I think so. And I know that won’t be a popular or common view among some crowds.
But I have noticed that compared to when I started out and certified as an ACMT, fewer customers are as thrilled with the products and service these days compared to a decade ago. Fewer new machines are going out, and more machines are coming back with issues that are increasingly more costly to repair. Some Macs are shipping with engineering flaws that should never have happened in the first place, let alone passed QA testing, but there are examples of this happening over time, so I suppose this isn’t strictly new.
Genius Bar appointments and week-long mail-ins have gradually replaced carry-in service. Contacting AppleCare is no longer a surefire way to get accurate information, and customers are often referred to the wrong channels or given misinformation that leaves them frustrated.
They’ve had some issues with software releases in recent times. The rocky launch of macOS High Sierra made news outside of the usual Apple discussion circles. It put a dent in an otherwise good reputation, at least as far as the average consumer was concerned.
The products are polarising, some love them, some hate them. The removal of the SD Card slot and the need for adapters hasn’t sat well with the average-joe consumer. And outside of message boards and review comments, I haven’t met anyone in the course of my travels that loves the Touch Bar. Not to mention they’re considerably more expensive now than they used to be.
The MacBook Air continues to be a favourite and a strong seller, with some individuals and volume customers ordering them now before they’re inevitably discontinued.
And then there are the issues around fair repair, the ACCC fining them for misleading customers over their consumer law rights, and anything else in between that adds up over time. (I remember walking to the shops on break the day the ACCC fined Apple over misrepresentation of iPhone and iPad repairs, and had shop attendants in Coles asking me about it. Word gets around.)
All of these issues, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, have chipped away at them over time.
“What goes up must come down.” I’m not referring to Apple in saying that either, but certainly the public perception of them. Apple was considered the class leader, with quality, a hassle-free experience, and excellent service and support. But the industry changes. Some would argue that Apple let their position slide. Some would argue the competition has simply become a lot more fierce, and other competing firms like Microsoft have seriously upped their game.
Personally, I think it’s a combination of both.