Why I Want Apple’s Market Share to Stay Low

In my younger years, I was a bit of a Mac zealot. Okay, it goes back far enough that I was an Apple IIGS zealot.

I love underdogs. This is just one of the many reasons I’ve always loved the Mac. I knew that I wasn’t getting a mass-produced, assembly-line piece of crud computer. The things were workhorses. They lived forever.

My favorite Mac ever was Darcy. I had that PowerBook G3 forever. It was a sad day when she finally kicked it.

At my last job, I had a PowerBook G4 and a MacBook Pro. Both were nice and sexy and all, but they just weren’t as… strong as the old PBG4. The Mac is gaining market share, and I’m sad to see that reflected in the individualism of each unit shipped.

Mac hardware simply ain’t what it used to be.

When I started at BatchBlue, I got a MacBook (white one, no “Pro”). Now THIS was a nice machine. I love the thing. Compact, gorgeous, and just felt stronger than the MacBook Pro. I have had no issues with it. Not a thing. Nothing. Ran like a champ. I use this thing all day every day for everything from working to playing music to dance with Nolan to.

But today—in the middle of our weekly staff meeting—it died. No signs of warning. Nothing. I had actually just sent an email and noticed the wifi was crapping out. It froze. I did a force restart. I got the blinking folder.

Well, Sean called me up an hour or so ago and told me that the Apple Store called it dead on arrival. And for that, I get to scratch my head and wonder yet another “WTF?”

I’ll get to babysit the brand new BatchBlue iMac as my machine is getting fixed, but the hard drive was completely cooked. Nothing could be recovered. The shocking thing to me was that since I’m working on a web app and doing so much with email, Google Docs, and our internal wiki… I really didn’t need anything on that machine. Seriously, all I can think of I’ll miss right now is my instructions to run the Rails app locally.

But man… I’m irked. Seems like everyone’s Mac needs service lately. Give me the 2.5% market share back… when they actually had to fight to keep customers. The iPod has made Macs super cool, and it just feels like the quality is suffering. This is not the first time I’ve heard this. It’s a problem.

Well, hopefully it comes back stronger than ever. It’s a great little machine. I just can’t believe it is toast.

4 Comments

  1. On August 14th, 2007 at 7:34 am Mark said:

    Adam,

    Sorry to hear about your drive – hope you had backups.

    As you know, Apple like other system OEM’s quality in the field is partly based upon the quality controls of the component suppliers, and also, part of the total envelope based on their overall integration, where thermal factors and mechanical stresses come into play.

    I agree that volume can be a detractor to quality, and some processes just don’t scale well – they may have to learn / relearn how to be successful in high volume.

    Another factor I have seen, is the impact of the ever shortening cycle times between product refreshes, and the overall trend to remove cost in the PC industry. Look how prices have fallen. I saw a promo poster from 1995 with an $8K laptop. These days – $1500. Sure, component costs have dropped as technology has helped yields in semiconductors, etc, but also, a lot of ongoing testing – guardband testing, extended life testing, etc, have all but been eliminated, or are being performed at the component supplier level, and don’t reflect the final configuration. Quality is good, but isn’t what it could be.

    I hope you get a new HDD, and that things go smoothly for you from now on. I’m glad Apple is around, and continuing to make unique products. I kinda miss the very early days of personal computers – The Apple IIe, Commodore 64, the Amiga, Atari ST, and of course the Mac. Days before the Wintel dominance. In school, I remember my roomate having sys admin jobs and it being a big deal to go see the SGI Iris that just came in. Our apartment was full of Macs, some PCs and old iron like PDP 11′s, microvax, and a DG eclipse s/130. Computers were kind of special for me then – today, not so much. I miss the diversity of hardware design, OS’s and overall user experiences. The web is a new frontier to be sure, and the potential is vast, but I’ve always been a hardware nuts and bolts kind of guy.

  2. On August 14th, 2007 at 8:00 am Adam Darowski said:

    Honestly, I’m much more of a software guy. If the hardware continues todegrade like this, then I may actually be open to running OS X on other hardware.

    Or, ideally, they would just get back on track.

  3. On August 14th, 2007 at 10:40 am Scott Markwell said:

    As technology keeps pushing boundaries of what is physically possible the hardware produciton has to be held to sufficiently higher standards.

    Having had 5 hard drives crash on me in the past 4 years, I’ve accepted a certain amount of volatility in their production and keep my restore disks close at hand. I’ve also learned to keep the hell away from Maxtor drives, accounting for 4 of the 5 failures, 3 of which were in Sony Vaio Desktops.

    To solve the problem you need to start demanding more control of the components that go into your machine.

  4. On August 16th, 2007 at 8:37 am Adam Darowski said:

    Oooh, how about a web-based Mac OS X. That’d solve everything for me. If a computer dies…. so what? :)