I was reading a number of the posts recently that deal with quality issues. If you don't mind reading on, I would like to suggest a theory based on experience... I worked for Video Concepts and Circuit City for quite some time. I watched different manufacturers and their quality as they came through the store. The once brand that I saw a marked difference in while I was in the Audio/Video biz was Sony. I know that might sound strange, but yes indeed Sony. I saw the quality of Sony drop as the consumer demand for Sony products rose. People began to come in and ask for Sony products first, and then allow us (sometimes) to show them products from other companies who we believed had a better product at the time. We saw numerous quality issues with TV's, stereos and the likes. You could say we saw more issues because we sold more units, but I don't think that is the case. We looked inside a Sony reciever at one time and saw the heat dissapator had gone from an aluminum block to tin foil (exaggeration to get my point across). This saves them money. Not alot, but every short cut here and there saves money. When you are trying to raise your profit margin even by a percent or two, every penny saved is a penny to the bottom line. How does that pertain to our Apple products? As Apple has increased their recognition via the iPod, pro lines, and Macs, they have begun to come under increased pressure by shareholders and management itself to get more profits. When Apple was just selling computers and hacking away at 3% of the market, they HAD to make a quality product or risk ticking off the 3% of the people who bought their product. Yes, it may seem that Mac users are so die-hard that even they would drive a Yugo once-in-a-while, but in reality I don't think Apple wanted to take that chance. When the iPod came out, in what seems like a decade ago, Apple saw that they had a winner on their hands. Before long, you see iPod sales going through the roof, and increased talk about the "halo effect", which is an industry term for a product that helps sell other product lines within the company. People bought iPods, they saw the product was awesome, well-built, and most of all easy to use, and they began to look at other things that Apple made, primarily iBooks, Macs, and the Mac Mini. Apple not only makes money on the iPod, but they start to move product from their other lines as well. The effect of this is that BW and other mags have been quoted as saying that 1 million PC users have switched to Macs this year alone. That is great for Mac users all around, since we know Apple is not going anywhere in the near future. As the number of users grows, the number of units needed has grown also. To counter the need for more units, Apple has to make more to sell more, and beyond the need for more units, Apple needs to get them out as soon a possible, and they are willing, I believe, to risk quality issues to get them out. I think it goes along with the principle of easier to ask forgivness later than to get permission now. In other words, deal with the complaints as they come in, rather then heading them off now and risk delaying product shipments, and losing customers. The thought being that at least the customer spent money on the product, they are hooked, and you fix what you need to if it comes up. Another aspect to consider is that now that the shine is on Apple, investors are demanding more profits, Wall Street is saying that Apple is a great buy, and these things combined means that Apple has to shave a penny here and there to increase profit margins and satisfy their shareholders and Wall Street. Again, if the shaving of a penny here and there affects quality, sell the product and deal with the complaints after they come in. The new Nano and iPod are the perfect example of this thought process. I have had the 3rd, 4th and now 5th Generation iPod. To say that the 5th generation iPod has the same material make-up as the 4th generation is completely false. One has only to look at them to see that this is untrue. I had more scratches in 1 hour on my 5th gen iPod than I did in 1 month with the 4th and 3rd generation. Quality is down for sure. The Nano is also suffering in quality issues. Apple was finally forced to do something because so many people complained. But they already had the product in their hand, so Apple still wins. I see it going across the line to the computers as well. I have read numerous posts here and other sites about problems with the new Powerbooks and other products from Apple. Without a doubt the quality is down. It doesn't surprise me one bit. Apple isn't just for die-hard Mac users anymore. It is going mainstream. And with the mainstream comes the pressure of performance; to investors, shareholders and Wall Street. Who suffers as a result? You and I. The ones who have been here for the long haul. We have stuck by them for this long. Will we continue to stick by Apple and watch the quality go down? Only you and your wallet can decide that.