Macs are the most problem free computers on the planet.
Repair History results were that Apple Macs were by far the most trouble-free computers made.
Regarding Technical Support, Consumers Reports examined four aspects: 1) was the problem solved, 2) how competent was the support staff, 3) how long was your wait on the phone, and 4) how good is the company’s web site support. Apple again was rated number one, and received extremely favorable ratings in ALL FOUR parts, which was enormously better than any PC assembler. (Dell, for instance, was not rated favorably in ANY of these categories.)
On the third issue computer users rated buying computers from Apple to be the best of all manufactures (who were rated by price, selection, help, and knowledge of service personnel).
Consumers Reports concluded their exhaustive report by saying that "our
findings have been consistent over the years." Exactly what else do you need to know?
In an August 2004 study
the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor measured the attitudes of consumers in several different computer categories. Their findings were that
Apple’s customers are the most satisfied of any PC vendor. They said that “Apple’s
success comes from a focus on innovation and improving tech support. Just about every other PC vendor received technical support scores that
were less than the scores they received for the quality of their products, but Apple was the only company
that received high marks for both quality and support.”
In their July 2003 report, PC
Magazine says that Apple was rated as the top
vendor (A+) in the desktop and portable and
business (!) and server
categories by its readers. They go on to also state that "we’ve seen a rise in criticism of the
products and customer support of Dell." Further on they remark that their readers
say that the Mac OS crashes less often than Windows XP.
OK, here’s another perspective. Three years ago PC World magazine (yes, another PC publication) surveyed buyers of 18,000 personal computers representing 23 brands and asked them to rate the computers in nine categories relating to reliability and service. The categories were:
- overall problem rate,
Apple received the highest rating (5 stars) in every category [except component DOA rate, in which Apple rated
4 stars]. Its total score exceeded the score of every PC box assembler.
1 - Keeping Macs HealthyIf the MIS people are not doing all of these (mostly free and easy) things, you should insist that they do, as these amount to nothing more than basic good maintenance practices. That is their job.
Furthermore, if the MIS people are not doing ALL of these things, then they are CAUSING Macs to have problems (which, in some cases, may be their agenda).
On the other hand, it might be that your MIS people will indicate that they are already doing a thorough job of maintaining the existing Macs. Great - hope that it is so.
However, if you have some suspicions, or just want to double check, here’s a list of questions you might want to ask them. Their answers will give a good indication of just how professional a job they are doing. [Note that these questions were prepared for our local school district, which essentially had all Macs, and mostly Windows/PC servers. Edit the questions to fit your situation.] ]
1 - Please provide a copy of the existing, detailed written procedure for keeping the school district’s Macs up-to-date with: a) the latest possible, best performing version of Mac OS software, and b) the most current free Apple software supplements to that OS.By the way, if they say that some of these things are esoteric (i.e. not necessary), your reply should be that they are all important, and that understanding intricate details of the computers they are servicing is their job.
Again, nothing on this list is complicated or unreasonable or time-consuming or expensive. One other page to reference is our list of possible suggestions (based on what information you get here) that you might want to make to your local school board. Again, please edit it to your situation.
I also maintain a more detailed explanation of Mac troubleshooting ideas, with several links. For most situations however, the basic procedure (from above) is sufficient. The always informative Tidbits website also has a worthwhile two part article on Mac troubleshooting. See: Part 1 and Part 2.
Occasionally one hears a few MIS people complain about the difficulty of servicing iMacs. As usual there is a tiny bit of truth to that, due to the iMac’s compact design.
However, the big picture is that 1) iMacs rarely need servicing in the first place, and 2) when they do, it is not really that hard. For example, MacWorld published an article (with pix!) showing a layperson how to do such things as replace an iMac’s hard drive. If a non-tech person can do these projects, it would seem that a professional MIS person should have no problem.
Here is an excerpt from an unsolicited email I received in February of 2002: “I am a computer technician for Metro Public Schools in Nashville, TN. When I was hired several years ago to fix the few PC’s in the school system I had never even seen a Macintosh. I quickly learned how to repair Mac’s. I was shocked at how superior the Macintosh is over PC’s. They are easier to use, troubleshoot, and repair. I wish all people could see Macintosh quality and performance.”
For some additional discussion of MIS issues, see our MIS Management page.
If you really want to talk about PROBLEMS with computers, a good personal health analogy would be that Mac issues are like having body odor (superficial, primarily caused by the person, easily fixable), whereas Windows/PC issues are like having cancer (systemic, often unknown cause, difficult to solve). Want more examples? Here’s a VERY comprehensive discussion of typical everyday Windows issues. (Even though this piece is dated, most of the same issues still exist in Windows today.)
What really hits home (and applies to users dealing with ALL versions of Windows) is the author’s observation that when he complains about these pervasive problems to his Wintel-using associates, their responses fall into three general categories:
“1. 'I’ve gotten used to Windows’ problems.' This is the most common answer, one that I’ve dubbed the "Surrender Response." Translated, this person is saying, "You are right, Windows has lots of problems, but there’s nothing we can do about it." Which is obviously a silly answer; unless the computer salespeople are forcing you to buy PCs at gunpoint, no one is stopping you from using something else. If you ask me, I’d recommend a Macintosh, but even Linux is a workable alternative.-------------------------
For more information about the benefits of iMacs for students, read this.
Conclusion: If your school or business is having Mac “problems”, the almost certain solution is to check out how they are being setup and maintained by your MIS people.
Download a printable pdf version of this document (rev: 5/02/05).
If you have any constructive comments or suggestions about this page,
This section’s Haiku
rev: August 1, 2007
— Section #7 —