Is Music Industry Reliance on Unreliable Apple Products Sustainable?


This past year has witnessed some quite serious backward steps for Apple hardware products. The most recent iPhone 4 antennae debacle, a serious case in point. Interestingly, there have been no slip-ups in terms of Apple software products. iTunes still seems to work fine, albeit a-la-carte sales seem to have bottomed out. TMV questions whether this could be associated with the FACT that reliability of Apple hardware products is increasingly becoming an issue for consumers.

You have all no doubt heard about the “Time Capsule” dying issues. If not, TMV suggest you read here. The first generation iPhone shunned 3G, despite the majority of competitor smart phones at that point in time actually being 3G. This along with the FACT very simple functionality issues were missed (i.e. multiple texting) suggests to TMV that Apple has been rushing its hardware products to market without its usual stringent quality assurance processes being implemented. TMV actually believe this issue began with the first generation of iPods – remember those battery problems, or your iPod hard drive dying just out of warranty?

So as Apple’s market cap has risen to $229.7 billion, just recently overtaking that of Microsoft (US$215.1 billion), we have also witnessed what seems to be a very serious decline in reliability of Apple’s hardware products. The most recent case, rather than being a reliability issue, is instead, quite frankly, an unforgiveable “stuff up” with some pretty simple calculations and placement of antennae. Some even go as far to state it has something to do with Nokia suing Apple over certain misuse of its patents by Apple. So is there a correlation between Apple’s rapid rise and the declining reliability of its hardware products? TMV would speculate that there is.

How does this affect the music business, you may well ask? Well when you get growing customer dissatisfaction combined with continual and more rapid technology reliability issues across different product lines, surely it affects brand loyalty? Will this affect iTunes? If more hardware problems continue to dog Apple, TMV suspects the market may well witness consumers turning away in droves. That is unless Apple realises what is at stake and addresses the issues at hand in a suitable manner.

Apple’s USP has always been its clear understanding that user experience is key. This was always the case with its software OS and still is. Since the release of Windows 95, Microsoft has continually released bug-ridden, substandard software products into the market place, and managed to get away with it for almost 15 years. Now that Apple is top of the market cap table it needs to ensure it does not follow in Microsoft’s footsteps, but instead with its hardware product lines. TMV suspects if internet usage was as high back in 1995 as it is now, Microsoft would have nowhere near the market dominance in OS software installs it currently carries.

Following on from this, and the fact that chat rooms and forums abound with Apple hardware product reliability complaints, it is imperative that Apple address its obvious internal quality assurance process slip-ups in relation to its hardware products. Apple may well have sold over 5 million of its iPhone 4s in the first week of sales, but TMV  asks:  if they are faulty, does it not damage brand image and respectability amongst consumers in NOW time?

What is the effect on that in the short, let alone medium term? Will consumers continue to pay a premium price for hardware products with a reputation for being unreliable? Yes, Apple device design aesthetics are what most other computer hardware firms aspire to. TMV asks what is the point of a sexy looking device if it is unrealiable?

Now the elephant in the room in terms of the music business is this: What happens to a whole industry that relies on ONE company to deliver sales that make up over 65% of global digital music sales if consumers lose confidence in that company’s ability to deliver reliable products? Your guess is as good as mine, but we all know that the picture would not be good for labels, publishers or artists.

Before any of you Apple fanbois start ranting, please note that we use a combination of Apple and PC computers in our office. Yes, Apple OS user experience is second to none, but in terms of hardware reliability Apple is beginning to witness consumer dissatisfaction on a global level. When the music business releases its audio products to consumers, they all work in terms of audio clarity standard etc. We may not agree with the genre of music, or we may even have an opinion on its sound, taste-wise, let alone the licensing conditions that come with it, but at least it works without any unreliability issues in a digital music or CD player.

On a final note, intelligent Apple users have always waited for second or third generation Apple hardware products because it’s been widely known for years that first generation Apple products are always lacking in certain elements. Why Apple fanbois continue to be so religiously willing to pay premium prices for what are, quite frankly, second-rate products, is beyond TMV. Perhaps these people have more money than sense, as it is a recurring thing.

Note to Apple: it’s time to get off your arrogant high horse and start ensuring future products are ready for launch and are not marred by serious reliability issues, as has increasingly been the case lately.

Other Readers also Read:

Here Come The Droids

Who’s Who In The New Music Gold Rush

Is Apple’s Walled Garden Sustainable?

Apple Devices Are Sexy, But Are They Reliable?

Sony Online Service: The Next iTunes Killer?

Next Mobile Battleground is Music Subscription Services

Trying to Get a Bite of the Apple

Spotify Community ShareMyPlaylist has Six-Figure Funding to Go Proper


Jakomi Mathews – Founder & Editor, The Music Void

Discussion4 Comments

  1. Absolutely useless article. The iphone issues hae nothing to do with music sales via iTunes and apple products being ‘unreliable’, or in fact the music industry relying too much on apple.

    The iPhone is an iPhone first and therefor using that to say apple products are unreliable is silly. The iPod’s extensive range is what should be looked at and if they were unreliable then they wouldn’t have shifted by the bucket load. Apple’s iPod’s which from what I can tell have had no major problems, no more than any other mp3 player provider, should be referenced in this article not the iPhone as that is a phone that has an iPod app. And due to the quality of the iPods, which led to their selling success, is why Apple has become so dominant in music sales.

    The other manufacturers need to step up and start creating decent rivals to their iPod range.

    There are many sites, applications and digital stores people can buy their music from, it just so happens more people choose to buy their music from iTunes so the record companies have to go where the market is. The music industry and companies should deal more with other companies to provide their music, which will mean they can compete in pricing which will then mean people don’t feel they have to go to iTunes.

    I say this all as a Microsoft user and I don’t have an iPod. Just facts basically.

    If you keep up with current sales figures iPod sales are actually on the decline as are tracks from iTunes…TMV would state unreliability of products may have something do with it as well….Ed

  2. “a very serious decline in the reliability of Apple products”???? Macbook Pros are still the best built laptops by FAR. How quick you are to condemn an entire company’s products because of a few issues. A sensationalistic headline – great way to generate clicks, but hardly an objective story.

    Obviously you’ve got no objectivity…I’ve used apple products including laptops for over ten years and reliability has increasingly become and issue with each new model they release. As I’ve stated their UI and OS is awesome but whilst their products my appear sexy they quite simply do not last in terms of reliability for the extra premium price attached to an apple product. Ed

  3. Yes. Because the iPhone 4 has a problem with its antenna, people will stop buying mp3s from iTunes. You are right. Apple is doomed. Music is doomed.

    Does not read like you read the actual post….its interesting how many Apple Fanbois do not read whole articles – perhaps ignorance is what keeps fanbois buying dodgy products…

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