One Year In: Apple Amazes/Disappoints

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by miked_in_canada, May 10, 2006.

  1. miked_in_canada macrumors member

    May 20, 2005
    Hey folks, I don't want to rain on the parade threads that usually dominate at this forum but I think I'm about to anyway. What I'm about to type is as honest as I can be about my experiences with Apple to this point.

    I would describe myself as a Mac User brought about by the iPod "Halo". I am hooked on Apple's snazzy, powerful and fun to use OS. I've always loved the design of the machines and finally I was in a position to own one. On May 20 of last year, I popped for an iMac G5.

    This is when the trouble starts. Though I couldn't use it very much at first because I was moving at the time, I did bring it out once in a while and carefully unpacked and repacked the iMac as if it were some sacred ritual. I played around with Garageband, got to know the features of Tiger and considered the computer as much a lifestyle change as anything else. The only weird thing was, the fans would go off all the time. Then one day I went to fire it up only to find the flashing globe, the flashing finder icon, and then finally... nothing.

    Turns out it was a hard drive failure and I was lucky to have Applecare's 90 days of service included w/purchase so they diagnosed it, found me a service technician. After two weeks of waiting for the replacement part, the iMac was ready the DAY BEFORE I was set to leave for the East Coast of Canada.

    While I was disappointed and hesitant to really trust the iMac with my data for a while, I got over it. In between, my folks decided to get me an iBook to start law school with. So now I was the proud owner of two macs. Though 10 days after my ibook was purchased, Apple upgraded them and all of my extra options (Bluetooth + bigger hard drive) became standard on the new iBooks. I had to call up Apple to grovel through 4 different employees for some form of compensation (which they reluctantly gave me).

    Things were fine and dandy until January when my iBook took a mild knock and the screen went all fritzy. I actually posted for help on this forum. This time, the iBook took three weeks to fix. The techs would later diagnose it as a hardware problem unrelated to any fall. But I was nervous as hell to even tell them I slipped on the ice with the iBook in my backpack. Apparently, there was a pre-existing hardware issue that was just waiting to be discovered. Lucky I was within warranty, they told me.

    Now today, I fire up my iMac and it suddenly doesn't want to recognize its internal speakers. I've done all the support docs ask me to, been through several forums and the techs I spoke to today are talking about replacing the logic board. I have 10 days left on my hardware warranty from Apple and after that I'm left with the 1 year purchase warranty extension my Visa gives me. Lucky again.

    This is to say nothing of the iSight I got for Christmas, that seems to work only when it feels like it.

    While I love my Apple products, I can't help but feel cheated here. Why are there so many problems with my products? I also get tired of surfing through support docs and apple forums to make them "work" the way I want them too. Every time I want to use my isight, I'm frustrated as hell. It doesn't just work, they way they say it should. Am I expecting too much here?

    I've given Apple close to $5Gs over the past 12 months for hardware, and I've had to go through support for factory defects three times. I've almost given up on my iSight as its becoming fairly useless to me. About the only thing I can count on is my iPod.

    My first year with Apple has been book-ended by support problems, and I don't know where it's going to end (probably when I run out of warranty $). I know this is probably better than whatever happens in Dell-Land, but I also know I'm paying a heck of a lot more for this frustration.

    Sorry for the rant, I'm almost at the end of my rope here.

    I would really like Apple to go the extra mile for me and give me some sort of break on an extended hardware warranty or something. Am I living in dreamland here? Do they do this?

    Can anyone else sympathize? Would I be better off selling this machines and getting the new intels?
  2. eji macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2004
    Inland Empire
    I think it has a lot to do with luck -- or lack thereof. There are some unfortunate users whose Apple products seem to be beset by nothing but problems (I think iGary is one of them), and they try their best to enjoy them and remain excited about the company's offerings despite these continual slaps in the face.

    Between my wife and I, we have owned a Rev B iMac G5, a Rev A iBook G3, an old school Graphite AirPort, an iSight and an iPod, and have had nothing but acceptable to outstanding experiences with them. AppleCare had me covered with no questions asked when my original Graphite AirPort went on the fritz (it was an early model and conked out after five years of continuous use; it wasn't the widely documented transistor problem), but I've never had any other reason to rely on AppleCare or complain to customer service about my hardware.

    All the same, as more switchers join the Apple fold and the company's popularity and market share increase, I think there are going to be a lot more questions like yours about quality control and what's expected of customer service. If Apple wants the prestige of not being Dell and being a better all-around "experience" for the user, then Apple should go the extra mile when it comes to pleasing the customer. They ought to come as close as possible to a Nordstrom's kind of policy on returns.... that is, if you're not satisfied, you get an immediate even exchange or your money back. Apple has never been a computer manufacturer for the budget consumer, therefore I don't think it's asking too much for high-end machines to be backed up by high-end customer service and tech support. To restate: it's not about a clunky low-end box to check your e-mail, it's about the entire experience.

    So after all the crap you've been through, I agree that you should probably get something for your trouble. At the very least, Apple should replace the faulty hardware with brand new machines without giving you any resistance. There's always someone who will happily take the refurb that your computer becomes. My only reservation about your problems concerns the iBook being updated 10 days after purchase -- you bought what you did when you bought it, and that's that. I've experienced buyer's remorse more than a few times, and not only with Apple products; but if you want bigger, better, faster and more for less money, especially when it comes to electronics, then wait, because the flashy new upgrade is always just around the corner.

    Hope you decide to stick with Apple, and I hope you have better luck in the future.
  3. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2006
    Personally, i think that you are EXTREMELY unlucky. I have only had two problems after 6 years of mac use. I do not think that Apple will give you an extended warranty; almost certain of it. All i can say is bad luck.
  4. xyian macrumors 6502


    May 24, 2004
    It sounds like a patch of lemons you've been served up. You have to
    remember, these aren't machines that are custom made/hand assembled
    things, they are mass produced machines. I'm certain the qc/qa issues are
    just as they are with any company. Hell, they are made by people that
    probably can't even afford a computer, much less know what it's supposed
    to do!
    Stick it out. I switched about 2 years ago and I don't regret it one bit. I have
    had very minimal issues mind you, but when you finally do get something that
    works well, you're gonna be super happy about it.
    Good luck!
  5. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Nov 17, 2004
    The Msp
    I agree that it seems to be a matter of luck. The only bad Apple experience I've ever had was with the Intel iMac I got a few months back, but they were kind enough to issue a full refund for that, so I'm happy. I've never before nor since had any problems, neither have people I've known with Macs. I'm sorry for your bad luck, but I'm afraid to say it's just that - bad luck. I hope your next Apple computer works out better!
  6. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    Your ordeal is mild compared to mine (and I don't mean that to minimize your experience), but I feel your pain.

    Are they fixing the logic board?
  7. quidire macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    I'm 19 months in and...

    I'd say I'm by and large happy; my PB's hard drive failed, and I took it in only to learn I never actually registered my applecare and thus my warranty expired a few months before. One call to applecare's call center and this was fixed.

    I guess I'd identify that as the difference. Apple makes big mistakes all the time, BUT they are better about fixing them. Dell jerked my around for two years about an overheating graphics chip. That laptop is collecting dust in some box; I won't even sell it, it'd be unethical.

    If anything irritates me about OS X, its the opportunities not (yet) taken. Apple could (and hopefully will) take this platform so much farther, and leverage these technologies they have designed even more aggressively. Right now it seems they are just collecting the low hanging fruit.

    With other operating systems, they seem so poorly designed that it is hard to speculate on transformative improvements, when so many flaws remain unaddressed.

    Ultimately, I have nowhere else to go; I can't go back to windows, I don't really want to go back to Linux, and so a (happy) Apple user I will remain.
  8. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I had a variety of issues with 2 of the Macs I've owned. My cube had a bunch of problems, and my PB hard drive (and I believe logic board) died on two occasions. The turnaround time was absolutey god-awful as well. I actually bought a desktop while my PB was being fixed.

    However, I think this is due to manufacturing issues in general, not just Apple. I've got 15 year old inkjets that work better than the one I bought last year, and computers don't last as long (hardware-wise, not usability-wise) as they used to.
  9. YS2003 macrumors 68020


    Dec 24, 2004
    Finally I have arrived.....
    So far, all of my Mac products are free from warranty related issues. Even though the past performance is no guarantee for the future one, I feel the current Macs will keep going and going. I have Applecare for my 2 PBs (Ti's AC has expired several months ago). I have just purchased the Applecare for my iBook (which I bought in Sept 2005).

    Since Apple is going to transition all of their Mac to Intel chips, how does Apple take care the sever warranty cases (under which Apple considers replacing the unit altogether than replacing parts here and there)? If needed, do they replace it with Intel MacBook if the warranty repair calls for the replacement unit after MacBook replaces iBook in the near future.
  10. miked_in_canada thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2005
    Update on iMac

    Hey folks, a few weeks later and I feel the need to update this post.

    The last time I wrote the forum it was just the speakers. I called up the Apple Customer Relations folks and relayed the facts of my original post to them. I expressed my disappointment and concern that something was underlying all of these problems I was having.

    As it turns out, the techies replaced both my speakers and the LOGIC BOARD to get the iMac up and running. By the time I got it back I was 4 days out of warranty. So I get it back and there's this noise I notice. It's a very familiar noise, sort of a whiny hum. Only this time it fluctuates its pitch with how much work the iMac is doing. This is familiar to me because this is the noise my iMac was making out of the box when I first got it before I brought it in to be told that the noise is normal, just weeks before my hard drive failed entirely.

    I've always suspected this was a heat/cooling problem, but I'm not a technician and don't really know how to diagnose my computer's problems.

    So I call the techs again and they can hear this noise over the phone. They instruct me to bring it in. Of course, I tell them I'm 4 days out of warranty on this thing. A few days later they call back and tell me it's now the fan that's a problem.

    So in the space of the last three weeks of my warranty, my iMac is confounding the techs and it's had three parts replaced. Throughout this entire ordeal, I've been trying to convince Apple that there is something at the root of this problem that's not been addressed. Apple gives me the old "tut-tut sir, these things happen with consumer electronics, this is why we have a manufacturer's warranty...I CAN offer you AppleCare for the low low price of....".

    In any event, I finally had the technicians call Apple up and explain everything in words I can't. Apple called me back and said they'd pay for the fan and the labour. At this point, I called the techs and thanked them and also asked to run my iMac through the gamut of tests to make sure the fan is the root cause of these issues.

    Now today I get the call. My iMac has had four parts replaced and is still making this noise. They are of the opinion that this is a lemon. They want to appeal to Apple for a whole unit replacement, but I'm out of warranty.

    The thing is, I'm positive that this problem has existed all along and I've been told that this noise was normal (it's possible the tech misdiagnosed it when I first got the iMac). Sure the computer was running, but not as it should have been. I'm bracing myself for Apple to disappoint and tell me to fly a kite.

    So a timeline recap now:

    May 19, 2005: Purchase iMac

    May 31, 2005: iMac makes weird noise and refuses to boot (flashing finder/question mark). Taken to technician. Days later, the tech returns it to say the noise is "normal" and the iMac is booting again.

    Late-July 2005: The iMac again won't boot into OS X and is still making a weird whiny-hum. The Technician later diagnoses a hard drive failure.

    August 21, 2005 (the Day before my move out east): The hard drive is replaced and I get the iMac back. The iMac still makes the noise but it is less acute and what I figured was "normal".

    May 10, 2006: The speakers fail and are not being recognized. I take it to the techs and call Apple to express my fears. I tell Apple all of what I've told you folks and it took two reps to actually believe me. They refuse to extend the warranty and instead put a vague "note" on my case of my "concerns". I tell them I'm also worried about the logic board considering the techs thought that might be an issue as well. They note this too.

    May 19, 2006: Warranty expires.

    May 23, 2006: iMac comes back and the techs have replaced the speakers and the logic board. (Total Parts replaced: 3).

    May 23, 2006: I hear this noise again only a bit louder than normal. I call the techs who can hear it over the phone, they tell me to bring it in.

    May 23, 2006: I get on the phone to Apple who reads my case and tells me: "Well, you're warranty is out so I'm not quite sure why you're calling us." I ask them to look for this note of my concerns, this guy doesn't find any "note" except for the logic board and gives me the same old "out of warranty" song and dance. I tell them to call my techs who can verify my story and give him the details, Apple does and calls to tels me they will pay for parts + labour on the fan.

    June 1, 2006: Today. I get a call from the techs telling me the fan has been replaced but the noise is still there. I tell them I think I got a lemon, and the techs agree. But they are also concerned about the warranty issue here. They want to advocate a whole unit replacement (considering the 4 replacement parts). Now I'm left with the unenviable position of having to call a technician out for possibly misdiagnosing this noise a year ago to found this claim under warranty. I've made that phone call and I'm waiting for him to call back.

    Does anyone care to handicap my chances with Apple here?

    Sorry for the length.

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