Why I don’t buy Apple

mac_crashMost posts on this forum are not what I’d consider opinion pieces; they’re descriptions of knowledge about what will happen in certain circumstances, not prescriptions as to what should happen.

However, in this post, I’m going to describe why I detest Apple Computer, Inc. and will not buy any of their products, least of all a Macintosh computer. Ever.

So it looks like my Macbook Pro hates me. My monitor won’t display anything even though the computer is on. I can even log in and turn the volume on and off. I can hear my email sound and everything…but the monitor just doesn’t work.

{ pause for about 24 hours }

So I went in and he went through all the simple resets and tests that I had already gone through and he told me it was the logic board. I asked him to check if it was the NVIDIA defect and he did. Wasn’t that. Either I pay 1200 for him to fix it in store or I pay 300 to send it away. Lame but I guess I have to send it away.

RTTP

This guy bought what’s probably a $1500 laptop and is now getting told that he can’t get it fixed here for a halfway decent price; he has to send it off, where the cost is that it’ll take a month to return. And why has the machine blown out?

The motherboard has failed.

macbombThis seems to happen to Apple machines quite a bit. You won’t find much mention of this in the spammy internet, but starting around the time of the Macintosh II, Apple began taking shortcuts with its motherboards. It mounted some directly on the plastic of the case, and with others, used daughterboards in odd configurations, or used sub-standard power supplies.

The result is that Apple computers have been blowing motherboards since 1987.

The company has no incentive to change this because they’ve got their audience on the hook. Apple’s marketing is like a microcosm of modern society: they convince you to buy the product for social reasons, surround you with people who chant blank-eyed about how great it is, and then hook you… if you want to be cool like us, you need to keep buying Apple stuff.

Even back in the 1980s, the Apple fanbase was notoriously dishonest about how much their machines failed, or even how they stacked up poorly compared to other machines. Apple users were even banned on several Houston BBSs because they couldn’t stop telling everyone else how inferior their machines were.

What causes this? First, the ego hook: Apple is the hip company (remember those “1984″ ads?). Second, the price hook: you just paid a lot more for this thing. It better be good! But if it’s not, what are you going to do… lower your social status by admitting you didn’t buy the luxury brand, Apple?

So Mac users buy their machines, take them home, and when the thing blows up, the repair price is usually the same… about 75% of the cost of a new one. What would you do in that case? Of course, you buy the new one, and start the depreciation curve over.

Or if you’re like this poor gent, you sent it off for the $300 repair, and see it again a month later. Back in the 80s, they used to repair machines with refurbed motherboards, which meant they were often back, and then got sent away to be seen a month later. After several months of no computer, that $1200 starts to look cheap.

The MacBook Pro 13″ has a 6bit display. That means it cannot really display millions of color. Yes, on Apple’s website it claims it can “support millions of colors,” but what they don’t tell you is that it does so through a process called “dithering.” Any designer knows what that means. Anyone else: it means the screen will display colors closely in a pattern in order to give you the perception of a blended color.

A few years ago, a few individuals started a class-action lawsuit against Apple for advertising millions of colors with their 6bit displays. Unfortunately, they needed a “class” for a class-action lawsuit, and not enough people cared/noticed. The matter was settled out of court.

You already know I’m a designer, so you know how important color is to me. A 8bit screen such as my 30″ Apple Cinema Display is able to achieve 16.7 million colors. A 6bit MacBook Pro screen? 262,144 thousand colors. That’s roughly 60 times less colors. That means for all of those colors it can’t display, it blends with nearby pixels. This is just embarrassing and unacceptable.

Louie Mantia

They’re able to do this because of the difference between appearance and reality. If they’re able to forge a fake appearance that appears to complement you, and raise your social status, then you’ll like a crack addict do anything to keep it up. That means shouting down others who don’t agree.

Since there are enough of you to cause problems for anyone trying to launch a product, career, or even just have friends, people learn to be quiet. And so the illusion spreads. Just like in our modern time, when we have a decentralized totalitarian state, where sacred dogmas are chanted at each other and those who disagree are seen as the modern untouchables.

It’s a mental control structure that’s hard to shake, isn’t it?

10 Comments

  1. kathi says:

    Really Brett – This argument is as old as “Ford or Chevy”.

    I’ve worked in the graphics industry for over 17 yrs. In that time I used BOTH Mac and PC. The Macs have consistently out-paced and out-lasted the PCs. At my current shop, we run 3 Macs and 7 PCs. The G4 is almost 9 years old and it still runs the new programs. My co-worker has the same model at home and it works just fine. The other 2 Macs, G5s, are not too far behind it in age.

    Only 1 PC in the shop is as old as the G4. It was built by one of our employees. All the other PCs are newborns by comparison and glitchy. This is with the exception of the 2 IBM models that are dedicated to running the Heidelberg software. They are not connected to the internet and only 2 or 3 people are allowed to touch them. Those run ok. But we have replaced a half dozen PCs while the Macs keep running strong.

    Maybe the PC vs Mac war all comes down to operator error. If you know how to run your machine (either type), you’re fine. If not, you’ll always look for someone else to blame.

    But in my 17 years as a graphic designer, nothing beats a Mac.

    1. hippie says:

      That’s horrible. You don’t replace PCs, you fix them, like old VW beetles.

      We’re also dealing with hardware here, you know. Under the “hood”, Macintosh is using the same architecture as a PC these days. A Mac is a PC, and there’s no war going on, it’s just brand-name elitism.

      It’s kinda like Coca-Cola buying their competitors’ generic brandless soda, then filling their Coke cans with it, and calling it Coke – their own brand of the same swill, and selling it at double the price. That’s what Apple is doing, just marketing regular hardware as proprietary stuff.

      If you wanted, you could run OS X on a plain old “PC” machine (god knows why anyone would) instead of the expensive white Apple box, which is basically just a glorified, shiny PC, but then Apple would lose what little hold on the market they have by becoming as open-ended as their competitors, which is why they’ve been getting pissed at people selling white boxes that look like Macs and run OS X, but are much more cheaply priced.

      http://lifehacker.com/348653/install-os-x-on-your-hackintosh-pc-no-hacking-required/

      Apple doesn’t want anyone to install their operating system on a different brand of hardware. They get more money by having proprietary hardware that only ‘experts’ can modify. To add insult to injury, they’ve sued companies in the past who made boxes with OS X installed on them because it’s “illegal”.

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  3. Lucy Smith says:

    Don’t buy apple computer!
    If you are a windows user, and are wandering around apple store, this message is for you. I have a macbook 13 inch for two years. My experience has been aweful. I am writing this note so that you will not go through the disappointment and madness I am feeling right now.

    Apple computers, imac, macbook, mac pro, and so forth, are all sold at premium price. For the money you take out of your pocket, I strongly believe that you deserve a premium product quality as well as reasonable technical support. But will you really be getting it? Not likely.

    First, the quality of the product. On the first day when I received my macbook and tested it out, I found that my external speaker did not work at all. The macbook was not able to play any sound unless I pluged in an earphone. I brought this brand new defect laptop to the apple store, and it took over a week for them to fix it. I had to go to the apple store again to pick it up. Moreover, my hard drive completely died one and half years after the purchase. I had no access at all to everything on the hard drive for over two weeks. Imagine if you are a student, and you are in the middle of writing an essay which was due the next day. Luckily, a very kind technician friend helped me to restore the data, otherwise I would be totally messed up. I don’t have apple care, so paid over $120 for replacing the dead hard drive. Now my power adaptor (the very infamous Magsafe) has been weird for more than half a year. When you plug it in, it is up to the mood of the Magsafe plug to decide whether it wants to work or not. It would drive you crazy sometimes regardless what you do, it won’t recharge your computer. — All you could do at that point is to watch your computer running out of battery and die. After a substantive research on the internet, I found many customers have pointed out that Magsafe is not reliable at all. Many of them were able to have a replacement. I talked with Genius Bar, and for some reason they just wouldn’t give me a replacement. I explained that this quality issue isn’t uncommon, and many users were able to get a replacement at the store. The Genius Bar technician just wouldn’t do it. They did give me an option: The price for a new power adaptor is $99.

    Next, the service. To be fair, I cannot say all of the apple store staff are like this, but most the points of contact I have encountered so far gave me a feeling that they don’t care what my problem is. All they want is to have you pay for something. They over-price the computers because they are overly proud of their products. And of course, they want your money.

    Maybe you are thinking about Apple care. Yes, apple care is good only if you are willing to pay $249 up to the front. I won’t complain about anything if I spill water onto my laptop because if that’s the case, I should be responsible for the accident that I caused. But the issues here are unsatisfying quality and unfair treatment by service staff especially when you think of how much you have paid for it.

    Finally, do the calculations. A macbook is $1100+ plus tax and plus all the troubles above. It’s just not worth it. I had a Dell before this macbook. It had problems, too. But Dell’s price is much more reasonable to me. After all, Dell was much more cost value efficient. Think twice. Apple macbook isn’t fancy at all.

    :(

  4. BargeA says:

    I have an iMac, and have owned several Macs, going back to the Mac Plus.

    Never had serious problem with any of them inside a reasonable life span (at least 3-4 years). Worst case was an optical drive that failed and was replaced under warranty. One hit ten years before any real problems started.

    And yes, they were used almost daily. The ones I have had in the last few years, since I got online, have been on more or less 24/7.

    Can’t complain at all about the basic material quality of Apple’s products.

  5. Colin Clark says:

    For me the attraction of using a mac is purely from a software aspect. Windows is just junk! This is just my opinion, but I think both XP and Vista are a total embarassment for Microsoft.

    I just got a new netbook that runs XP in July and I’m already having problems with spyware and viruses. This is in spite of all the crappy antivirus software that came installed on my machine.

    I don’t have this problem with my Mac. I ran OS Tiger for a few years with no issues. I then upgraded to Leopard and it’s been great as well.

    The only problem I’ve had with my Mac in 5 years is that the hard drive went out a year ago. I bought a new 250 gig drive for 35 bucks online and I was back in business in just over and hour.

    I’ve also used PC’s running Lennox (Ubuntu). It was okay, but I felt like it was too complicated to perform simple tasks like installing software and stuff like that.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I kind of hate Mac as well. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to easily run their software on any machine. They’d make more money in the long run.

    1. Bjørn L says:

      Colin: If you have problems viruses and spyware then you’re being incredibly naive. I have been running windows since 3.1 and have _n e v e r_ used antivirus software. In that time I’ve had one virus – CIH (1998) that i got because I ran a infected game I got from a friend.

      Wrt. the Mac vs Windows OS debate, Windows is way easier to use IMO. You could say that I’m “used to” the way windows works, which is true, but it’s a LOT easier for me to use/configure a Linux machine than it is a Mac. I just don’t think the way Steve Jobs do, I guess. (Also, I hate the fact that you cant configure a Mac. Steve Jobs Knows Whats Best For You…right?)

  6. The Crow says:

    Look at this.

    How are we ever going to get together on anything important when we split into opposing armies over which computer is best?

    I mean: is it really important why you run Apple gear?
    Why defend it so vehemently?
    You know it’s absolute crap :)

    I rest my case. (The generic PC-Clone type.)

  7. Steve says:

    Not to mention the mac book lite, they turn down the fans so that way it uses less energy, but really it fries the chip and mobo because it’s so hot. And apple does not make their computers, foxconn makes their computers, ipod, iphone, etc. All apple does it prototypes, design, and collect free money. Good thing to know :)

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