Why Apple sucks and you know it

Steve Jobs is a liar.

There, I said it and I’d say it again if I had to. Jobs, with his hipster attitude and tiny, tiny notebook computers, is treading water in a sea of fallacy. His assertion that Apple computers “just work” (see image above), is not only a maddeningly vague statement, but it’s also simply not grounded in any sort of reality. You see, I am a frequent user of both Macs and PCs. At home, I generally use PCs, while at work, I use Macs exclusively. And I can honestly say, without bias, that Macs crash just as often and encounter just as many errors as PCs, and any Mac-toting yuppie that says otherwise is only buying into Jobs’ bull.

Now, you must understand: This entry is not a submission to the PC vs. Mac debate, nor is it the mindless Mac-bashing of a PC-user. Rather, it is a feeble attempt to explain to both sides that computers in general are temperamental hunks of plastic prone to failure. Macs simply fall a tad closer to the center of my crosshair here because Steve Jobs and his legions of scruffy college students seem to think that Macs are God’s gift to technology.

I have friends who are die-hard Mac users and swear by the machines. Perhaps I've just had a string of bad luck, but excuse me if I don't run out to buy the next weekly incarnation of the iPod. At least Microsoft doesn't pretend that it's products are flawless gems of perfection crafted by the hands of angels.

This evening, I was working on a MacBook. I required a simple task of the machine – I had several hundred Bitmaps that needed to be compiled into a single video file. Essentially, I needed my Mac to create a slideshow of images. A rudimentary job, really. Something that I should be able to count on any computer, Mac or PC, to complete without much trouble.

Boy, was I wrong. I found out that MacBooks don’t come standard with all of QuickTime’s features. Now, bear in mind, QuickTime is an Apple application. No, in order to complete this very simple task I required of the MacBook, I would need to stuff another $30 into Jobs’ bulging wallet and get QuickTime “Pro.”

Words cannot express my disbelief, frustration, disappointment, and fury.

Well, certain words can, but members of my family read this blog and I shall refrain.

I am truly baffled at this realization. I thought back to those witty Mac commercials where the hip Mac makes fun of the tubby PC because he can’t connect to printers and whatnot. Macs were so simple, right? So easy and down-to-earth! They were basic machines capable of great things with very little effort.

And, to some extent, I still believe that. One has only to look at some of the great apps packaged with Macs (GarageBand immediately springs to mind). But to ask more money of your customers after the $1,200 MacBook for the most basic of features is criminal. And I'm not even touching on the fact that a majority of Apple's products do not allow the user to do something as simple as replace the battery. At least Microsoft trusts its customers enough to allow them to replace the battery on their notebook computer without shipping them back and paying out the butt. It’s a blatant disregard for the consumer, and for the message that Apple propagates. Let's take a look at a block of text courtesy of Apple's UK site attempting to convince me to buy a Mac:
If you spend more of your precious time figuring out why your PC crashes than you spend taking out the rubbish every week, you need a Mac. Still not convinced? Just ask the millions of people who use and love a Mac why it's become such an integral part of their lives, and most will you the same thing: it just works. Letting them do what they want to do. When they want to do it. All the Time.
Well, first of all, I really don't spend that much time trying to figure out why my PC crashes. It's not the finicky device Apple claims it to be. Secondly, I don't care if millions of people own Macs. And don't sit there and tell me it's "an integral part of their lives." It's a freaking computer and I'm not going to take that garbage about the "Mac community." And yeah, they will tell me "it just works," mostly because they can't think of anything other than a vague, recycled advertisement to explain to me why Macs are so superior. And if I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it, all the time, can you please explain to me why I spent two hours this evening wrestling with a MacBook over a few Bitmap images?

“It just works” doesn’t apply unless you’ve forked over this additional $30, apparently. And yeah, in the grand scheme of things, what’s $30?

Well, Apple, how about this instead: In the grand scheme of things, what’s one customer?

So, am I swearing off Macs? Of course not, I'm not that petty. And if I was, I would have sworn off PCs a long time ago. Macs are great machines capable of some awesome things. But I think it's high-time both companies took a hard look at their products and how their customers are treated. And Apple, as the self-proclaimed company that "just works," needs to take the initiative and do something about it. First things first, don't hold essential features ransom.


  1. Ah. I missed these good old rants. Not that rants are a good thing to base all of your content on, and you've done a good job of not relying solely on them. But not since the great rants of the beginning of this blog (Walmart and public pools come to mind) have we read a good Matt rant.

    And as for the subject of your rant: hear hear! I'm so sick of people acting like Macs are God's gift to humanity. They're great, but so are PCs. So shut up! (not you, the aforementioned Mac yuppies).

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the rant, Jess. I wish I could say that it was fun to write it, but I would rather the Mac "just worked."

  3. Two things:
    Uno: I think your right about Quicktime. It can't even run .avis without third party software which has to be bought through one of apple's "affiliates," which is why I choose to us VLC, because they play anything.

    Zwei: I am a die-hard mac user because of my profession (writing/design) and because of my lifestyle (internet-y). I worked on PCs for five years before making the switch and let me say: it's damn near impossible for me to do design work on a PC now because Mac makes the integration really simple. And they make that kind of software integration easily integratable into my own lifestyle, so I'm able to take things on the go/have files I need backed up easily because the package it together so neatly. I think you hit it on the head with the battery thing: Apple doesn't stamp it's name on something unless it is up to its standards, which narrows the field a lot more than PCs do. They are ultra-flexible: You can do amazing things with PCs. The trouble is, given the wider room for greatness, there is more room for epic fail, which I, as a daily computer user, would totally fall into. I choose security of working (knowing that every now and then I'm going to need to pay the $10 for EasyWMV and other dumb plug ins . . . or in your case, $30 plug-ins) because in the long run, it's worth it to my own ease of mind.

    Plus their pretty.

    (It is also of note to say that, really, Mac OS is just a repackaging of Unix and that they're not reinventing the wheel, just putting them together more efficiently and with wicked branding)

  4. Jake:I agree on many of your points, but I'd like to point out that the software "integration" of Macs comes at the cost of a hefty lack of third-party support.

    And, sure, Macs are pretty and "sexy," or whatever... but they're also very prone to wear and tear, as evidenced by missing keys, faulty screens, and software issues aplenty. With a PC, it's easy enough, if you know what you're doing, to get in there and fix the problem yourself. But because Apple feels so secure in their products, when something does go wrong, they don't allow the user the capacity to figure it out themselves.

  5. At least once a week at work, with brand new dual-quad-core MacPros, a program "un-expectantly quits" or the I get the "You Need to Restart" screen. I'd say the ratio of "Just Work"-ing between these brand new $8,000 MacPros and my 5 year old Pentium 4 Shuttle PC are about the same.

  6. Alan: Thanks for the comment! I've had similar experiences with Macs at my work. The Mac that I wrestled with all year died a few months ago, unexpectedly and for no good reason. Boy, was that fun to deal with. In terms of crashing, neither platform is superior, in my opinion.

  7. iWorks does not work as well as NeoOffice.

  8. Another lousy thing about Apple: even though the iPhone 3G is perfectly capable of running video recording apps, Apple has prevented software developers from selling any video apps in the appstore. Apple is trying to get people to buy the 3G-s --an upgrade for current 3G owners is $399 (16GB) & $499 (32GB)-- by hobbling the iPhone model currently owned by millions of customers. That just ain't right.

  9. I despise Apple. Truly. I posted a rant on mac-forums.com, just to get rid of some blind fury. It was in the "Anything Goes" section. And I specifically said to the Moderators that they shouldn't remove my thread just because I'm bashing their favored form of technology. But, yeah. Apple is "the root of all evil". Charging customers an arm and a leg for last year's technology. I can build a top-notch core i7 desktop for $400 less than a Core2Duo iMac. With the cost of Windows, included. And I don't even use Windows. I use Linux. So, around $600 less. For a system more than twice as better.
    Plus, you really don't need much effort to hate those Apple Fanboys. My only pet peeve, except for stupid people.

  10. I agree! Computers are computers. Each (Mac and PC) has their ups and downs. Just like cars-no one car is better than another. A BMW won't be much better than a Chevy if you use it the wrong way.

  11. First, I'm a PCoholic. I live and breath Windows to the point where I find Macs confusing and difficult to use as I'm so used to the Windows interface. That being said (more as a disclaimer)...

    I think the rant missed the beauty of what Apple is. Apple (meaning Jobs, primarily) was the first company to fully embrace the reality that the masses are dumb as nails. They don't want to learn how to change their battery, they don't want to learn how to "install drivers" or "diagnose"...

    They just want it to work. As the picture at the beginning of the rant says "Your toaster doesn't crash, your kitchen sink doesn't crash"...

    Bringing PC technology to the masses isn't about compatibility, or flexibility, or even advanced features. It's simply about usability.

    Mac markets this well. MS does not. Mac markets "final cut pro", MS includes "Movie Maker", but doesn't even advertise it. The list can go on for a while.

    Which is better? Well, to draw upon the car analogy listed earlier? BMW vs Chevy...Both will get you from point a to z. The BMW will do it for 4/3 to twice as much with no more usable features.

    You are paying for styling. But, that's what the average consumer buys. Apple is brilliant with that.

  12. Nice rant. I was considering a mac for awhile, until I realized, like others, that a top notch pc could be had for hundreds less than a mac with last years technology. But damn it! You don't get any apple stickers to display your hipness with a pc.

  13. The new all in one cannot play certain DVDs. Really not Just Working

  14. Apple are Nazis. Really.


  15. A friend of mine traveling, came to my house asking to use my PC for email stuff, she is an avid Mac affictionado, having spent thoudands $ on a Mac laptop,. Upon getting on the net she says well this computer is so slow, no wonder its a PC, look how long it takes to open a page on the net....well she was using my brand new I7 super gaming computer. I understand with the money she spent on an all aluminium one piece computer...it has to be the best because of the brain washing Mac does on people. Mo

  16. Just another mac vs pc bull pucky thinly vieled, but not very good argument, I am irritated at jobs for his Microsoft like attitude on os 4.0 @#%@#%

  17. Regarding the BMW analogy, I worked at BMW. They are the true comparison to Apple. Why? Because a Chevy will break down, but rarely and it costs peanuts to fix. Any mechanic can fix them, including yourself. But A BMW? Sure you could have bought 5 Malibu's with what the BMW costs. But you look nice rolling down the street in your new BMW right? That is until, like a Mac, things that just work on the Chevy go wrong, and only BMW can fix it. Then you hear it's $3,000 for a new Xenon-Headlamp unit, whereas the Headlamps on your Chevrolet costed about $300 (even though they didn't break). Not only that but the failure rates are astronomical. All in all, Mac's are for people who don't mind blowing thousands of dollars chasing an image, whereas Windows is for the people who seem to be a bit more practical. I'm not trying to bash Apple by slinging mud, but at the end of the day, they are the ones slinging it on themselves. I mean, taking ownership for a trash can that was invented on computers 22 years ago? All because the head of the company is so insecure with himself that he feels the need to sue the pants off everyone and create a monopoly? Jobbs needs to step back and look at what happened the last time a company tried to create a monopoly. After all, I still have the Gates' Interrogation vids from 1994 ;)

  18. Nice blog. I've used Windows sense 3.0 and am just now learning my way around Linux.
    Due to the lack of privacy in Win7, I will not be joining that fan club. If Microsoft continues down this course, I may never buy their OS again.
    So, I feel sorta stuck in OS limbo.. no longer trusting Microsoft, too new to Linux, and never used an Apple sense IIe was around in elementary school.

    BTW - I'm also a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Downloaded quite a few episodes.

  19. Release a product that does not work properly and what do you do?
    Advise people not to hold it that way.

  20. I helped fix a major problem on their website and they didn't even send a thank-you email!

  21. My PC crashes and I think it is the RAM. How do I know which RAM I need, and how do I install it?

  22. My 17" MacBook Pro battery: https://picasaweb.google.com/dbaechli/AkkuMacBookPro

  23. Enjoyed your article. Here's my shot at a balanced review from someone who owns both a windows machine and a mac.

    Let me start with that I just don't buy the "I haz a mac cuz I'm creative" BS. Honestly. What program that's worth a damn to serious artists isn't out for the PC too, + 10? Due to the infinitely better hardware one can have on a PC for the price of a low range mac, chances are the program will run / render faster too, and with less hickups.

    Don't get me wrong, I lived in the mac world for the past 4 years, and my first computer was a Macintosh Performa. I recently got a high end PC desktop and I spent the month I've been owning it rediscovering the things I couldn't do when I had the mac. GAMING!!! Better graphics than on the console! A whole range of programs that are free, I find useful, but weren't available for mac! Support for my gaming mouse that I had to buy extra software to get running on mac (obviously Apple doesn't expect their customers to buy gaming mice, duh! With the puny stuff available for Mac on offer, I can't even say that I blame them).

    Keeping my MBP though, I must say that it's a solid machine, and running great, after two years of heavy usage.

    Coming to where mac shines - laptops. Their laptops are snappy, have a fantastic battery life and are relatively thin and stylish, just what you'd want when you're on the go, and need a reliable companion that will take you that bit further. I've had several high end windows laptops in the past few years, and I honestly wasn't feeling them at all. Fans rev up, while the MBP remains quiet throughout, battery life is horrible, the whole package stinks. Windows truly is a different experience on a desktop, I love traveling with my mac laptop, but I love returning to my powerhouse no-software-restrictions windows desktop even more.

    I've seen the best and the worst of both worlds, and I feel people who restrict themselves to only one platform are missing out on the benefits of the other (and both Windows and Mac have their very own sets of benefits - and drawbacks). Why choose or wage a war, when you can assume the position of someone benefitting from both? And yes, people who attach their self-worth or image to an operating system have a far greater problem than dealing with people bashing their OS of choice....

  24. I had to buy extra software to get running on mac (obviously Apple doesn't expect their customers to buy gaming mice, duh! With the puny stuff available for Mac on offer, I can't even say that I blame them.
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