Is Apple losing its lustre?


#1

This is not a Mac vs Windows thing, I despise Windows with a passion but I can’t help feeling like Apple is progressive losing its lustre.

I’ve had two MacBooks, different ranges with batteries that have swollen so badly that they have distorted the case, an old 13" MBP and a newer retina 15" MacBook Pro.

Substandard hardware coming through (keyboard issues in new MacBooks) in the interests of reducing size, sub standard support, lodge a complaint and you don’t even receive a response (lodged a complaint and 2 follow ups and heard absolutely zero). Even the desktops are progressively becoming harder to upgrade.

On the innovation front, you have Microsoft out innovating Apple, a scary sight if I have ever seen it.


#2

In my opinion, the iPhone X is killer, AirPods are killer, ATV 4K is killer, HomePod is, smarts aside, one of the best sounding speakers for its size and that’s no mean feat, the Apple Watch is probably the best smart watch on the market. So no, I don’t think Apple is losing its lustre or not innovating enough.

… On the Mac line, maybe. But they do so much more than build computers.


#3

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.


#4

This is in the Mac category — are we talking about Macs being less desireable, or Apple products and services in general?


#5

I think @MissionMan means all Macintosh computers (as opposed to macOS vs Windows). I don’t think he’s talking about iDevices or the like. But like, say a Surface Pro compared to a MacBook Pro or something (hence Microsoft “out innovating” Apple).

For what it’s worth, I agree. I am sitting here on a 2008 MacBook White (consider my macOS style skinning of Linux to have a fully modern 2018 OS), and I loved my 13" 2012 before I sold it, have a 2008 Mac Pro at home, and I’m just not interested in newer Macs (maaaaaaaaaybe the modular Mac Pro when it exists). I’d rather find the most user repair friendly, most powerful combination of 15" (2012 with matte screen, i7, and discrete graphics?) or so and max it out.

Whether it is true or not, what I have come to understand about the newer Mac laptops is this: Poor craftsmanship combined with impossible to replace parts? No thank you. Apple isn’t currently making a laptop or desktop I want. This is shocking after a combined history of: Two PowerMac G4s, G4 Mac Mini, Intel Mac Mini, 2006 MacBook Black, 2008 MacBook White (in part, this computer), 2010 MacBook Unibody, 2012 MacBook Unibody, and a 2008 Mac Pro. For a while there, I was purchasing a new Mac every two or three years. Now? I’m going backwards.


#7

I’m still confused. This topic is in the Mac category, which leads me to believe that it’s about Macs being less desirable, but the topic title asks if Apple is losing its lustre, which is another thing entirely.

I don’t want to jump into the discussion without knowing which one it is.


#9

Don’t worry Macgeek, I’m with ya.
I do believe the 2018 MBP is a considerable improvement over the last two iterations, and I must admit getting rid of the SD card slot was pretty stupid considering the client base for this machine. And then there is the base price and the despicable gouging for upgrades. It leaves a sour taste.

On an aside, I don’t see Microsoft as being all that successful. The surface pro at best had a flurry but it has died off. As for the rest, I think ms is doing a lot of flailing around with some potential good uns but haven’t gotten a real winner yet.

But I do agree that Apple seems to have lost its way with computers around 2015. There is a lot of ruin in a corporation, so the pent up loyalty has helped maintain Mac demand. But nothing is iconic as the MBA, or a suitable replacement. And while I can service my 2011 iMac, I have held off purchasing a replacement as I can’t do so with current models. I have waited and waited, hoping Apple releases a suitable replacement. I won’t wait forever, and might have to move to the dark side after loyally buying macs since 1986, even through the dark years.

I suspect there was an executive decision that Ipad was the future. Hence the MacBook with its lonely single port as a pointer. It hasn’t worked out that way. And that isn’t to knock ipads. I’m using one right now. I am saying that iPads have a way to go, especially os wise before they are a computer replacement.


#10

I have held off purchasing a replacement as I can’t do so with current models. I have waited and waited, hoping Apple releases a suitable replacement. I won’t wait forever, and might have to move to the dark side after loyally buying macs since 1986, even through the dark years.

This is basically me too, although not going back as far as 1986.


#11

I’m not sure if surface pro is a good comparison…it runs windows :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:
the hardware and design might be a step in right direction but the OS is abysmal


#12

I’m overdue for swapping over our home imac. The current ones have nothing better than our 2012 model and I’d get a 21.5” but they all come with 8gb RAM. As do pretty much every Mac computer.


#13

If I find I have to buy a new mac, it will be second hand, and it will be upgradable. That kinda restricts it to 2012 or earlier, doesnt it?


#14

it was about apple as a whole so maybe incorrectly assigned to be Mac specific, but I do see many of the problems are specific to laptops and desktops where phones seem to be where Apple’s focus is.


#15

Tend to agree. As I said, hate windows with a passion, in particular the way it shits all over your machine with the registry making the machine slower and slower over time. I had a Surface Pro for work and within 6 months my 3 year old MacBook Air was faster despite having lower specs.


#16

You know what was amazing about the Twentieth Anniversary Mac? Despite its - for the time - amazing form factor (everyone who saw it had to look at it side-on - they couldn’t believe their eyes), it still managed to fit in an optical drive and floppy drive, TV/FM tuner and separate video capture card, not to mention Bose speakers.

And yet, you could open it with a few torx screwdrivers. No glue. You didn’t have to replace half of it when 1 component failed.

Apple’s current Mac hardware to me is the epitome of form over function, which seems headed toward the same way as modern tvs - once something fails, you toss it out and buy a new one.

Or as many of us are doing - you buy something from the pre-skinny era and hope for the best using antiquated machines.


#17

I think cosmic might have touched on something tangential there: Mac buyers invest a lot in their machines. Not just dollars, emotion too.
To be unable to fix a problem seems wrong.
It seems the last five years we have started to suffer Battered Machead Syndrome.


#18

I think that is the crux of the issue!


#19

IMO Apple are doing a good job with their iPhone range and a great job with their iPad range but they’ve gone down the wrong path with their MacBook Pro and Mac computers, the MacBook isn’t as big a problem because it was always meant to be light and portable.

But the MacBook Pro is supposed to be a ‘desktop replacement’ for mobile users. That means a box with as much function included as is technically possible to squeeze in as the state of the art allows.

That means multiple ports of different types, SD card readers , on board discrete video cards, lots of memory and storage and kick arse input and output.

The current MacBook Pro OTOH has only 1 type of port, no SD slot, a crappy keyboard and now the latest one overheats when you run the processor near capacity.

The MacBook Air which revolutionised light and portable computing is being left to die, the Mac Mini hasn’t had a real update in ages and the MacPro isn’t close to being as good a design as the old cheese grater boxen.

The iMac range is doing better but only by comparison to the other current macs, it’s not really class leading anymore… just an improved design for what we’ve had for years.


#20

Actually last night I specced out dell and HP all in ones as an experiment, Geoff. Well, more than an experiment, I as exploring the options. Bottom line is they are no threat to an iMac, even with the Apple tax.

Otherwise pretty spot on.


#21

Much as it pains me, there is an issue here. I too prefer computers than can be upgraded easily and at reasonable cost. I suspect that the push for thinner and lighter has gone too far, and at the cost of upgrading and reliability.

To me, the core of Apple’s promise and value is eptomised by my 10 year old iMac. It has never failed. I have upped the RAM, put in an SSD and it flies. It has been the same with three MBP (2009-2011) To me they offer the reliability and upgradabilitythat I am willing to pay for.

Connectivity is also important. Each MBP is the sole computer for the user. They want a computer that just works and that has support for their accessories and media. They can be summarised as USB 2, SD cards and DVDs. They have never heard of USB C, let alone need it. Apple must think of the future, so include a USB C port, but do not omit connectivity that people currently use.


#22

My impression is Apple have become like a one trick pony. In the early days it was unibody, then the air. With the air being popular, it’s like Apple suddenly though “smaller=better” and has been chasing that as the solution to their problems. New MacBook? It has to be thinner and lighter. The problem is that it’s become so thin and light that it doesn’t need to be any thinner and light, like phones don’t need to be thinner and lighter. Any the one real innovation, making a working hybrid is one of the tricks a lot of people seem to be interested in and Apple is still beating the thinner and lighter drum without listening to customers.