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Apple Quality Control: An Editorial Rant

The discovery yesterday that the G5 I received at work had a malfunctioning logic board, had to be declared DOA, and is boxed up awaiting FedEx to come pick it up drove a very important point home for me: Apple’s quality control sucks.

4 out of the last 6 Apple machines I have either bought for myself or used at work have had to be replaced. Several years ago, the logic board failed on my DP G4 400mhz tower. I had to send it in for a new one. Then the NEW one had the same problem. And I had to trade out again. After that I had an iBook that worked like a charm. I sold the DP and bought a 867mhz G4 that also worked fine (although the hard drive did fail on it 6 months into ownership, but rather than be without it for over a week, sending it to Apple and getting a replacement, I just swapped the drive out with another one I had laying around.) I sold the iBook and was portable-less for a time. I bought my 12-inch this summer. Four days after purchase I realized that the entire machine wobbled and was ever-so-slightly warped, so I took it back to the Westchester Apple Store and demanded that they replace it. They did. My current 12-inch doesn’t wobble and didn’t have to be replaced, but 6 months into ownership of it and all the feet are missing from the bottom of the machine and the internal mic has failed. I will send this in to be repaired under Apple Care soon, but I am not entirely sure how to do that, considering phone support costs $45 now that I am out of my 90 day free phone support window. Then yesterday, I discover that my two day old G5 at work has a malfunctioning logic board and that is why all nine fans were running at full speed 24/7.

For as long as I can remember, the conventional Mac wisdom has been “Don’t buy the first generation of any Mac product.” Why is the burden of this put on the consumer? Shouldn’t Apple step up to the task of releasing products that work properly without so many production defects (like exploding batteries, wobbling powerbooks, spots on the screen, or failing logic boards)?