Monday, June 19, 2006

Apple's QC Slipping

Lately I'm really starting to worry about the quality of recent Apple products. In the photo here is my pair of Apple's lanyard earbud headphones - or part of them. You can see that the fabric sleeves that normally slide over the headphone wires have come out of the plastic braces that hold them. I've had these headphones for several months, and they've gotten almost daily usage. However, I'm also very careful with them. I'll have to see if I can rectify the problem with SuperGlue.

I also have the 'In-Ear' Apple lanyard headphones and have been unhappy with these since day one. The first thing that happened to them was the cloth sleeve popping out of the clamp that holds them. It was a bitch getting them back in place, and I damaged the clamp. Then there is the sound problem with this pair. Essentially, it sucks. I had assumed they had the same speakers and drivers as the bud style. But the sound is very tinny, and I'm noticing that the left one's volume is lower than the right one.

Maybe I wouldn't give a rat's ass if these were cheap headphones, but they are rather expensive in my opinion - $39 and $49 for the In Ear. I've been happy with the sound of the standard bud style headphones, but this falling apart stuff is ridiculous. And it really makes no sense to me why they charge more for the In Ear when they are clearly inferior (at least mine are).

Unfortunately, you can't get any money back on these as once you open them they are non-returnable and don't have the same warrantee that is found on Macs and iPods (as far as I know).

What about Apple's other products? Well, we all have heard about problems with plastics on iPod nanos and the new MacBricks, err - MacBooks. I know plenty of folks with problematic iPods and PowerBook screns. There were also problems with recent 15"
PowerBook logic boards, but it's not clear to me if these are isolated incidents or serial problems. But what I'm wondering about, is if Apple's increase in manufacturing and use of mass-production opportunities in China are leading to some lapses in quality. There were times in the past where Apple product quality was suspect - but I have to hope they would at least maintain product quality as their profits have risen.

Let's hope this isn't a recurring theme in future products.

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