Why, Apple, Why?

InformationWeek: Apple Fixes Firmware, Leaves Users Confused […] Apple Computer Inc. quietly issued a firmware update Tuesday for its Intel-based systems that users said fixed overheating problems in the MacBook Pro notebook, which has been plagued with heat and noise issues since it was introduced in February.

Why? Why does Apple have to act like a group of Nazi hording stolen gold, when it comes to this stuff? Can’t they see how it harms the customer?

Extreme metaphore? Maybe.

Or maybe not.

Apple and I have a long standing agreement: I buy their hardware and within a two week period they release an unannounced, unplanned, and generally free upgrade to the product I just bought, forcing my new product into obsoleteness faster than a new car drops in value after being sold. Happened with two iPods; the first one was within two days rather than two weeks. I bought a 5GB Generation 1 model two days before they released the 10GB Generation 2 model at the exact same price point. My mistake? I bought a new iPod two days before a Mac Expo.

Steve at this point would tell me that this is my own fault for buying something before a Tuesday Apple conference. But how am I to know that? If it was my first Apple purchase – which it was; my Apple //e was bought used – how in the hell can I know that? Ever since then I purposely don’t buy new Apple products during the two weeks before an Apple conference.

Didn’t save me from the second iPod purchase snafu, though. That one was released on a random day, and this time it was within a two week gap… some how worse than the first one because I was told “Geez, you didn’t see the rumor on ThinkSecret?” So I added them to my blog reader when I contemplated a MackBook Pro – obviously I now had to rely on rumors as well as conferences to guide my Apple product buying. Good thing too: it would have happened to me again, if I had kept it.

This [conference free] Tuesday, Apple released the MacBook rounding out the Apple notebook family. Yeah. Don’t call them laptops. Long story, that. But anyway, the MB looks nice, although with a fairly weird keyboard… reminded me of the old Sinclair PC cerca 1985. I like that there’s no push-button release on the front – I had that kind of thing on the Sony Z1A and liked it. A lot. But whatever – there was a good chunk of speculation on the ramp up of the MB, so not many of the people watching for it were surprised by it. In fact, it was a week later than it was original expected, from what the rumor sites are saying. I heard about that when I bought the MBP and it was one of the reasons why I didn’t open the MBP in the first place… since the MB has a far weaker video card, I wouldn’t have traded to it, but still… it was a typical “quiet” Apple release.

The thing that infuriates me, though, is the changes to the MBP line. Two weeks after I unload $2500 on a MBP they silently offer a faster processor for the same price. WTF is that about? Further is this firmware upgrade. For three months Apple has denied that there even was a problem with their MBP and now they quietly release a fix. They release a fix! Never mind that it’s flung into System Update without any explanation. The better question is how in the hell do you justify a fix for something when you’ve denied that there was a problem in the first place?

Something has to be done about this. Class action lawsuit? Not my fish to fry. Petition? Maybe. Frankly I don’t think there’s anything that can be done because they simply don’t care.

Worse, they lost my business with the MBP – who knows how many more people went this way? – because you buy a machine that runs wicked hot, right? You ask them “is this normal? it doesn’t seem right to me” and they say “yep! normal! enjoy it!” what would you do? You return the broken fucker. Straightaway. Ya don’t dick around with it, buying lap pads and fans and water-based seating surfaces. Not at that price point. It should be just fine out of the box. Now if you get a defective unit and you go to the Genius and say “dude, is this supposed to be that hot?” and they say “nope – lets fix it” then life is good, but that’s not what has happened here. It’s not what happened with my PowerBook either.

I’ve been planning a trip to the Apple store for a couple of days now, just to look at the MB’s but now I’ll have to check out the MBP as well, because I want to see just how hot they are now.

I’m sure people will read this post and dismiss it as “oh, yer an Apple hater!” or spin it as they see fit, but that’s would be a shame. When I returned the MBP I got a Mac mini, which I’m extremely happy with so far. Boots fast, quiet, runs Front Row – it’s a great piece of machinery. If it were to break tomorrow, I’d bring it to the Apple store and leave it for diagnostics. Would I be pissed? No: hardware breaks. It’d be just as inconvenienced if my ThinkPad or Xbox 360 needed repairs – it happens. If I went to the store and they told me “oh there’s no problem” when there clearly is then I would be annoyed, and that’s what this heat thing is all about.

I’m not an Apple hater but I will not turn a blind eye to something as ugly as this. I will not say “oh, it’s OK because it’s Apple – they are warm and fuzzy” because it’s not OK! Fuzzy feelings be damned! I don’t care which company it is: this constant “unexpected release” and “there’s no problem but here’s a fix” bullshit is just that. Bullshit. Apple is getting too popular and too big to expect that level of forgiveness from their customers. If Jobs wants to take his place in the enterprise and in high visible places and wield an army of true believers then this stuff has to stop. Now.

I might have to rethink my stock portfolio after all – it’s that bad, to me.

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