Apple Devices Are Sexy: But are They Reliable?
With all the hype surrounding Apple’s iPad launch last week TMV thought it about time to dig a bit deeper and look at Apple and the reliability of its devices. Whilst Apple products for the last decade from powerbooks to the iPod and iMacs have been both iconic and look sleek and sexy. Has reliability of these devices suffered in the constant pursuit of “sexiness”?
I remember when working for a consumer music magazine 2004 – 2006 that company still had the first edition iMacs from 1998 and they seemed to work fine albeit a little slowly. Going back to the mid nineties I remember a graphic designer informing me then that Apple computers were industrial grade computers and PCs were throw away consumer computers. Gee how times change.
These days you pay an extreme premium price and get none of the assured reliability. Batteries whose prime power begins to dwindle after three to four months of use…and then Apple want you to spend close to an eighth of the price you paid for the whole laptop just for a replacement battery. It gets worse since 2006 I’ve had three separate MacBook Pro’s and every year without fail the power supply cord dies and the replacement cost is between £60 – £80 each time (over the last five years that makes £400 on replacement Apple power supply cords alone). Talk about highway robbery!
First and second generation iPods were hardly up to par with competition from Creative and Microsoft, especially in the department of battery strength. There is also the issue of laptop screen failures, which seem to be more common than PC models and now iPhones with risks of overheating problems amongst others requiring them to be replaced.
I’m waiting to hear about no doubt numerous problems with the just launched iPad. And yes I can hear all you Apple fan people crying out Apple Care Apple Care Apple Care! I have Apple Care, however it is downright useless if you run a business let alone if you are a poor home use consumer. You have two lame options:
a). Go to an Apple retail store pre-book your appointment online and then wait an hour longer even though you turn up on time for your scheduled appointment…(perhaps this is just a UK based problem?)
b). When they cannot fix it at the retail store in the UK they have to send your laptop to Germany and it can take up to six weeks? Yes you heard right six long weeks. Welcome to the inefficiencies of globalisation folks.
Whatever happened to enterprise-level customer service? How can small businesses survive without computers for 6 weeks?
Competitors like Dell and IBM offer both consumers and businesses alike the option to pay an extra £199 and you get in-office repairs service for three years (yes they actually come to you). Light years ahead of Apple NOT Care. Yes this may seem like a rant, but why should business and consumers alike pay a premium for a product that does not stand up to the reliability the price was originally based on?
I can hear people now harping on about the user experience and yes the Apple OS is light years ahead of most others. Yet UI is not everything; it needs to be usable within devices that are also robust and reliable. Interestingly, this reliability issue only started to surface around the time of the first generation iPod. Since Apple has expanded its market share, device quality in terms of reliability has seen a measurable decline. Is this a coincidence? TMV does not think so.
TMV asks what’s the point of paying almost double for a product that only lasts as long as a competitor product that costs half the price? To rub salt in the wound, the excessive and unreasonable accessories prices are mind blowingly crazy. Twenty-four pounds for a simple piece of plastic to protect your iPhone (costs no more than £0.03 to manufacture in China)? What happened to covers/cases coming with your mobile phone like the Blackberry for instance? I’d rather spend my £2 a month ensuring an African child gets an assured clean water supply for a year.
Battery life on the iPhone is also quite frankly appalling. Definitely, not environmentally friendly or sustainable on that front. Yes Apple devices look sleek and sexy and the UI is market leading, but device reliability does surely deserve Apple’s careful consideration one would have thought? Or perhaps they do not care about their customers and are just laughing all they way to the bank? If so their ethos is as bad as the major competitor they set out to destroy…perhaps it’s the old adage “if you can’t beat em might as well join em” attitude?
On a final note TMV do believe that unless Apple begin examining reliability issues it may well begin to experience a backlash in terms of both business and consumer confidence in its products on a global scale. We certainly hope that is not the case, but do view it as a large possibility if Apple continues to ignore an ever-growing number of let down customers!
Let me clearly state I have used Apple products almost religiously since 2000 and love the UI. But device reliability issues have made me consider looking elsewhere. Perhaps it would not be such a problem if a premium price were not attached to unreliable Apple product? As in this case premium price doe not equate to better quality. If anything it seems to equate to inferior quality.
On a final note look out for our post outlining why TMV believe walled garden eco-systems are set for failure in the not too distant future…