A sour bite of Apple

Most of us love Apple. They are creating some of the most innovative products, have an avid fanbase, some might call them zealots and their products just feel right. However, their quality control and customer care are just not acceptable. When you pay for an Apple product you typically pay around 3000 Dkr (500$) more than what you pay for an comparable product from another manufacturer. When you pay that much more, you want things to be perfect. You want the Apple experience. You want better designed experience than when you buy Dell, Microsoft or Creative products. That’s what you pay for. Lately, I’m beginning to doubt that this is the case.

First, Apple had problems with the much anticipated MacBook Pro. It got hot. I mean, really seriously hot. Temperature readings in the Macbook Pro machines read around 90-100 degree celcious. We returned the ones we bought at work. A 100 degrees in your lap is not a laptop. Macbook Pro temperature database. On top of that, there was the whine issue, supposedly from the fans.

Then there was the whole battery issue. Exploding batteries and such nastyness. But ok, Apple wasn’t the only company affected by that.

On the regular Macbooks, the heating problem surfaced again, along with some other nice problems: discoloration and random restarts.

Recently we ordered 11 brand spanking new 23″ Apple Cinema displays. In Denmark, these screens are 10000 Dkr a piece. Thats 110K right there. Thats around 16.5K$ for you guys not from Denmark. All the screens were faulty. Every. Single. One. There were no pixel errors, however some kind of error existed where residue of dialog boxes would remain on the screen. I know this sounds weird, but think of it as an effect similar to ghosting, exept this would just stay on the screen. Really really weird. The Cinema displays were returned and we got some replacements. The junior salesman could only exchange 5 at a time. My initial response to that was: “Huh, we just spend a considerable amount of money on you?” And now you want us to exchange 5 at a time. Thats stupid. Anyway, the replacements screens, all ten, were faulty. Apple acknowledged the problem and stopped shipping the Cinema Displays in the 23″ variant, we returned all the screens and continued working on our LaCie screens. Around the same time, our development team got 24″ Dell displays. These are working flawlessly and are 2500Dkr cheaper. The design might not be on the same level – but you got supirior customer care, and a working product.
Recently the Danish HiFi store HiFi-Klubben dropped Apple as a retailer (In Danish), stating that Apple and HiFi-Klubben had different point of views regarding battery issues, and other faults HiFi-Klubben considered warranty issues. HiFi-Klubben states that other vendors have the same problems with Apple, but are coping with the problems since being an iPod retailer brings a lot of hype to the store. The iPod is used to bring in the customers.

The default answer to anyone that want to buy an Apple product is to wait for at least revision 2 or 3 of the product – by that time the errors are ironed out and you have a great product.

Apple fanboys and fangirls still flock around Apple products and defend them with zeal – but I can’t help thinking that Apple really should up their QA and be more attentive in their customer care. Otherwise they will lose customers in the long run due to a badly designed customer care experience and inferior quality.

4 Responses to A sour bite of Apple

  1. hartvig says:

    Very spot on. Even though Apple is quite an old company, they just recently got attention outside their usual market; the design industry and their fanboys (usually a combination of both). I’m the happy owner of both a perfectly working 23″ cinema display (the new line is working sweet) and a MBP.

    The fan in my MBP broke and the response from Apple was a three week repair time. Now how does that fit the “Pro” appended to the name? Coming from the traditional laptop brands like Dell and IBM, I’ve been absolutely surprised that Apple actually gets away with stuff like this. Those other brands have day-to-day service even on their non-pro products!

    Even though I’m absolutely in love with the uncompromised designs, I would think twice about buying a Mac next time. Bad customer service is terrible, but added a completely ignorant attitude and corporate deny of problems already well documented in the pubic domain is a very bad cocktail…

  2. Jesper W. says:

    I concur – not much to post on except I am not only a happy Mac camper, I have yet to experience a single serious issue through iMac flatpanel, PowerBook G4 and now MBP.

    As a design professional w/ main emphasis on User X, I have to agree that while Apple clearly has both eyes on the ball with regards to what one might call the Bling User Experience, they seem to be all but oblivious to the fact that A) shit happens and B) when it does, that is a user experience too.

    Apple is already struggling with an all-flash-no-power reputation – if they do not address such issues as these, well…
    Which is too bad, since Macs are equal to the best of the PC world :)
    (ain’t I sweet?)

    Jesper W.

  3. Hartvig says:

    Speaking of unprofessionalism: http://www.apple.com/support/windowsvirus/

    “As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses”. Ehm – Apple you distributed the virus, take the blame yourself – have you ever heard of Q/A? This got to be one of the most embarrasing sentences I’ve ever seen on an official website, and one reason marketing dep. shouldn’t be allowed in your support area ;-)

  4. Hall says:

    The acronym lol springs to mind. Good find Hartvig. I like the way that its suddently windows’ fault that someone has put vira on the new iPods (which are ugly, but thats another discussion :-))

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