causes of mechanical stress

By: Linus Torvalds (torvalds.delete@this.linux-foundation.org), September 19, 2009 8:44 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
slacker (s@lack.er) on 9/18/09 wrote:
>
>I found the second link from a page which reported the fraction of laptops from
>various vendors which were brought in for repair. Their data showed that 20-24%
>of laptops were brought-in for repair, with Apple actually on the higher-end of
>that range. The nature of the repair work was not disclosed. They then observed
>the rate of successful repair and customer satisfaction for each vendor, and found
>that Apple scored 30% higher than anyone else. Their conclusion was that the laptops
>were all failing at the same rate, but Apple was most successful in repairing the systems, and leaving customers happy.

I think your conclusions are naive and likely wrong.

Look at the data - Apple laptops failed more. That's the
actual hard data, and it argues against your anecdotal
evidence. The thing is, Apple hardware is not any more
reliable, and that aluminum enclosure is mostly for looks.

(The 'Air' is likely an exception. It's thin enough that
the structural integrity of the packaging is probably all
too relevant, and thus there is a real difference between
plastic and milled aluminum. Of course, you could argue
that even there, just the thinness is about looks, but I
think it has some real value outside of that).

Then using "customer satisfaction" as a way to gauge the
rest is totally irrelevant. For several reasons. It does
not make the hardware any more reliable or better built,
it just means that the Apple store experience is better
than talking to some call center person in India (or in
Missouri).

But it might even be more slippery than that. Look up the
psychology of satisfaction. There's actually a positive
correlation between satisfaction and "paid a high price".
It's true of wines (there are tons of studies that say that
wine tasters give higher points to more expensive wines),
it's true of cars, and it's certainly true of Apple too.

So the actual hard data you quote argues for Apple at least
not being any more reliable (and seemingly less so
than others). And the other data is talking about totally
different things.

And btw, this shouldn't surprise you. It is in no way
unique to computers. Look at just about any technology: the
highly priced one is almost never more reliable or even
"better". It has other attributes that generally make up
for it, though - status symbolism and satisfaction being
very high on the list. Look at audio equipment. Look at
cars. Look at clothes.

But if you argue for "well built" and "high quality", you
really are missing the point. Apple loves you for buying
into the brand, but it's not actually real.

Linus
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