A monumental debate has raged between Mac360 principal writers over the past month.
It isn’t Apple vs. Microsoft, or Mac vs. Windows. It isn’t iPhone vs. Blackberry. It’s worse than that. It’s to Mac or not.
Simply put, over the past few years we’ve noticed and commented that Apple’s attention to detail and quality control in nearly every product category has reached Microsoftian proportions.
In other words, today’s Apple isn’t as good at creating quality products that just work as the Apple of three or four years ago. If the trend continues, then there won’t be much difference between the crap Microsoft foists upon customers vs. the crap we’ve received from Apple in recent years.
Don’t misunderstand. We love Apple, the Apple story, Steve Jobs’ leadership, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and everything in between. Apple quality? We no longer love what Apple no longer has—dependable, trustworthy, quality products.
I’ve asked my fellow Mac360ite, Ron McElfresh, to tell me the difference between Apple and Microsoft. About all he could come up with was a simple list.
Apple and Microsoft own certain markets. Apple and Microsoft have plenty of cash and tens of millions of customers. Generally speaking, Microsoft loves business customers, while Apple loves the consumer customer.
Anything else? Both companies are plagued by quality control issues and customer problems in every product marketing sector. Apple gets better press than Microsoft. Apple’s customer base loves Apple more than Microsoft’s customer base loves Microsoft.
Anything else? Apple is growing market share all over the place while Microsoft; well, not so much.
So, what’s the problem? The problem is simple. Apple has moved ahead so quickly with the Mac’s development, with the iPod, now with the iPhone, that the company’s once vaunted quality is no longer an asset. Things don’t just work anymore.
Such as, you may ask? Everything. Mac OS X Leopard is less stable, less secure, less dependable than OS X Tiger, which was less so than OS X Panther.
How about the iPhone? Everyone wants one, right? Uh, sure. Until they get one. I’ve had three. The first two stopped working. iPhone 2.0 software is far buggier than the version it replaced and is prone to crashes so hard that the iPhone doesn’t boot up and work at all.
Go up and down the list of Apple’s current high flying product line and you see more troubles than ever, not just numbers—Apple is selling more of everything, so more problems could be expected, right?
Ron bought his wife a new Intel iMac with Time Capsule. After two weeks it still can’t do a back up without giving errors, locking out users (wireless or wired). His own iPhone problems are well documented.
Apple took months to update the latest OS X vulnerability and exploit, leaving a critical hole open since being notified of the problem back in early May. Check Apple’s support discussions. I’ve never seen so many problem categories and so few solutions to user problems. Did I mention
In short, Apple’s quality these days just plain sucks. Is it as bad as Microsoft’s treatment of customers, and the Windows Vista debacle? After all, many Mac users, iPod users, iPhone users have seen no problems at all with their devices. We hear of Microsoft’s Vista customers and their anger, right?
Yet tens of millions of Vista customers are quite happy with their purchase, arguably one of the worst Microsoft products since Windows ME.
What’s going on? Two things. You can’t argue with this one: Apple is moving faster on many fronts than their competence can keep up.
And, secondly, I’m increasingly tired of recommending Apple products a solution to friends, family, businesses, only to see them have as many problems as they had with Microsoft, or Dell, or HP, or Blackberry, or whatever.
Clearly, in some areas, there isn’t much difference between the problems a PC user has and the problems current Apple customers have. Apple’s logo in recent years has been the shiny, metallic Apple. The shine is off, boys and girls. A pig in a poke is still a pig.
There’s one more problem.
If I can no longer in good conscience recommend Apple’s products because Apple’s quality control problems are increasing, what of my involvement and commitment to Mac360. After all, Mac360 has always been about the Mac, and Apple, and how much fun the Mac platform could be.
That was then, this is now. Ron and I have argued these points for over a month and have reached a not quite unanimous conclusion, summarized in the form of a question. Why continue to do what is no longer enjoyable? Why promote products and services which are increasingly reduced in quality?
We haven’t made a decision on what to do. Yet. We keep hoping that Apple will do something to surprise all of us again. Like, uh, well, oh, I don’t know—how about making something that just works? We had planned to introduce addition Apple product sites this year, for the Mac, for Mac software, for the iPod, for the iPhone, tips and tricks and so on.
That’s on hold as long as Apple continues to act like Microsoft. What do you think? Do we have a future of hope, or a future of no hope?