I’ve been curious lately, with the updates to the MacBook Pro lineup, whether I’d risk buying one again. The smaller MacBooks are looking more and more attractive to me, as I primarily use the portable for travel.
But I’m really afraid of a repeat of last year’s MacBook Pro Whine fiasco. I have been seeing a lot fewer complaints, and hearing more stories of “resolution” when the problems do crop up, but Apple has evidently still failed to address the core problem.
Sergey Tsalkov writes about his experience earlier this year which mirrors mine almost exactly from a year previous, except he decided to give up and get his money back, while I pressed on for months to reach a resolution.
Though I did end up mostly satisfied with my MacBook Pro, I can tell it’s a problem that’s been masked more than it’s been fixed. For instance mine still makes the nasty noise, it’s just a lot quieter (so much so that, I honestly am not bothered by it 99% of the time). But when I plug it into a sound system in a conference room, the tell-tale noise comes buzzing across the PA. Then my blood starts to boil again. My $2500 noisemaker becomes a lot less charming.
If Sergey’s experience is at all typical, then many MacBook and MacBook Pro owners are still experiencing this defect. A defect in a product whose public image exudes quality and perfectionism. If on the other hand his experience is no longer typical, then replacing it with a guaranteed top-quality product should have been automatic and quick.
All MacBook owners should have the same experience, otherwise the viral nature of marketing is lost. We all talk about the products we love, some of us more than others. These days I tell people that if they buy a MacBook or MacBook pro, it will probably be a fine product. I hate having to qualify my recommendations like this. It’s a qualification I never make when endorsing the iPod, Mac OS X, the Tom Tom, my favorite bands, or my favorite restaurants. The fact that I finally got a MacBook Pro with tolerable noise levels in 2006, but that Sergey couldn’t get one in 2007, betrays a lingering problem.
If it’s possible to produce high quality MacBooks, then everybody who pays full price should get one. Anything less is a disgrace.
(Also: I have heard a bit of feedback from various sources about how the “core problem” is not easy to fix. I empathize. But fixing hard problems is what you do when you’re the innovation leader for an industry and are working with a product surrounded by billions of dollars in revenue. Fix the damn problem!)