Some thoughts after 1 year with Apple

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Rsrchr123, May 17, 2010.

  1. Rsrchr123 macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    So last year, I purchased a Mac Mini as a way to get my feet wet with Apple beyond the iPhone (to which I switched from a Blackberry). Prior to this, I'd been a lifelong PC user with no major problems to speak of. I didn't do rampant downloads, kept a firewall and virus protection on, etc. I did have a Dell die on me, but that wasn't a huge deal.

    I'm not trying to start a war of words here with any fan boys; instead, these are just some thoughts I've had after using their products for a year.

    1. From a software perspective, I like their products. OS X is good, although I must give a thumbs down, based on my experience, to Snow Leopard. I would repeatedly lose my Internet connection sporadically and without warning. Once I wiped my hard drive and returned the computer to the original state, no problems. So aside from that, I like their software.

    2. Hardware is another issue. I have been fortunate so far that my Mini has worked. I had a kernel panic once but nothing since then. What I don't like about their hardware when compared to my PC: First, the slot-loading disc drives. Like many, I have experienced scratched discs. It is inconceivable to me that they let this go on for how many years and still no design fix? Unacceptable. Second, presumably because their form factors are so small, all of my discs eject hot to the touch. In my PC, this rarely happens. I wonder if this can degrade the quality of discs over time. No proof on that, just curiosity.

    3. Heat buildup. Why is it that Apple products run so hot? Even my iPhone will get scary hot. I once had it in an open-top shirt pocket streaming music and when I took it out, I was scared that the battery might blow because it was so hot. No case on it either, so I wonder what happens when you stream music and have a case. Note, this was only streaming for 10-15 minutes when it happened.

    I once considered an Imac and a Macbook until I saw how hot they get. Suffice it to say, I was shocked that watching ten minutes of a video on Hulu in the Apple store would make the bottom of a notebook uncomfortably hot to touch. If that happens on Hulu video, it doesn't bode well for what I can expect when compiling programs. I even once saw someone who wrote on Apple's support boards that she put a fan behind her computer to cool it down. Perhaps that is the ultimate example of product loyalty.

    Even my little Nano gets way too hot when it is charging. I have a habit of only letting it charge for ten minutes or so because I don't trust it.

    4. Design: I love the way my Mini looks sitting on my desk. But to go back to my comment earlier on the Macbook, the other reason besides heat that I passed is when they enclosed the batteries. It is unacceptable to me to have to haul my laptop into a store and hand over all my financial data and proprietary work to some "geniuses" and trust that everything will be ok. I am skilled enough with computers that I can swap my own laptop battery and I fiercely resent Apple telling me that I am not allowed to do that.

    5. Quality control: Sadly, here, bad marks too. After ruling out the Macbooks because of heat and battery enclosure, I considered the 27 " imacs when they came out. Then I started to see rampant stories of screen issues, flash issues, etc. How can a company such as Apple that prides themselves on everything "just working" allow such garbage to happen? It's no small feat for anyone to pack up an imac and haul it back to your local mall to get it fixed. I realize the majority of them may be fine but there are enough issues that I don't trust it.

    One disappointment I've had with quality relates to the power cord on the iphone. I've already had one separate at the ends from being coiled up in my pocket. So one day I compared the thickness/design at the joints of the iphone power cord and my Blackberry power cord (the latter of which never had any issues). Guess what? The Berry's power cord is thicker and has much more reinforcement at the joints. The iphone cost double what the Berry cost, so can I get you, Apple, to give up a few pennies of margin and make a power cord that can hold up to being coiled up?

    6. Flash and headphones, etc: I am not going to start a war on flash. Some like it, some hate it. But it bothers me when my mini's browsers often crash when playing a flash application but my PC handles it just fine. I read Steve's note on flash, wherein, among other things, he blamed it for most of the mac crashes. Here's a news flash (pun intended): maybe it's not flash, maybe it's your computers that need work to be able to run it without crashing. Again, my PC, running Windows 7, is just fine when playing flash videos.

    Also, why is it that a $40 pair of Apple's headphones have a cord that is 6 " shorter than a $10 pair that I picked up from CVS? I do not want to sit with my desktop in my lap when I need to use my headphones.

    I put all this out there to see if others have had similar thoughts, not to get in a childish tug-of-war on if PC's or macs are better. PC's have issues too and I've experienced some of those. In my experience, neither one wins in a landslide, but for me, the advantage is PC, however slightly, for now. My PC seems more reliable, runs cooler, doesn't scratch my CD's, plays Flash, and can do more. I hope Apple can gets its act together because one year in, my thoughts can simply be summed up as "room for improvement."
  2. IndustrialSpace macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2009
    What I never understood was the price premium for a comparable PC. Apple charges WAY too much and installs dated technology. It really is image and exclusivity they're selling.

    What bothers me most though, is the lack of care on Apple's part to fix this yellow tint issue. People are STILL receiving screens with yellow tinge across the screen. How is this Acceptable? How?
  3. persolo macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2005
    3. Why do you think that Mac's are quiet? The minimal use of cooling through fans. The MacBook cases are large heat conductors for the same reason. The MacBook itself will shut down if it gets too hot. My conclusion is that they are designed to sit on a desk with airflow underneath. So don't place it on your lap.

    6. Buggy software will allways exist. It could be the libraries Adobe has built Flash with or just the Flash code itself. Maybe both. We will never know...
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Apple can sell 1kg of aluminum for 2000$ if it has  logo...

    I think current Macs aren't so overpriced. iMacs, especially 27" is very reasonably priced, seeing that Dell sells the screen for +1000$. Low-end iMac should be 999$ as it has 9400M. MBPs are superior compared to most PCs IMO. One thing too many people forgets is the battery life. They compare same specced PC which is 300$ less but they never look at the battery life, MBP has up to 10 hours while many PCs get ~3 hours.

    I'm not trying to "defend" Apple but in my opinion, current line up isn't that expensive and of course  keeps prices high as people will buy them anyway

    As for yellow tinge, it's not that big fuss anymore, all consumer products have defects in certain amount of products (~5%). Sure it's annoying as it still exists but keep in mind that people comes to MR to tell about their problems, not to tell how awesome their Mac is.

    I'm sorry I didn't read OP's whole post, it just too much to read and I'm in hurry
  5. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    I settled on a Lenovo Thinkpad T410 for a notebook. I can replace the battery myself, the extended battery actually gets 9-10 hours of usage, and I don't have to worry about the case cracking should the battery expand.

    That is actually one thing I didn't list in my "essay" (LOL). Years ago when I was in school, I saw a girl who had a white macbook. The case was split open on the side and she said it happened from the case expanding, not from a drop (for what it's worth, I didn't see scuff marks that would indicate a drop).

    Another thing I'd add is some disappointment that the imac and pro's don't have enough USB plugs. My Dell has more plugs than my Mini. Right now, with phone, printer, mouse, and keyboard, I only have one left. For spending double/triple what the mini cost, I feel I should have more USB plugins. Cough up some money to pay licensing fees and add em!

    So I'm excited about the Lenovo. I've had excellent luck with Windows 7 so far.

    You are right that all computers have the potential to have issues. I just don't trust the imacs right now. Maybe on the next refresh they will be better.

    As far as noise, I definitely appreciate the fact that macs run quiet. However, I'd be willing to tolerate some fan noise if I could be more confident that heat was not building up. Heat buildup causes electronic parts to fail sooner than they would in the absence of heat building up.

    Somebody wrote about their pricing. I'm not sure on that one. I will end up paying about $900 for my Lenovo. 3 gb ram, 320 gig hard drive, etc. 14" screen. So I'm not sure if they're overpriced or not.
  6. unamused macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2009
    ... it seems pretty obvious to me that its not flash itself... i mean if ALL the pc's ive ever used had no issues running flash... even 5 year old machines... then why is it that a brand new, $2k+ apple machine overheats?

    I think OP put his thoughts very clearly and as someone considering a new mac.... it hasnt swayed me away from it but it has at least brought some fresh air into the discussion about PC vs mac... i mean most people tend to swear pcs are always crashing and macs are flawless. Based on my experience with PC's and research on Macs, it seems like problems are apparent on both sides.
  7. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Lenovo, especially Thinkpad series is brilliant! In my opinion, it's the only PC manufacturer which laptops are comparable to Apple's, in terms of quality and power&battery. I've never heard anything bad about Lenovo, their support is great and Thinkpads have been the same for years but why to change something which works?

    Main reason I switched was Vista, it was awful! Now that W7 is out, I would probably build a PC and buy a MacBook, for the same money I paid for my iMac.

    Congrats on your Lenovo, it indeed is great and MUCH better than those cheapish lappys, it's worth the extra
  8. mmulin macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    => 1.
    Perhaps you had something installed causing this. Perhaps some library got deranged by some 3rd party installation. Perhaps something is not good hardware wise. Or, perhaps you had the famous DNS issue which was fixed in the latest update. This is hard to tell. Did you ever had the issue again after reinstallation? For the record, none of my Macs running SL have issue with dropping network connections.

    => 2.
    Yes, the Mini gets hot. It is a small package and even PCs in that form factor have this problem. If your discs scratch, perhaps something is wrong with the exit of the slot or it is dirt. Again, I don't have this problem on my MBA's Superdrive. Besides that, I am a fan of slot loading but acknowledge the pending YMMV.

    => 3. Heat buildup.
    Yes, unfortunately. Small package, cutting age tech, and large batteries are to blame but whether they excuse the fact? I digress.

    => 3. Hulu
    Hulu is running on Flash? There is your answer. See #6

    => 3. Nano
    Let it charge. The heat might be subjective and as long it doesn't burn into something.. In fact most small battery devices these days get quite hot charging.

    => 4.
    Agreed. Then again, internal batteries allow designs possible for more stamina.

    => 5.
    Sadly, it is true. Personally, I stay away from 1st gen devices. As you can observe, most 2nd gen models have their kinks worked out. Further agreed, Apples design choices are not always in the interest of longevity, i.e. cable joints.

    => 6.
    No need to start a war over Flash but there is one fact many overlook. Adobe has never made its Flash work nicely on OSX. Looking back all the years which they had time, it is hard to blame Apple for this. (bit off topic: the same holds true for the iPhone)

    All set aside, always remember Steve knows what is best for you ;) - but thanks for sharing your experiences.
  9. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    points 3 and 6 seem to point to something that made my Netbook heat up (and fans speed up on my friend's Sony laptop) using Windows XP, Linux and OSX and that is Flash.

    I guess my first name isn't the only thing I share with Steve Jobs...
  10. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    I had to laugh on the "Steve knows what is best" - :rolleyes: lol

    As for the Flash issue, I'm not saying that Adobe is blameless. In fact, I'd say that there is much to this story that many of us do not know. It's just hard for me as a current PC/mac user to hate Flash because I've had it work fine for years. But that is not to say that Adobe couldn't do more to make improvements to their products. However, I know I'm not the only one who is put off by Apple's campaign against Adobe. It's a little troubling to me.

    I just believe that all products can be improved and should be improved. The issue for example on the scratched discs is the sharp metal edge that creates the opening to the drive. Why can't that be rounded? I actually saw someone who had used a Drimmel (spelling) rounding tool to round off the edges. Shouldn't have to use a tool like that on a product that costs > $1000 to prevent discs from being scratched.

    It's analogous to the sharp edges on the notebooks. One thing I appreciate about my Lenovo is the edges are rounded so my wrists don't get hurt.

    I appreciate the comments!

  11. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    Thanks, I can't wait to have used it for six months. So far, I love everything about it. No flex in the keyboard, the screen is protected by a magnesium case, the keyboard itself is awesome. Definitely kudos are in order for Lenovo on this product. Shame on Dell and HP for continuing to put out mediocre laptops.

  12. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    Someone wrote that Apple installs dated technology. I don't know if that's true or not but I had a coworker who bought an Apple ipad. I passed on those because my iphone is sufficient for now, but as I told him, I didn't think that I should have to wait for 3-4 product refreshes to get a USB drive.
  13. laokai macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2008
    Thanks, those thoughts are interesting to me, as I am also a long-time PC user thinking about getting an imac this summer. Most of your points seem pretty minor to me, so I don't think I would be deterred from the switch because of them. I'm more concerned about the fact that I have to wipe everything out on a PC after a year or two, due to the OS getting so bogged down and slow. Not to mention I really don't need help cleaning up my desktop icons... :rolleyes:
  14. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Obvious? You do realize Flash on Windows is different software from that on OS X, don't you?

    Adobe puts a lot more effort into getting Flash working on Windows than they do on OS X (it's likely that's changing within Adobe due to the recent publicity).

    I have ClickToFlash installed on my Mac, and since I got this Mac I have had four Safari crashes (as listed in my Library/Logs/CrashReporter), all to do with when I enabled Flash for some sites. ClickToFlash is disabled on my kids' accounts so they can play their online games, and their accounts Crash logs are filled with almost daily Safari crashes.

    At the moment, I'm running Eclipse, Apache, Oracle 10i, two instances of Resin, Safari, Mail, iTunes, iCal, Address Book and VMWare Fusion with a Windows 7 VM. My CPU is at 63˚C, fans are at 2000 rpm and I'm sitting with my MBP on my lap. When my kids are playing their simple little online Flash games, the fans reach 5000-6000rpm.

    You can't tell me it's not flash itself ...
  15. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Flash crashes on PCs too, a lot. Flash has always sucked on OS X and always will as HTML5 is the future, Flash will soon be buried. CTF is amazing utility, really clears out some serious crap on web
  16. Fugabutacus macrumors regular

    May 10, 2010
    I use a 13" MacBook Pro and I have had no problems with overheating. It rarely even gets warm to the touch, even when running several programs and watching DVDs, so your Hulu comment is surprising. Also, my iPhone rarely gets particularly hot and if yours is scorching after ten minutes of audio playback, I'd say there's something wrong :-S

    As for the charger cables... Well, you seem to simply be having a lot of bad luck when it comes to Apple products! i have never taken my iPhone charger out of the box. I use the charger I got with my iPod classic in April 2006 and it still works fine. If it ever goes, I have the iPhone cable.

    And the earphones is a tough subject when it comes to length. Mine are the ones with microphone and remote. They're designed to be used with iPhones or with iPod Shuffles. The problem here: People with iPhones are likely to want long earphones so they can leave the phone lying around and listen away; Shuffle users, however, want a nice short cable so there isn't a lot of wasted wire between your ears and your waist (where it is most likely clipped.)

    If you put iPhone and Shuffle earphones side by side, there's a big length difference. Universal earphones have to find a good middle ground.
  17. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    All good points. What I would say is that as a "seasoned" computer user (tongue in cheek), I didn't buy my Mini with expectations that it would be flawless. Some of my comments may seem minor but I am a person who is admittedly obsessed with details. My impression before going with Apple was that they were too. Obviously my comments don't negate the fact that they are attentive to detail on many things, just not some that I would have thought to be important.

    Your experience on the MBP is interesting. Is yours one with the sealed in battery? Maybe what I saw in the store was an exception, but I'd note that I tried several in the store and they all got hot. Googling "hot imacs" brought up a multitude of pages. Some people wrote in to say theirs did not get hot but the majority expressed concern about how hot they ran. I dunno. But I'm not so obsessed with looks that I'm unwilling to have a larger form factor if it will better dissipate heat (which they nearly always do). I once ran a program that had my Dell CPU at 100% usage for a month and I was never concerned about it being unable to handle that. I would need some confidence before I put even the Pro under that kind of stress.

    For me, the jury is still out on it. I will likely always have to have a PC too, so switching entirely is not plausible. However, before I invested in a more capable Apple (more memory, faster processor, etc = possible Pro purchase), I need to be a little more confident about some things that have given me pause so far.

  18. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    I'm curious what OS you are on? I once wiped my drive and reinstalled XP just to make it run faster. Made a big difference but I wouldn't say for me that it was something I had to do. I went to Win 7 shortly thereafter anyways.

    I was looking once at the thread for screen issues on this form. 2500+ comments, 240K+ views. There's folks in there that have gone through six replacements and there are comments towards the end about how maybe some yellow tint is normal. WTH? I respect those feelings toward Apple but I must say as someone who is new to the company's products that it is surprising to see such brand loyalty. If a PC mfr did something like that, folks would go ballistic. BTW, I use an HP 22" widescreen monitor with an HDMI plug on the back.

  19. kbfr08 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
    3. Heat buildup. Why is it that Apple products run so hot?

    It's because of the product design. The Apple III always comes to mind, since Steve Jobs forced the idea of a fan-less design to make the computer run quietly.
  20. laokai macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2008
    It's been a consistent problem for me with XP over the years. I get a new computer at work every 4 years, and I always end up having to wipe every couple of years to keep things moving. I've only recently started using 7, so I don't know if that will make a difference.

    In terms of the reliability issues, I've had a bunch of Dells, and the desktops have generally been good, but you can still find tons of similar complaints about all manufacturers on their forums. I am into cameras, too, and the forums for those are just full of complaints about camera body problems, lens QC, etc. Some of it is legitimate, and some of it is just an online echo chamber that tends of reverberate. Counting up comments is not (for me) a reliable indicator of problems.

  21. calsci macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2008
  22. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Never had any issues with excess heat with any Apple products. All 'laptops' now become hot underneath, which is why they have been renamed as notebooks.

    No computer manufacturer intends their machine to go on anyone's lap anymore.

    Bizarre. All batteries become hot when charging. Car engines become hot when they're working. Neither will burst into flames.

    Ever taken a trip to a Dell or HP forum? Any consumer electronics product will have a failure rate and Apple aren't any higher than other manufacturers. We've bought 6 Macs over the past few years and never had a problem with any of them.

    The drives are just standard units, as found in any PC. Never had a CD that wasn't hot to the touch on any device.
    Have heard about the scratched discs. I'd be pissed if that was me too admittedly, but my aluminium iMac has been perfect.

    Maybe if Apple used off the shelf motherboards. Have you seen an Apple board? The component density is incredible. They are custom designs, so you pay a premium for them.

    Maybe that doesn't account for it all and maybe you do pay for image and exclusivity. But so what? If you want to buy a computer like you buy a fridge freezer, go for it. A lot of people don't mind paying a bit extra for something nice, something they enjoy owning.

    But if money's an issue, just think how they keep their value. Sell your Mac after 3 years and you have a big chunk of money to go towards a new one. A PC isn't worth all that much after all that time.
  23. Mystic385 macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2009
    So my experiences after 6 months with my first Apple and it's an iMac 27 are;

    - love pages. (it just does things word didn't)
    - love numbers. (it just does things excel didn't - I'm a basic spreadsheet user)
    - love the ease of use of the Apple. Most things seem easy to do. If anything early problems occurred because I tried to do things in a more complex way having been trained by my PC.
    - love the 27.

    My complaints would be;

    - I know it is aesthetically pleasing to have the USB plugs at the back of the computer but it's a pain having to get behind there each time.
    - reading some microsoft emails can be a challenge, some people receive mine with a slightly different look. A friend of mine just runs windows products to ensure compatibility. I moved from PC as much to say FU to Microsoft for their ongoing crap products after using google chrome for several months and finding you can get reliable software.
    - again integration between me as a page user and others as word users can be a challenge at times. Not much, I just expect better.


    I love the reliability, the ease of use, the intuitiveness. Hands down a much more pleasant experience. I got to the point where I was cursing the ground Microsoft walked on each week.

    I've also had to transfer my stuff from one computer to another. Switch on the new machine, it prompts are you upgrading from another mac. I said yes and then I was asked to connect a lead between the two machines. Then Voila! Like sheer wizardry everything was on the new machine, programmes, pics, passwords, even icons on the screen were layed out in the exact location and the machine has performed flawlessly since. OMG. This alone is magic. Had I done this on a PC I would have lost a weekend, been sitting re-installing programme after programme, rebooting, a nightmare.

    And Time Machine - who invented that. I so wish I had that on my past PC's.

    As for price. When i worked out what software i got with the machine, the cost of software and the fact that I wasn't buying the overpriced MS product, the iMac was on par with the PC for cost.

    As for value for money it eats my past PC experiences and I'd struggle to leave this platform.

    I don't care about the fastest video card or the fastest processor or the latest whizz bang chip. It's the experience, the feel, the ease of use, the reliability. There is no comparison between the two systems for me as a user.

    I don't have a heat issue with the 27 or the iPhone i bought since. And the integration between my iPhone and Mac..... (drools, with a dazed in love look). My thoughts are with an Ali case you're dissipating heat and that's a good thing. If you didn't have the dissapation then heat would be within the unit.

    It's a pleasure using my Apple. That satisfaction of user experience was worth every penny.

    Steve Jobs and the team at Apple clearly understand what consumers want and deliver.
  24. Rsrchr123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2010
    I find your comments on Numbers interesting. I've not toyed with that as I've been very happy with Office 07. Love the ribbon and ease of use. Plus, I do substantial programming work in Excel Visual Basic, so anything without that is a non-starter for me. I am using Open Office on my Mac, as I'm trying to avoid getting Office for Mac until later this year when they implement the ribbon and also add Visual Basic (can't wait for that!).

    I agree that Jobs & Co. give a lot of consumers what they want. It was the purpose of my thread just to say that one year in, while I generally like what I see, I see some things for which I don't particular care. Oh well, such is life!
  25. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    hmm interesting reading , but all my macs work flawlessly
    ok all are pre intel
    a mac mini g4 1.42 , 2 eMac g4 1.42 , 2 imac g3 600/700
    ,a powermac 5500/275 and a TAM with sonnet crescendo g3 upgrade (did cost me more then the brandnew iMac 27" but was stored in his box since 1999 because the owner bought a iMac g3 back then :), and they all do what they are suppose to do all day long without overheating :p

    so for me a modern computer just means problems i stay away from them

    but you have to be fair , apple just builds what the customer wants , the customer wants a slim slimmer slimmest iMac , but on the other hand a fast faster fastest processor , but the customer doesn't want to see ventilation holes in the back of the iMac , so apple builds exactly to customers specification ... then the customer complains about heat :confused:

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