Wired News: Echo chamber tars Apple

“Apple Computer seems to be suffering from a lot of problems with quality control lately: IPods are riddled with Windows viruses, laptop batteries are bursting into flames, and MacBooks are randomly shutting down,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired News.

“Every few days, there are fresh reports of battery recalls, mooing MacBooks or iPods that scratch too easily,” Kahney reports. “But is Apple’s reputation for quality really slipping?”

“It’s my impression that Apple’s quality control is no better or worse than before — we’re just hearing about it more,” Kahney reports.

“This past year, Apple sold more than 39 million iPods and 5.3 million Macs, all while switching to a brand new architecture based on Intel chips. If 99 percent of these Macs and iPods are in good working order, and 1 percent were defective, there would be 53,000 malfunctioning Macs out there and about 390,000 dodgy iPods,” Kahney reports. “That’s almost 450,000 upset Apple customers, all making a stink on forums and websites. I don’t think there’s anything like that number, or even half that, or half that.”

Full article here.
It’s always nice to read some common sense from time to time.

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50 Comments

  1. I completely agree, all these lawsuits are bogus just because a small fraction of the products have defects, you dont see a group of windows users grouping together to sue microsoft because their operationg system is unstable, and insecure.

  2. I don’t recall hearing about an Apple notebook bursting into flames because of the defective batteries. Apple still replaced the batteries free of charge, regardless. When it comes to their warranty: service is prompt, shipping is fast, and the quality is unsurpassed.

  3. The downside to Apple’s high speed pace of change/innovation has been some dodgy software via software updates and even paid OS upgrades. When I switched from a G5 PowerMac to a Core Duo iMac I decided to try the migration assistant. What a mistake. It moved he files, but made a total mess of preferences, keychain and other stuff. After numerous bug killing sessions and Apple online support (no help), I wiped the HD and reinstalled and did a good old fashioned external HD file transfer.
    At this late date in the 10.4x cycle, there are still a lot of bug in the Intel build. It’s good , but not good enough.

  4. How many of you have had to had your macs replaced or repaired after buying them? Be honest.

    My last 3 macs have broken on me–powerbook, imac, and macbook, two of them to the point that they need to be completely replaced. That’s a pretty big coincidence if it’s only 1% of the total macs, or .25% as this writer predicts. In fact, assuming that the chance of getting a broken mac is 1/400 (.25%), then the odds of buying three broken ones in a row is 1/64,000,000. I should get a prize or something! Or perhaps just way more macs than that are flawed quality-wise.

  5. What an interesting way to put it….

    Better than “Yo, all you whiners and whingeers, STFU!!”

    Which really wouldn’t make for good press. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

    To the extent (MDN) that it would even get picked up. 😀

  6. My MacBook Pro is in the shop right now, thanks to what seems to be a faulty AirPort card or antenna, a warped chassis and a squeaky space bar!

    I still love my Macs – after all, it’s the OS, stupid. But it is quite a pain to have all these hardware issues. Plus, it’s embarrassing when my wife’s iBook surfs ten times as fast as my shiny new MacBook Pro!

    That being said, my AppleCare rep was very nice and responsive. And their delivery deal with DHL is second-to-none (my prepaid mailer arrived a day after I asked for it, I boxed up my laptop and sent it out yesterday and it’s already at AppleCare today.)

  7. Super tim, I got my first Mac in October, 1984. To date, I’ve had 2 hardware issues. The first was in a Mac Plus that finally gave up the ghost after about 1 years of service. The second was the Super Drive in my last iMac went out. When the Super Drive went out, I called AppleCare and they sent a tech out to my house the next day. He replaced the drive, and it’s been working fine ever since. I’ve also never had a problem with other Apple products, from iPods to printers.

    As I’ve mentioned before in this forum, we can’t rely on anecdotal evidence – positive or negative. For every guy like you that has multiple hardware failures, you have someone like myself who has had virtually no issues. I think that the article’s author makes some good points about this issue.

    If you are one of the millions of Mac or iPod owners that have no problems, you probably don’t go to a forum and ask “Why am I not having any problems?” It’s usually only the people with problems that post in discussion forums.

  8. Does Apple have more quality control issues? Probably since they are experinecing phenomonal growth. That is expected. Do they help ease the pain by have good customer service and in the case of one Mac that broke on me, an extended warranty? You betcha.

    The question people are overlooking here is how Apple compares to others in this situation. In my opinion….damn good.

    So Super Tim….don’t walk under ladders or cross paths with a Black cat cause you just ain’t lucky. Or better still, buy a lottery ticket. Its a 1/64,000,000 chance you may win but hey….it happens right?

  9. Laptops tend to have more problems due to size contraints that make manufacture more difficult, the presence of moving parts such as hinges and mobility that increases the chance of jarring. Apple has had major problems of quality control with parts manufacturers – bateries and motherboards come to mind. I have had problems with 2 of three laptops, but none of ~12 desktops. The floppy drive on my SE gave me problems after 4 international moves, but even that seems to have fixed itself now, as it worked fine the last time we dusted it off and fired it up.

    By the way, customer support with the affected laptops has been brilliant.

  10. super tim, you should get a prize. Even if 1% are as defective as you’ve exprienced you’re one in a million. Given the number of Macs sold in the time frame you’ve probably outlined there are maybe 15-20 people on the entire planet with your kind of exprience.

    As a counterpoint to you, I own Macs personally and buy them for the businesses where I work. I’ve probably purchased a few hundred Macs in the general time frame you describe. Other than _ONE_ Quad G5 which had it’s front USB port die, I’ve yet to experience a “broken Mac” in the first year. (Periferals, yes, such as a few Mighty Mouses that have failed. But only one Mac.) In over 20 years of buying Macs I’ve yet to get one that is DOA.

    I’m sure my exprerience is as much an anomaly on the positive side as yours is on the negative side. I could go online and start a blog claiming, based upon my personal experience, that Macs are virtually failure proof.

    This is the point of the article. When either of the extreme cases starts thinking they are having a typical experience and start loudly proclaiming it as so — and goes to the extent of filing class action lawsuits — then a voice of reason needs to shout even more loudly.

  11. Apple has a great rep for customer service and product quality, there have been numerous articles about it here on MDN. Apple gets a lot of publicity for everything it does both in terms of its own message and that of its user base, the impact they have on the media and internet is vastly greater than it’s market share. You just need to take a look at a site like Digg to see that people are very vocal and interested in Apple and Apple related stories, both good and bad.

    Apart from the industry wide battery problem you don’t generally hear much about problems from other companies. Does that mean they have great customer service and make 100% reliable products? Of course it doesn’t, it means that no-one cares or doesn’t expect any better.

    Are apple perfect? Of course not, manufacturing lines have glitches, human error occurs and so on and so forth. Are they still of a high standard across the board? Yes.

  12. Super Tim:

    Bad luck on you. I’ve being instal more than 50 Macs on 3 sites of one of my clients.
    Issues? Well: two 8-year-old monitors with bad color, some keyboards (extensive use), maybe some mouses and ONE damaged (not to dead) hard drive. Some minor problems with the migration assistant (in fact, just in one case with a corrupted plist. Oh, and two iMacs with high voltage board damaged (6 year old each).

    By the other hand: one of the two PC they bought against my advice, in less than a year cannot run for more than 3 hours: it turned off and they must wait for 4 to 6 hours before try to turn it on again. They have to replace the whole motherboard and the power source. It never worked well again.

    We are in Monterrey, Mexico and my VAR is a very good one. I say this because we are not in the USA, with Apple at hand. However, the few waranties we need are solved really fast.

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