MY EXPERIENCES OF APPLE'S FALLIBILITY

James Preston Reply 4:00 PM

I first started working on Apple (back then just Macintosh, I think) in the late nineties in Westville Boys' High School's innovative Art Department.  That Mac was like a worshipped idol in the Art Room.  I didn't have too many problems.  But I did battle to come to grips with the various keyboard and mice rearrangement.  But to be honest with you, the primary reason it felt better than my Pentium 1 PC back home was that it had a program called "Photoshop".

Eventually PCs were rapidly upgraded, and I got a copy of photoshop for myself.  I did a lot on Photoshop.  And became fairly skilled.

Then came Design School at Durban Tek.  We were only introduced to Photoshop in 2nd year, where we were all using iMac G3's.  I could not believe how slow these machines were!  Sure, they were by now 2 or 3 years old.  But according to Apple Fanboys, Macs are meant to last forever!

The iMac G3 of 1998 - 2000
No matter which G3 I chose each lesson, one of them would crash every time!  Every time!  In the middle of some kind of rendering process in Photoshop.  This was a far cry from my supposedly inferior Pentium 4 back home which crashed maybe once a week.  But I still couldn't get how even my fellow students kept blowing Apple's trumpet, despite what we are all experiencing!  It was like they were under some kind of spell!  (Well, most of them anyway).

It was here that I started noticing Apple lovers were under some strange illusion.

Then my close friend Jimmy Duguid joined the (then) "Dark Side" (and the growing masses) by buying himself a MacBook.  (Literally the Dark Side - he bought a black one!)

Jimmy's Black MacBook
It was not even a year later and it was in for repairs after his hard-drive crashed.  Yes, CRASHED!  Destroyed!  Completely!  New one required!  No bootup!  
Oddly enough, there were no snide comments like "typical Apple" or "I bet Windows wouldn't have done this".  Not even "stupid computers".  It was like this little MacBook was a master whom you dared to ever insult!

After getting married, the time was right to get a computer of my own.  I got myself a Toshiba Notebook, and couldn't have been happier.  It did everything I needed it to do.  All my radio production work (it ran high-end industry-standard appes like Sound Forge like a dream), all my design work, all my documents, games, multi-media, you name it.  It was perfect.  Sure, it crashed every now and then, but certainly not as much as my iMac friends of my college years.

After a good 3 and a half years of solid, everyday, strenuous use, the onboard graphics card did unfortunately give up the ghost.  The comments came strong and hard:  "Typical PC", "Mac would never do that" etc.

I used a friend's Netbook for a whole 6 months before getting a new computer.

After 6 months of hard deliberation, I decided to cross over to the dark-side myself and get a MacBook Pro.  I decided on a Pro because I wanted performance.  I need my computer to perform at a very efficient level, for the nature of my work.

I can tell you the exact moment I made the decision...  I was sitting at a coffee shop in Durban without any battery power for my laptop.  Apple had just come out with a so-called "8 hour battery" on their MacBooks, and I was so frustrated I got up and went to the iStore.  No other laptop on the market at the time was offering battery-life of that nature, and being on the move so often, it made perfect sense.  That was the moment.

Having said that, a strong part of influence my decision to go Mac was that I was going to the USA and Macs are 25% cheaper there, so I thought I'd take advantage.

I walked into an Apple store in Seattle with my cousin Ian Thomas (a then Microsoft Employee) and the service wasn't amazing.  The clever-card-name-tag-thingy-wearing sales guy knew less about Macs than I did.  And so my cousin and I decided to buy it online.

I have to be honest with you, and give credit where it is due; I was happy.  I enjoyed my MacBook Pro.  The small 13inch was perfectly sized so as to not be too bulky.  It ran all my high-end applications without hassle.  And it's battery was sure enough incredible.

But!  It did crash!  A few times!  It would freeze on me every few weeks, crash here and there, and I would have to "force quit" applications often.  It was by no means the perfect computer.  But you won't hear Apple users ever tell you that!  What I want to find out is why??  Why do you never hear Apple users tell of their computer crashing?  Why does no one ever tweet their Mac just crashed?  Is it taboo?

I think that's the problem.  It has become taboo to speak about Apple's weaknesses.  What kind of brand builds such a support base that they're too afraid to speak bad about it?  A good one, I guess.

I have two more experiences with Mac.  Including my most recent...

In 2010 my brother's design school was selling off their Macs at great prices.  I bought one.  It is still sitting in my office to this day.  Because it doesn't work.
Yep, you heard correctly.  It does not work!  The motherboard is fried and no keyboards or mice can be plugged in to make log in.  Sure, one repair should fix it, but I haven't got round to it.  But that's not the point!  The point is, it's meant to be an Apple!  You're meant to buy it, plug it in, and it's meant to work!  Oh, but those stories stay underground.  Like gay Catholic priests or something.

And so...  most recently...  I was in need of a new Mac.  Mine got stolen from Musgrave Centre in Durban out my boot (or trunk - Americans).  Fortunately, I had insured it for its South African value.  (Praise God for insurance!  And for my Aunty Trish who is a fantastic broker!  Drop her a mail here.)

So I searched high and low for a decent-priced replacement.  The trouble with Apple (especially in South Africa) is that you won't get a cheaper price anywhere!  Unlike America, the prices are regulated worse than petrol.  Good one Apple.  Like we're that desperate.  (Or are we?)

After asking around, it turned out Hilton Greig's iWorld in Umhlanga and Westville Malls seemed to be the best options, and considering I know Hilton, I figured I'd get the best service there.

Sadly they didn't have stock of the MacBook Pro 13 inch.  After a bit of shopping around, I decided to go with iStore, in Gateway, Durban.  They're advertised as a "Premium Reseller", not just an "Authorised Reseller".  That's gotta be good, right?

Wrong!  I bought the machine, and was assured (by more than 4 Apple Fanboys) that I simply have to plug my Time Machine (Apple backup hard drive) into my new MacBook and all my data will be restored.  After over 16 hours of trying to figure it out, I ended up wiping the entire hard-drive clean!  Gone!  Over!  Unusable!!  The poor thing didn't even boot up.  Bear in mind, I count myself pretty computer literate.

So yeah, Apple certainly is just "plug n play", hey?  Whatever.

I took the machine back to the "Premium Reseller" at Gateway the following day.  The very hard, cold employees could only "schedule an appointment" for 90 mins later!  Did they say sorry?  No.  Did they offer compensation?  No.  Did they offer me a new machine?  Of course not.  But these are iStore employees, they're beyond accusation, right?

My 90 mins comes around, and I am greeted by a pretty unfriendly technician.  But I guess that's the IT sector for you.  After telling him the story, he coldly tells me that I will have to pay R175 to repair it, without offering any apology at all.  I am so desperate I take it.
He starts up and says to give him another 90 mins.  More walking around Gateway.

90mins later and I get a phonecall from IT Apple Unfriendly Guy:  "It's gonna take another 30 mins.  Sorry about that".  Minus the 'sorry about that' part.  I put that in.

I walk in 30 mins later, and it's still not ready.  My brand new MacBook Pro I bought only the day before!  Is so badly corrupted it needs over a day to repair!  He proceeds to tell me to come in tomorrow.  Can't wait.

I come in the next day, and IT Apple Unfriendly Guy's not on duty.  He forgot to tell me that the day before.  Besides the fact that he knew that when he said "come in tomorrow"!

Fortunately for me, his manager was on duty, and what a breath of fresh air.  I explained my story and he immediately apologised and told me to forget about the R175.  He then had me up and running within an hour, with advice to restore my backups.  My faith in humanity was restored.  It's still a tad wavy on Apple though.

Continue reading my post about Apple Fanboy's self-righteousness here.

That's four separate stories highlighting Apple's infallibility.  That I have experienced, alone.  How many more must there be?  What about you?  Have you experienced trouble with Apple?  What are your stories?

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