Is the Mac doomed by its growing popularity?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Fillmore, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. Fillmore macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2007
    I’ve been a Windows user for years and have been seriously considering switching to Mac, mainly for the much claimed superior OS stability. So what I’m looking for is quality products, now and later.

    The Mac and Apple products in general are currently enjoying an unprecedented popularity. The Mac is very trendy these days. Several recent developments about Apple, however, make me wonder if a quality Mac platform is possible in the longer term.

    First is the apparent declining quality of Apple products. Sure, many may claim that Mac quality is still better than other PCs (and maybe it is), but the fact is that Mac quality seems to be on the down trend. There are many stories of longtime Mac users attesting to this. Technical service also appears to be declining, with longer wait times and service outsourced to foreign sites becoming more frequent. Is the Mac victim of its own popularity, with the growing demand and competitive pricing straining Apple and hampering quality, as has happened before to so many other companies?

    This is very scary since demand is likely to continue surging. Some estimates recently put the purchase intentions at 24% for Macs, vastly above the current market share. Will this growing demand worsen the quality problems?

    Although the Mac might indeed be good, I believe a significant part of the growing demand relates to trendiness and hype. And as history taught us before, trendiness and hype are rarely sustainable. So what will happen when this abates? After enjoying such a surge in market share and profits, Apple (like any other company would) will be under pressure to keep growing. How will it achieve this when the “bubble” of trendiness deflates? But cutting corners on quality to keep prices low and new customers coming? That’s not a platform I’d like to be part of. I wouldn’t want to migrate to a platform having increasing quality problems. It’s just too bad; I like the Mac and for the right reasons. But I’m afraid the current influx of Windows users will ruin it.

    Is that why we’re hearing rumors that the heir to Steve Jobs has been chosen? Is Jobs cleverly getting ready to ride the wave of Apple popularity to its height, and then leave someone else in charge to pick up the pieces when the unavoidable decline occurs?

    Please convince me it won’t happen and Mac quality will return to its former level and be exemplary for years to come. I’m tired of Windows problems and would really like to make the switch confidently.
  2. MarlboroLite macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    the 13 colonies
    I don't buy the idea that Macs have gone downhill...if you check their history back 20 years they put out several computers that were terrible or badly flawed. Electronics makers will always deal with defective products, and to this day Apple seems to have the highest reliability ratings around. And if you are unlucky enough get a defective product, simply get it changed for a better system or have them fix it. People who sit on their defective Macs without doing anything deserve their rotten Apple. It has a warranty for a reason!

    As far as hype and trendiness are concerned....a lot of Windows switchers made the switch since the Intel move which allows for Boot Camp and superior virtualization so I don't see this changing. If you can have both OS's in one computer why would you go back to a regular PC in the future? Apple's market share will probably never go above 10% so I wouldn't exactly be worried about them getting so big they completely collapse in terms of quality or other problems.
  3. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    One critical thing to remember is when people post to forums they will almost allows post about their problems, as they are looking for advice. The whole yellow screen issues seems to be really big, as the forums are full of these threads. I have never seen a MBP with a yellow screen, or the new iMac with it's gradient issues. It is a very small number of people that have these issues. Their pissed and they have every right to be, but they do not represent the majority. The hardware is great and the software is designed in a way that it will continue to be stable. Leopard has UNIX 03 certification. Now, nothing is perfect and problems and mistakes will be revealed along the way. But I would not worry about issues people have had. Worse case, you get a machine that has an issue. You can simply just exchange it for a new one.
  4. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Quality control is awful these days, but that's pretty much been the case since the g3 iBooks onward. Apple spends an inordinate amount of money on marketing, and it seems to come at the expense of ensuring their gear is as good as they hype it to be. Overall, I don't view anything as 'doomed' or 'saved', but rather as they are. You pay a premium to use OS X -- extra money for exactly the same hardware -- and hope it's worth it. Beyond the propaganda, that's really what it comes down to. People expect that paying twice as much for machines they could get with the same specs for half the price if they simply ran Windows offers them an immunity from bad manufacturing or flawed designs, but it doesn't. You can either pay a grand for a computer that runs Vista, or two for one that runs Leopard. Either way, the computer might not work. If you're not willing to risk it, you should get the cheaper computer. They work just as well, and lots of people are happy with them. On the other hand, if you keep low expectations but have the extra cash to spend, you can go with the more expensive computer. In the end, it's a gamble. I've had plenty of success with my Windows computers, and so far, similar luck with my Mac gear. But I don't delude myself for a second that Macs are built any better than Windows computers; they aren't. They just cost more, and run a different OS.
  5. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    Makes sense.

    Actually, I would venture to guess that their marketshare was much higher in the late 80's.

    Where are you getting this information from? Several industry watchdogs have rated Apple's technical and warranty support as the best in the business.

    You certainly can't go by internet forums to base this type of opinion on. Mac users are pretty high maintenance, which means they often whine about the smallest little thing (I include myself in that group btw. :D ). As has been said many times before, happy people rarely post about how happy they are, they simply use their computers. Unhappy people post looking for help, but they are a vocal minority. If Apple sells 6 million Macs per year, and you see a few hundred on forums looking for solutions to problems, what % is that?

    What foreign outsourcing has occurred? There was talk for a while about Apple opening a technical support center in India, but it never happened.

    It will mean there will be more problematic machines, but only because there will be more machines out there. In other words, I doubt the % of problematic machines in relation to the % of machines sold will change.

    I personally don't think we will ever see 24% Mac marketshares again, but that's just me.

    I think you are partially correct, but I also think a significant part of the growth of Apple sales in the last few years is caused by people's growing dissatisfaction with MicroSoft. Hell, even people who are dedicated MicroSoft users are unwilling to switch to Vista!

    So, you wouldn't want to migrate to a platform with increasing quality problems (which you haven't proven is occurring), but you are willing to stay with a platform that has quality problems now?

    Doesn't make sense to me.

    A computers a computer. It's a box full of electronic junk that runs software. While some are better than others (and I put Apple high on the list), all will have problems from time to time. You currently are on a platform with a long list of documented problems... do you really think it could be worse?

    No one at Apple is speculating about an heir.... people outside of Apple are. Why base decisions on this? But, imho, Jobs is getting old, and is a cancer survivor. Does it not make sense that there would be a plan in place? Isn't that just good business sense?

    One would think the logical thing would be to be concerned if there was NOT a plan in place.

    When has Mac quality declined? My first mac was purchased in 1986. Guess what? It needed a warranty repair. Show me an auto manufacturer that has not had a recall at some point or another.

    I am in no way an apple apologist btw, I am simply a realist. When you buy a computer, you buy a machine full of parts that break. When they do, they need repaired.

    Apple has always been highly rated in this field. It may not appear that way from internet forums, but that is only because you are only seeing one side of the story.

    It's a computer. Migrate on over. If you are unhappy in a couple of years, migrate back. It's just a machine.

    Having said all that:

    I loves my Macs!

  6. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    I agree that trendiness and hype have a part to play in their success, but I think the reason they are so popular now is because they can actually make a decent product. Mac OS X is a brilliant operating system, and on the whole, Macs and iPods are reliable products.

    As for quality control, I'd like to see some figures on the actual failure rate. I don't believe Apple can sell 160 million iPods and have most of them die. I think there is a big myth being spread about Apple's poor quality control, which has been sparked by forums like these, where negative threads get the most attention.

    I've had 3 iPods over the years, and all are going strong now, even my 6 year old 1st Gen.

    Build me a MacBook equivalent for $550 and I'll believe you.
  7. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    To be honest, all of your concerns are not necessarily Apple-specific. Any of the PC manufacturers could decide today to drastically cut back on customer service/quality control and be in a mess. There's just a little more security on that side because Microsoft will (most likely) always be there. If you're not willing to take the quite microscopic risk that Apple won't be around 10 years from now, then you're likely better off staying with PCs.

    People will say that Apple QC is in the toilet right now, but I personally have not seen it. My interactions with Apple over the phone have been better with any other company I've used phone support with, and I've had no problems in the stores either.

    Just this past week I started getting kernel panics on my MBP and took it into the store to get it looked at. The genius diagnosed my problem (within 15 minutes) as a (slowly) dying Airport card and that they could keep it for 3-4 days to get it replaced. Seeing as I'm in the middle of Finals, and can't afford to be without my MBP for that long, I declined for the moment, but Apple has set up a case log for me and I can take it into another store at home next week and they'll do the service then.

    I'm sure some people on this forum will consider it outrageous that I spend $2000 on a laptop to have a wireless card already failing, and that I should have started kicking and screaming and demanding a new laptop with a free iphone thrown in. But seriously, stuff breaks occasionally. I'm just happy that they will be fixing it next week when I bring it in.

    So as much as you need to ignore the general hype surrounding Apple, ignore the hype (and sky is falling rants) of people on the boards as well. If you're really that uncomfortable making the switch, don't do it. I like Windows PCs just fine. I'm just loving Macs more.
  8. VideoFreek macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2007
    To the OP, I really don't buy your assertion that the burgeoning sales of Macs is driven purely by trendiness and hype. Apple has always had a certain "with it" cachet, though occasionally this has been marred by the quasi-religious zealotry of some of its more rabid fans:). I believe that, besides the usual arguments for the Mac--stability, security, etc.--there are at least two specific factors that are driving the recent uptick in market share:

    1. The move to the Intel platform. This was brilliant, in that it ensured Apple hardware would keep pace with the WinTel world. More importantly, it opened the Mac to Windows, which is a bigger deal than most people think. For a small premium in hardware cost, it is now possible to double- or even triple-purpose the machine (OS X, Windows under virtualization, Windows native), which provides tremendous value in my estimation.

    2. Vista. Obviously, you won't find many friends of Vista in these parts, but even in the hardcore Windows community, Vista has been a colossal disappointment, with many power users and PC pundits reporting that they've not upgraded at all for lack of compelling reasons, or that they have decided to downgrade back to XP. Microsoft has screwed up with Vista, and this creates opportunity for Apple. Leopard is no "home run," but it delivers several genuinely useful improvements and additions to functionality, and makes for a very nice and desirable upgrade.
  9. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    i think you're overthinking your next purchase there. they're just computers, you know.
  10. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I've had 7 Macs (since 1990), and 2 iPods and have never had one defect on any of them.

    I'm convinced that the quality issues are based on there being more users. Wouldn't imagine the Percent of Mac defects has changed much.

    The only way you can be convinced OP, is taking the plunge and realizing the water's not bad!
  11. wyatt23 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    Forest Hills, NY

    you should put some facts into your next post. this is all opinion. all your doing is listing things you think are wrong with apple (while none of them can really be proven) and your bating forumusers to dispute almost every sentence.
  12. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    This kind of reminds me of this silly article.

    (Sorry I hope no one sees this as adding food for the troll)

    I personally like this response:

    "MAC is Media Access Control, I think you were meaning to do a review on a Mac...

    The fact that you cannot even spell the name of the item you a reviewing correctly suggests you know little about what you are reviewing, it's a credibility issue."
  13. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    My personal experience, out of 8 or 9 Apple products:

    1) Dead logic board in G3 iBook after 2 years.

    2) Dead hard drive in G4 Powerbook after 3 years.

    3) 3G iPod, dead hard drive after 3 years.

    When you look at those odds, one would think Apple has a 33% failure rate. Until, of course, you realize 2 of the 3 problems were dead hard drives, which are built to break anyway. The G3 iBook Logic Board issue was a known defect Apple repaired for free.

    Am I down on Apple quality? Nope, not at all. Hard drives die, and they quickly fixed the known logic board problem. Seems fair to me.
  14. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Well, there are more Mac users, so naturally more people to complain even if the defect ratio is roughly the same. According to Consumer Reports, all the computer companies have more or less the same prevelance of defects, but Apple has the highest rated support by far. I had to call Apple on a few occasions, I don't remember waiting on hold at all. The last time I called TomTom for a problem, I was on hold for an hour before I could actually talk to somebody. Yeah, I know it is not a PC company, but I don't have any other recent electronics support experience.

    There is "software and hardware is from the same company" aspect. When the OS on my Windows laptop started acting up, I could not get much help beyond some useless email response stuff. Compaq was responsible for hardware and Windows was responsible for Windows, so it is easy for them to point to each other. For me, a computer should be like a car. I don't care who wrote the software in my cars electronics, I want to have one responsible party to call and complain if something goes wrong.

    In the end, my iMac runs more smoothly than my Compaq laptop used to and better than my wife's new Dell laptop. I am happy so far.

    By the way, Mac prices are usually quite competitive or even lower than comparable PCs right after they are refreshed. However, Dell and HP gradually lowers prices, while Mac prices stay the same until the next upgrade. Try to buy right after a refresh.
  15. kashmoney2006 macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2007
    This just simply is not true. All my friends own laptops or desktops that run Windows. None run as good as my MacBook Pro. Games run much better on my laptop than my buddies' computers. And the reason for recent trendiness in apple products is the simple fact that :apple: produces high quality products.

    Same thing here. I've had 1 ipod, my 5-6 year old 1st gen. Its never broken, failed, or anything of the such. Been working perfectly since the first time i used it. Not 1 problem yet. And as my mother works for apple in customer support, I know first hand that IF you do happen to have a problem and have AppleCare, they will either fix the problem or replace the product at no expense to you.
  16. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    If that was the case he would have bailed in the 80's, either way new blood, fresh ideas and new personalities are always a good addition to any growing company. Did you think we'd see Steve in the position of Apple CEO forever?

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