I love the promise of Apple computers, but time and time again I am disappointed by the quality of the product they deliver.

After repeated problems with my PowerBooks that I have outlined previously, I bought a MacBook Pro. I would not be blogging today if it were not for the poorly designed MacBook Pro battery, and the way Apple treats its customers.

As a power user, I of course bought an extra battery. The battery life so far has actually been a pretty solid 3.5 hours if I dim the screen. On my way to SXSW, I placed my spare battery in my bag as I normally would. I’ve used the spare battery a grand total of one time.

I arrive in Texas and find that the non-rounded edge of my battery is defective, with the plastic and metal adhesive both turned up about 1cm. Given that I have used the spare battery once, to charge it, I go to the Apple store in Austin, TX, where I am told that they have never seen this problem and believe that I was negligent. Of course, they have never even seen this battery in person before, so they don’t really know if this is a real problem or just me.

However, I can say with certainty that the new battery design appears much less durable than the PowerBook battery design, which I have never had a problem with in the years of owning other frequently defective PowerBooks. So basically I see this situation as much like the problem Apple had with the Nanos… they are selling a product without letting the user know that it is more fragile than previous releases. I cannot use the spare battery now because I would scrape the table whenever I use my laptop. So I have received 3 hours of battery use total out of this battery. This is a great deal considering the many many thousands of dollars I have paid to Apple over the years in purchasing many of Apple’s products.

Apple and others offer no protective cases for the MacBook pro batteries, and as such the consumer does not know that the batteries are not at all durable.

But I am tired of being Apple’s beta tester. The only reason I bought this machine was because the PowerBook was too freaking slow. But the nightmarish experience I’ve had in migrating applications and building unix apps on the MacBook Pro has so far been a significant time sink, something I would not wish on anyone.

So why do I stay? Because Windows isn’t unix/linux and it’s UI sucks. Because KDE and Gnome don’t do it for me. Because I do not have good luck with computers. One of my co-workers jokes that I killed a baby computer in a previous life. Maybe he’s right.

So in the end I’m out a lot of time, and a little bit of money, for a system that still does only 50% of what I expect it to do. I would pay more for a portable laptop that just freaking worked. But such a product does not seem to exist, which really sucks.

One Response to “my love/hate relationship with apple”

  1. on 20 Jan 2008 at 20:10Randy

    I have a very similar story, with similar response from the “Genius” bar. VERY poor design in my opinion, simply rounding the corners on the battery a little would go a long way in preventing this issue, but that ship has sailed. Pretty fragile design for a “Portable” computer battery.

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