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Why First Generation Apple Products Suck 148

Posted by Zonk
from the fell-too-far-from-the-tree dept.
mmAPP writes "CoolTechZone.com has an article up that pleads with Apple to focus on its quality assurance before releasing new products. From the article: 'If anything, I think Apple should do a better job at quality assurance than Dell, HP or other OEMs that deal with more units than Apple. The benefit of being a considerably small company (in comparison to other OEMs) is to focus on delivering quality products. There's no denying that Apple is perhaps one of the most innovative companies when it comes to consumer electronics, but ignoring quality as a result is not something it needs to ignore.'"
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Why First Generation Apple Products Suck

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  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Thursday June 01, 2006 @11:54AM (#15445634) Journal
    [sigh] Yet another vacuous "story" posted by someone just trying to drive hits to their ads. I'd like to see the day when the text on a page offered up more than a few paragraphs, surrounded by ads/other useless stuff.

    Sure, Apple aren't perfect, but let's face it, who is ? Not that I'm at all religious, but I'm fairly sure there's some mention of "let him without fault throw the first stone" in some old book somewhere. Ok, so everyone has an opinion, hell there's no reason why you should listen to me - bitch if that's what floats your boat; but to do it purely to provide profit via another vector *does* annoy me. One more site to ignore from now on...

    I'm sure pretty-much every company does their level best, within some budget, to give their customers the best experience - it's only good business sense. I think Apple actually do *better* at that than most. Shame the nay-sayers disagree...

    Not to mention that the logic is ... well "interesting"... Apparently a smaller company has *more* resources to devote to indirect profit activities such as QA. Apparently the larger you get, the harder it is to use that workforce. Seems ... odd to me.

    For what it's worth, I gave my sister a nano, she's an air stewardess, and it travels a lot, stuffed in a handbag along with loads of other luggage (tardis-like, in fact - another story...). Yes there are some (small) scratches on it, but no more than any of the other plastic items she carries - significantly less than her credit cards, for example. Yes, it's only one data-point, but the pictures of the unusable screens that were floating about the internet seem maliciously-driven to me - you'd have to take a scourer to the surface to get it that bad...

    Simon
    • by BoomerSooner (308737) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:03PM (#15445730) Homepage Journal
      I avoid first generation Apple products for this reason. However that being said, Apple doesn't rank #1 for customer service and pretty much everything else in Consumer Reports year after year for nothing.
      • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:09PM (#15446415) Homepage Journal
        I avoid first generation Apple products for this reason.

        I avoid most first generation products for this reason, or at least wait six months, unless there is a real reason to throw caution to the wind.

        Like any product, while it may have been tested well in the labs, the real world is far more complex in the issues that get thrown at stuff. People don't use products as intended, forget procedure or do other stupid things that no one would have thought of. Other issues include manufacturing problems, so even if the product was perfect in the lab something subtle might have screwed up in manufacturing. These problems can get corrected as the issues arise, but it is people buying the product as the start who will get hit by the issues first, since they are using a product that hasn't been fully submitted to the trials of life.
        • THANK YOU!

          I dunno why people get down on Apple for this. Whenever I'm looking for a new car (a new used car anyway) I always avoid the first year of any major body change. When a new processor comes out or some brand-spanking-uber-new-features chipset, I avoid it. When I was in my teens, being an early adopter was cool, but now, I favor reliability over pretty much everything else in all my gadgets.
      • Personally, I tend to avoid first generation hardware products by *ANY* company. Is Apple really an oddity when you consider the XBox, XBox360, PS2, Logitech wireless headphones, etc. Just look at all the recalls that are made on cars the first year most new models are in production. This is a universal problem, not something that is specific to Apple.
      • All that Consumer Report's quality survey shows is that people using Apple's products are happy having made the "alternative" choice. Choosing Apple's products represents a lifestyle choice ("I am going to be different"), whereas choosing a PC does not. It would be harder for an Apple person to admit they made a lifestyle choice than for a PC user to admit they bought from the wrong PC company.

        For an analogy, around the Bay Area, people are buying new and old diesel cars and converting them to run on
        • You're making a possibly invalid assumption. Macs are not from some bizzaro universe. There are a lot of less technical people who buy Macs who are not all that familiar with the differences between Windows and OS X, they just want a reliable PC to get on the internet.
          • I think you're the one making the possibly invalid assumption. The great majority of less techinical people are buying Windows systems because "that's what on the computer" or "that's what they had at the computer store", etc. Yes, Macs aren't from bizarro world. But they don't have to be that different to warrant my logic above. Linux would fit even more so, at least for now. Apple even markets this: remember "Think different"?
      • Apple doesn't rank #1 for customer service and pretty much everything else in Consumer Reports year after year for nothing.

        I am a pretty big fan of Consumer Reports (I subscribe) and I have a Mac on the desk, right next to the linux and WinXP boxes that I also use daily.

        That being said, Consumer Reports is probably the worst place you could get computer advice from. They are great on evaluating paint, clotheswashers, and cars, but they suck hard on computer knowledge.

        As the man said, Let them alone: they

    • by cypherz (155664) * on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:14PM (#15445896)
      I think Apple fans put the company and it's products on a pedestal and when a defect is found, they are gravely disappointed. When somebody buys a $WINTEL notebook, they don't have the same expectations as someone buying an Apple Macbook/Macbook Pro.

      I know my expectations were very high when I bought my MBP. FWIW, my 17 inch MBP has none of the problems reported about the 15 inch model. It is quiet and runs relatively cool. Much cooler in fact than the 17 HP notebook it replaced.
      • FWIW, my 17 inch MBP has none of the problems reported about the 15 inch model. It is quiet and runs relatively cool. Much cooler in fact than the 17 HP notebook it replaced.

        FWIW, my 15 inch MBP has none of the problems reported about the 15 inch model. It is quiet and runs relatively cool. Not quite as cool as my 17" G4 powerbook it replaced, but it is easily several magnitudes faster. It is MUCH cooler than my old G3 Lombard was.

    • sigh] Yet another vacuous "story" posted by someone just trying to drive hits to their ads. I'd like to see the day when the text on a page offered up more than a few paragraphs, surrounded by ads/other useless stuff.

      Kinda like magazines, eh? Don't hold your breath.

      -matthew
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @11:54AM (#15445637) Homepage
    Apple can't ship better first generation products and is having a troubling time maintaining quality

    Sounds like some other company that makes operating systems. Can't place my finger on their name right now though ...
    • Sounds like some other company that makes operating systems. Can't place my finger on their name right now though ...

      You know, if everybody does it, they can all get away with it...
  • Roughly, here's a how a typical product cycle works at a normal company:

    R&D --> Production --> Quality Assurance --> Launch --> Marketing and Sales --> Technical Support + Luck (hoping everything works smoothly and there are no serious issues that the company might have missed).

    But here's how a typical product cycle works at Apple:R&D --> Production --> Launch --> Marketing and Sales --> Real World Testing (Quality Assurance) --> Recall, Technical Support, Mass Hysteria --> "Re-Release" --> Success (Notice how Apple doesn't need luck. It has already used an early batch of excited loyalists to do real world testing before launching a refined product).


    Give me a break, did this guy's nano just die?

    Maybe I'm expecting too much. Whatever it may be, if Apple can't ship better first generation products and is having a troubling time maintaining quality, I don't think Apple should focus on increasing its market share. Apple is not responsible enough to handle a small (I use this term loosely) group of users; do we really expect them to be a mainstream company?

    Too bad this guy's not in charge
  • Apple's QA... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spud603 (832173) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:01PM (#15445713)
    ...is actually quite fantastic. I've bought lord knows how many laptops from them, with not a single dead pixel, ever. Never a failed hard drive, never a faulty component.
    Where first-gen Apple products do have issues is not with QA, but with design stubornness. They used the scratchy ipod plastic not because they didn't know it was scratchy, but because Steve liked the look of it. The heat issues are not an issue of "whoops! look at that, processors produce heat!" They know that the machines will run hot, but want to keep the sleek form factor anyway.
    All in all, I think Apple products have few overall bugs, but the tight design all around makes those few design flaws stick out like sore thumbs. (damn you, TiBook hinges!)
    • Re:Apple's QA... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > the tight design all around makes those few design flaws stick out like sore thumbs

      And it makes the problems with AppleDontCare stick-out even more. It really sucks to own a 17" PowerBook that doesn't work well. It looks great, but with a bad inverter board it only runs only on slow. Unfortunately AppleDontCare doesn't consider that a serious problem. After fighting with them for over a year for permission to send it back (should have just called American Express at the time to do a chargeback!), t
    • Re:Apple's QA... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zebra_X (13249)
      ipod plastic, heat issues, TiBook hinges

      These *are* qa issues. If these things cause an unfavorable consumer experience then they are "bugs". They should be rectified, if they are not then the QA process is not doing its job. It is QA's job to say "this is ready for prime time".

      They used the scratchy ipod plastic not because they didn't know it was scratchy, but because Steve liked the look of it.

      You have no way of knowing if this is the case.

      I'll pitch in my 2 cents about iPods. Almost everyone I know incl
      • The "Click of Death" term is already used to describe an Iomega Zip or Jazz drive failure issue. Sorry, but you'll have to come up with a new term for any Apple issue. May I suggest "Single mouse button click of death"?
      • "Some of my friends have had 5 iPod failures."

        And yet they keep buying them. Hardly gives Apple an incentive to make them more reliable does it? iPods are essentially disposable electronics, it's amazing that Apple has managed to create something disposable that lists for such a high price tag. Cell phones are probably the only other comparable item.
      • [They used the scratchy ipod plastic not because they didn't know it was scratchy, but because Steve liked the look of it.] You have no way of knowing if this is the case.

        It's a pretty reasonable bet, though. Steve Jobs is *infamous* for valuing his aesthetic opinions of a product over every other feature and imposing them on others (famous example: wanting to rearrange the circuitry inside the Apple ][ (I think it was) so it looked better).

      • Re:Apple's QA... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by soft_guy (534437)
        I have a second generation iPod (i.e. same layout as 1st gen, but with non-movable wheel - came in 20GB only). It still performs flawlessly and isn't even very scratched. Then again, I don't drop it on the ground or run over it with my car either.

        I have purchased for my own personal use 8 new Macintoshes since 1993. The only problem I have ever had has been a hard disk failure in one (laptop) unit which Apple replaced under warranty and the airport card in my brand new Intel Mac Mini did not get very good r
    • i've bought 8 computers from them since 10.1 and 6 have had major hardware flaws. I am done with Apple Hardware.

      That being said, I'm clearly a build it guy because I like having the option of going and grabbing a replacement system board or some various part from a local shop. So I guess I am not their market anymore.
  • Innovation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CMiYC (6473)
    The trouble with innovation is that you typically learn things before anyone else does, through your mistakes.

    When I say innovation, I am not suggesting the iPod as a product is innovative. Or the MacBook as a laptop is innovative. I mean more towards specifc features and functions.

    The screen used on the Nano, for example. Nobody tried putting it on a MP3 player before. Someone at Apple thought it would hold up. Oops. Guess not.

    One approach would be to take the Dell route. Only incorporate technologi
    • What are you talking about nobody tried putting a screen on an MP3 player before the Nano? How old do you think the Nano is? You realize the normal iPod, Creative Zen, etc. have had screens on them long before the Nano, right? How is that innovative. Not to say Apple isn't innovative, because they are in terms of UI, but I think the screen on the Nano was a terrible example of innovation...
      • Re:Innovation (Score:2, Interesting)

        by peragrin (659227)
        He could of been more expressive but that's not the point. the Nano's screen is a new design. It wasn't a tested plastic for consumer electronics. Apple innovates because they don't choose to use the exact same plastic as dell does, or the exact same LCD's, or hinge suppliers.

        A year or so after Apple successfully(failures seldom make it) uses a new type of screen, or other componet you can see it showing up in other competitiors products.

        By the way I know of one Nano user(m brother) who drops his nano, p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:06PM (#15445783)
    CTZ Exec: We aren't getting many hits lately, what can we do to get more?
    CTZ Drone: Post an Apple troll?
    CTZ Exec: PERFECT! Do it!
  • by packetmon (977047) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:06PM (#15445789) Homepage
    I know a great number of you wait until a new batch of products arrive before opting for one, but is it really too much for Apple to release products that are near perfect (or at least don't have major problems)? Maybe I'm expecting too much. I can't think of one vendor who hasn't had to recall a product which leads to investigate a bit of logic... Nobody is perfect.

    don't think Apple should focus on increasing its market share. Apple is not responsible enough to handle a small (I use this term loosely) group of users; do we really expect them to be a mainstream company? Apple will always have a great market share because of their marketing and they've been mainstream since Billy boy was stealing Xerox codes.

    Is it me or does this author sound like a disgruntled Apple enduser. Perhaps a Dell employee or other corporate shmoo.
  • Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:07PM (#15445799)
    The article is 100% Pure Troll.

    His "questions" he'd like to ask sound exactly like "Have you stopped beating your dog?"

    Do you really do real world testing on early adopters?
    Why is it that nearly all products you unveil are plagued with serious setbacks?
    Why is your quality assurance department so incompetent?
    Do you ever learn your lesson from previous mistakes?
    If so, how do you correct them? If not, why not?
    Could you please admit that you will continue to release products with serious flaws in the near future (that will at least give us something to count on)?
  • by alexo (9335)

    > Why First Generation Apple Products Suck

    Tell that to Hoover.
  • I concur with this (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Espectr0 (577637)
    And would like Apple to increase the quality of their products not only at first revision levels, but with further revisions as well.

    You know what an apple employee told me when i said my hard drive in my powerbook died after 2.5 years?

    "Laptop drives die between 2.5 and 3 years after use, it's normal"

    Overheating in all their laptops^Wportables (no longer can be called laptops) ,core logic boards fail, bad hard drives, lids that don't close properly,
    chipped paint off the latch button, whine sounds,need to re
    • funny, my 5 year old iBook has had NONE of these problems. (I got lucky)

      And I can look around the corner at 1 year old Dells that need to be replaced.

      The fact is shit happens, and it happens to all computers. I have had computers not work out of boxes, i have had computer last 3 years then just self destruct, I have had computers still work 20 years later.

      THESE THINGS HAPPEN WITH HEAVY USE ELECTRONICS.

    • >"Laptop drives die between 2.5 and 3 years after use, it's normal"

      Since when? My Toshiba laptop drives are: 18, 6, 3, and 1 year(s) old. Not a drive failure yet. Plus one more that I got used. Still running after 6 years SINCE I bought it.

      And yes, I do still have an 18 year old laptop, and it still runs, and I still use it for one program. Now I only use it once or twice a year, but it is still running and good.
    • "need to repair permissions after each update (why macs need this?)..."

      They don't. 5 current Macs, all running OSX since 10.1.5, I have NEVER had any problem that was fixable by "repairing permissions"

      It's a placebo.

      http://daringfireball.net/2006/04/repair_permissio ns [daringfireball.net]
      http://daringfireball.net/2006/04/repair_permissio ns_voodoo [daringfireball.net]

      Apple does not state *anywhere* in their documentation that repairing permissions is required or even desireable afer updates.
      • Oh, and I was gonna mod in this story.

        Repairing Permissions is not a placebo for one reason. If anything happens to your /tmp symlink a permissions repair will fix it. Without that link simple things like printing don't work. It's certainly not a cureall, but it's a good thing to start running while you search the Net for a real fix.

        For the record, I have only seen the /tmp link get munged a couple of times since OS X DR3 came out, but
    • Newsflash: Apple uses the exact same drives as the rest of the computer market, there's nothing proprietary about them. I seriously doubt the veracity of your statement but the laws of physics dictate that mechanical devices with moving parts will eventually break down.

      That being said, the complaints most people have with Apple products are typically perception issues: too hot, too noisy, scratches too easily. Everyone has their own tolerance of what they will accept and despite the limitations of cu
  • Small device (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enrique1218 (603187) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:15PM (#15445908) Journal
    I notice this problem mainly with small devices (notebooks and nanos). I got the first generation G5 and it chugging along with no problems. I also got the first g4 and it is working OK. But the first Titanium notebooks was a problem. The DVD failed, the screen has vertical lines, and and the case cracked. The nano get scratched easily. A general rule of thumb with those devices is to purchase an extended warranty. I really do wish Apple will settle on a design and focus their attention on quality control akin to the IBM with Thinkpad line.
    • Apple outsources pretty much everything on their laptop. So the Apple DVD drive is probably similar if not the same model as the one on the think pad, same for the screen. The complaint on the case is valid though because Apple probably did design that aspect of the laptop, and as beautiful as Apple's are, there is a reason why PC laptop makers make their laptops so boring looking.
      • Thinkpads don't use a slot-load drive like Powerbooks/ibooks/Macbooks. A slot load has more moving parts and I feel is less reliable. Squeezing components to even smaller spaces may not the best either as components are getting hotter. GPU's, cpus, and logic boards aren't getting cooler and you adding more components like bluetooth, webcams, firewire 800, gigabit ethernet. I am surprise they get proper air flow over all those compents to make a fan useful. I think heat is going to be the biggest quality con
        • Wouldn't a slot load have less moving parts than a tray loading drive? Car Cd players have used slot load forever. But I think we both agree that the main cause of failure in the recent Macs is failure due to case design rather than poor quality control.
  • Dell.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wovel (964431) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:20PM (#15445960) Homepage
    Why did he mention Dell several times in the article. They have considerably more QA issues than Apple and develop very few of their lines to a stable state. They have never released and Inspiron that did not require a BIOS update for thermal stability, at least not one worth using. Fact is some issues are hard to find in a controlled QA envionment. The nano screens was the glaring case of a failure in QA and Apple has acknowledged that.
  • How odd (Score:4, Funny)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:22PM (#15445981)
    From the colors, I'd say this doesn't look like Digg.

    Who accepted this article again?
  • Quick Product Cycle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chowhound (136628) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:27PM (#15446014) Homepage
    I have a first-gen MacBook Pro so I can attest to Apple's first-gen foibles. I got a MacBook Pro 2 months ago. Before I downloaded 10.4.6 it was slow, clunky and crashy as hell, and my iSight and FrontRow didn't work.

    I think it's due to the rapid innovation cycle Apple operates on. If Gateway takes an extra 6 months to ship some beige box, who cares? But Apple, as a niche operator, is much more conscious of staying up on trends and must constantly put out improved and upgraded product. Hell, my 1.83 Ghz MBP isn't even made any more.

    The good news is that Apple continually sends out fixes and OS updates, both software and firmware, and its user base is an active and (generally) technically savvy bunch who love sharing what they learn. Being an early adopter isn't always easy, but it's very rewarding.

    • by Life2Short (593815) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:14PM (#15446474)
      "I have a first-gen MacBook Pro so I can attest to Apple's first-gen foibles."

      It might be a good idea to look a bit further back in the history of a firm before making any sweeping statements. For every first-gen Apple product that sucked, you can name another that was wildly successful. Apple IIc's were great, Apple III's sucked. There are still Mac IIci's running today, the Mac IIvx was a "roadapple" the day it was released. The Blackbird series of Powerbooks were fabulous, the 5300's crashed and burned (literally). Aluminum PowerBook G4's were/are great machines, the iBook G3 series never were satisfactorily revised, the same form factor with a G4 was a winner from generation one.

      One could continue on like this. I upgraded my first-gen iPod to 20gigs and I suspect I'll probably be buried with it (hopefully not soon).
      • To be fair the ci was a replacement for the cx, the cx being the first generation of Mac IIs with the smaller case, then came the ci and the quadra 700.
    • Likewise, Apple has no intention of letting new product details leak due to long QA periods or large QA teams. It is common knowledge that only a small group of employees see the full product.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:29PM (#15446037)

    So let me get this straight, this guy is arguing that because he's read a lot about first generation Apple products being buggy, they are not doing as good of a job as everyone else? And he has no numbers to back this up? And we're just supposed to assume he's right?

    Apple products get more press coverage. They are high profile and do a better job attracting the press than most other manufacturers. They also tend to be more cutting edge than is average and since many users want OS X and there is only one practical source of hardware that runs OS X, people care about their releases. Thus, when there is a problem, everyone hears about it. Does that mean they have more problems? Independent reviews of their hardware reliability put them at or near the top of the heap. This is despite releasing more "cutting edge" features that can't benefit from the mistakes of others. I've heard it said they update their product line less often, which may mitigate this somewhat. Still, from what I've seen their products, first rev or otherwise are no worse than anyone else's. I don't buy first rev cars, or other expensive, engineering heavy, devices. I usually don't do the same with computers, from any manufacturer. Basically, I just don't see any evidence that Apple is worse (or even as bad) as the average.

  • Just because Apple is a smaller company doesn't mean you should expect better quality assurance out of the same Asian factories that output HP or Dell products. I mean, overseas, its all the same. Apple's stuff is made in China, just like Dell or HP. Apple only designs their stuff and once it is in production, they have little control over quality assurance. If an Asian manufacture is screwing up, then Apple will find another manufacture or take steps to improve the process, but I think the opposite is
    • Dell uses standard components that are battle tested, that's why Dell's are so boring. Apple tends to put in more bells and whistles but when doing so, it goes beyond standard laptop design so its no suprise that Apple has more initital quality issues than a Dell. Dell is like buying a Chevy, cheap, reliable enough and cheap to fix. Apple is like buying a Bmw, more expensive, not as reliable, and expensive to fix. In a Chevy you are getting the same basic car you can buy in 1956. With a BMW, you are getting
  • by seebs (15766) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:36PM (#15446107) Homepage
    This guy has no idea what he's talking about. I've gone through countless Apple laptops (okay, maybe ten or so) for various friends and family. One dead pixel on one of them. It got fixed free of charge a couple of years later. I did get a DOA new mini (core Duo), but they fixed it -- and the part which was bad wasn't a "new" part, it was an Airport Extreme card, something that's been out for years and Apple doesn't even really make.

    Worst Apple product ever: The "saucer" power supplies. I've seen at least ten of them fail, some in ways that involved visibile flickering sparks over a period of time. We've had to mix and match parts to cobble together working power supplies. They sucked so much it's unbelievable... Even three years after they came out. Why? Not "rushed to market". "Fundamentally stupid design."
  • Can anyone think of a First Generation product from anyone that didn't suck?
    • I have a really nice 1st-gen backpack blower from Echo that's still going strong. ;-)
    • by Life2Short (593815) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:40PM (#15446752)
      Some people believe the exact opposite. Get the first generation products because they are so solidly engineered.

      After the first generation, manufaturers start looking for ways to cut costs.

      I saw a great show on the BBC once about washing machines. They took apart an old first gen washing machine and showed a beautiful machined flywheel. The thing was a work of art and I can't imagine how long it must of taken to make or how much it must of cost. The latest version of the same style of washing machine had the equivalent of a coffee can filled with concrete fulfilling the same role. I kid you not.

      When I look back on CD players or VCR's that I bought, the first generation models were like tanks. They weighed a ton and held up under constant use for over a decade. I bought them in the mid-80s, and I gave them to the Salvation Army when I moved in 2001, I'm sure they're still running still 20 years on unless someone tossed them out. I only switched to newer models for the new bells and whistles.
  • Over the years, I've owned quite a few first-generation Apple products, and I have tended to have excellent success with them. Most recently, I had one of the very first iMac G5s. I had one of the first video-enabled iPods. And I just bought one of the first MacBooks. Any product (first generation or otherwise) is going to have SOME issues. Some percentage of them are going to be DOA or have problems quickly. And it's not uncommon for there to be design issues uncovered after thousands or millions of a prod
  • Dumb article. (Score:4, Informative)

    by menace3society (768451) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:59PM (#15446337)
    The real question is, why does Apple get all the grief for this? Remember pretty much every release of Windows ever? Remember the PS2 read errors?
    All the heat problems people had with Inspirons in '03? The Pentium floating-point bug? It's just that Apple happens to release new products more often than most other companies, so they crop up now and again. I have a first-gen iPod that still works okay (though the battery is pretty much shot after all this time), and one of the first white iBooks that still works grandly.

    I would say from my personal experience, Apple's biggest problem is breaking stuff with software updates. In the past, I've had sleep, cd burning, and fink unexpectedly broken with minor revisions; currently (10.4.6) airport is flaky. But that's not what people are talking about when they complain about first-gen products.
    • I also experienced Airport flakiness after the 10.4.6 update (namely auto-connecting to a WiFi network with WPA Personal authentication). It was solved by going into Keychain Access (in your Utilities folder), and deleting all the Airport network password entries in the 'login' and 'System' sections. I then re-entered my WiFi settings (created a new prefered network), and it's been working perfectly since.
  • but ignoring quality as a result is not something it needs to ignore.

    I think they ought to think about thinking as a thought process, myself.

    At least, that's what I think.

  • by Warlock7 (531656) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:03PM (#15446375)
    It's so funny that the biggest complainers about Apple products are people that generally don't even own an Apple product. When these people post to the Apple message boards, if you ask them simple Apple-centric questions to try and help them with their supposed problems they don't respond or when they do, they respond with things that clearly indicate that they aren't using, and never have used, any Apple products.

    I've had four first gen Apple Desktops with zero incidents. I own a first gen iPod that still runs great, yes the battery still works just fine. I have a first gen nano with zero scratches on it, but I also don't carry it around in my pocket with my friggin' keys. I'm on my second first gen Apple laptop with no issues.

    Granted personal experience isn't going to define a company, but my experience has never run into any of the problems complained about.

    Sometimes you just have to wonder.
  • The most obvious reason is of course money, but also it's because of the culture surrounding Apple. Apple is a darling of the tech and consumer industry. People love their iPods and are getting turned onto their computers, and for the most part investors are warm to their financial performance.

    So, when someone has some bad experiences, they cry louder than, say, someone who has a problem with a Microsoft product. "Oh, Windows broke again? Well, it does suck, that's just the way things are, oh well, no sense in complaining."

    Being in support, I know all about the hyperboles users make when complaining about their problems. They go on and on about how this is a critical problem that must be fixed, how there's no quality assurance going on, and that everyone else in the world must be experiencing this same problem. Meanwhile, no one else has reported this problem, there are confirmed tests of this problem not occuring in many standard configurations, the user has a highly specialized configuration, and the affected area is not in fact a critical function.

    The guy wants a little extra satisfaction, and wants to be heard. However, he wraps it in the cloak of an editorial, like most bloggers, so called journalists, and other web writers do.

    Did the guy get into a crap situation? Probably, and that sucks.
    Did the guy get crappy support? Maybe, and that would suck.

    But making a sweeping generalization that the products just suck when millions of human beings completely disagree with you is not going to get you any points with Apple or anyone else.

    Whatever happened to writing about the facts? If you want to editorialize about any technology company, you have to go find the facts and then lay them out. Finding the facts means getting information on other peoples experiences, surveys, reviews, etc. You then take that information in context and write your own article.

    However, if he was going for ad hits, congratulations. Good job there.
    • But making a sweeping generalization that the products just suck when millions of human beings completely disagree with you is not going to get you any points with Apple or anyone else.

      Uh, a lot of people do think that Apple has a QA problem. I've seen it both on and off Apple fan boards. So if you're going to make a sweeping generalization that he's totally wrong and that no one will agree, do some research. There are plenty of people who agree, and they're not going to give you or anyone else any points f
  • I've purchased a first-generation Mac mini (PPC G4 version) and a MacBook that I ordered on the day they were announced. Not a single problem with either of them. The MB does run a little warm, but not hot enough to be alarming and is otherwise one sweet little unit.

    Granted, Apple does have occasional QC problems with new models but so does every other manufacturer--not only manufacturers of computers but any complex product. Would I like every product I buy to be flawless? Of course. Can I reasonably expe

  • by Nexum (516661) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:18PM (#15446514)
    Apple has a greater market capitalisation (worth) than Dell. (finance.google.com)

    This erroneous concept that Apple is, in some way, a 'smalltime' player, an equal to the likes of, say Atari, Acorn, etc. deviates hugely from the truth.
  • by bahamat (187909) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:22PM (#15446552) Homepage
    GNOME 1.2 anyone?
    Mozilla 1.0?
    Fedora Core 1?

    And now for the obligatory MS bashing:
    DOS 1.0?
    Windows 1.0?
    NT 4, Win98/ME/XP without service packs?

    Generation 1 of anything sucks.
  • by necro81 (917438) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:34PM (#15446679) Journal
    What, no one's posted a link to the famous Apple Product Cycle [misterbg.org] yet?

    First thing that came to my mind. Not that I agree with the article (pretty far from it, actually), but it seemed an obvious link to post here.
  • by Warlock7 (531656) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:36PM (#15446692)
    ...that excitement quickly wore off as users realized the traumatic screen scratching issue...
    OK, so the problem was traumatic to 1% of the users.
    ...thousands of message board threads were started, and it became a major news headline for a few days ...
    Thousands of message board threads, some headlines and a lawsuit. Which proved nothing, except that there is an extremely vocal minority out there.
    ...the amazingly low number of units that affected the total shipment. ...it was less than 1 percent.
    So, those that had their products damaged, by their own careless stupidity, were shown to be the tiny minority of units shipped. Could it have been a problem with those few who had trouble and not the product itself? The vast majority didn't have complaints or problems, so how is it that Gundeep Hora concludes that the first generation nano sucked? Apple didn't change anything after all the noise that this tiny minority made. Gundeep Hora's reputation is coming into question here...

    As many of us know, MacBooks faced thermal issues not too long ago.
    Really? A simple software update fixed the perceived problem, but that makes the MacBooks suck. So sayeth Gundeep Hora, the same person that starts out the article by stating:
    It's not that I despise Apple or the wonderful products it showcases year after year...
    Nice preface to your FUD and blatantly unbiased attacks against Apple.
    The company is so disgustingly used to the idea of recalling/replacing its first generation products, it's almost second nature.
    Gundeep Hora just said that only 1% of the nano's were affected and replaced and that the MacBooks had a software update address a perceived problem. Where are all the examples of recalls? One percent does not justify the concept that first generation nanos were replaced, only those, seemingly, owned by the careless and ignorant needed replacement. So where does Gundeep Hora come off making such a vast generalization? Well, regardless of what he claims in his preface, Gundeep Hora obviously does hate Apple and their recent success. How does this article classify as a "featured story" on CoolTechZone? How does the "editor-in-chief" release such garbage? Maybe he just sucks?

    R&D --> Production --> Quality Assurance --> Launch --> Marketing and Sales --> Technical Support + Luck (hoping everything works smoothly and there are no serious issues that the company might have missed).

    But here's how a typical product cycle works at Apple:R&D --> Production --> Launch --> Marketing and Sales --> Real World Testing (Quality Assurance) --> Recall, Technical Support, Mass Hysteria --> "Re-Release" --> Success (Notice how Apple doesn't need luck. It has already used an early batch of excited loyalists to do real world testing before launching a refined product).
    Wow, verifiable facts, I love those. "Mass hysteria" comes from 1% of the users, now that's mass hysteria... I'm sure that Apple does no QA before releasing to the public, I believe Gundeep Hora, he's some kind of expert. I had no idea that they were so lucky. What a hack this moron Gundeep Hora is. Somebody should really reconsider his position.
    Ignoring Apple's incompetence over and again is tiring.
    This article is tiring. Gundeep Hora's incomepetence is tiring. Those two weak examples of Apple's supposed incompetence aren't sufficient for these extreme anti-Apple sentiments. What has this douchebag got against Apple? Did Steve Jobs run over his cat or something? Sheesh...
  • We have 25 dual processor G5 DDL (AGP GeForce 6800s with 2 dual link DVI to drive 2 30" Apple Cinema Displays), 17 2.7 GHz and 8 2.5 GHz. Of these, 10 of the 17 2.7 GHz have blown up (I saw sparks and heard loud popping the one time I was in the lab to witness this) due to their out of the box liquid cooling failing. While Apple has repaired all of these w/out charge, it's still a very scary percentage of failure. Also several of the machines will get aqua blue pixels randomly distributed around the scre
  • if i was going to buy a MacBook/MacBook Pro i might wait a little bit, but that's mostly because the real world abuse of a laptop may not be so easy to reproduce in the top secret dev lab.

    that being said i picked up a used 1st version dual USB iBook that i use daily.

    i have a G4 tower that was the first version with AGP, but what does that mean? any revision would have an upgraded motherboard, and that was at least the 3rd tower in that same basic case.

    i have an iPod shuffle i got when they first came out (t
  • ... at least that's my personal experience -- anecdotal & unscientific, but here goes:

    I've bought numerous Macs since 1994 (about 50 or so, small graphic-design firm). During this time we've had four real "1st-Generation-Lemons" (one PM 6100/60, two G4/400, and one iBook/500).

    In each of the four cases Apple was extremely helpful and fair. Yes, each of those machines did cost me time & nerves (and my coworkers learned many colourful new words), but the way Apple handeled these issues are one of the
  • Xbox 360 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ThirdPrize (938147)
    Its like the 360. In order to meet the initial demand, QA may slip a bit as they try and get as many units out the door as possible. Quality goes down. Once the initial rush has gone though, they settle down into their regular working practices. Quality goes up. its not first gen but just the first few deliveries that have probs. Same with PS2. I'm gonna leave it a couple of months for them to flog all those first boxes and then get a MB.
  • There's no denying that Apple is perhaps one of the most innovative companies when it comes to consumer electronics

    I deny this. They certainly put the iPod suite together well, but I hardly call an MP3 player innovative. They have relied very heavily on their business partners for the real innovative thinking. (reasonable DRM (dolby), connection to car stereos (kenwood, JVC, etc), storage (hitachi), etc. Besides the iPod, what has apple even put out for "non-pc" consumer electronics. The newton? The H

    • The innovation is in making things easy to use and simply look good. Sure the idea of an MP3 player isn't innovative but compare how easy an iPod is to use (load-up with music etc) and compare it to other Mp3 players. Even today, years after the iPod was introduced players like Creatives still suck.
  • by PhoenixK7 (244984)
    Personally, I think this statement is BS. EVERY one of Apple's products has its minor share of issues. Yes, they also tend to correct issues through the generations, but often even some of the later gen machines have issues as well. While the first gen may have more issues than later ones, the level of complaints for Apple's current line of portables seems, to me, to be no more than the level of complaining I've heard about any other generation of an Apple product. Really, I think that the bottom line h
  • If you go to mac forum sites, you will tend to see more whining, people jumping to conclusions and others noticing problems after other point it out to them than from users of other brands. Mac fans tend to expect perfection and when an Apple product does not live up to their standard of perfection, you will see them launch into lengthy diatribes about how the small flaw has emotionally scarred them for life. Because of the numerous threads by the started by the same people on slightly different nuances of
  • no doubt alot of first gen buyers feel like they are acting as beta tester, paying for the privilege to beta test for apple... i know, i've bought first gen apple products, and learned to wait for the revisions... se/30, imagewriter, laserwriter II NTX, quadra 700, quadra 900, bondi blue gum-drop imac, newton, 8100, 8600, b/w g3, sawtooth/mirror door/dually g4, sunflower/luxo jr imac, g5 etc this f*ckin' list can keep going...(some of these are personal, many were corporate often out of necessity). consid

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