Jay Little - Software Obsessionist
A moment of comtemplation regarding my experience as an Apple ibook owner
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09/01/2005 23:26:52

I have finally decided that I will no longer purchase any Apple products from this point forward due to the continuing issues that I have experienced with my iBook over the last three years. I sent this email out earlier today to the address that is rumored to be monitored by a merry band of assistants working to seperate the garbage from the garbage for Mr. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.

Mr. Jobs,

In the vain hope that this email will actually make it to a worthy pair of eyes, I have decided to describe the experiences I have had as the owner of an Apple iBook over the last three years. I purchased my iBook (12.1" LCD/600mhz G3/128 megs/20 gigs/Dual USB) in August of 2002. Initially I decided not to purchase the Apple Care plan as I didn't feel that I had anything to be concerned about regarding the quality of an Apple product. I could easily sum up those three years with a simple, "boy was I wrong" and leave it at that, however I feel you deserve to know the specifics of my feelings on this matter.

I really enjoyed the ibook after first purchasing it. A lot of this arguably had to do with the fact that I just wanted to get my hands on a copy of OSX. To the *nix geek languishing deep down (rarely satisfied by my Windows use and disappointed with my frequent forays into Linux Land), there is nothing quite as satisfying as having a real working copy of *nix on a laptop. So there it began and honestly everything seemed to be going great at first. Life as an Apple user seemed to be pretty good.

Within the first three months of owning my iBook, the battery practically died. While I was told that the battery would be replaced for free since it failed within the first 90 days, I was advised by a support representative to purchase the extended warranty as soon as possible. After thinking about this for a bit, I decided that would be a good idea.

Some months after getting the laptop back, I decided to heighten the stakes a bit and install Linux on it. Initially I began with some version of Yellowdog Linux but eventually settled on the only Linux distribution I find myself going back to time and time again, Gentoo. Initially I installed Linux on the laptop only to use as a tool in a class I was taking for some sort of Linux certification certificate (which I later dropped due to the poor quality of instructors as they barely knew Linux themselves). After installing Linux along with a version of XFree86 and KDE, one thing became blindly clear to me: A Linux desktop on my paltry iBook sure didnt look as good as an OSX one, but it sure was quite a bit more snappy. And this is when the realization hit me that there really wasn't any reason for the numerous beachballs I noticed while using the laptop daily (even after upgrading the RAM to 640 megabytes). As I began to try and find ways to alleviate my disappointment with OSX, I eventually decided to just stick with Gentoo and wipe the OSX partitions completely. This continued for some amount of time until I again began to experience problems with the laptop.

Yes I like many others had fallen victim to the design defects present on the iBook logic boards. I managed to ignore the initial symptoms of the problem, but within a few weeks the laptop was 100% inoperable. Of course after contacting Apple Support I was told that this problem was quite common and I proceeded to take the laptop down to CompUSA for repairs. Since then I have experienced a variety of hardware problems including a faultly harddrive, an incorrectly connected LCD (which Apple themselves didn't reconnect correctly after I sent in my ibook for a harddrive replacement), a malfunctioning wireless connection (which seems to be more of an OSX issue as I didnt experience this issue until one of the updates after 10.3.0 and the problem has continued right into Tiger) and a variety of other smaller issues that I don't care to take the time to detail here.

When I sent the iBook in a week ago in an effort to get Apple to fix the wireless issue before my AppleCare was up, the iBook also had a cracked hinge due to the fact that I dropped the iBook after my wife handed to me to check on her continuing wireless issues. After tottering around for a week, I finally received word from Apple that the repair of this simple plastic hinge would cost me around $450.00 USD as accidental damage is not covered by my AppleCare warranty.

I am sorry Mr. Jobs - but there is no way on Gods Green earth that I will consider spending that much to replace a $20 piece of plastic on a laptop that has practically been beseiged by hardware problems since I purchased it in 2002. The fact that your $300 extended warranty doesn't cover accidental damage is just the final nail in the coffin considering that the vast majority of your competitors in the PC Market will cover this kind of damage at the same price of your warranty. I have already purchased myself a nice new Compaq with a Turion processor (which by the way leaves those G4s of yours in the dust choking for air). I hope to find myself in the financial position within the next month or two so that I can purchase my wife a similar laptop. However given this recent development you can be sure that we will not even bother considering an Apple laptop for our purposes.

Before I close this communication, I would also like to express extreme dissatisfaction with the slack manner in which security patches have been handled with OSX. You recently released a path within the last month for OSX that patches vulnerabilities in open source products that you ship with your OS some of which have had patches available independently of Apple for almost a year. The myth of "OSX invulnerability" to security problems is beginning to wash away Mr. Jobs and the position it will leave you in will be one far less favorable than the one Microsoft finds itself in currently. I mean at least they are trying and the same certainly can't be said of Apple given their performance on this front.

Good day sir,

Jay Little

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