Dissilusioned and frustrated - back to the bad old days?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sgw123, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. sgw123 macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2008
    I am getting very frustrated with recent Apple build quality and I guess that frustration is compounded by the unattractiveness of the Windows alternatives.

    For about ten years or so I could always rely upon, to a large degree, the Mac, whether it be desktop, Mini or laptop. They always seemed to work. Then recently within the space of a week a mini and the white macbook corked it - both just outside two years of purchase.

    So, after the glossy Macbook Pro introduction, I decided to buy the previous Macbook Pro (2.4ghz with 4g ram) for a good price (well - good compared to other Mac products).

    I've never been so disappointed in a Mac product in my life. The simplest of things are way out of whack. The wireless connnectivity is beyond awful. I've tried any fixes I can get hold of from the web. Nothing seems to work. On top of that - the audio headphone out is a hissy noisy mess - it's basically unuseable.

    Two basic functions - which on a cheap computer nowadays are taken for granted - are almost unuseable - on a top of the range mac laptop.

    What's going on at Mac? About ten months ago I had been putting off buying a tablet because of the rumours going about - only for the Macbook Air to be their best offering. Having looked at the feedback on these machines - it seems these too are full of bugs and basic operational issues.

    On my latest machine, perhaps I've missed an obvious setting, but I cannot figure out how to have it remember that I want the finder to open everything in list view. I may be missing something - but I've never had this be an issue before.

    My first Mac was the black laptop about ten years ago - and I was always unimpressed with Apple's customer service. It seems the dark days have returned. What with the glossy only screens on laptops, no Mac Mini updates, and the problems with the Air and Macbook Pros, we are once again having to 'suffer' Apple rather than truly enjoying our purchases as we have seemed to be doing more recently. It seems that we, as loyal Mac customers, are again in the position of being dictated to and 'having to' buy a Mac rather than doing so willingly and out of choice.

    Am I expecting too much? I can't tell you how frustrated I am at having bought a 'top of the line' (albeit one generation removed) machine - only for it to fail to do the kind of thing a netbook does in its sleep - connect to the internet reliably and play back music out of the headphone jack.

    Perhaps Mr Jobs has his eye on new markets etc. If so, where should I go for a reliable computer which isn't bound by the limitations of Windows?
  2. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    My unibody is flawless out of the box.

    Customer service has always been great for me.

    The new Airs have no functional issues (the old ones did).

    You're 'Book sounds broken, send it back.
  3. sgw123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2008
    That's very good news for you.

    I guess my thread is a bit of a more overall question - have longtime users been finding that standards and general attitude to customers have been slipping?

    It may well be that my recent experiences have just been bad luck - and that's kind of what I'm hoping to get a sense of.

    It certainly seems to me that right now - both Apples' attitude to their customers and their products' quality has taken a massive slide.

    That's not to say that the majority of products out there don't work as advertised.
  4. Fidgetyrat macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    I tend to agree with you. I was using a TiBook for over 6 years as my main every day computer. This computer was fantastic. I never had any problems that weren't simple fixes, never had to worry about overheating, or pushing the machine to its limits (or rather to what it SHOULD be able to do).. It seemed like apple took pride in making a solid machine. They didn't necessarily have to compete in the "arms race" so to speak. It took a while for updates, but when they came, they worked.

    So far I've owned the new unibody replacement for a few short months and already it has multiple chronic issues apple fails to address or in some cases acknowledge. I'm always paranoid what I am doing will over heat the machine which is completely silly.

    We are in a time when mobile processors and graphics chips are not running as cool as they should and instead of coming up with better cooling mechanisms, all they care about is "thinner".

    One thing has not changed and that is their willingness to work with the customer and at least try to make things right. Without that at least, I would have easily just given up.
  5. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    If Apple didn't move forward, people would complain that they were overdue to refresh products. I think they were under pressure to revamp the MBP on this last update when they actually felt that their current offering was a good product. Customers demanding upgrades only increases the stress on an already high production capacity. The truth is that up until the Alu Powerbooks, Apple had a very small market share and could take the time to provide quality laptops (though at a premium price). Today we still endure that premium price, but since production has ramped to an all-time high, quality seems to be diminishing. This is a fact with any product mass-produced and not only limited to Apple.

    I had a Tibook (sold last summer), and 12" powerbook (sig), neither with issues so far. I've had 2 replacement MBPs since I bought my 2.33 in Dec 2006 so I can see where you are going with this.
  6. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    You're kidding right?

    I don't doubt that yours was fine but...

    I had a 2nd Gen TiBook and some of the most notable problems were soft paint that scratched, hinges that tended to crack unless you pried them apart a bit, keys that scraped and damaged the screen, carbon fiber subframes that cracked the tabs, REALLY poor wifi range, etc. If you came off a Pismo the TiBooks had all manner of problems that really felt like QA issues and poor build quality because they were shooting for a thin computer. I missed out on the increased TiBook screen res by a month and if the 2nd gen 15" Unibody jumped to 1600x1200 people would start bitching that Apple has lost their way and never would have done that in the past. Then lets talk about the dreaded AlBook white screen splotches.

    I've been a Mac user for a very long time and while Apple has fluctuated, every company does, the build quality doesn't seem that much worse than what any of their first gens suffer from, and their customer service is still extremely good. In fact, as companies grow its usually the CS that suffers first.

    Everyone has their opinion, but we all tend to romanticize the past.
  7. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I have had mac's since 1990 and yes I agree they don't build them like they used to. IMO it's because they are just farmed out to factories that make everyone else's machines.
  8. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    I don't think you're alone. I purchased a new MBP in early '07, and have had no issues with it. While others are experiencing bad graphics cards and a host of other problems, mine has been perfect. In fact, it's the longest I've ever had a laptop.

    Thinking that this would be the case with all Apple products, I purchased an iphone, which ended up having a large number of dead pixels. I told myself that it must have been an isolated incident, I purchased a MBA, which wobbled quite a bit. I took that back to get another with a non-working trackpad button. I finally got a good machine on the third try.

    Just recently, I purchased a late 2008 MBP, fully configured. Though I think it's my favorite computer ever, I'm having heat issues with it while gaming. I took it to the Apple store, where the Genius agreed that I had a problem. They sent it in for repair, where "no trouble was found."

    I'm expecting the computer back tomorrow, at which time I'll download the SMC updates, as well as 10.5.6, just to see if it helps. If not, back to the Apple store it goes. If I can demonstrate the problem, which I did the first time, I'm not going to let them get away with finding no trouble.

    Honestly, I'm very frustrated. I'm absolutely in love with Apple because of their operating system and brilliant design, but the quality has seriously degraded over the last few years. As a producer at a local news station, I shoot and edit five high-def videos each week, which is very difficult with a computer that overheats any time the graphics card is strained. In fact, I may not even return the computer to the Apple store if it still doesn't work after the updates, but will send an email to Steve Jobs (which I know he obviously does not read...) because I had much luck when I contacted them regarding my MBA problems.

    We'll see, I guess.
  9. Fidgetyrat macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the thing was 100% perfect. I had a micro-fiber cloth between my keys and LCD always so I never had the scratching problem (knew about it ahead of time). When my chassis separated, I glued it back together. Chipped paint wasn't a concern to me..

    What Im referring to is major problems, like a line of defective GPUs that no matter how many times you repair or replace them, you still have a defective GPU.. MAJOR issues, not cosmetic.

    The TiBook was pretty fragile and would Bow very easily, but at least it wasn't a cronic issue apple couldn't even explain or didn't want to admit.
  10. lscangus macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Coz "consumers" are focusing on the coolness of the machine, not much people are well educated enough to appreciate the machining and the mechanism behind the body, and also the materials. The CNC milling is brilliant for the unibody, but eh quality of the aluminium is no satisfactory in the new unibody, the old Powerbook has a better grade aluminium.

    To be honest, i can sacrifice 5mm for a better cooled, better refined computer, rather than a computer with a Gimmic less than 1inches thin. I need a computer as my work horse, and i am sorry, i always push my machine to its limits.

    I am returning my 15" 2.8Ghz on friday. Fingers cross the 17" will be a better computer.

  11. lscangus macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    I have the same problem of overheating and throttling during gaming. Apple say the problem is not reported frequent enough for them to investigate. I sent an email to steve, and of course i haven't got a reply from him yet.
  12. xpovos macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2007
    Without a doubt, yes. Hardware defects are increasingly common, but more frustrating is the attitude of employees in Apple's retail stores. It's extremely unpleasant to know you might have a fight on your hands if you want to attempt to get repair or replacement for a legitimate issue. As an example, my left cooling fan started the loud rattling/grinding routine that many unibody MBP users are experiencing---but since the noise was intermittent and the machine wasn't making the noise on the day of my Genius bar appointment, they refused to replace the fan. I even had an audio recording of the noise when it was at its worst, and they still tried to get out of doing a repair. I ended up having to call AppleCare.

    In the end, they almost always step up and do the right thing, but the fight they force upon their customers leaves a bitter taste for the brand.
  13. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    Well, as I mentioned earlier, I got my computer back from repair.

    When I opened the box, I was absolutely dismayed at what I discovered.

    First, the computer looked like it had been repaired by a coal miner. The outer case was absolutely filthy. Also, all the keys on the keyboard had a thick coating of grease on them. There was caked grime around the power button, as well as the battery indicator button on the side of the computer.

    I got a cloth and cleaned the computer, only to find scratches and dings on the entire thing! When I had sent the computer in, I took a piece of packing tape and stuck it over the Apple logo, thinking that the plastic was the easiest thing to to be scratched. I was simply taking a precaution before I sent it in for repair. Lo and behold, the tape was removed and the Apple logo scratched to hell! Other scratches adorned the entire thing.

    Now, this is all on top of the repair technicians saying that "no trouble was found," even though I was able to demonstrate the issue to the Genius, who even agreed with me.

    I became very upset. Not only did the state of the machine greatly decrease any resale value, but the original problem wasn't even fixed. I called the Apple store which originally sent in the computer for repair and talked to the manager. I explained my situation (calmly and nicely, or course) and she told me that she'd "look into it" and call me back. Needless to say, it didn't sound overwhelmingly positive. I was surprised then, when I got a call back from the manager, offering me a replacement computer.

    So, I've got an appointment on Saturday to take in my damaged computer and exchange it.

    This is my first experience with AppleCare, and I've got to say, I don't feel bad anymore about never buying the extended warranty. If this is the kind of service they provide, I think I'd rather fix it myself.
  14. Fidgetyrat macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sounds VERY much like an isolated case. I just got mine back yesterday from a full logic board replacement (so it was taken apart screw by screw) and was returned to me without even the slightest scratch on a screw.

    Also, that logic board replacement's bill was $1470.99 which was free since I have apple care. Do you still want to repair it on your own?
  15. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    I'm not sure about an isolated case. If you look on these forums, there are many, many people who have had the same experience as me. Also, some Apple stores ship the computers off to different "authorized" repair shops, not a centralized Apple repair shop. So, your area may have a different repair depot than my area.

    It's this practice that has turned me off to the experience. Maybe you've had a good experience with a logic board replacement, but that doesn't mean that many other people have had less than positive experiences. If it's a smaller repair, I would much rather repair it on my own than sending it in, even if sending it in was cheaper. The way I figure it, the damage they do to the laptop will degrade the resale value so much that the repair will actually be cheaper. If you could see a picture of the damage done to my new laptop, you would probably feel the same.
  16. macadmiral macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2008
    I'd get an early '08 model, they are pretty perfect IMO.
  17. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    Quality has declined, but when you look at how many machines Apple are now producing compared to how many they used to, you can see why there's more problems slipping through the net. Forums will always collect more negative stories than bad.

    Like many others, my problems with Apple are more to do with their Genius Bars, and the people who work on them. Some of the Genii are fantastic, and bend over backwards to help you out and solve your problems. Others just don't want to hear, and refuse to acknowledge your issues full stop - despite, in my case, seeing a massive history of Apple purchases and AppleCare cases.

    I remember when you used to call up Apple, and they'd send a courier to come pick up the box, or even send an engineer to your house. Back then, they didn't try and blame the customer for a faulty product and fessed up - plus, when they did actually come to your house and see the problem, there was no way it could be blamed on anything else.
  18. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    I find the build quality of my Unibody MBP to be light years ahead of my former TiBook.

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