I also have an Intel iMac which is also rock solid.

We have a MacBook Pro that has had some problems, but Apple recently changed the motherboard. I don't use that machine day to day, so I would have to ask the guy who uses it all the time. The desktop machines are totally fine. This is a laptop issue - and the worst 80% of the problems are probably already over.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (1)

Maul (83993) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877473)

My Mac Mini seems rock solid so far. I mostly use it for a "media center," but I haven't had any stability issues with it.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (4, Informative)

kabz (770151) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877475)

Let me third this. My Mac Mini Core Duo has been absolute spectacular. Rock solid. Great to use.

My wife's MacBook has been great. It did suffer the discoloration, but the local Apple store fixed it free in a couple of days. She's now recommending Macs, especially the MacBook, to her non-computer literate friends, on the basis of all the cool iLife apps.

Posted from perhaps the best all-rounder machine ever, the 12" PB. Woot.

Apple fanboi. Never!@!!

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (1)

rilister (316428) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877502)

From past experience, can anyone guess when Gen 2 of the MacBook will be available? I assume they make internal revs 'on the quiet' without announcing version 1.1 or whatever it is.

(I don't expect anyont to *know* - just is it 3months? 6months? a year?)

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (5, Informative)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877755)

I've found this site [macrumors.com] to be a valuable resource in understanding product cycles. To save you the time of clicking the link (although you should anyway, to at least bookmark it), it says it's been 85 days since the last update. While there's no historical data to base a buying recommendation on, the MacBook Pro has an average of 104 days in a cycle. Since the MacBook is a consumer model it was unlikely to be updated at WWDC, but my guess is that the new MacBook will show up close to the Merom, which Apple should be receiving in the first week of September. I would not be surprised to see MacBook and MacBook Pro updates at the same time in September.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (1)

rilister (316428) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877771)

great reply - thanks!

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877467)

Gen 1 breaking in period is what Apple Fan boys are for!

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877749)

I know a very attractive older woman who is into younger men who said something similar.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (5, Interesting)

3D Monkey (808934) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877560)

I'd go for this reasoning except I happen to be one of the unlcky stiffs who bought the MacBook. Here's my tale of terror thus far:

I purchased the upper tier MB in white to save some cash (black is a $150 premium). LCD had a stuck pixel, it wasn't dead, just stuck green. I had the MB for a bit under a week before returning it, and I realized why the black has a premium price. The white had already gotten several scuffs and was starting to become off-white. So I upgraded to the black upon returning the first purchase. Apple replaced it with no questions. It was also unbearably slow, but my 2GB of ram hadn't arrived in the mail yet.

In great spirits with my new black MB and 2GB of RAM (which made an insane difference in performance) I did all the things I love to use my notebook for. I dealt with the 100 degree (F) plus heat with a lap guard or by placing it on the table... I noticed the "mooing" but it wasn't all that bad, but then it started randomly shutting down. At first it was inconsistant, but quickly became more frequent. 1 month old now and the thing siezed up on me 4-5 times. I was going to bring it back to Apple after I came back from my vacation, but then the thing shut down for it's last time. I rebooted it and this time I had a brilliant white screen with pretty pink and green virticle lines all over it. After several reboots, and returning to the stock memory, zapping pram, etc. I returned to the Apple store. This time there were questions asked... I had the 3 year warranty and well... they wanted to ship the thing out for repair. I expressed my disgust, and the option I was given next blew my mind. "You can just buy an open box MB and then when this one comes back you'll just return it for 100% the purchace price." So they obviously wanted some colateral... After some much deserved bitching the manager came to my rescue and swapped out my HDD to a new machine and sent me on my way.

3rd MB, also in black, 2GB RAM. Very pleased again, until I received Studio 8 in the mail. I popped the CD in and... *GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND Eject*... WTF... Inserted CD again. *GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND Eject* I tried the CD in several other machines including a slot loading iMac and had no problems. So I tried another CD in the new MB. Same results...

Needless to say I'm ging back to the Apple store again tonight to get a new one, but I no longer have any hope that I will get a MB that works flawlessly. I love Apple products usually, and I really want this to work out, but I'm just not able to believe that this is 1st gen jitters. There is something inherently wrong in either the design or the QC of all of these notebooks.

Just FYI here's a list of the current reported problems. I've had 3 MBs and have experienced 4 of the issues...

MacBook Issues [slashdot.org]

-Disgruntled

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (4, Insightful)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877764)

If a user bought two crappy Dells in a row, computer #3 would be an HP or a Gateway, but you're illustrative of the fact that Apple's established customers will just keep buying Macs. If Apple is satisfied with its current user base, quality problems are not a problem- people bitch on the internet and get another Macbook. However, if Apple is trying to create "switchers" and expand, quality problems will lead to single-purchase customers who go back to other brands.

Then again, Apple's overall quality level is probably the same as any other computer manufacturer, and their customer support is better than average.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (4, Interesting)

klubar (591384) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877790)

I guess that's the advantage of competition. If Dell or HP makes a crappy machine, they know that their customers can easily switch to another vendor.

With Macs, Apple knows that the customer is "stuck". Quality isn't as important, as the customer has already invested in software and training that is Mac-specific.

The parent post is now stuck with buying Macs--and even worse really doesn't have a second-source for repairs as almost all the non-Apple Mac dealers have been put out of business by Apple stores.

Apple has a de-facto monopoly among existing Mac users. Take it or leave it.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (0, Flamebait)

brunokummel (664267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877813)

...And after all that your post got to be rated as interesting??
your post should be rated as SAD

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877563)

So we should excuse Apple for releasing faulty first gen products?

If we were dealing with software that's one thing, since you can update software with fixes etc., which are free, easy to distribute, and can be done multiple times if needed to get shit working "right".

But hardware is totally different. With the exception of updating firmware (which is sort of software), Apple can't exactly issue hardware fixes unless they're up for issuing a recall every 6 months. Since that's obviously too costly (to both their bottom line and image) they need to get this shit right from the getgo, especially if they want to keep using that trendy "Just works" slogan.

And yes, I do realize other companies face the same issues, but that's hardly an excuse, particularly for a supposedly high-end company like Apple. I would expect more from them.

I question Apple's prototype testing (4, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877655)

As a designer I tend to question Apple's practice of prototyping and testing hardware and software.

It would seem that time constraints and secrecy overshadow the cycle of design > prototype > data collection > design (repeat).

I can't imagine they're able to get enough real world data under such a vale of secrecy. They seem to test products in the market place... which means rev 1 Apple products are almost always questionable.

Re:I question Apple's prototype testing (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877779)

vale of secrecy


That's a pretty good name for Silicon Valley, given all the NDAs floating around.

Of course, it might have been a typo and you might have meant "veil".

Re:I question Apple's prototype testing (1)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877802)

that latter. (or is that the ladder?)

and this is acceptable? (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877765)

Do you find it acceptable that there QA is so bad they feel the need to field test their designs on all of their early adopters?
One of my coworkers who purchased the Macbook Pro when it was announced needed a motherboard replacement. Then last week we purchased one for a new employee. It died the after arrival. So now we have to wait two weeks to get a replacement in. Good thing I had an extra G4 desktop I could press into usage temporarily.
I know the whole "don't by gen 1 Apple products" belief, but really I mean why is that acceptable?
On the other hand we have several Intel based iMacs and have no complaints with them at all.

Re:All Gen 1 in 1 year (3, Insightful)

admactanium (670209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877799)

I do not think it is as much as an issue that Apples Quality Dropped but just the fact their entire Macintosh Product Line is now Generation 1, systems.
the other thing that's not being factored in is that apple's marketshare for laptops has doubled in the last quarter compared to a year ago. so apple is simply selling more computers than ever before. even if the defect rate was exactly the same there would be twice as many people to experience those defects. also, many of those people in that group would also be new to the platform and therefore likely to have higher expectations of their experience than people who are coming from a previous apple computer.


i won't go so far to say that their new computers aren't suffering more problems than previous versions, but the previous versions of these machines were already into their third generation and most of the kinks had been worked out. even as a mac aficianado i wouldn't ever claim them to be perfect.

You're joking, right? QWZX (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877448)

Is Apple having an unusually large number of quality control problems since its switch to Intel?

Sheesh. EVERY product of Apple's has unusually large number of quality control problems. From iPod batteries, to laptop fires, to cracks in the cubes, to motherboard defects, on and on and on.

Seriously, where does this idea come from that Apple never has problems? They have constant hardware problems.

Re:You're joking, right? QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877686)

Seriously, where does this idea come from that Apple never has problems? They have constant hardware problems.

It comes from Apple's hundreds of bought Slashdot-accounts used for astroturfing [wikipedia.org] by the marketing department at Cupertino.

Re:You're joking, right? QWZX (1)

PhoenixK7 (244984) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877791)

OK, so the parent was written as a flame, but honestly all the complaints that people are leveling at these models are nothing new. It's possible that the failure rates are a bit higher than previous models, but complaints about heat, cracked hinges, peeling paint, cube cracks, iPod issues (mine even used to crash!), logic board problems (iBook), frayed power cords, etc...

Honestly, I'm guessing that these complaints are the minority, since otherwise Apple would be going under paying for repairs. I'd say most of the problems are with heavy users (if you take your laptop everywhere with you, GET AN EXTENDED WARRANTY, no matter the brand) and with the occasional lemon.

Re:You're joking, right? QWZX (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877836)

I'll grant you the iPod battery thing, although I've never had any problems personally with mine (mine being plural). However, I've only heard of one iMac catching on fire years ago (one of the lampshades, I think), but no laptop fires. The only laptop fires I've heard about lately were Dells. I have no idea where you came up with motherboard defects either. Overall Apple's problems have been largely cosmetic of late.

The problems I've had were Harddrive (IBM made it), and graphics card (nVidia made it). Oh, and I had lots of trouble with Apple printers, back when they made printers. And there was the one Performa with the clogged up fan leading to a power unit overheat and failure, but I blame myself for never dusting the poor thing. In any case, I've been a Mac user for a very long time, and haven't had many hardware problems at all. I've been a Gen 1 user more than once too. Of course this is anecdotal, but so are many of the reports everyone else is reporting problems in. I really think it's just Apple's high profile that makes them a target. Apple is arrogant, a lot of their customers are arrogant (arguably for a reason), and people who don't use their products love to jump on every little problem they can find.

Yes, Apple does have problems, so does everybody else. But it's not constant.

Problems... (4, Insightful)

Spytap (143526) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877450)

Is it that there are so many problems per capita, or just that the company is so high-profile?

To me, it's arguable that these are no different than the other problems Dell or HP/Compaq have, there's just a somewhat higher profile when it's a Mac. Granted, no transition is seamless, and I know that there are a good number of people that are having issues, but I haven't spoken or interacted with anyone who's said that any issues they are having would make them rethink their buying decision.

Re:Problems... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877483)

Still Apple gives the impression that their products are better, then Dell, HP and Compaq, Part of this impression is higher quality in all parts, Design, style, usability... Having the same problems that the other guys doesn't look good for Apple, because they are supposed to be better. If Apple was targeting the Budget Market then these problems are more forgivable because they were supposed to be cost effective not better quality.

Re:Problems... (1)

Spytap (143526) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877822)

Honestly though, ANY and EVERY company tries to give the impression that their products are better in some fashion, that's kind of a principal of business. I think what you meant is that Apple has the perception of being better in some fashion like you listed (design, style, etc.) in which case the end user expects more because they are "supposed to be better."

Re:Problems... (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877545)

I agree with this. I've said it before-- the main reason you hear more quality complaints from Mac users isn't that the quality is lower than Dell, but because the users expect more. Macintosh users tend to be picky, and Apple raises the bar for themselves by hyping their systems as being somehow "flawless".

Take the example of the Powerbook Ti, which had a tendency for a small amount of paint to flake off. If you looked at the forums on Mac news sites, you'd think it was the end of the world. On the other hand, how many models of Dell/Sony laptops have had some sort of problem where you could scrape off some paint, or the casing became discolored at some point? Pretty much all of them.

So what's the difference? When Apple user's computers have the smallest problems, they get together on their little forums and compare notes about every little flake of paint. When Dell users computers have small problems, they either ignore them, or they call some guy in India and try to get it replaced.

I don't see any Apple people, however, complaining about the quality of their hardware/software and wishing they'd bought a Dell running Windows.

Re:Problems... (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877682)

I dunno -- after the constant logic board problems with my iBook I got a Dell. I expect exactly the same amount (small downtime), but I've been much happier with the Dell.

Re:Problems... (1)

Clazzy (958719) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877814)

I have to agree fully with this. I have an Acer Travelmate, and I've got a bit of discolouration where I rest the palm of my hand. Granted it turns a darker grey than a yellow, but I don't complain because it doesn't mean it'll blow up or stop working. Laptops are designed to withstand a few bumps and bruises and will probably end up with some form of damage after a couple of years anyway. There's no point kicking up a fuss for something minor like that, in my opinion.

Of course Dell and HP will have the same problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877547)

Of course Dell and HP will have the same problems as Apple. For most of their lower-end systems, they also use processors from Intel. Of course, most Apple systems aren't considered as low-end as what Dell and HP puts out today. It's more apt to compare Apple systems to those low-to-midrange workstations from Sun and IBM.

One thing we notice is that Sun uses Opteron processors in many of its lower-end workstation products, but they hardly have anywhere near the quality problems that Apple has experienced lately. That was even the case when they first released their various models, so it's not a matter of the Apple equipment just being "first generation". Sun's first-generation Opteron workstations worked just fine, even being a completely new line.

It may be painful to admit it, but the problems likely do stem from their use of products from Intel. Lately, things haven't been going so swell for Intel, from a technical standpoint. Between the Itanium and Pentium4 debacles, it's no wonder that people are running into problems with their newest processors.

Most of us Mac users who did buy first-generation systems now wish that Apple had instead dealt with AMD. I see my colleagues with their new Opteron systems from Sun, and how they haven't had any problems with their computers. Meanwhile, my new MacBook Pro suffers from severe heating issues. As an Apple user, I think Apple made a horrible mistake. AMD was the way to go, but it's too late to fix the problems now. I just hope that Apple's name isn't tarnished too much by these Intel-tainted products.

Re:Of course Dell and HP will have the same proble (2, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877559)

It's more apt to compare Apple systems to those low-to-midrange workstations from Sun and IBM.

Price or performance?

Re:Of course Dell and HP will have the same proble (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877707)

Most of us Mac users who did buy first-generation systems now wish that Apple had instead dealt with AMD. I see my colleagues with their new Opteron systems from Sun, and how they haven't had any problems with their computers. Meanwhile, my new MacBook Pro suffers from severe heating issues. As an Apple user, I think Apple made a horrible mistake. AMD was the way to go, but it's too late to fix the problems now. I just hope that Apple's name isn't tarnished too much by these Intel-tainted products.


Ok, let's feed the troll...

Where I used to work they standardized on mid to high end IBM laptops and workstations which didn't prevent a fair sized epidemic of motherboard failures and the ethernet cards on the ThinkPads failed so regularly the IT department gave up on having them sent in for repair and issued ThinkPad users with slot-in ethernet cards. The Sun server systems I have worked with have also had their share of hardware issues.

Re:Of course Dell and HP will have the same proble (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877812)

"It may be painful to admit it, but the problems likely do stem from their use of products from Intel. Lately, things haven't been going so swell for Intel, from a technical standpoint. Between the Itanium and Pentium4 debacles, it's no wonder that people are running into problems with their newest processors."

Wow. Just wow. Let's take a look at this:

1. Apple's history of first generation hardware problems goes WAY back before the Intel switchover.
2. Intel's problems in terms of the Pentium 4 have to do with processor performance per clock speed versus AMD. This is not true of the Core series of processors. The higher clocked P4s do run hot but they don't break despite the heat. P4 chips detect overheating and drop the processor speed so that the chip doesn't fry. Try yanking a heat sink off of a P4 cpu and watch what happens. Slows to a snails pace but doesn't fry.
3. If Intel were the cause of the problem wouldn't these same problems be affecting other PC manufacturers?
4. If the Intel chip were the problem wouldn't the whole line of Macs suffer the same problems? The mini and iMac are both Core Duo based and yet there have been no major problems reported with iMacs or minis.

These problems which are affecting Macbooks and Macbook Pros have to do with the overall design of these laptops - not with the chips inside them.

Re:Problems... (5, Interesting)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877576)

If you're going to run commercials where some loser pretends to be a PC and some hip dude is the Mac, you're held to a slightly higher standard. Dell, HP, etc say "we will sell you a computer for $500", and do this well. Apple says "We will sell you a better computer". If they have the same problems as Dell does, then they aren't coming through.

Re:Problems... (1, Interesting)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877587)

I don't think that the company is particularly high profile. What I am surprised by is Apple's poor quality, when considering the price of their systems. Supposedly, part of the ridiculously high prices that Apple charges is for "quality" hardware. If I paid that much for a computer, I would certainly not expect the high level of defects that they have. Sure, they can fix it for ya', but that's a moot point when you end up relying on one for your job and it raps out on you (repeatedly).

Re:Problems... 11% (1)

alfredo (18243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877732)

Wasn't it a few years ago PC makers products had a 11% defect rate. I wonder what the percentage is for the full Intel Mac line, and what was it during the PPC years?

I never buy the first off the line. Rev B or C is usually worth waiting for.

Might be they have changed to intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877469)

Well it is the first time after all, but then jobs shouts so load IBM where probably glad to be rid of the echos he was creating ;)

Our shop sees problems, but they'll fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877471)

No computer company is perfect, like the article says, but Apple prices its hardware premium-style because their reputation is strong and customers expect Apple hardware to be better than stuff from Dell. Doesn't Apple win brand studies all the time? I mention this because I think it influences the way people report problems. Apple users may expect more and therefore complain more. How do you account for that?

Our Uni store sells Macs, Compaqs and Thinkpads. Compaqs are by far the worst for support, but Apple has truly shipped some bad mojo this last time around. Discoloration is common and the "whining" (I would describe it more like a pitch) is something we've sent out to Apple for more than once. The iMacs have been great, or maybe their users are easier to please. Less work for me is a good thing.

Apple is having Q&A problems, but they'll get them fixed, they always do.

1st Generation (4, Interesting)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877476)

Isn't Apple notorious for having issues with products that are "1st Generation"?

I thought it was pretty common amongst macheads to always wait until at least the 3rd iteration of a product so it becomes stable

Re:1st Generation (1)

cybersikh (53336) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877525)

s/Apple/Microsoft

Fixed!

Re:1st Generation (1)

skingers6894 (816110) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877816)

This does seem to be the conventional wisdom but as a Mac fan(boi if you like) I always get the first gen - can't help myself. I've been like this since the first PPC. (6100/60)

I know it's supposed to be foolish but I can't help it. The fact that every product (including this Mac Book Pro I'm typing on) has been flawless has not persuaded me to stop.

Guess I'm lucky though and "Apple user happy with 1st Generation products" does not make headlines.

No More Macs For Us (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877477)

We had always loved Macs at our company - out of the box, plug them in, and they just worked.

Ever since Apple started shipping Intel machines the problems have dramatically increased to the point where there is no point in not getting cheaper Dells.

I don't think Apple really gives a crap about quality anymore.

Re:No More Macs For Us (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877507)

What stupid IT manager figured to get Generation 1 Macs for your business. Any IT manager who knows anything it is to be more conservative and wait for Gen 2.

what stupid? (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877781)

If a company's tech support should be berated for buying gen 1 macs, should Apple be berated for failing to continue to sell non-gen-1 macs during the transition?

Or, indeed, for not simply introducing the iNTEL lines and keeping the PPC lines going.

Yes, the market would have supported that.

One problem, of course, is that Apple would have had to keep the lines up to date in the year before the "switch". No complaints about fake unavailability.

Re:No More Macs For Us (4, Insightful)

alienw (585907) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877518)

Yeah, as if Dell doesn't have massive quality problems. Several Optiplex models have horrendously bad motherboards that fail within 2-3 years, Dell's warranty support is a real pain to deal with, and they never acknowledge quality problems. At least with Apple, you don't have to speak to Indian tech support who really doesn't give a shit.

Re:No More Macs For Us (4, Informative)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877602)

We've had a lot of problems with certain Dell Optiplex models, like leaking motherboard capacitors and bad hard drives. Dell never acknowledged a defect with them even after every single computer from one order died with the same problem. However, they were fast about shipping out new parts or an on-site service tech next day when we did have a problem. So no problem getting hardware warranty support. Don't bother calling for any software support, though.

Re:No More Macs For Us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877821)

We've bought many, many first generation Macs over the years - going all the way back to the IIcx. There were minor problems here and there but the extra money we paid was worth it. And the same for my personal Macs I've bought - every single one was a first gen Mac IIcx, 8500/9500s, and G5s.

From the mod-bombing the Apple zealots are doing in this thread, I don't regret leaving Apple behind. It was fun while it lasted, though.

Dells and HPs have problems, of course, but the few Intel Macs we bought this past six months are both more expensive and more problem prone than any of our x86 OEM machines.

I've been saying it for years... (-1, Flamebait)

D4rk Fx (862399) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877479)

Macs suck. Now maybe someone will listen to me.

There's an original thought... (1)

idsofmarch (646389) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877557)

Macs suck. Now maybe someone will listen to me.

Magic 8 ball says no, try again later.

There's no point for repeating the same dumb thing over and over and over...

First they build you up (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877486)

... then they knock you down. Dvorakitis is spreading IMHO - Ars will get a lot of page-hits (and hence ad revenue) from people wanting to read about this. Sure, Apple have had problems, but not as many as Dell, and I doubt Dell are any worse than any other random manufacturer.

Apple actually have it worse than most - to an extent they sell on style, and "shiny goodness". People are *more* vocal when something goes wrong with something they like, rather than some random notebook work gave them to use at the weekend... I'm actually surprised the vocal minority haven't been louder. Perhaps Apple ought to release the figures for their return/repair rates - I seem to recall someone saying they were well below industry norms - even *with* all this hullaballoo.

Can I also just say I bought an MBP pro, and it hasn't exhibited any of the problems mentioned in the article... because normally you never hear about it when it works fine - only when it's broken in some way. As a software developer, I knew all about that :-)

Simon

Re:First they build you up (4, Funny)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877824)

So the new Apple Slogan is "Slightly less crappy than Dell"?

My Macbook (1)

Kabal` (111455) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877489)

It took me three attempts to get a working Macbook. The third one isn't all that great either, the battery latch turny thing is a bit wonky.

Re:My Macbook (1)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877767)

Personal stories aren't worth much on this scale, but yeah, problems started surfacing with mine after three weeks. Most are total non-issues ("staining" which is only visible in specific lighting at a specific angle, the "moo" which happens once in awhile and really isn't that distracting, and the "whine" which I heard once in a very quiet room), however, the one problem that'll be bringing me to the nearest Apple store shortly is a problem with the inverter board (?) which causes the LCD backlight to go out frequently and not come back until I sleep it. It's annoying, but there's enough to love about the 'Book that makes it well worth the minor inconveniences.

Not such a problem for Apple (4, Insightful)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877497)

Unlike Microsoft, which has a lot of customers that are concerned about legacy application support, Apple has a customer-base that generally uses newer software, and tends to be more forgiving to these kinds of problems. OS X updates have frequently broken all kinds of old applications, but their market share continues to go up.

By now most folks know that purchasing Revision A hardware is a gamble - to be honest I think that some of the fun that comes with living on the "bleeding edge" is the knowledge that if things work, you've really survived something.

The biggest problem I have with the apple transition was that they had a 32-bit intel architecture that now must be supported for years to come. I honestly am not quite sure why they did that, as there will undoubtably be some support headaches for apple developers for the next few years.

Re:Not such a problem for Apple (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877573)

They probably went with the 32-bit architecture because they wanted to make the transition ASAP, and 64-bit wasn't quite ready. Will it really be such a headache to support? Xcode, for example-- can't you just write the program once, and have it compile into a Universal Binary? I can't imagine supporting 32-bit and 64-bit Intel will be harder than supporting 32-bit PPC, 64-bit PPC, and 32-bit Intel.

Re:Not such a problem for Apple (1)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877734)

I don't think it wasn't so much that the 64-bit wasn't ready, but that Apple wanted to keep the initial price down so they could really compete with PC notebooks. I think this is the root of the quality issues they are having as well.

Not Apple's Quality... their CM's (5, Insightful)

Rob86TA (955953) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877499)

It's Apple's supplier that's having the quality problem's. Their CM (Contract Manufacturer) is like all other companies in the EMS industry and suffering under the demand for price concessions and supply fullfilment. Like all OEM's Apple wants their product now, perfectly built and cheap, and like all OEMs doesn't realise they can only have 2 of the proverbial 3.

Working in the industry I can tell you that as the OEM demands you meet shipments, units that should stay behind for debug or rework tend to float out the door to meet revenue/demand numbers. Apple's resurgence in popularity probably has everyone in the supply line getting every possible unit out the door to meet demand.

Re:Not Apple's Quality... their CM's (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877818)

Yes, but Apple products are by no mean the cheapest around the town. In other words, most Apple customers eager to paid a premium for nearly perfectly built machine with the latest components now. Everyone uses contract manufacturer. No one has any doubt or problem with that. But, it is the responsiblity of the company who owns the brand to enforce the quality control (and improve the design). I can see no reason to allow Apple from escaping its responsibility.

This is absolute bullshit (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877504)

I work in an operation where we service about 300 new Mac computers per month (and, of course, many more PC computers). At this time, about one-third of our service involves brand new Intel-based Mac computers. I can say that the amount of problems coming through related to these brand new machines is no different from the amount of the problems we have had over time with PowerPC-based Macs. My personal experience is that there is no basis for any claim of any increase in problems. I have, however, observed Apple being more responsive to problems than ever before in their history. Our PC's are generally Dells and it looks like Apple is taking on the leader of the Windows makers. I can only expect good things from vigorous competition.

Re:This is absolute bullshit (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877845)

i love the smell of fresh astroturf in the morning

Yes? No? Who... (1)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877508)

the hell knows? They won't say, and the public isn't likely to find out the truth. In reality, most rev1 products have problems, and laptops take a hell of a rough beating, especially compared to stationary computers. Does Apple have more problems than any other OEM? Not likely, considering Apple contracts the manufacturing of their products to the same people that make everyone else's products also. If Apple were experiencing massive quality control problems, we would see it across the channel, not just at one company and one product line. And please, it's not as if Intel hardware is especially fragile compared to ppc hardware, so far as I know "Intel Inside" was never meant to be a marketing slogan for "fragile"

one problem easily solved (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877515)

One of the original and most widely covered issues with the MacBook Pro was the mysterious "whining" noise.

That's weird. I thought that problem went away when you let the design department buy the macs in the first place?

Re:one problem easily solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877778)

Yeah and to top it off, now they are complaining that the customized multi-level workstation doesn't come with a drawer like the rest of the office.

Meme du jour. (5, Insightful)

Rational (1990) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877520)

*shrug*

Apple is the most closely scrutinized hardware company *ever*. If my MacBook appears to make an elusive noise beyond the hearing range of the average dog, it makes the cover of Time. If my Packard Bell shitbox releases its magic smoke and dies, it doesn't even get on Digg.

It's just the story of the month, and people will get bored of it eventually. The alternative conspiracy theory, of course, is that it could keep being fuelled by Microsoft's astroturf budget.

Re:Meme du jour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877808)

Does Packard Bell still exist? I thought they went away years ago....

I don't think it's too bad - it's the publicity (1)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877523)

From the comments of other, long-time Mac-users, I'd conclude that the current generation of products is not too bad, especially not for "Gen. 1" products.
Talk to long-time Mac-Addicts and they will relay horror-stories about virtually any Apple-product in the last years.
But who cared about Apple notebooks 3-5 years ago?
It's only recently that they moved themselves into the limelight.
One reason why they moved so slow on all the Macbook-motherboard-issues may be that they first wanted to do a complete assessment of the problem, rather than do a messy "trial and error" exchange, like so many vendors do where you get the notebook "repaired" with the original problem still persisting and new errors added... (could probably get an Apple-Repair-horror-story about that, too...).

This is most disturbing (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877551)

I find this to be fairly disturbing. I personally wouldn't ever buy an iPod, but buying an Apple desktop or laptop, is definitely in the realm of possibilities (well, once I have the money and they fix these problems).

I have to say that I am somewhat surprised that the problems don't appear to eminate from the actual boards and such; but rather from the way in which they were sandwiched together.

Hopefully, this won't turn out the way that the intel processors have recently. Released with a long list of known bugs, and without a significant discount to try and compensate for such defects.

Re:This is most disturbing (1)

Nexum (516661) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877800)

ALL processors ship with a long list of minor bugs and low-level workarounds. Take a look at the Opteron release errata papers. Next time do some research before coming straight from some Digg-esque site.

High standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877555)

They're being measured against a high standard - their own. I've got a ca. 2000 PowerBook G5 500 (Firewire) for which - the LCD - the battery - the case - the sound card and - the DVD-ROM are all broken. But the amazing thing is that it still works, for all these problems were caused by me: dropping the machine on hardwood, concrete, and pressboard, among other abuses. At one point I patched a split in the bottom part of the case with masking tape, and left it that way for ~2 years. I'm running the machine now, with an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound card and speakers. It still runs. When I get a new machine, it'll become a media center at the cabin (with an external HDD and DVD-RW). Apple hardware has a history of being extremely good. I hope they return to that level of quality, so I can buy a new laptop!

What? No Doom and gloom? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877578)

No "Could this be the end for Apple?" question at the end of the description?

Quality of the Article (1)

Merlin_1102 (594400) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877580)

I have been a MacBook Pro user since early May. I know many people have had the aformentioned issues, but the numbers they draw seem to be coming from know where. They says "hundreds" of people have complained. I have not seen any statistics. The most vocal people are the ones with problems. They are the ones who stand out the most. They also compare it to the iBook G3 crisis. I don't think that it is anywhere near that level yet. I could be wrong, but again I have seen no hard numbers from anywhere. Also, these are all first generation products. Apple has always had problems with first generation products. I think that everyone is now seeing a chance to sink their teeth into them since they have been so successful as of late and some people are sick of hearing about it or are upset that Apple can't produce something revolutionary every 4 months (some large companies never produce anything revolutionary).

Re:Quality of the Article (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877623)

There are complaints everywhere. Take this, for example:
http://www.macintouch.com/reliability/macbooks.htm l [macintouch.com]

Your argument about first gen problems would make more sense if there were also problems with the other Intel products, but there don't appear to be.

More people are buying Apple computers. (4, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877585)

(See subject.)

Re:More people are buying Apple computers. (1, Troll)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877700)

Yes, their market share on on the desktop is almost equal to that of Linux now. Dell & HP probably build more beta units for a new model than Apple ships of Gen 1 product.

My MacBook Experience (4, Interesting)

linguae (763922) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877600)

I bought a MacBook almost two weeks ago (this is the first OS X Mac that I've ever owned; I have an old Mac SE and Performa 6220 that I received 2 years ago from a teacher's friend). I've dreamed of owning a Mac for over two years now, and when the MacBook came out, it was the Mac notebook that I've always wanted. It had OS X, was the right screen size for me, and did everything that I wanted. I was a bit worried about the purchase, due to some of the problems that I've continued to hear about on the Internet (heat so much that it can cook an egg, discoloration within a few days, mooing noises, etc). I was also a bit worried with some technical details (integrated graphics and OS X performance, plus glossy screen).

However, once I bought the machine, I couldn't be happier. I have no problems with my Mac. I've never heard the fan (it is silent), I see no discoloration occurring at all (although I should clean it often in order for it to continue looking new), and the heat is warm enough for me to feel confortable on a cold day (it's even confortable on a lap), but not hot enough to burn myself. The glossy screen is never an annoyance for me (I forget that it is glossy whenever I am working in a non-floursecent environment), and the integrated graphics do a great job handling OS X's graphics and video playback; quite better than the Voodoo 3 in my old PC. Since buying my Mac, I haven't turned on my desktop PC (an old 950MHz Duron with 384MB RAM, running Windows XP and FreeBSD; a generally trouble free computer) once.

Now, it is less than 2 weeks old, so it is probably too early to tell. However, I advise people looking into getting a MacBook or MacBook Pro to just buy one (unless they want to hold out for a Core 2 Duo Mac). Everybody that I know who has one has a wonderful experience with them. They are wicked fast, quite elegant, and comes with all of that OS X goodness. Plus, since these are of a later generation of the first generation, all of the problems should be generally fixed.

And, no, I do not work at Apple, nor do I get paid by Apple to make this. This is my personal experience. I'm just a computer science student, that's all.

Small, vocal group? (1)

Bri3D (584578) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877613)

I think it might just be a small, vocal group of people having problems.

The only "common issue" I have with my black MacBook is the "mooing" which isn't even noticable with headphones.
It runs much, much cooler than any other laptop I own, and it's infinitly quieter.

The only quality control issues I've had are that the hinge is a bit squeaky and the power brick makes odd noises.

That's *it.*

Maybe I just got lucky. Who knows?

"Mooing"?!? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877642)

Is Apple sourcing their parts from Gateway 2000 now?

Re:"Mooing"?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877673)

No, it's just that Claris is making a comeback. They haven't quite got the sound right yet, though; they've managed to drop the "f" off the end.

Re:"Mooing"?!? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877759)

Actually, it's Clarus [storybytes.com] .

Making click-traffic out of mole hills. (4, Insightful)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877616)

No, these are not growing pains or any other phenomenon with a common unusual cause. They are all unrelated QC issues that could've happened and do happen with all products of such complexity. The only correlation due to a common cause related to Apple the company is the fact that these are all first generation products with radically new engineering compared to the old Macs all released within a short period of time.

Most of this apparent correlation is due to the fact that the Intel macs are getting unprecidented attention. The attention and scrutany is also amplified by the fact that forums and things like flickr are more popular now then they were during the previous launches of Apple's producs such as the original iMac and iBook lines - both of which had their share of QC issues. I would argue that Apple's Intel Macs have received orders of magnitude more publicity and attention then any of their previous products, as well as their competitors. I mean when was the last time a Dell product was featured in /. WITHOUT it having to first explode or something...

So, no, ars technica - your article is a non-story about a non-issue.

PS: Not that this is suprising - /. has been featuring many [slashdot.org] of these lately...

First generation chips anyone? (1)

Nijika (525558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877626)

I'm not being my regular Apple fanboy self here; Consider that these are the first generation of a major architectural change. I'm not buying a MacBook -because- of this alone. My 12" PowerBook will do me fine for the next two years at least. I'd even give MS the benefit of the doubt if they were in the same position (and I'm giving them LOTS of slack on Vista, even when I raz them).

210 days (1)

hpavc (129350) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877630)

Still they have gotten to the migration 210days pretty slick. Quality and customer support should be a higher concern. They could easily lead in that area.

Beautiful, fragile objects (1)

mbishop (144065) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877643)

I've had numerous problems with my PowerBook and 2 of my friends had problems requiring them to take their Powerbook to the Apple store. Those same 2 friends had their iPods die on them. It's not them or me, I think it is more a trend of Apple to push the scale from robust heavy duty ugly hardware, toward pretty, fragile hardware.

Within a week of buying my AlBook, the corner was dented by a cab driver who dropped my bag 3 feet to the street. That also pushed metal in the hinge which made the luscious (but thin) screen not want to stay shut, even though the elegant (but non-fault-tolerant) magentic hook tried its best to hold onto the screen.

Because all the parts, motherboard, everything is housed in that aluminum core, it cannot be repaired, only replaced.

Don't get me wrong, the AlBook is GORGEOUS as is all Apple hardware, but to me, a portable needs to be RESILIENT. These computers are taken everywhere, put on countertops, are spilled on, and fall off chairs.

For that reason, a MacBook is my next purchase. I'd much rather have a plastic case that's strong than a peautiful metal one that's fragile.

Re:Beautiful, fragile objects (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877708)

Within a week of buying my AlBook, the corner was dented by a cab driver who dropped my bag 3 feet to the street. That also pushed metal in the hinge which made the luscious (but thin) screen not want to stay shut, even though the elegant (but non-fault-tolerant) magentic hook tried its best to hold onto the screen.


How many laptops using traditional hard plastic could have shattered in that situation, or at least chipped? I agree that plastic is better in general (and I have a MacBook for that matter), but a small amount of damage after a three foot drop onto concrete is not, in my mind, unreasonable.

Sure about that? (1)

Tim_sama (993132) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877664)

"it's simply impossible to say that Apple isn't having problems."

Apple isn't having problems.

See? I can make stuff up too!

(The above is a joke, not a troll. Please mod accordingly; it's not like I've got karma to burn.)

Apple never gets it right the first time. (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877669)

I deliberately bought a 20" iMac PPC a few days after the first intel model shipped. I figured it would be my last mac for a few years because it always take them a long time to get a major change right. The same thing happened on their Motorola to IBM transition.

Waaah waaah waaah! You a-holes want it both ways. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877676)

Nobody's ever satisfied.

We want Macs, you all said, but they're soooooo expensive! If oooonly they were cheaper! Apple gives you your wish, builds the stuff cheaper, and predictably there's an uptick in equipment failures.

Do you think the Macs of today are of the same build quality of the oh-so-expensive, damn-near-bulletproof Macs of yesteryear? Do you think they cost relatively the same to build, and Apple is just charging less and eating the difference in cost to make you happy? No, they are cutting corners to save you cheap bastards a few bucks, and you're getting what you paid for, just like you wanted, and now you're gonna cry about it?

Pfft.

Apple is a jewelry company (0, Troll)

markhahn (122033) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877693)

Apple has become a jewelry company specializing in audio appliances - it's certainly not a computer company, in the sense of Dell or HP. look at where Apple's revenue is! the computers they sell are primary offshoots of the audio-jewelry line, so how important is it that they work perfectly? as part of the fashion industry, Apple focus is and should be to manage their spin and buzz, mainly through appearance and drama, rather than reliability, price/performance, etc. it can't slow down the pace of product intros to iron out all the little flaws, since the sudden unveiling is a standard fashion-industry technique. who ever heard of Armani trumpeting the beta2 of rev 4.3 of the italian, 3-button pinstripe suit? Apple is the Manolo Blahnik of the computer-electronics industry.

quit judging Apple by hardware-vendor standards! it's a fashion company, and should be measured appropriately. I'm just waiting for Steve Jobs to literally walk the runway with some new do-dad (bluetooth earrings?).

Re:Apple is a jewelry company (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877833)

I disagree. You're globalizing you own aesthetic sensibilities--which are obviously quite pedestrian. There's nothing wrong with putting function over form, but you assume that everyone else should be happy with a drab little box. You might be one of those people that drive weird-ass looking vehicles like the Pontiac "Aztec" or a Honda "Element" because it had the features you like--depsite the fact that most other think it looks weird or even ugly.

Sure, Apple does put alot of effort into the industrial design and the "fashion" of it--but that's proven to be important to more and more consumers and Apple is capitalizing on that. The iPod was a bigger success than anyone thought it would be but it's hardly taken over the entire company. If anything, it's helped Apple support their computer habit. I prefer the iPod over ANY of the competitors because it meets needs AND I like the way it looks and feels.

Even MS is jumping on the ideas of "fashion" aesthetics. They've gone so far as to send out recommended color and design strategies to OEM companies for accessorizing Vista.

Anyway, I think your point is a bit on but more in the sense that it's hyperbole.

misread headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877694)

I was the only one who read the headline as "Apple's Growing Penis", wasn't I?

Happy here (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877715)

I've had my MacBook since 1 week after they went on sale. I only hear the fan when I inadvertenty block the port, I use it on my lap all the time without cooking the boys. I have no discoloration except for a slight smudge on the "y" key. I haven't had it spontaneously shut down. Never been bothered by screen glare. No issues at all. Except it could use a bigger screen.

Personally, I think it's just the internet amplification effect.

PS - It's my first and only Mac. I'm no fanboy.

No it's just the architecture (-1, Troll)

cactopus (166601) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877718)

They've gone from a good architecture POWER/PPC (32 bit from the start and 64 bit for almost 10 years) to a crappy obsolete one (x86) descended from 8 bit machines.

Re:No it's just the architecture (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877841)

Yes, but they needed more efficiency in terms of work done (by processor) per watt (helping with cooling issues).

I work for an Apple reseller (4, Interesting)

Paska (801395) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877761)

I work for a major, major, Australia Apple authorised Reseller with a service center that services many, many Macs.

Is Apple having problems? Nope. They did with the first batch of MacBook Pros, but since then, it's been smooth sailing.

Apple's biggest problems are the iBooks.

You also have to remember Apple are selling, a lot more Laptops then they have ever done in the past. Sales in Australia have skyrocketed so high that almost no-one can keep up with demand.

Re:I work for an Apple reseller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877828)

Thanks for posting this. I'll be sure to get you that raise we talked about ;)

-- Your Boss

Put it in perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877762)

If we could find a thousand users with dead new Macs last quarter, would that be a big problem?

Apple shipped 1.3 million Macs last quarter. If you found a thousand examples of bad quality in the same quarter, that's a rate of 0.08%...any company would be proud to have such a low defect rate. Even 10,000 bad machines would only result in 0.8% failure rate. Does your own company do better?

Yet it only takes a couple loud bloggers to cause a ruckus in the media.

My MacBook tale of woe (kinda) (2, Insightful)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877793)

Here's my experience with my MacBook...

I bought it.

It works.

I know that it's in vogue to criticize Apple now, and I know that Apple is high profile, but their QC issues are no different than they've usually been. The first-gen products have a higher lemon rate.

Woohoo.

Anyone remember the first-gen TiBooks, where the antenna design sucked so much that getting beyond 50 feet of Airport range was a miracle? Or the cubes with the power button that was so sensitive it would sometimes trigger itself? Or the cube's cracking acryllic? What about the PB 5200's Lion battey?
Moral of the story: first-gen products have high failure rates. Courtesy of the architecture switch, most of Apple's product line is first-gen. Therefore, much of Apple's product line has a higher than normal failure rate. Apple's not suffering, they're not dying, and they haven't decided that "Hey, why don't we take our reputation for quality, and flush it down the toilet? Let's shaft all our customers just because!" To Dvorak, and indeed pundits all around the world (like the author of TFA, for example) I have this message: grow the fuck up.

Quality control (3, Funny)

proxima (165692) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877797)

From the article:
[...]are there quality control problems at Apple? We've wondered about that before and now we're raising the quesiton again.
(emphasis mine)

It's pretty funny to read a sentence about quality control followed up by something spellcheck could catch. Then again, this is Slashdot.

Try it before you knock it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15877832)

I'm surprised at all the negative threads about Apple. After twenty years with Microsoft products I recently started switching over to Mac and couldn't be happier. On a bad day I have a tenth of the problems I have on a Windows system on a good day. There are fewer things to configure but that's in part due to a lack of need which is a good thing. There is a little less control for things like file viewing and searches but Leopard is going to blow past Windows with those features. There are far more user features in Mac. I avoided them at first but I've got to admit they are fun and useful and quite addictive. I recently got hooked on Dashboard and the Leopard version is a drastic improvement on it. They are in a transitional period but I'm using one of the Intel Macs and I'm very happy. The new Quad Xeon rival Boxx systems only they are cheaper. Leopard gives full 32 as well as 64 bit support which was the decider for me to finally switch completely to Mac. For prebuilt name brand systems the Macs are starting to beat the Windows systems for price and the stabilty is drastically better. If you love to tinker stick with Windows or Linux. If what you are after is to use software with the lowest number of hassles go Mac. I was loosing 25% of my time to crashes on my Windows systems. That's unacceptable. To me the difference is like having an old junker that you have to work weekends on to keep it running. Getting it running again may give you a sense of accomplishment but there's nothing like going out in the moring, turning the key and the car simply runs. It may be hard to give up on the Windows clunker at first but what do you own a computer for in the first place? Is it to use or to work on?

Apple opted for poor quality when they chose Intel (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#15877848)

Once you enter the realm of x86 PC based hardware, poor quality is the result
and there is nothing Apple or anyone else can do about that. Now that's a
pretty placative thesis here but before rolling with your eyes, bear with me
and I will tell you why that is so. The gist of what I'm saying is, that
beefing up quality assurance is not the magic bullet here. The tremendous
extra effort that would have to be spent on having _reasonable_ quality
here is vastly in excess of staying with the former, reliable technology.

I'm not here to bash Apple over the head with this and they're not the
only ones that has gotten burned here, even Sun Microsystems came up a while
ago with cheap entry level intel-based boxes. Sadly these blew up on them
(well the machines blew up on their customers, and THEY in turn blew up on Sun).
Among several annoying minor issues there were tremendous problems with the
IDE interface.

So what is the problem here? Why I can't they get things to work before they ship?
Well, as opposed to admittedly more expensive but tested technology, X86-PC
hardware is fast tracked to market where everybody, from the manufacturer of the
mainboard to the designer of the chipsets expect it to evolve over time to
stability, from revision to revision, pretty much recruiting the user as an
involuntary beta tester. Pretty upsetting that thought but that is exactly the way
it is. The main reason this market works like it does is on one side the fierce
competition among and on the other side the fact that most of the buyers there
have a high tolerance for product defects.

There are good reasons for why things are the way they are but of course if you
want to build a reliable system then there are certain choices to be made and
certain things to be avoided. Apple is just now repeating an extremely painful l
esson it could have observed from Sun but it seems that human behavior sometimes pretty similar on the organizational level as it is on the individual: No matter
how often you are told, You have to touch the hot stove yourself to find out.
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