Maybe not a fanboy any more

Over the last one year or so I’ve been on course to becoming an Apple fanboy. I had already quite liked the interface of the iPod touch and the iPad, though I hadn’t taken very well to the wife’s iPhone4. And then around this time last year, she bought herself a Macbook Air.

That was a gamechanger as both in terms of physical specifications and ease of use, it seemed a world away from the Windows laptops that I had at that time. A couple of months later (my laptop needed replacement anyway), I bit the bullet and invested in a Macbook Pro. And I became a bigger fanboy. I even decided last month that my next phone will be an iPhone (I’ve never had one so far).

After the events of the last two weeks, however, I’m not so sure. I was upgrading the iPad (it’s technically my wife’s since I had gifted it on her birthday two years back, but I’ve used it more than her) to iOS 8.4 when the update failed midway. It was inexplicable. I tried it a few more times, upgraded iTunes on my computers, downloaded the OS again, did a zillion things but the update continued to fail.

Considering that the iPad isn’t as integral to my life as the phone or computer, it was two weeks before I took it to hospital. Yesterday I went to iCare, an authorised Apple service centre, and showed them the iPad. They took it in and asked me to come back after an hour. An hour later, they said it wasn’t updating and that there was a hardware issue and the iPad was effectively dead.

It was then that I started losing it (I thought the lack of updation was a routine bug that happens with OS upgrades). And it was clear that these guys had done nothing more than what I had done at home. Connected iPad to iTunes, hit on the process to update, see error code, become clueless and give up. And then say “hardware issue”.

I mean, I’m an engineer, and I know that there is clearly no hardware problem with the iPad. And I couldn’t have possibly burned something in it when updating the OS. Who are they bullshitting when they say that it’s a “hardware issue”?

And so off I went to another (this time unauthorised) service centre which had come recommended. They made me wait, and tried all sorts of things. I had to wait longer here since they had to download iOS 8.4. Again it is not clear if they did anything beyond what I had already done at home. And I repeatedly told them not to repeat that but to find out what the problem is. And they seemed clueless.

So the iPad is a brick now. And since it’s been two weeks, I’ve really started missing it. I’m fairly pissed off with Apple right now, for making something that cannot be repaired. And for staffing their service centres with incompetents who do little more than what can be done at home.

I’m not sure I’m a “fanboy” any more. It seems like there is too much “tail risk” in apple’s products. To their credit, they possibly recognise that and exhort you to buy extended warranty (which I now plan to do for my Macbook). But it’s surely a problem that their repair centres (I’m not talking about the “unofficial” place) don’t do much more than what can be done at home.

I’m not so sure that I’m going to buy that iPhone now. If you’re investing so much (relative to “competition”) into a single product that carries so much tail risk, I don’t know if it’s all that worth it. But lack of worthy androids might just push me in that direction.

Meanwhile, I need to figure out how to salvage my iPad. Does anyone know of any competent apple service centres that I can take it to, where they’ll do more than just a cursory sniff? And are the so-called “geniuses” at Apple stores in the US actually good?

2 thoughts on “Maybe not a fanboy any more”

  1. The only possible USP of Apple’s products is that they are idiot proof in their user experience. That has clearly failed here with you having to tinker with multiple modes for a simple update.

    It is also clear that it isn’t a hardware issue but since all apple products are ‘black boxes’, there’s not a goddamn thing one can do. (Unlike Android devices where you can simply download the factory image directly from Google / OEM and flash it through Odin or some such). It is analogous to buying a car, whose bonnet you cannot open. Android devices (especially the Nexus line) are essentially ‘unbrickable’ (unless you do something stupid like writing an image with 1% charge left)

    So it appears my friend, that you now have in your possession, a ‘black box’ in the figurative form of a ‘white elephant’.

    As for worthy Androids, there are at the present time, a multitude of devices which are several iterations superior to any of Apple’s tomfoolery.

    Might I suggest the soon to be unveiled (Jul 27th) OnePlus Two as your next purchase. It should retail for around 29k INR (or approximately the price of an iDevice from 2008) with specs that Tim Cook and co. haven’t yet imagined.

  2. @SK I think the Apple after-sales experience is awful in India. The “geniuses” are definitely much, much better – heck, this is a big part of Apple’s USP. Not the same situation, but I dropped my iPhone and smashed the glass (hit a ledge facedown). Replacement took about an hour and fifteen minutes – of which 45 was waiting for the “genius” since I didn’t have an appointment. I will say this: the design of the new iPhone is stupid – it’s too slippery, too thin and I’d give up have a cm to gain 6 more hours of battery life.

    I’ve owned Macs for over a decade now. The only time I had an issue was with the old MacBook (about 9 years ago) – something to do with the motherboard that was replaced immediately.

    Btw, did you try putting your iPad in recovery mode? Might help restoring it. Also noticed an Android fanboi post above – all’s well with them fellas until you realize there aren’t any updates coming your way. Someday, Google will be announcing Android Lollystick and you’ll be stuck with KitKat or Krunch or whatever-the-hell its called today, n’er to get a lick.

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