Apple Product Quality

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gman021, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Gman021, Dec 11, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013

    Gman021 macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    I wanted to see what people think about the quality of their rMBP's or retina iPads.

    Everywhere I go I hear of screen issues. Even replacements need replacements. And to top it off I don't think Apple admits it.

    Does anyone think their manufacturing quality for certain products as taken a nosedive, or it just the norm?

    I guess I'm asking past vs present.
  2. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    Apple quality is tops in the industry. When you go to tech support websites, expect to see people with tech support problems. It's that simple.
  3. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    Apple products are industry-leading in every category. Forums are a bad place to judge quality because they always attract hard-to-please consumers looking for a an avenue to gripe about every tiny issue they can find.

    The MacBook line of computers scores the highest reviews across the board. You can't buy a better laptop. The retina displays receive incredible reviews and they truly are the best screens to be found in any computer on the market today.

    And of course iPad defines the tablet category and sets an impossibly high bar for the rest of the industry. The iPad Air and iPad Retina Mini are the best-of-breed tablet devices that every consumer should aspire to own. The displays in both these devices are the best in the business and of course the overall experience is second to none.

    So in short: there are no manufacturing issues. Apple products continue to set the gold standard.
  4. Gman021 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    I definitely agree their products are unique and frontrunners in their respective categories but I've been wondering if the quality now vs past has changed.

    You'll always have issues, but I wonder if there are more now than previously.
  5. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    Quality has taken a huge nosedive in my opinion, especially with the Retina MacBook Pro.

    Just look at my thread here:

    To summarise that thread, I went through four rMBP all with yellow discoloration in the bottom half of the screen. Other posters in that thread also went through the same issue. Near the bottom of the first page I determined that between just four users we had encountered 18 defective rMBP's between us in a 30 day period through multiple returns.

    It never used to be like this. I've had four previous Apple Notebooks all purchased without incident and free of any defects over the past decade until these latest models.

    Last year my friend bought a 2012 Retina Macbook Pro soon after they released. He had to return his first one because of a screen issue also. It would appear to me that the screens are Apples achilles heel.
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Every single Apple product has had known problems. Can't really be avoided with a mass production. I suppose they could improve the quality control somehow, but that would increase delivery times and price. I see no reason to suggest that the quality has decreased. The rMBP build quality is much better than say, the plastic MacBook or the old PowerBook. There does seem to be a slightly higher screen issue rate with current models, but this is undoubtedly a byproduct of new technology.
  7. iCreak macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2013
    i believe their QC used to be good in the old days, because my wife's old unibody 2008 macbook is fantastic. But I went through 3 replacement rmbp.

    macbook 1: creaking case
    macbook 2: horribly creaking case
    macbook 3: right speaker not working out of the box.
    macbook 4: ??? apple is waiting for unit 3 to arrive back at their deposit before they want to consider replacing unit4.

    i.e. QC is very very very bad nowadays.
  8. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    any gadget will have a problem. not every but some… I've had two of my Macs have screen issues. But apple did fix the issue.
  9. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    Dude, just read the forums and you'll see there are issues. Probably in the minority, but saying there are "no issues" just screams ignorance.
  10. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    I don't think there's much difference. What distorts the picture is that the overall volume of units shipped has increased, so virtually by definition, the number of reports of problems will increase as well.

    Quu's thread is large anecdotal and, more important, not really comparative with respect to previous generations.

    I agree with tech4all: yes, there are issues, and dumastudetto's broad strokes claims are false. But anyone claiming that the number of issues has either increased or decreased is likely not basing that claim on empirical and statistically valid samples and instead is using anecdotal evidence.
  11. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    probably about as good as they can be for the prices they're selling them at.. a 'perfect' mbp would be $10,000 or smthng and i think less than 25% of people would buy at that cost so they can't really go that route.

    dunno-- say they're at 80% right now.. it would cost another $7500 to clear up the other 20%
  12. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    It is only my opinion that quality has dropped. To get empirical evidence I would need to see a large percentage of all shipped Retina Macbook Pro's which is obviously not possible and comparing the past notebooks I have is also not a good baseline because I only ever owned four Apple notebooks over a 10 year period.

    But I can't help but feel the way I do in my gut just because of how many of us have experienced this yellow screen issue. I mean it's so crazy for one person to go through 4 units all directly from China not from a single batch all built 1 to 2 weeks apart from each other and all of them to suffer the same exact defect.

    But then to expand that out to 4, 5, 6 even 10 posters who have all had the exact same experience going through 3, 4 some even 8 MacBook Pro's all with again the same shared defect of a yellow screen?

    This tells me that there is something wrong, again I'm not asserting empirical evidence it is all anecdotal and I agree but in my own opinion there is something going on with the quality control, either Apple is aware of the problem and doesn't care or they are completely ignorant over their own manufacturing plants in China, one thing for sure we are not a small percentage, it's just so statistically improbable for some of us to go through up to 8 units and find the same exact fault in all of them, again in my opinion.
  13. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    The problem, however, is one of selection bias. The people most likely to respond to your thread are going to be those with problems. It's like assuming there's an epidemic because you go to a clinic and there's a bunch of mostly sick people there.

    You raise the issue of the yellow screens specifically and an individual user going through multiple models, all of which exhibit the problem. Was there a problem around launch time that took a while to fix? Perhaps. Could a small group of users have especially exacting standards whereas the rest of the user base thinks things are up to snuff? Maybe. Is that really an Apple QC thing? Debatable. Does that mean that overall QC has taken a hit? Again, debatable.

    My own anecdotal experience (N=2) with this round has actually been good, but I also don't read much of anything into that. I just haven't seen enough widespread reports to believe there's a QC problem though. Put it this way—when an issue really is widespread, it appears on the front page of Macworld, MacRumors, etc. That simply hasn't been the case thus far, and that leads me to suspect (although certainly not conclude) that QC is not demonstratively worse now.
  14. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    That's still just emotional, because we don't know how many people don't have the problem. We see success stories much rarer here than problems.
    Secondly, Apple doesn't produce displays. I honestly have no clue how good the yield of large retina displays is, these days. If you were Apple and got 50% of the displays shipped with unsatisfactory quality, out of which 10% are so bad that they won't pass the burn-in test, what would you do?
    Shelf 50% of your production or just 10% and still pass that 40% ?
    PS I have no idea how Apple behaves, I just ask a rhetorical question.
  15. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    The thread on Apple forums is almost 600 pages;

    Having read over a 100 pages, it's clear that this is not the result of just a bad patch.

    What scares me personally is that image retention is one of those things (on Plasma at least) that gets worse over time. It's a signal that the panel is of lower quality and failing, slowely. So people with perfect screens today might have IR in a year or two years.

    Though there is nothing to back this up. As others said, even a big pool of people might not even be 1% in a sea of customers. But then again, many customers might be generally ignorant, think it's a natural bi-product, may be average users who don't notice it that much because all they do is email, facebook and youtube.

    Regardless we can't jump to conclusions.

    What's really important at this stage;

    1) Many people have gone to Apple stores and have had no **** about getting a replacement. That at least is a big comfort in that they are so understanding, and not trying to make customers go away like some other businesses.

    2) It affects all models, 13 and 15, LG and Samsung. 2012, early 2013 and late 2013, have been affected. But people have also had perfect screens in these incrementals. It might be a yield problem, who knows.

    3) Applecare seems like a good idea at this point. It will further add to price, but you might say that you can get up to 3 years of warranty. At any rate you will keep having to get it replaced until they give you a new one or it will be an absolute farce.

    Incidently, two other things could happen;

    1) If this problem turns out to be massive (image retention and yellow tint) they might do a recall. I personally think they won't do a recall over uneven color, backlight bleeding or yellow tint because imacs in the past have suffered from other tints, and as have many other computers. I think that's just a bi product of laptop screens, even if power users will keep yapping about their old screens superiority. There is nothing new about technology degrading in certain areas even as other areas advanced.
    IPS is great but it comes with some faults, and other manufactureres with these high res screens are also getting image retention.

    Maybe when OLED comes, there will be other problems we don't have now. maybe when glasses free 3D displays come we will have even completely other problems we don't have now. Trade offs all around. A year ago, people boosted about waiting because for the Haswell models because first gen technology is always ridden with bugs. Well, these new Haswell machines already seems to have at least as many problems if not more than the 2012 models.
    And that's a good remember for the people who are now yapping about Broadwell update in 2014. It might very well have it's own unforseen mass produced problems.

    So my contengency is this; Nothing is perfect. That's an oxomoron. There will always be flaws, and even if you feel you are entitled to perfection for 3000 Dollars, it won't mean the world will abide. We all have preferences and individual tolerance levels.
    For me, yellow tint and backlighting is not the end of the world. What's the end of the world for me is image retention as it has almost ruined the way I watch TV on my LG 60 inch Plasma. A TV I love and that is well regarded by all.
    But that's me. For others IR will not be that annoying, but yellow tint will be the end of all things.
  16. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    May I add to this the saga of exploding pixels?
  17. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    I personally went through four rMBP from October 22nd to December 5th. All with the same yellow tint. I've now ordered a 5th model yesterday because my 17" MBP's 9600GT is dying and causing lockups, I now need a new laptop.

    It is so statistically unlikely for me to get four all with the same fault. I even bought an expensive calibrator which gave the display 0 out of 5 for white balance. I had my wife check each one I received and she could see the yellow without coaching.

    My standards aren't too high, I didn't get a bad batch they were all brand new straight from china built weeks apart.

    If my 5th unit is also yellow I'm going to say there is a serious problem. And I don't know why MacRumors won't cover the story many of us in the yellow screen thread have contacted them and we don't get a single reply. There is more than enough evidence in the 55 page thread here on MacRumors. People messaging about it, taking pictures of the yellow on their screen and even colour calibrator test results. There is also a 600 page thread on Apples own support forums on the issue of display problems with the last 70 pages or so being filled with lots of reports of yellow screen issues.
  18. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    I initially typed out a long reply, but ultimately I don't think we're going to get anywhere. I still believe one or more of the hypotheses from my previous reply is probably accurate. (Selection bias + idiosyncratic standards in particular would explain every single thing you said.) Sorry you've been unhappy with your purchases.
  19. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    I don't know why you'd need to be sorry john, you don't work for Apple do ya? :p

    All I want is a working rMBP. One with a screen that can actually show me a white without it turning yellow. I'd also like one without a broken enter key like the 3rd unit I received had.

    I hope to god that this 5th model I'm going to receive is perfect because it has now reached the point where I need a new laptop.

    I already have my doubts that the 5th one I receive will be perfect. I already fear it too will have the yellow blotches in the bottom 50% of the panel but if that is the case I am going to get it replaced and I will continue to replace until I get a good one. Maybe I'll end up going through 7 or 8 like some of the people in the Yellow thread.

    If I had got one I would have said yeah I got unlucky. Two bad ones? Ok it happens. Three? This is not right. Four? What the hell is going on Apple?
  20. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    That's been mostly my experience too, but there are enough quality "snafus" from Apple over the years, I don't think it's fair to say that their quality control "never used to be like this".

    If anything, the lesson to me would be that if you have an Apple product with an issue, keep pressing back on Apple to have it resolved. It seems like in most cases, they will eventually make it right.

    Here is a paragraph from a MacWorld review of Apple notebooks from back in 2003.

    There are more Titanium and Aluminum PowerBook quality issues listed here and here. Apple had to create "Repair Extension Programs" for two of the Aluminum PowerBook problems.

    iBooks from 2001-2003 had enough issues with components failing on the logic board to get their own worldwide logic board repair extension program.

    In 2006, a lot of MacBooks were affected by the "Random Shutdown Syndrome", where when a component inside got hot enough, the MacBook would turn off. This quality issue got enough traction that zdnet published an article telling owners how to proactively check for it.

    MacBook Pros were notorious for yellow tinted screens back in 2008, very similar to what's going on now (IMO). A MacRumors user, doing the same thing you are doing (return MBPs with yellow tinted screen) ended up getting banned from Amazon for life because of it. :/

    In 2010, yellow tint issues were affecting iMacs, and it got a fair amount of coverage in the blogosphere:
    Apple admits to yellow-tint iMac issues | Macworld
    The Conclusion to the Faulty iMac Saga: The Beginning of the Fix - gizmodo
    How to address a cracked, flickering, or yellow-tinted 27-inch iMac screen - cnet
    Apple Acknowledges, Will Service iMac Screen Color Issues - gigaom
    Apple Claims Display Issues on 27-Inch iMac Have Been Addressed - macrumors

    There are other quality control snafus (from swelling batteries to bad capacitors in iMacs to hi-res G4 screens with horizontal banding issues) to pad between the dates above, but I think enough is listed to demonstrate that quality issues and Apple aren't anything new.
  21. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    I wish you good luck but honestly, I think you may be banging your head against the wall. Every single new rMBP and iMac I have seen lately has the "yellow tint issue". Not one of them was perfect or near perfect. The people who say they have a perfect one are either in denial or just aren't looking. And that's fine. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be happy. If they are satisfied then that's great! However, I believe that this is just the way these screens are for now.

    The good news is that you can calibrate away much of the yellow. However, this is more of a mask than a fix. My hope is that eventually Apple will get better panels than the ones they are currently using.

    Overall, I still think Apple's computers are the way to go. They are top notch, high quality units that are unfortunately burdened by inferior quality panels.
  22. superego macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Apple products are great if you happen to be lucky enough to get a flawless product. Yes, you have to be lucky. Odds seem to be that you'll have to deal with some kind of a flaw right out of the box (such as subpar display, creaking chassis, warped case, scratches in aluminum and so on) and think whether you can live with it or not. It's not uncommon at all to have several issues either. The quality control is way too loose. The worst thing is that it's not going to change as long as there are a lot of people who are willing accept clear defects. What's also puzzling is that are companies that manufacture laptops which cost a fraction of Apple laptops, yet they are much more consistent in quality.
  23. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    wow interesting stuff. Had no idea about this with Powerbooks! Very cool articles!
  24. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    This is absolutely preposterous. There's no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that a "flaw right out of the box" is more likely than not.
  25. DarwinOSX macrumors 65832

    Nov 3, 2009
    My late 2013 rMBP is as close to perfect as any current laptop can get.


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