I have owned and used the Macintosh operating system on Apple hardware since the late 1980s. In that time, I saw terrible and wonderful build quality from Apple, suffered through some awful versions of Macintosh, and became despondent when considering a world without the Macintosh when Apple nearly went bankrupt. My current ownership of a MacBook Pro has convinced me that the time to leave Apple is arriving. I bought my current MacBook Pro less than three years ago. I spent more on it compared to Wintel offerings despite getting less than leading technology inside the laptop and dubious build quality. I could have spent a lot less money to receive the same size display and better technology compared to the MacBook Pro. I rationalized the cost difference as getting the Macintosh OS instead of the terrible Windows OS.
In the time that I bought MacBook Pro, Apple has replaced:
- hard drive
- DVD player
- logic board
- top case (twice)
- video card
- magnet power cable card
Except for the battery, all these repairs were covered by Apple's AppleCare extended warranty. I knew to purchase the extra two-year warranty because I have known some really awful Apple products such as the AlBook and TiBook.
All of these repairs cost me time and patience. Each of those repairs meant I was without my laptop for two to three days. It is a pain in the ass to keep your professional and personal lives on one device that has proven to be remarkably unstable.
Each trip to the Apple store has meant enduring days on a Dell loaner laptop furnished by my employer. Just once, I wish Apple would offer a loaner for my inconvenience.
It also means I spend hours backing up files and trying to find the most recent backup versions of those files. It means my professional productivity slips for up to weeks while I waste hours trying to reconstruct files and folders.
In my most recent trip, to the Apple store I looked at the new MacBook Pros. Each display unit looked inviting as their metal cases appeared bright and promising. At home, the loner Dell taunted me of what I no longer enjoyed because of Apple's inability to build a reliable laptop.
This repair, though, feels different. I realize how much of my professional and personal lives are no longer tied to the operating system and the hardware. I write blog entries on WordPress and store files on Box and Dropbox. I stream shows through Netflix, and read various items through Old Reader and email blasts on my browser. I could create documents through Google's application suite. Web-based and desktop-based alternatives to iTunes and Mail exist.
Those overpriced and poorly built Apple laptops no longer seem necessary. Instead a reasonably equipped (and lower priced) Chromebook will meet my needs when the AppleCare warranty expires in August. Today is not the day to replace my unreliable MacBook Pro.
But I can now see a day when I no longer buy another Apple product.