Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The state of Apple

I might have been willing to chalk off my bad experience with Apple as a sad isolated incident, if there had not been an obvious pattern visible in the media. Problems with high-end Mac Book Pros are structural.

Over the past decade, Apple has been washed away in the craze of making laptops smaller and lighter, to an extent where quality is jeopardized. Modern MBPs are so compact, they cannot dissipate their heat properly, and as a result, their components and their connections are slowly dying an untimely death, which is dubbed 'MeltBook Pro syndrome'. In addition, modern MBPs are basically a big blob of glue and solder, as all components are permanently glued or mounted to the logic board, making it impossible to upgrade, repair or replace them. That is, if one component dies, the whole laptop dies, and repair is not economically feasible. I do not think it is coincidence that the expected life of a MBP is three years, which is exactly the period covered by the AppleCare guarantee, which Apple buyers are advised to pay a premium for. If you want Apple service, pay for it,  buy a new machine after AppleCare expires, or shut up.

The MeltBook Pro syndrome is aggravated by design flaws, that expose the pattern as crystal clear. Owners of the 2011 generation of MacBook Pro have been enraged for at least one year, as their build of laptop suffers from failures closely tied to the Graphic Processor Unit failing, due to excessive heat. It is often suggested that this failure is caused by the use of lead-free solder, but a constant factor in this slate of problems is Apple looking away.

A petition titled 'Replace or Fix all 2011 MacBook Pro with Graphics Failures'  has been signed by more than 33,000 supporters, but Apple does not care. Apples discussion features a whopping 742-page long thread by Apple customers trying to get attention for their high end MBP dying, and the responses, or lack thereof, by Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers. While some customers are offered a free logic board replacement, many former Apple fans are paying as much as EU 700 for a repair, which in many cases lasts no longer than a few weeks. Sounds familiar? Customers are desperately trying to avoid the syndrome by switching off the dreaded GPU, by drilling holes in the bottom of their beatiful aluminium unibody, or by baking their machine like a pizza. The common pattern here is that Apple does not care. A Facebook page has been created to ask attention to the '2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card Issue' and, yet, Apple does not care. In the US state of California, a class action suit has been filed, and Apple does not care. In Canada, a national class action has been filed. Apple does not care.

Over the past decade, Apple has developed into a company, big enough to ignore its customers. While Steve Jobs' Apple created innovative products to suit the creative professional, Tim Cook has turned Apple into a money machine that pleases its shareholders, performing parlor tricks like taking the Icebucket Challenge or Coming out of this Closet, to entertain the masses. Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators, stated in an interview with Think Big that Steve Jobs' favourite product was not so much the Mac, the iPad, the iPhone or the iPod. Steve's favourite was the Apple Team.

I am afraid that Steve Jobs would be seriously disappointed by his favourite product in its 2015 edition. While Apple Inc. will continue to profit from selling out the Jobs legacy, there is no way a misled team will continue to create great products. We will see why 2015 will be like 1984...

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