Saturday, December 25, 2010

Apple + Christmas = Fail

I've purchased three iPhones. Of these, two have been defective out-of-the-box.

The first was my first, a first generation iPhone. It was DOA -- no charge, no taking a charge. I turned around and headed back to the Apple Store and made the exchange -- no problem. Next was my wife's phone, another first generation. No problem. Now this one, an iPhone 3GS for my daughter -- a teen's first phone, and for Christmas, no less. It wasn't DOA; it was just dead by the end of the day. It won't sync with a computer. It blinks and beeps as if just plugged in over and over again when attached to the USB charger. We'll be back at the AT&T store tomorrow, presumably to make an exchange.

I'm typing this note as it is on a recently purchased Mac Mini. We bought it to off-load data from an unusable family iMac G5. A few serial numbers before our own was the cut-off for iMac recalls with a monitor problems. Naturally, that wasn't the cut-off for the problem itself. With a tightly integrated design, there's nothing to do but toss it.

The PowerBook G4 is sitting upstairs. It's on its third $130 battery and its second power cord after the first melted down. There was the issue of losing 50 GB of my life to a File Vault (encrypted user directory) issue as well as one more random failure requiring a complete reinstall. The wireless Mighty Mouse I use with it is pretty cool -- when the scroll wheel doesn't decide to just scroll up, not scroll down... It was a tremendous improvement over the USB mouse that came with the iMac -- that one had the odd habit of deciding to race down to the lower right-hand corner of the screen at random times...

But why go there now. After all, tonight is just about my teenager's new dead phone, right? An isolated, independent event, right? Nothing to do with the times we've lost data, lost purchased music, or anything else, right?

I don't believe that any other brand is necessarily better or worse than Apple. It's just frustration that we've come to accept. Two out of three new phones in this house from Apple fail within a day. People tout on-line how convenient the exchange will be, but very few will complain about the failure in the first place. We're accustomed to a particularly high level of bullshit for items costing hundreds and thousands of dollars, some with two-year contracts attached. How did that come to be?


Techguy said...

I generally like Apple products, but I understand the frustration. So many products fail in one way or another, the drivers side windshield wiper on my Subaru quit and flopped about like a dead fish during our first snow storm. The car is just over a year old. On the plus side, when I wore a younger man's clothes, cars were good for about 50k miles and then the engine would blow rings, timing belts, water pumps and assorted other parts. These days, we can typically expect 100k or more miles before failures start. TV's and refrigerators typically last 10 years or more. Computers and phones seem to be the exception. I've had a couple of drive failures, which is the only way you can lose data, over the years, the moral is --backup, preferably on-line, you know those rules, off-site and daily ...Apple, good in so many ways, creative, innovative but also frustrating, file system still leaves something to be desired and I hate iTunes system, iPhone, I think not at all intuitive tho I like it, starting to look at Droid units but again, $150 bucks for a 7 inch tablet, and it is mostly a single, very complex chip....with all the lines of code, the millions of nanoscale circuits, it is a miracle that any of it works at all

Ordinary Joe said...

I've loved the Apple computer platforms for one great reason: I had a Windows-like gloss over things that kept the family happy and I had access to the Unix bits, including developer tools, underneath. On a secondary level, I was also drawn to seeing something on the verge of greatness: the underlying programming model that allowed (and encouraged) exposing functionality of larger software packages together with a framework for inter-application signaling and so forth has such potential for strapping together any amazing thing that anyone could imagine---a tipping point of sorts in the works.

Those aren't the aspects that are touted anymore, it seems. Now it's the phones and the entertainment aspects.

Also, while I thought the designs were amazing, the implementations seem rushed, and the quality control seems squeezed a bit too thin.

I am watching what Google is doing too... :-)