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PCWorld reliability survey: Apple 'smoked the competition'

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
PCWorld this week released the results of its annual Reliability and Service Survey, and Apple won handily in the desktop, notebook and smartphone categories.

Apple earned high marks almost entirely across the board for its line of Macs and iPhones. In fact, the only "average" scores earned by Apple were related to replacing failed notebook components, as well as the iPhone 4 antenna issue.

"Can Apple do no wrong?" the publication said. "Indeed, 2010 was a remarkable year for the world's highest-valued tech company."

PCWorld's reader poll found that Apple was far and away the best company, leading the publication to state that the Cupertino, Calif., company was "smoking the competition." Credited were Apple's stylish hardware, easy-to-use software, and the "warm, fuzzy feeling" given through Genius Bar support at the company's retail stores.

In the survey, just under 8 percent of Apple laptop users said they had a problem that could not be resolved by the company's technical support. That was "significantly lower" than the industry average from rivals like HP and Dell.

Apple earned the highest marks in every category for desktop PCs, notebooks and smartphones. As has been found in previous surveys, iPhone customers in the U.S. indicated they are happy with Apple's handset, but do not like the AT&T wireless service.

The iPhone also earned "average" marks in two out of four categories for smartphone reliability. In that ranking, Apple placed second to Motorola, which earned top marks in three out of four reliability categories.

But in terms of ease of use, the iPhone was the clear winner, earning perfect "better than average" scores across the board. Users said the iPhone was easy to set up, allowed for simple Web browsing, and satisfied customers with media playback.



AT&T customers, however, ranked the speed and reliability of its 3G network "worse than average," and also expressed dissatisfaction with sound quality and reliability of voice calls. That was worse than competitors Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, all of which earned a "better than average" ranking in at least one category.
post #2 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

But in terms of ease of use, the iPhone was the clear winner, earning perfect "better than average" scores across the board. Users said the iPhone was easy to set up, allowed for simple Web browsing, and satisfied customers with media playback.



That is Apple's genius. They make products that pretty much anybody can use. My toddler can touch an icon on my iPad and watch Spongebob. On a computer, not even my teenager can figure out how to play a video!

The iPad is perfect for my family.
post #3 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabiko View Post

That is Apple's genius. They make products that pretty much anybody can use. My toddler can touch an icon on my iPad and watch Spongebob. On a computer, not even my teenager can figure out how to play a video!

The iPad is perfect for my family.

Be careful! some people here who are less secure about themselves might make fun of you for using a toddler's toy!

I agree, though. Apple is not usually at the forefront of new markets, but they wait until the timing is perfect and release a high-end, extremely polished, and yes, good-looking device that the world's largest idiot can pick up and use and the power user can dig into and have fun with too. It really is quite remarkable they've been able to do it over and over again.
post #4 of 44
Halo effect.
post #5 of 44
what's ironic is that dell and HP do this to themselves with all the crap ware they preload and keep on the recovery disk. it wouldn't be a big deal if it was some trial apps, but these things are running in the background and always flashing on screen to enter your CC number to buy something
post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabiko View Post

That is Apple's genius. They make products that pretty much anybody can use. My toddler can touch an icon on my iPad and watch Spongebob. On a computer, not even my teenager can figure out how to play a video!

The iPad is perfect for my family.

I agree. I have the iPad and it's so damn easy to use I'm left speechless.
Also , at my Job in the hotel I can make a spread sheet with numbers on iPad in seconds!!
No one in the tablet game has got it like that.
I'm going to be getting the camera connection kit for iPad and photo copying the entire text for electromagnetism 2 into the iPad so I can leave the book at home for next semester.
Screw the pc.
Also I'll be getting the 21.5 inch iMac in January.
post #7 of 44
While waiting for my wife at dentist office, I was watching a movie on my ipad and kept having to blow dust off of the screen, when I found a spot that would not go away,,, aaarrghh,, a dead pixel I thought.
I made a appointment with the local apple store genius, long story short, 11 minutes after entering store I was walking out with a new ipad, no hassle, no questions, just excellent service.

BTW I was told it was a speck of dust behind the glass by genius, got home, plugged new unit into mac and about an hour later ipad was fully restored,, try that with a PC.
post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In the survey, just under 8 percent of Apple laptop users said they had a problem that could not be resolved by the company's technical support. That was "significantly lower" than the industry average from rivals like HP and Dell.

Okay, is it just me or does anyone find this a bit weird. In this survey, 8 out of 100 people had a problem that "could not be resolved". It's not worded as took a while, took several tries, etc.

What the heck are people's experiences with HP and Dell? 10%, 15% unresolvable issues? It can be argued that Apple quality and support over the world has come under a lot of pressure with their rapid growth. But really what are these other manufacturers doing? Have they kind of given up? Man PC support must be one entirely dysfunctional ecosystem where everyone from Microsoft to hardware makers to support staff all depend on everything being broken, but people just not having "any other choice". It's like an apothecary that sells you poison and remedies all in the same bag, leaving you to figure out which is which... It's really insane, the more I think about it.

Tech has gotten out of control in some ways. It has improved in others. But for the average (not necessarily "stupid") user, geez, it's obvious why Apple is a good bet.
post #9 of 44
So exactly how does a person with (presumably) one cell phone have ANY idea how their provider's network speed compares to the "average"? All they have to go on is the opinions they read, and the myths self-perpetuate. Certainly geographic 3G coverage is less for AT&T, but every comparison I have seen that included actual measurements (what a concept!!!) showed AT&T's speed to be superior.

Polling about subjective matters (ease of use) makes sense. Polling for facts does not.
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

This looks like a Smartphone only survey. So companies like HP and Dell wouldn't be involved.

If you read the article you'd see that it does cover desktops and laptops, as well as smartphones.

But I can accept your point that Dell and HP aren't "involved"
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

This looks like a Smartphone only survey. So companies like HP and Dell wouldn't be involved.

It's not smartphone only (emphasis mine):

Quote:
In the survey, just under 8 percent of Apple laptop users said they had a problem that could not be resolved by the company's technical support. That was "significantly lower" than the industry average from rivals like HP and Dell.
post #12 of 44
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Okay, is it just me or does anyone find this a bit weird. In this survey, 8 out of 100 people had a problem that "could not be resolved". It's not worded as took a while, took several tries, etc.

I would always expect that there would be some non-zero percentage who have a problem that "can't be resolved". There's always the "working as designed" problems, which, as a user unhappy with the "design", one might consider unresolved. There are the times when people just don't follow through on the resolution, but may report it as unresolved. The user may have done something stupid which can't be "resolved" favorably. The problem may be with factors external to the computer, but still reported as an unresolved problem with the computer. And there are probably any number of other sources of "unresolved" issues. A rate of 8% seems a bit high, and it is alarming that this is the low number in the industry, but maybe it's an indication that, for some number of people, computers are still too complex. Still, better to be at the bottom for this stat.
post #14 of 44
Competition to Apple...

"What you been smoke'n?!"

Apple to Competition...

"You!"


Love that survey at the bottom regarding AT&T. While I am sure there are deficiencies in some areas, there are other areas where users are quite satisfied. But to say "a poll..." and use that as Gospel?... Eh, not so sure about that...

Heck, just watch the news and you see a politician on the right say a poll of the majority of Americans want Heath Care Reform bill repealed and then you have a politician on the left saying they have a poll that shows Americans want Health Care Reform... So what's really right?

Can a poll be configured with regards to its questioning that puts AT&T in a favorable light and ahead in the results over the competition? Maybe. Just sayin', is all... \

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post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Right I went back and fully read the article. But they don't give any real data on the numbers.

Also while the iPhone did a bit better then HTC and MOTO I wouldn't say they 'smoked" them. Also seeing the ATT ranked lower then average then how would the overall experience rank for the iPHone considering ATT. Something the survey didn't take into consideration.

The smoked quote comes from the overview article, meaning that, overall, and in general, they were much better than the competition, in laptops, desktops and smartphones, combined -- i.e., the clear leader in user satisfaction and reliability across the board.
post #16 of 44
There is a saying that if you don't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question.

No matter how they ask the question about Apple products service, support and customer satisfaction usually if not always come on top.

However, the most important survey to me is the one that tells me that in nearly 30 years of switching hundreds of friends, colleagues, students and clients to Apple, none ever went back. Unlike the handful that I have read about here and about that switched to or were forced to work on a PC.
post #17 of 44
I find the most interesting thing about all of these surveys is just how horribly bad Dell and HP did, especially with "home" products, which were at or near the bottom of every survey.

Also interesting that Panasonic did so well in both cameras and HDTVs (where they are probably the most significant plasma manufacturer).
post #18 of 44
It's strange that Nokia scores so bad. Many people I know love their Nokias because they are easy to use, sturdy and good quality.
post #19 of 44
This makes Consumer Reports’ charts look detailed. At least they test for specific items.

There are just to many options within each of those companies to get an idea as to why one is better than another. For instance, HTC received “above average” for browsing the internet. How do we know how much better or worse the browsing is within different devices from that vendor or between the different vendors? Does this mean the browser on Android phones? Does this mean their WinMo-based phones? Do they make PCs?

Even if only took Apple and their relatively small product line this type of data is still pointless. Is the iPhone browser’s above average only compared to other smartphones or would this get measured against their PCs too where it would likely fall short for most people?

I honestly don’t get how this data could be useful to anyone.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #20 of 44
It's simple math. Apple doesn't build a $300 netbook or $400 laptop. You get what you pay for and Apple can afford to focus on maintaining higher standards because their profit margin is far higher than the competition's.

It also helps that Apple has greater control over the software that their devices are running.

I have no problem paying a premium to stick with Apple. The only time I really questioned quality is recently when my Mini, less than two years old, starting acting up but it ended up that it wasn't the nearly new Mini that was the problem but rather a much older keyboard. There is an exception, however. I haven't had any luck with Apple mice. My Magic Mouse just quit less than two years in. My preceding wireless mouse, which is what I'm using now, still works except that the scroll ball on top of the device only scrolls in one direction and started doing that a few short months after I bought it. I'm thinking of adding a magic trackpad to see if that fares better. I don't need magic. I'd settle for having it just work for a long enough period to feel like I got my money's worth.
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

There is an exception, however. I haven't had any luck with Apple mice. My Magic Mouse just quit less than two years in. My preceding wireless mouse, which is what I'm using now, still works except that the scroll ball on top of the device only scrolls in one direction and started doing that a few short months after I bought it. I'm thinking of adding a magic trackpad to see if that fares better. I don't need magic. I'd settle for having it just work for a long enough period to feel like I got my money's worth.

I've had the same problem with Apple mice (mouses??). Seems to be a real problem with scroll wheels (the old old one button mouse used to go on forever). I'm currently using a really old MS scroll wheel mouse that I found in the trash... no problem for well over a year.
Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #22 of 44
Poor RIM is at the bottom of the list!
post #23 of 44
Given that Apple is now the de facto R&D Division for nearly the entire computer industry, their products better outshine the rabble and their cheap imitations.

I love how Windows apologists on other blogs go apoplectic over reports like this!
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post #24 of 44
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Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This makes Consumer Reports charts look detailed. At least they test for specific items.

There are just to many options within each of those companies to get an idea as to why one is better than another. For instance, HTC received above average for browsing the internet. How do we know how much better or worse the browsing is within different devices from that vendor or between the different vendors? Does this mean the browser on Android phones? Does this mean their WinMo-based phones? Do they make PCs?

Even if only took Apple and their relatively small product line this type of data is still pointless. Is the iPhone browsers above average only compared to other smartphones or would this get measured against their PCs too where it would likely fall short for most people?

I honestly dont get how this data could be useful to anyone.

Well, one of the problems with a lot of reviews, from CR and elsewhere, and ratings is that they incorporate a high level of faux precision. They break things down into lots of (arbitrary) categories, conduct purportedly objective (but often highly subjective) tests, and provide precisely detailed reviews that sometimes bear little relationship to reality. I actually think that for this type of survey, the level of detail provided is probably the most appropriate and honest possible. Otherwise, one is likely to be claiming to measure things that one really isn't.
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabiko View Post

That is Apple's genius. They make products that pretty much anybody can use. My toddler can touch an icon on my iPad and watch Spongebob. On a computer, not even my teenager can figure out how to play a video!

The iPad is perfect for my family.

I completely agree! My 16 month old watches movies on my wifes iPhone 4 and she can also unlock the phone when it is locked by dragging her finger across the screen. In another year or two, she will be getting a Ipad so she can watch her movies and play games.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Well, one of the problems with a lot of reviews, from CR and elsewhere, and ratings is that they incorporate a high level of faux precision. They break things down into lots of (arbitrary) categories, conduct purportedly objective (but often highly subjective) tests, and provide precisely detailed reviews that sometimes bear little relationship to reality. I actually think that for this type of survey, the level of detail provided is probably the most appropriate and honest possible. Otherwise, one is likely to be claiming to measure things that one really isn't.

I think they are both highly flawed and not worth the paper they arent printed on. I think the previous example about the Apple mouse is key to that. At least CR give some breakdown of each product, not just a generalization of the companys product as a whole. To me, this is more useful for determining which company is worth investing in for future growth based on quality and by extension loyalty, and reinforces my personal feeling in the Apple products I use over the competition, but it doesnt actually give me any real data. Its just a pat on the back for those using Apple products.
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post #27 of 44
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Originally Posted by kwoot27 View Post

I completely agree! My 16 month old watches movies on my wifes iPhone 4 and she can also unlock the phone when it is locked by dragging her finger across the screen. In another year or two, she will be getting a Ipad so she can watch her movies and play games.

You know there are studies around that say that exposing a child to more than one hour of tv a day can restrict their development?
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


What the heck are people's experiences with HP and Dell? 10%, 15% unresolvable issues?

My question also. If you are going to say something like 'significantly lower' give us the number we are comparing it to

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #29 of 44
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

My question also. If you are going to say something like 'significantly lower' give us the number we are comparing it to

If you visit PCWorld website and read the actual article you will see that it says it is averaged at 21% for PC.
post #30 of 44
Truthfully, why would I expect anything less from Apple. Their products are very reliable and when there is a problem, they usually resolve it QUICKLY. Their tech support is top notch and competent, something that I cannot say about the majority of tech companies around.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think they are both highly flawed and not worth the paper they arent printed on. I think the previous example about the Apple mouse is key to that. At least CR give some breakdown of each product, not just a generalization of the companys product as a whole. To me, this is more useful for determining which company is worth investing in for future growth based on quality and by extension loyalty, and reinforces my personal feeling in the Apple products I use over the competition, but it doesnt actually give me any real data. Its just a pat on the back for those using Apple products.

Or a slap in the face to other manufacturers. But, I think evaluating the companies overall serves a valid purpose, especially when talking about reliability and customer service, which is more of an overall thing to begin with. So, it has it's place alongside specific product reviews, it just means something else: what are the odds I'll have a good experience when buying a product from one of these companies?
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUSHMAN4 View Post

Truthfully, why would I expect anything less from Apple. Their products are very reliable and when there is a problem, they usually resolve it QUICKLY. Their tech support is top notch and competent, something that I cannot say about the majority of tech companies around.

They do, which I think is a huge boon for their current Mac success. Being able to go into a store and support is reassuring, even if you dont know how easy their shipment program is.
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post #33 of 44
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Originally Posted by Airwinger View Post

While waiting for my wife at dentist office, I was watching a movie on my ipad and kept having to blow dust off of the screen, when I found a spot that would not go away,,, aaarrghh,, a dead pixel I thought.
I made a appointment with the local apple store genius, long story short, 11 minutes after entering store I was walking out with a new ipad, no hassle, no questions, just excellent service.

BTW I was told it was a speck of dust behind the glass by genius, got home, plugged new unit into mac and about an hour later ipad was fully restored,, try that with a PC.

i think apple re-invented apple store from the just-a-show-case-and-sell store to a full-customer-oriented front office. yes, apple store is still selling and showing the latest what apple can offer. but what is more important is that apple moves its support/service into apple store where real users can come in to talk to apple tech guy, a.k.a genius, about their issues. doing this way is a good PR and makes customer feel better.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anakin1992 View Post

i think apple re-invented apple store from the just-a-show-case-and-sell store to a full-customer-oriented front office. yes, apple store is still selling and showing the latest what apple can offer. but what is more important is that apple moves its support/service into apple store where real users can come in to talk to apple tech guy, a.k.a genius, about their issues. doing this way is a good PR and makes customer feel better.

Agreed. Now they just need to keep building into more locations. I live in a city of about 400,000 people, which has a reputation for being relatively affluent, and our closest Apple store is 2-3 hours in any direction. I love my Apple products, but when my only feasible option for service and support is a phone call, it makes me a little bummed sometimes.
post #35 of 44
When will other companies learn not to sell crappy products?

I'm glad I'm an Apple user!
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

What the heck are people's experiences with HP and Dell? 10%, 15% unresolvable issues?

It's probably more than that - I suspect it's much more. I have been a frequent contributor to Apple's support website for over ten years, so I'm very familiar with the kinds of "issues" people have. Being a help forum, there are plenty of problems, but most of them are easily addressed. A truly "unsolvable" problem is nearly unheard of - the only one I can think of is Airtunes streaming dropouts (probably a wireless bandwidth limitation, which goes away upon upgrading to an 802.11n network).

Apple also has had its share of premature component failure - TC power supplies come to mind - but in most cases they've made people whole.

Contrast that with HP's support site, to which I also contribute. Many of those complaints simply have no resolution. In most cases the recommendation is the mysterious "reinstall Windows" after which the problem may go away for a while, but eventually crops up again for no apparent reason. Sometimes problems arise, go away, and then inexplicably arise again. HP or Dell can't help when they think it's a Windows problem, and Microsoft can't help when they think it's a hardware problem. Neither one does any good when a component manufacturer writes a buggy or incompatible driver. Problems like these are unsolvable on a practical level, since the permutations of hardware and software combinations is a very large number. Ill-informed consumers just put up with these inconveniences until they eventually give up, and go out to buy another PC since they appear cheaper than Apple plus they run Blu-Ray They run fine out of the box, but eventually a Microsoft or driver update gets installed and the fun repeats. People have simply become inured to the fact that PCs are crash-prone, unpredictable, inconvenient, and have a lifespan of two or three years.

Over the long term, considering support and replacement costs, Apple computers are less expensive, though the only justification I have for this claim is anecdotal.

Quote:
But really what are these other manufacturers doing? Have they kind of given up?

Heck, no. They sell you another computer and Microsoft collects its fifty bucks. That's not giving up - it's a business plan! Which, by the way, answers the following rhetorical question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

When will other companies learn not to sell crappy products?

When consumers learn not to buy crappy products.

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Man PC support must be one entirely dysfunctional ecosystem where everyone from Microsoft to hardware makers to support staff all depend on everything being broken, but people just not having "any other choice".

It's beyond dysfunctional - it's the definition of insanity.

Choice exists between one's ears. You'd think it would be easy. But as someone once said, no one ever went broke betting on people's stupidity. In fact, many have become fabulously wealthy.
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post #37 of 44
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Originally Posted by john galt View Post

Over the long term, considering support and replacement costs, Apple computers are less expensive, though the only justification I have for this claim is anecdotal.

Actually, I have a little more than that: Apple has a trade-in program apparently run by PowerON in which you can get an Apple Gift Card for trading in a PC or Mac. Since I'm in the market for a couple of new computers I provided the data for my PowerBooks and PCs. The computers I would trade in consist of two G4 PowerBooks and two Intel HP laptops.

Result?

The Powerbooks were worth $102.69 and $71.19, respectively. They are seven and eight years old, respectively.

The HPs were both worth zero. They are only three years old.

Draw your own conclusions.
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post #38 of 44
Cool. I've had plenty of problems with Apple hardware over the years, but I've rarely bought PCs so I didn't really know how that compared. It's nice to know that, statistically speaking, I've had less trouble than I would have if I'd invested in the Windows platform.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by arlomedia View Post

Cool. I've had plenty of problems with Apple hardware over the years, but I've rarely bought PCs so I didn't really know how that compared. It's nice to know that, statistically speaking, I've had less trouble than I would have if I'd invested in the Windows platform.

Well, don't assume my anecdotes, even many anecdotes, construe "statistics". The proper way to compare overall cost of ownership would be to conduct a truly scientific analysis, and I'm not aware of any.

There should be, considering the broad economic effect PCs must have on business and productivity.
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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by john galt View Post


When consumers learn not to buy crappy products.

Thanks, it seems so obvious now!

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