Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Three strikes for Apple

I may have spent my last dollar on Apple hardware. Which is a shame, really, as I’ve really come to like OS X. But the hardware failures are getting ridiculous. Putting aside the three iPods I’ve gone through in as many years, I will soon be getting the screen on my Powerbook replaced for the THIRD time.

I bought my Powerbook new in 2004, and ended up with one of the (many) screens exhibiting white spots. Finding that I couldn’t live with it, I sent it in for a screen replacement, which Apple gave me with no fuss. Unfortunately, the screen they gave me was only able to fully illuminate itself on one half of the screen. Since this was only really a pain when it was dark, and I wasn’t especially interested in being without my laptop for a week, I did learn to live with it. Last week, however, it had to go in for service for *another* hardware issue (RAM failure). So I asked them to replace the screen. They agreed, with just the slightest bit of prodding. I was very happy to get it back yesterday (and also for the almost-complete* backup that I’d done just before it went into self destruct mode).

And then I decided to spend a little time photo-editing on it today, which required a closer look at the screen. At least ten pixels or subpixels stuck in the on position. I don’t even want to bother looking for the dead pixels. It seems that Apple’s pixel policy is intentionally obfuscated, but I expect that this is such an obvious case that they won’t give me much trouble in getting it replaced. But that really isn’t enough to make up for the fact that Apple has yet to give me a fully working screen, despite the original $2200 purchase price and three attempts.

When I first decided to take a crack at OS X, I was prepared to pay a premium for both the hardware and software. I wasn’t, however, prepared to pay a premium for substandard hardware. Ah well, at least I’ve gotten (several times) my money’s worth out of the (overpriced, I first thought) AppleCare program . . .

*everything but an incomplete draft of a work of fiction. probably for the best.


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  1. MB

    Well, to their credit, it didn’t take too much convincing for the local (Clarendon) Apple store to agree to send the laptop back in for a screen replacement. As an added bonus, though, I discovered that Apple somehow screwed up my USB ports in the previous repair process.

  2. This is the only issue that keeps me from making the jump. I am so tired of Windows glitches, but I have had so many iPod issues, and everyone I know with a Mac seems to have it in for repair constantly. My Dell desktop just wore out a fan, but that’s the first thing that’s gone wrong with it in four years. (I’ve upgraded the RAM and the CD drive.) I’m on my second Dell at work, and I’ve had not one single problem. (Don’t talk to me about Gateway, though.) I have a new Dell laptop, which replaced a 7-year-old Compaq laptop that I bought used, which never gave me a second of trouble other than having an ancient and unreplaceable battery — I’m about to donate it to the local bike co-op since it still works fine.

    None of these machines is remotely sexy, but I have never had to send them in for repair, either. Jeremy is interested in OS X but not enough to sign on for hardware problems.

    He loves his Nano, though, and I dutifully replaced my Shuffle even though the first one fatally choked at thirteen months. And in the interest of honesty, I have to admit that I bought our 3rd-gen iPods in the summer of 2004, and we have had no problem at all with either except they are starting to have some low battery issues. I think I’ve had to reset mine once, and I even bought it used.

  3. Oops, I said I’d had “so many iPod issues” but what I really meant is that I have had iTunes issues. I hate iTunes so much that it makes me want to boycott Apple altogether. The only iPod issue I’ve had is that my stupid Shuffle up and died, and Apple’s response was “buy a new one.”

  4. MB

    I want to defend Apple, but . . . I don’t. I dig the aesthetic, and I am quite happy with the software. But what use is it, if it doesn’t work?

    And today I’m annoyed to discover that, despite my dropping it off on Wednesday to be shipped for repair, it it still sitting at the store. And to actually get a live person from the store on the phone? Impossible, it seems.

  5. Jen

    Hmm, I’ve had four Macs in the last 12 years and in all that time have never had to bring any of them in for service. Never had any data loss either. Ditto for my iPods. I retired my 2nd gen iPod last year because it was so big and bulky, but I used it heavily for three years with nary a significant problem. Maybe I’m just lucky.

  6. MB

    That’s what my general experience, pre-my Powerbook, had been. Which is part of the reason I bought a Powerbook instead of another Thinkpad. And I know that extrapolating from my personal experience isn’t the best, but . . . I just can’t stop being annoyed by three screen replacements. The first, I can understand, in that a human probably never looked at it. But these last two? Someone picked up the screen, attached it to my laptop, and looked at it. And then sent it to me, anyway.

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