Jerame Davis

Bad Apples

Filed By Jerame Davis | April 17, 2006 10:23 PM | comments

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Sad MacI recently bought a new MacBook Pro laptop. The MacBook Pros are Apple's new Intel processor laptops. First generation hardware, so yeah, one expects a few problems. What any sane person wouldn't anticipate is what I've experienced with this machine.

Now, I've been a Mac user for over 10 years. This is my 6th Mac - not counting the ones I bought just as collector's items. I'm a real Apple fan, to say the least. Be that as it may, I'm about to bad-mouth Apple for the first time in my life.

This computer is the devil's spawn...

I ordered it in January, when they were announced. I got my tax check back and had the extra cash I'd been saving for a new laptop. The price was steep - over $2,200, but it was supposed to be the fastest, greatest things since sliced bread...And we all know how great sliced bread is, right?macbook.jpg

So, after a month of backorder, my laptop arrives and I'm just beside myself. I can't wait to get it out of the box and surf some porn - er I mean, check my email. I was impressed. It booted in seconds, it has a cool built in webcam, dual processors, and believe it or not, it really is fast. But that noise...

Huh? Noise? Yeah, that high-pitched constant whine emanating from somewhere in the nether-regions of the laptop. At first, I thought I was just crazy. But after verifying I wasn't hallucinating - dogs ran every time I opened the lid and I think I may have shattered a wine glass in the cabinet - I started researching online. LO and BEHOLD! The web is ablaze with complaints about whiney laptops. Great.

Time to call Apple.

"Oh, this is serious," the technician tells me. Talk about over-stating the obvious. So we go through this circus act to test how the whine reacts to certain stimuli...I guess if it yelps, we know that's a sensitive spot? Whatever. It turns out that I have to send the laptop to Texas for service. BTW, did I tell you this laptop has replaced my desktop computer? Yeah...

So, the service was actually quite fast. Surprisingly so. They turned it around, shipping and all, in four days flat. But I should have known...Oh, I should have known.

I get it out of the box, boot up and I'm pleased to find that it still has all of my data it left with. Good so far. But that's where the good news ends...Within hours of getting it out of the box, the first application crashed. I was messing around in a page that was very graphical and animated, so I thought it was just a bad webpage. Then another app crashes a little later...Then another.

WTF? So, after several crashes, freezes, and other assorted ailments, I decide I'll try reinstalling the operating system. If only I'd called Dionne Warwick and her psychic friends beforehand.

Macs have this great feature called archive and install that preserves all of you settings and files while reinstalling the OS. This is ALWAYS the first step Apple asks you to take when calling for support. So, this is what I do.

CRASH. In the middle of installing the OS.

PANIC. Are my files still there?

OUTRAGE! No, it's wiped out the whole freaking drive.

Of course, I've only had the thing back 3 days at this point, so I hadn't done another backup. Bye-bye 200 + emails, several updated files, several new files, etc.

I call Apple and I'm told to try an Erase and Install now. I do. CRASH. So I call them back and they tell me it has to come back for repair. Imagine. I ask them if I can't just swap it out for a new one. What do they tell me?

No, you can't.

You should have done that the FIRST TIME you sent it in for service - "Didn't they offer you that option? Now that it has been serviced, we can't do an open box exchange."

And so it's suddenly my fault I didn't know that the trained Apple technician I spent the better part of a Saturday chatting with didn't offer me what was supposed to be offered.

This is the award winning customer service we've all heard about? *spits*

I can take solace in knowing that if it breaks again, they'll consider replacing it for me then. Or I can buy the 3 year extended warranty for another $350 if I want...They've certainly not forgotten to offer it to me every time I've called.

First it whines at me constantly, then it freaks out at odd intervals, then it destroys my stuff. I thought I bought a computer, not a teenager.

I still love Macs and I still swear they're the better computer, but this is the worst experience I've had with any computer.


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I always wait for the second version of the model to come out, which is a lesson I learned at work. My boss gets the latest and greatest (buggy) Mac, and I get the revised model three months later, which turns out to be the better computer.

I've been reading tons about the persistent whine, and the crashing, too. So I'm holding off, even though I've been salivating for the Macbook pro.

Jennifer Wagner | April 18, 2006 10:27 AM

I was thinking of buying one of the new Macs, but I think I'll hold off for now. Sorry about your Apple woes, Jerame. As a lifelong Mac lover, I feel your pain.

Jerame Davis | April 18, 2006 10:41 AM

Well, they've revised them at least 4 times since I bought mine...You'd think they'd have the bugs worked out by now. I guess not.

It's a sweet computer, honestly. When it was just whining at me, I loved it. It was the fastest computer I'd ever touched. I had a blast playing with the built-in camera and the new PhotoBooth software. It has some really fun effects that make for hours of fun for me and Paige.

I knew I was taking a risk getting first gen hardware...But to come back from service pre-broken is beyond the pale. No one expects a computer to come back in worse shape than it left in, you know?

Oh well, I'll still be an Apple devotee. They're still the best. But definitely wait for the revision if you're going to buy one!!

WOW! Thanks for the heads up! I was actually thinking about those. Guess I'll try to squeeze another year out of the PowerBook.

Your blog is such interesting stuff KaylaX

Marla R. Stevens | May 14, 2006 6:32 AM

I'm sorry, Jerame -- but at least you write one of the more entertaining complaints I've read lately!