Mac And iOS Device Quality Keeps Us Coming Back – The ‘Book Mystique

There are lots of reasons why Apple users keep coming back. High among them is that the old 20th Century Mac slogan “It Just Works” has always pretty much rung true and still does.

Another, not unrelated factor is the high standard of design, materials, and build quality we’ve come to expect in Apple hardware. There have been occasional lapses, but they’ve been atypical. What is typical is Apple devices being retired still in good working order when their specification becomes obsolescent, often after serving two or more owners.

I’ve been using Macs since 1992 and iPads since 2011, usually upgrading my top-tier devices at three or four year intervals, and eventually handing them off to other family members. Some have been Apple Certified Refurbished or “open box” units and a few have been used machines although most have been brand new. There have been no real lemons. A 1996 PowerBook 5300 probably comes closest — that model’s poor reputation (earned) being somewhat ironic given that the top-line 5300ce was the most expensive notebook computer Apple ever offered, with a list price of US$6,800. Dishonorable mention also goes to the 2001 white iBook, which like the PowerBook 5300 had materials and build quality not up to Apple’s usual standard. Mine lasted four years of frontline use in conjunction with a G4-upgraded PowerBook 2000 Pismo, but eventually succumbed to the dreaded logic board failure that plagued so many of that model around the six year mark after being handed down to my wife.

Other Apple hardware quality lapses noted on Apple hardware I’ve owned have included the action and feel of the keyboard in the iBook, a clunky, skittish trackpad in a 2003 17-inch PowerBook G4, a way-too-stiff buttonless trackpad action in the otherwise excellent late-2008 unibody aluminum MacBook, and a hard disk drive failure (80GB IBM – $54 for DIY replacement from Other World Computing) in the 17-incher’s sixth year of use also after it had been handed off to my wife. However, that’s been pretty much for reliability issues it over a quarter-century. My two iPads so far — an iPad 2 and an iPad Air 2 — have been flawless performers and the epitome of ‘just works.”

I’ve also never purchased AppleCare extended warranty coverage for any of these machines, and have never had cause to regret not doing so. Indeed in 25 years of using Apple hardware devices as the tools of my trade, I doubt that I’ve had occasion to call Apple tech support even a dozen times.

That said, my rare encounters with Apple tech support (Web: http://support.apple.com, Phone 24/7: (800) 694-7466) have left a positive impression, and it’s been good to have been reassured by forum testimonials and user satisfaction surveys over the years that high quality help would be available if I did need it someday.

For example, Laptop Mag last week published the findings of its annual laptop computer Tech Support Showdown, grading the most popular laptop brands. Apple once again came out on top, as it typically does in such surveys, with an overall score of 93 out of 100. Acer and Lenovo were first and second runners-up, scoring 88 and 86 respectively, while the bottom three were Asus (72), Samsung (67) and MSI (63). Microsoft, HP, Dell, and Razer made up the mid-pack.

LAPTOP Online Editorial Director Avram Piltch commented: “After we spent several weeks evaluating 10 laptop makers based on their online support and live chat, social networking resources, and phone-based help, we found that Apple earns top marks once again for its extremely knowledgeable support staff and strong web resources.”

Piltch continues: “Apple offers the best tech support in the business, year after year. The company’s website and mobile app are loaded with helpful, step-by-step tutorials and, whether you reach them via phone or live chat, support reps are knowledgeable and friendly. Apple also answered Twitter messages quickly and accurately.”

Good to know.

Still short of perfection, though. LAPTOP advises that if Apple wants to improve its support performance it needs to ensure that its support techs are knowledgable about all new features, and its Twitter support (@AppleSupport) would be better if operators provided answers directly instead of linking to online help resources. However, it bears noting that at last November’s first annual Twitter Awards Apple received the Gold #Customer prize, Twitter noting that “@AppleSupport has received outstanding customer feedback and generated more than 150,000 likes and retweets since its launch in March 2016. @AppleSupport ranks #1 among support accounts for average engagements and average engagements for followers.

You can read Piltch’s entire report here:
http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/tech-support-showdown

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