Apple Devices Are Sexy: But are They Reliable?

Posted by | Jan. 31, 2010 | 8,449 views

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…

Related Posts:

Apple Moves Towards Music As Service

Sony Online Services: The Next iTunes Killer?

Will The iPhone Finally Be Unleashed?

Google Music: Who Cares?

Nokia Stumbled, But Mobile Music Services Are Still Gaining Ground

LG Smartphones Team Up With Ennio Morricone

Apple Secures The Beatles Catalogue: WHO CARES?

Apple sued for turning iPhone 3G into ‘virtually useless iBrick’

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Posted by on Jan 31 2010. Filed under featured, Gadget & Services. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

7 Comments for “Apple Devices Are Sexy: But are They Reliable?”

  1. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be working with? I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest blog and I’d like to find something more safe. Do you have any solutions?

  2. bob mackadoo

    i think apple needs to take a 6 month break and do some serious re-evaluation of where they’re heading, i’m less and less impressed every day, especially wit their ties to at&t

  3. Greg

    No they’re not! I purchased an iMac in October 2008 for around $2,200.

    On December 24, 2008 the optical drive stopped working. The nearest Apple store is over 200 miles away and Apple would only repair it if I drove it there–no mailing it back.

    After paying $50 to ship it to an authorized repair center in Maryland, it was fixed under AppleCare.

    Fast forward to January 2010 and I notice problems when playing the Sims 3. Random items in the game being distorted and what not, which I determined was a problem with the graphics card a few weeks ago. Since then the problem has gotten worse. While browsing the web random green lines will appear in Safari, sections on the screen become distorted, and icons will become transparent. On top of that, my system froze twice yesterday. Normally, it wouldn’t freeze twice in one year, but one day?

    Even though I love Mac OS X and will miss it dearly, given the quality issues and horrible customer support I will not be buying another Apple product.

  4. Idolx

    Bought a brand new Mac pro 14 months a go. Last week it died. I paid AU $4000, it only lasted for 14 months. What a joke.

    Bought Apple care for this Mac Pro from US on Ebay. Guess what, the seller refunded the Apple care after I registered. Now I have no warranty. The question is, how can Apple allows for refund of the warranty if it has been registered and also Apple knew about this scam but they did’t warn any one. I rang them to justify, they just shut the door and don’t want to know about it.

    Well they have lost a customer who owned 3 X Macbook pro (yes, two have battery issue) and a macbook air, Iphone(s) and Ipod(s). Good bye Apple and be warn everyone.

  5. Alan

    I am writing this on a MBP whose 3 year AppleCare warranty runs out today. I have had nothing but excellent service from Apple. I took it into the Apple store and had the Genius check it out the battery that was not charging and they replaced it with no charge after testing it (determined that it was defective).

    We own a 3G iPod Photo, pink iPod mini, 5G iPod Video and both my wife and I carry iPhones (her’s is 3G and mine is the original 2G purchased in June 2007). All of these are in good condition and we still use all of them regularly. I have noticed that my battery life in the iPhone varies depending upon my use and location but the original battery typically gets me through an entire day (I do not talk excessively but am constantly using the data connection). I carry an extra external battery, but use it maybe once every 60 days.

    The issue with texts/calls/voicemail the other poster is having sounds like network issue instead of a flaw of the device. I switched from Sprint to AT&T in order to get the iPhone and have found the service/network to be similar, if not better, but realize that location can make an impact upon the qualify of service.

  6. a.muso

    Excellent feature. I’ve ben an apple user for over 20 years now, and every year the relaibilty & durabilty of Apple products get worse with their increasing popularity.

    The iphone is a lovely handheld computer but an average phone at best, and apart from the poor battery life , theres the missed calls going to ansaphone, and txts that arrive hours late issues.

    Apple are particularly poor on batteries, ( try googling “mac battery problems” ) with recent macbook pro batteries & ipod having to be recalled, and various reports of them self combusting, tho their dvd disc drive life and easily scratched finish could do with some looking at as well.

    I’m particularly gutted since my macbook pro battery gave up at 30 cycles ( the general life expectancy is 300 cycles) and apple refused to replace it, and after getting use to increasing talk time with contemporary phones, I now have to go back 20 years to readjust to 1-2 hours talk time.

    I write as increasingly disappointed macfan who wants a bit more quality and life in my apple products, and realise that only by seeing some more realistic / critical assessments in the media of apple products, and a potential reduction is sales, will apple do anything about the mediocre durabilty issues of their products.

  7. Jezza

    On the plus side for the iPad it’s priced just $10 more than the Kindle, but features a lot lot more.
    Is the Kindle to become kindling??

    I’ve been waiting 2 weeks for new pair of headphones for the 3gs I got in august!!
    Went online to order a new set and apple wanted to charge me £16 !! It’s within the first 12 months so should be under warranty !!

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