Hardware Quality in the last ~3 Years

Somian

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
140
99
Santa Clara, CA
Hi,

First of all, I've been using Apple stuff for quite some time. And many of those devices I purchased over the years are still running. In Fact, everything Apple I bought prior to around ~3 years ago never had a hardware issue that Apple didn't fix.

  • PowerMac 7,2 (2003 PowerMac G5). Sitting around in the basement but confirmed working a couple of years ago. Zero issues. It ran as a server for months at a time. This thing is like a tank.
  • iMac 4,1 (2006, 17" first intel iMac). This thing is still in use and works perfectly fine for web browsing and stuff like that. No really, it's a great compact machine.
  • iMac 8,1 (2008 24" iMac). Still doing everyday duty after having been upgraded with a 960GB SSD a few years ago. Because it has a GeForce 8800, it can even run most games today. Upgraded to 3 GB RAM. I feel like it'll go forever.
  • 2009 and 2012 iMacs (11,1 and 13,2). worked fine for a couple of years each until I sold them. Apple replaced the GPU in the 11,1 due to a known overheating issue after warranty expired)
  • 2009 13" MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, I killed it by spilling a glass of water into the keyboard in 2011, but that's my fault.
  • 2011 13" MacBook Pro. Still runs fine every day 8 years later after having replaced the battery in ~2015
  • Mac Pro 5,1 12-core. This thing is a beast and I've never had any HW issues. Still running almost every day.
  • My first iPhone, a 3GS from 2009 works. Oh boy, it's been going for 6 years until we decided that it was just too slow but you could still take it out of the drawer and it would work.
  • My iPhone 4s and 5S after that also still work (they need battery service, though)
  • I heard that company issued 2012 15" MacBook Pro I used in 2016 is also still working today.
  • MacBook Pro 12,1. (13" early 2015). 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD. No troubles. Heavily used productively every day today.
  • A variety of iPads including the first-gen iPad Pro that I'm still using every day. Never any problems.
  • Original 30" Cinema Display and 27" thunderbolt displays. Still working fine. Zero issues.
So, you could say, I was a happy Apple customer.

But in the last ~3 years everything has been going downhill.

Here are my more recent experiences:

  • In the last 3-ish years, I had to get my company issued 15" MacBook pros repaired/replaced three times (!). (13,3/14,3) Two because of keyboard issues, one due to a bad logic board that caused random restarts. Now I'm on a 15,3. Fingers crossed.
  • I used to have an iPhone SE. Charging stopped working so I replaced it with a XS in mid 2018. Yesterday, faceID stopped working so I took it to the apple store today and walked out with a new 11 pro… conveniently, for Apple, again, it stopped working after just a little over a year and was out of warranty. $549 for replacement.
This means that, for me, everything Apple produced in the last 3-ish years only lasts for a little over a year. I used to get more than 10 years out of my Apple devices (and many of them are still fine working today after more than 10 years)

Is it just me and am I being extremely destructive towards Apple Devices recently or is this a development that you can see too?

I don't really have a problem with the pricing. None of this stuff was cheap. But I have an iMac Pro on my desk now (no issues so far,, purchased early 2018) and I'm getting scared because when I drop this kind of money on a computer, I expect it to last longer than a a couple of years... I'm expecting this thing to still go in 10 years like that 24" iMac mentioned above. Apple devices get passed down in the family and if my former workhorse is getting a little slow it's usually still more than enough for someone to do less heavy-duty tasks on. (hey, this 2008 iMac still does a pretty good job at Final Cut Pro X).

But if I can't rely on this, things get crazy because everyone basically needs to have the latest-greatest iMacs etc. all the time, since they only last a year.

I don't really have a problem spending $2-4k for a notebook or $3-10k on a Desktop machine, but it needs to RUN. not only for a year. Same with phones. I thought last year that the price of the XS ($1149 or something for the 256) was fine until I realized that it's only good for a year which means yoll spend $100 a month (!) just for the phone because apple expects you to buy a new one every year...
 
Last edited:

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,640
31,785
Boston
everything Apple produced in the last 3-ish years only lasts for a little over a year.
Bolded for emphasis.

I'm having a hard time, with the idea that every apple product only lasts a single year. i have 2015 iMac, problem-free (knocking on wood). An Apple TV that is years old (I actually forgot how old it is, but its years old). A series 0 Apple watch (the very first model), and that's going well. Admittedly, I do an iPad that developed white spots, so that's a disappointment but it still works and I'm not going to pay for its repair given the age. So while its not defect free, its perfectly usable.

Has Apple quality gone downhill? Objectively, I'd say they have cut corners and in a number of cases that have impacted the product's longevity, but not to a point that it will fail in 365 days.

I think the iMac Pro is going strong, and it's quite laughable that the Mac Pro will only be good for a year.
 

Somian

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
140
99
Santa Clara, CA
I still have a series 0 Apple Watch too.

I’m not saying that everything lasts only a year. What I’m saying is that of the 6 Apple devices i received new in the last 3 years, 5 (!) broke after about a year, something that never happened to me before.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
14,316
1,732
Australia, Perth
Lucky you..

I'd say your destructive around Apple devices... I've had Macs that have never needed repair.. In fact i usually end up buying new one before that ever happens

I don't exactly treat my Apple products in the same fashion as most would.. They get dinged up a bit, not much support for holding devices evenly, kind rough, so its kinda amazing mine still work at all. (and continue to)

And all in all, i don't use cases.

I would not spill stuff in the keyboard next time. But i've had my MBA since 2017 and never been to an Apple store in that time, or been without my Apple products.. I've probably gone through about 5 MBA's since then.
 

faust

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2007
321
120
Los Angeles, CA
My first Apple computer was a 15" Macbook Pro I bought in July 2007. It was pretty great for awhile, but then crap kept happening with it. My perspiration, combined with the laptop's plastic expanding, started causing the silver paint to crack. Beyond that obscenity? The logic board died about nine times between July 2007 and January 2009. I gave up on the local Apple store's "Genius Bar" or what have you, and called AppleCare to demand a resolution to the arduous experience I'd had. They sent me the new 15" unibody MBP at that point. I quickly turned around and sold it on Craigslist. The only Apple hardware I've used outside of work since then has been the odd iPhone here and there. Should there prove be catastrophic failures in the new 16" MBP that I recently procured? I'm gonna be swearing off Apple computers for the rest of my life. I just don't have the patience to endure another round of trips to the Apple store or repairs done through the mail. I'll just stick to Thinkpads once again if anything too obnoxious comes up because those are nigh immortal and very easy for the end user to modify or repair.
 

levander

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2011
150
74
@Somian Look into credit cards that offer extended warranty features. It’s a mess of,paperwork to deal with. And you need to be careful about saving receipts. But if you had been doing that, you’d have come up like a bandit over the last few years.

The credit card I use not only offers extended warranties. But also return protection (so I can return the product to my credit card company in 90 days if the store win’t take it) and purchase protection (in case something gets lost or stolen within 90 days of me buying it). I use a Wells Fargo Propel AMEX. But I’m not recommending that card yet because I just recently switched to it and don’t know how great the service is.

And no that’s not an excuse for Apple’s crappy quality control over the last few years. It’s just a tip on how to navigate this maze of civilization we’ve got to deal with.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,493
4,491
The Peninsula
Is it just me and am I being extremely destructive towards Apple Devices recently or is this a development that you can see too?
Another anecdotal comment.... First the background.

I handle purchasing (or at least coordinate end-user purchases with corporate IT and purchasing). We buy no Apple desktops - a system without CUDA is a boat anchor to us. (And if it doesn't fit into a 19" rack, that's another strike against it.)

IT supports a limited number of MacBook and ThinkPad configurations. (Air, 13" MBP, 15" MBP, X1, T, W) Employees get to choose their model - with manager's approval. (I think that my T480s Touch Screen is the best laptop that I've ever had.) Company mix is about 70% Lenovo, 30% Apple. My group is about 20% Lenovo, 80% Apple.

Laptops are purchased with three year's support (AppleCare, or next-business-day onsite Lenovo support including accidental damage coverage).

At 3½ years, the laptop is replaced with the current corresponding model. To get a replacement earlier (unless you've changed jobs within the company so that your current laptop doesn't work for your new position) requires a special request that needs manager and VP approval.
___________

End of background. The anecdote is that lately I've been pushing for more and more "early replacement" approvals for MacBook Pros. Systems that aren't even two years old are becoming unusable, and re-imaging doesn't help. (Repair is not an option - a seven day repair cycle may as well be seven days off the grid in the South Pacific for my people.)

A couple of years ago, it was a hassle to defend these "early retirement" requests. Now, however, the VP has seen so many of them that they are approved without comment.

...and a few of my people have asked for a Lenovo to replace the Apple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kazmac and levander

levander

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2011
150
74
@AidenShaw Interesting post. Can you tell us why Lenovo is so much more popular at your company than Apple? I’m asking about the 70/30 Lenovo/Apple mix you mention.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,493
4,491
The Peninsula
@AidenShaw Interesting post. Can you tell us why Lenovo is so much more popular at your company than Apple? I’m asking about the 70/30 Lenovo/Apple mix you mention.
You don't need a bag of dongles to use a Lenovo. :p

Apples don't have one-click cable-free docking stations, just multiple cables to connect each time you move. (Our standard Lenovo packages include two real docking stations, one for home and one for the office.)

Windows has better support for Active Directory, and for most of our business/finance apps. Engineers who do most of their work on Linux servers like Apple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kazmac and levander

kazmac

macrumors G3
Mar 24, 2010
8,288
5,982
Any place but here or there....
My iMacs, especially these last two have been rock solid for at least 4-5 years without issue. The 2013 27” is hiccuping here and there now, but still does what I need it to do 4+ years in.

Macbooks? The keyboard issues are well known (and even the 16” has sticky keys, at least two demo models at the 5th Store exhibited this.)

Now, iPads and iPhones? Don’t get me started... (My Air 3 stopped responding to touch earlier this a.m. which I thankfully recorded. I had to unpair/pair the pencil, and power the Air 3 on and off to get it working again.)

Build quality needs to improve big time.