Apple has been on one heck of a resurgence over the past several years. Starting with the candy colored iMac’s, through the iPod to today’s iPhone and other Apple products, they have been delivering the goods in the consumer / home electronics space, with only the rare misfire (Cube anyone?).
Recently however, my experience with Apple has begun to go downhill.
To start with, as mentioned in a previous post, Deb’s iPhone was very difficult to get upgraded to firmware version 1.1.1. Her phone had never been hacked in any way, but the upgrade didn’t "take" on the first try and it took hours to finally get it working.
Unfortunately the iPhone saga doesn’t end there. Ever since the upgrade the phone has been unreliable, which is the ultimate sin of a phone! It locks up periodically, has trouble during syncing, won’t sync music and using the Apple Bluetooth Headset is touchy at best.
In an attempt to solve these problems just went and completely wiped her phone and reloaded 1.1.1 on it. Unfortunately that didn’t go smoothly either. Once the upgrade was started on her phone it stopped responding and we got an error in iTunes. Upon researching the error we uninstalled all iTunes / iPhone related software on the laptop, reinstalled it and tried re-upgrading the iPhone. At this point the phone wouldn’t even show up on her iTunes! To get the upgrade to work, we had to move the phone to my laptop (Thinkpad’s rule!) and even then the first attempt at getting the firmware loaded failed with an error. Trying again finally got it to work. For the past two days that phone appears to have been stable.
Enough about the iPhone, eh? I purchased Leopard a few days after it came out and upgraded my Mac Mini. After the reboot I ended up with a blue screen and a mouse pointer, but nothing else. After some research it appears that the problem was caused by a program that Logitech installed on the Mac (for the mouse driver). Of course, it’s not like there are a lot of Logitech mice and keyboards out there, so I could see how Apple wouldn’t test against it (not!).
After doing some research I knew how to "properly" install the OS to work around this problem (don’t do an upgrade, do an archive and fresh install). In order to do this, I needed to tell the Mac to boot off of the DVD rather than the internal hard drive. This is done by holding down the ‘C’ key on the keyboard during the boot process. After trying and failing this about 20 times I ended up having to call Apple support. After some trail and error we found that the Mac Mini was not recognizing Apple’s own aluminum keyboard! I had to plug in a USB keyboard (from Microsoft of all places) and use that to boot up with the ‘C’ command. Once that was done, the install went perfectly and the OS works nicely.
Now, in all of these things, there have been plenty of places on the web to go for support, and when I had to call Apple they provided support without any question. However, this isn’t so different from working with Windows Vista or Linux, is it? If everything you try breaks, why is it better than competing systems?
Oh yeah, the super shiny screen on the new iMac is also a grave mistake, even the salespeople in the Apple Stores have to tap dance around this "feature".