In Which I Poke Fun at Apple


Mactards. Everyone knows one. They’re not just using an Apple Mac because hey, they just like ’em, they actually think it’s a way of life. They think that because their technology is preceeded by the letter “i”, they are somehow superior. Their operating system doesn’t get viruses. Their MP3 players come in multiple shiny colours. Their laptops will outlast any cheap equivalent. Hah, give it up guys: Apple are pulling stunts lately that you’d normally only expect from Microsoft. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Apple are falling from grace — heaven forbid — but when your favourite news aggregator is reporting several negative stories in quick succession one can’t help but cackle.

Let’s start with the Times Online reporting that Apple have attempted to silence the owner of an exploding iPod with a non-disclosure agreement. Ignoring the cheek of the non-disclosure — apparently this is more common than you’d think — I can’t help but wonder how many others have been affected by similar heat/exploding issues. More than one, that’s for sure:

Interface designer Dustin Curtis posts this on Hacker News:

My PowerBook G4 Titanium overheated and melted. I called Apple support. They took my number and told me to wait for a call.

Ten minutes later, an executive in Cupertino called me and apologized for my “trouble.” Then he made the a similar offer to the person in this story– if I agreed to not talk about the incident, he would send me a fully loaded brand new PowerBook G4 (aluminum model at the time) worth almost $5k, an iPod, and an external hard drive.

I took the deal, of course, but refused to sign anything.

Here’s a picture I sent to Apple HQ immediately after the incident:

And then a few links for good measure:

If melting plastic and exploding components isn’t enough to get you going, how about pulling apps from the iPhone app store for bogus reasons, or expecting developers of said apps to cover the costs when apps are pulled? And the one about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) getting frisky with Apple because of potentially anti-competitive behaviour? Still with the iPhone, howsabout the news that Apple have admitted that an unlocked iPhone is a terrorist threat? Isn’t that reassuring.

Of course, my favourite is the story about the flaw that could allow ‘hackers’ to steal data that is supposedly encrypted. The amusing part is not that people are open to having their identities stolen — I wouldn’t wish that on anyone — but that the Mac OS users who insist that “macs don’t get infected” are left with egg on their faces. Again.

George Ou reports on a keyboard firmware flaw that, attached to any Mac, can be used to record passwords and re-infect Macs with trojans even after a total harddrive wipe. The worst news? I quote (emphasis my own):

This type of a hack however isn’t something where you can go into an Apple store and have an Apple “genius” exorcise because once the Apple keyboard is infected and locked; there is no practical way of undoing the damage.

Phew. All this in the space of a few days. Apple must be hurting.

Smug? Me? Nah. I’m more than familiar with Microsoft’s multitude of sins. Just glad to be sat on the other side of the fence for once.

Posted in Geek

45 comments so far

  1. Kristina said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    What the bloody hell…? How does that happen to a keyboard like that?!

  2. Jordan said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I have actually noticed an increase with issues people have been having with OSX. I have a few friends with iMacs that seem to complain about it locking up constantly out of nowhere, and I can't even count how many times they've gone back to an Apple store to have it repaired.

    The sad part is that they don't even realize that they're having more problems on a monthly basis than what most other OS users 'endure.'

  3. Amelie said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Let's not forget my MBP overheating, with consistent 90ºC temps, ending with it cooking itself. I posted on the Apple forums and got my post deleted and account banned. It cost £700 (twice the cost of a 'normal' new laptop – I did not foot that bill, thankfully, as the laptop is a company machine) to repair and Apple denied all knowledge of the issue, despite there being several thousand results of people having exactly the same issue. But no, this was completely new to Apple, and "nothing to do with them", has to have been me.

    And the kicker? Despite the fact that the thing WOULD NOT TURN ON, they spent a whole month saying "we can't find the problem". Right. :|

    Oh, almost forgot: swelling batteries. Someone I work with had one. If that is not a health and safety hazard then I don't know what is. The thing could have exploded, yet Apple said it was "news to them" – again, despite it being a KNOWN FLAW. They charged £97 for a new battery.

    Rrrrr. I wonder why I went and gave them some money the other week for one of their not-really-that-great iPoods :|

  4. Johnathan said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I'd love my Macbook to overheat and do that crazy melting stuff if Apple were going to send me a new MacBook, iPod and ext hd. I'd be more than happy to keep my mouth shut about it.

  5. mOOmin said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Ouch, the 'Mactards' hurts a bit. I use Apple stuff because I find it more comfortable to work with. I know Apple act like a bunch of tossers, same as a lot of other companies. They _all_ treat their customers like poo given the chance. I have zero problem with people jailbreaking iphones/pods, running hackintoshes or generally sticking it to The Man. Apple hardware is nothing special, I like the interface that's all.

  6. Vera said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Oh so it's a GOOD thing that very few people here have Macs. There a few Linux OS because most people would (unsurprisingly) trust them over Windows.

    I'm not sure about how easy Macs are to use… but it took me an entire hour till I found the Skype application menu -.-; So I could sign out of it…

  7. Jem said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    @mOOmin: the 'mactard' reference was aimed specifically at fanboy users who insist that Apple/Macs are perfect, not all users of the Mac platform and Apple hardware. :)

  8. Audrey said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    People who think Mac’s are superior are morons; agreed. They use the same hard drives, processors, graphics, and RAM as a PC. The higher price is all about marketing. Any entry level marketing class teaches you “the Four P’s: Product, Promotion, Placement (supply chain), and Price.” Each of these things affects how consumers view your product. If you buy a shirt at the Gap or you buy it at Wal-Mart/Tesco it’s the going to wear out in about the same length of time, but one costs 3x as much. All marketing and image.

    Macs do have advantages because of the fact supporting closed architectures is easier for troubleshooting (which from your examples there are always the human flaws in this anyway), and their still small market share makes them a smaller target for hackers/malware.

    I own a Mac and a PC. I got the Mac because through the educational discount I get from work it was just as cheap as a similar PC laptop and I like the LED screen. If I didn’t have the discount I’d just have put 10.5 on a Dell 9″ Mini. (:

  9. Roxanne said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Yeesh, that's terrible, but I'm not surprised in the least. When I was using my boss's G4 it would heat up really quickly when watching videos, to the point when I picked it up it burned my fingers. No lie! And it was on a solid surface (a glass table no less).

    I think a kid who's Mac broke on him, made a video a few years back about how Apple tried to silence him with new products and what not. He took the deal and then made the video showing how two-faced Apple was and the proceeded to smash the computer into bits. They showed it on the news here and that's how I heard about it. Pretty horrible if you ask me.

    I like the interface of Macs and wouldn't mind getting one, just for certain programs I would like to use (GarageBand & Final Cut Pro), but I'll still stay loyal to the PC, rather then knock it.

  10. Mumblies said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Now I know why I don't own an iPod :) I'll stick with my crappy Microsoft methinks. It may suffer with the odd virus now and then (nothing a quick format doesn't cure) but even so less scary I think.

  11. Hannah said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I may be a Mac/Apple fangirl but I don't preach, brag, or put people down for using other hardware or software. I used to, but I really don't give a shart anymore. Why should I? Whatever you please to use, go ahead.

    But I like my MacBook Pro and my iPod Touch. :P

  12. Nile said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I do not have an iPod, but I use my old cellphone that has iTune capabilities…yeah, cheap, but who cares. I am not a Mac fan. I have never been impressed and have only used it in high school and college for the newspaper.

  13. Rhys said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I work with a mactard, live with a mactard and – hell – I've even slept with a mactard. I agree with everything you've said.

    My favourite story is this one – – not so much the story, but the image. It's like somebody at the BBC said "I know! We need an icon to show a virus. But as it's a mac, it needs to be shiny and web 2.0!"

  14. Hillarie said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I love Apple, but I admit there's no reason to bash a PC. Been there, done that, grew up. It is a huge inconvenience for me to have to pay extra if there is software I want. I haven't had any serious issues with my MacBook, so until I do, I'm a Mac girl. I'll gladly use a PC with Windows XP (I'm still not liking Vista).

  15. Karl said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Having used apple Products in the past, I salute the engineering. I loved the Newton, the eMate touchscreen robust notebook was a pleasure to use. The tiny hardware of now is also quite impressive.

    The looks, Apple has. The older macs look good, even Jems old G3/G4 powermac outshone a PC for design. The non-PC architecture models were quite useable, MAC OS looks very pretty too.

    However, they're getting smug. They're not owning up to flaws. The iPhone wasn't and isn't worthy of a lot of the hype. The Mac of now is effectively a PC with an interface that is quite well emulated and matched by some Linux installs.

    They need to look harder at the flaws and address them properly. Windows 7 is imminent, and while it's not Mac eyecandy level, it's VERY useable, VERY smooth, VERY robust and VERY achievable without needing new hardware. I've been running it on an old single-core AMD with 1gb RAM for 2 months , with no issues that it hasn't resolved by itself and no need to reboot.

    Apple should be wary. Others are catching up and beating them for their "specialist" products.

  16. Christine said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    What never stops to fascinate me, is how hung up some are about which computer other people use.

    I had a classmate who would constantly pester me with arguments as of why Macs sucked. I never argued back, just sat there going, "Ok." and "If that's what you think, fine."

    I'm happy with my MBP. It was worth every cent. Good for me! He was obviously happy with his PC. Good for him! :)

  17. Naco said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I love my MBP, do I know that it can get viruses? Yes. Is the "best laptop ever" nope. Do I still like it? Yup. I got my laptop 2 years ago, I did extensive research on the best laptop for me and my degree and continually was drawn to a mbp. Two years later and I know it's limits and what not, and I have only had a few mild problems (main thing was my video card died after even just playing WoW and then watching a video on youtube). I do know it's limits I do know it's not the ~coolest~ machine ever. The melting thing is just crazy, I have heard about it before but never saw the photo! Although, from what I have seen an heard a lot of the problems with apple products seem to prevalent in the majority of them. I've been having problems with burning dvds, apparently it's very common.

    Although I have be oogling over a desktop (no not an imac) but a windows one :O I would like a powerful desktop purely for gaming :) I am "mac girl" but I do know it is not the most power thing in the entire world nor the best, but that doesn't change how much I love mine :P

  18. Cristina said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I agree with Karl in the sense that yes, Apple is indeed getting smug. Not very happy with they both them have been handling the iPhone. I personally think they are treating their loyal customers like poo.

    However, I love my iMac because it WORKS! No one should have to get used to errors. You should be able to turn a computer on, do what you you need to do problem/error free, and turn it off when you’re done. I have that simplicity with a Mac, and it makes life so much easier for me. That’s why I love Mac and would recommend it to anyone.

    Bottom line: use what makes you happy! I think Mactards and PC Fans need to take that and just leave each other be.

  19. Louise said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Macs are just PCs in fancy clothing. :D (I mean what is a PC? A PC is a personal computer, so technically Macs are PCs too. Although yeah, people do use the generic term to tell them apart. "IBM Compatible" is what they used to call generic PCs.) A PC with the same power as a Power Mac costs about 1/2-2/3 of the Mac's cost.

    With any computer, you have to know your hardware and software limits. I've played games on a friend's MBP, it and the power supply get very hot, but we use a USB cooling fan on it for extra safety.

    My desktop PC isn't a powerhouse, yet I built it strong enough so that I can use it for purposes I would use a Mac (graphics, rendering, etc.) and so I wouldn't have to reboot to play games, and so I don't have to cart it over to the Mac Shop for repairs. :P

  20. Jordie said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    This sort of reminds me of when Neopets reckoned they couldn't be hacked. It was just a matter of time until someone tested the claim, and then it's like a big reality bitchslap in the face.

    I love my iPod, but that's as far as my Apple fangirl goes. I've owned a Macintosh and found that, on the whole, I enjoyed using a PC more. Vista pisses me off sometimes, but I'd take it over OSX. Maybe I'm just set in my ways, who can say.

  21. Lucy said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I own an iPhone and a shuffle myself. I used to have a classic iPod, but that got stolen (and I hope whoever stole it gets bad karma for life). Anyway, I digress.

    That's about the only Apple products I own, and I'm not really a Mactard. I just happened to receive Apple products first, and have stuck with them. I wouldn't spend the insane amount of money it costs to own a Macbook Pro, though. My current Windows desktop does just what I need it to do. Of course, if someone gave it to me, well, that's a whole different matter. I'd definitely take it. But I wouldn't think it was the best laptop in the world.

    Apple's been acting pretty lame lately, though, what with pulling apps from their store and whatnot. I've never heard about a laptop melting, though. That's so insane, and dumb what Apple is doing to keep everything hush-hush. Apple is not supreme in the world of technology, so they shouldn't act all high and mighty.

  22. Noellium said:
    On August 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Melting Magsafe? (the adapter) Check (before they released the newer ones that didn't melt). Cracking case? Check. Hot Mac? Check.

    The first two I experienced on my MacBook and the last one on both MacBook and MacBook Pro (if it gets too hot, I have to have an external fan going). Also my MBP is randomly shutting down lately. D8

    If I weren't so attached to the OS, I would glad take up a regular ol' PC again (desktop). I don't ever recall having this many problems with my old computer. d-(u.u)o

  23. Anthony said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 1:04 am

    I heard that they found a major flaw in the OS which could allow hackers to easily hack the mac computers. The only reason "they don't get viruses" is not because their invincible, it's because more people have PC computers so viruses are targeted towards them. I'm not going to lie, I like Apple products, and thankfully I have yet to have any problems with them, nothing is perfect. Apple just wants people to think that they're perfect so people will buy their overly priced pieces of aluminum when you can buy the same thing (PC) version for a 1000 dollars less. However, I do have a mac, I just bought one, and I love it. I just guess that some people have problems and some don't. The only thing I usually don't like about mac owners is that they think they're better than everyone else. Okay, your mom and dad bought you a 2000 dollar computer, great. I personally saved up for mine and i'm proud to say that.

  24. Mat said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 3:22 am

    I think the media and alot of people here are looking at this from the wrong perspective. Think of this for a moment…market share in Apple computers and Mac OS X is rapidly increasing. Why you ask?
    INNOVATION, while everyone was shitting them-self about a recession apple were making something to revolution portable music players (the iPod).

    Now we're hearing about the fallout and how apparently apple have covered it up. Granted they have to protect their name but when you are a respected competitor next to a handful of other products of course stigma is going to be associated with that. The Zune didn't do any good in fact it probably has alot of technical flaws that were covered up just as well; Why didn't we hear about them in the media? Because no-one cares, they aren't the top dog their product doesn't even have a 10th of the market who cares.

    Apple is being dogged right now because of some bad choices.. Thousands of companies guilty of doing the same. Again the media portrayal and sudden 'uproar' is a result of market share and economics. Now people care enough about apple as they've proved themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt they have a majority share.

    We'll keep hearing more about them now that exploit communities have turned their attention toward it and yep there will be bugs and yes there will be more exploits. They've still got a while before they go close to anywhere near as many bugs/exploits/stupidity as Microsoft though ( – small portion).

    As for windows7 I haven't really taken it for a good test drive yet but I hear good things, let's hope this time round they didn't just steal Mac OS glitter and actually put some work into the core.. we all know vista was a flop and there's been piss-all innovation over at Mountain View which is a result of why apple's market share surged so well, people were sick of paying for something that was inherently insecure and showed nothing new to spur interest.

    Don't believe the hype.

  25. Yolanda said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 8:30 am

    My Macbook Pro gets really hot at times, more so than any other laptop I've had, but I never thought it was cause for concern until reading some of the links.

    I love my Macbook Pro, it's best computer I've owned. Even after two years it runs like I just bought it yesterday. But, some of these facts are alarming, even though I'm well aware of the fact that Apple computers aren't invincible. As I said on Snark, Apple smugness really annoys me.

  26. Julia said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I'm not gonna lie, but the melted keyboard kinda looks cool :)
    I've never been "in love" Apple computers. They are way too overpriced. Even though PCs "give you" viruses, I prefer its customization and "bulkiness". They are way too pretty looking to be reliable – looks can be definitely deceiving.

  27. Caity said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Hahaha I can't stop giggling. Great post. I have always been a PC user and I always will be.

  28. Rebecca said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I see people using macs around school all the time, but they're not in computer science. Only noobs have macs. I've asked a lot of people at my school why they think Macs are amazing. They don't really ever come up with an answer that is logically sound.

    If any company other than Apple was having this much trouble (as mentioned in your rundown of all the latest Apple slips), then everyone would be all furious and boycotting the company. However, since tons of people are Apple iFans, then it's okay.

    You missed the article on where a man committed suicide since misplacing an iPhone is a hideous crime apparently. ( Clearly he was scared Apple was going to come after him or something :P

  29. Keith Stancil said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I used to wonder why Mac owners were so avidly MAC. Regardless of the problems listed in your post, I am extremely happy with my Macbook, multiple iPods, Apple TV and iPhone (with the exception of AT&T less than desirable service) They truly have made my computing much easier than my 25 years with PCs. I must admit I am becoming one of those avid MAC people.

  30. Theresa said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I think that's just horrible for Apple to tell people they will send them new shit if they are quiet about the whole situation. They should send them new shit because the original shit was.. well.. shit. I would never shut my mouth, I would rather eat the $200 (or more) then to be told what I can and can not say. I would be ENRAGED if I were presented with a proposal like that. People deserve to know what they're buying..

  31. Jenny said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Aw damn and I was gonna buy a mac because this laptop is shitting itself a lot lately. Now what do I do… xD

  32. Bubs said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I always suspected that overheating was the cause of my multiple PowerBook G4 problems but Apple kept saying, "it's supposed to get hot! Just don't sit it on your lap." Isn't that the point of a LAPtop? My old Dell laptop never once burnt my leg (although the power adapter caught on fire, but that's a whole 'nother story hehe)

  33. Mimi said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Best comment ever: HA HA!

  34. Lily Anne said:
    On August 4, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Wow, Apple is having quite a few issues I'd say.

    That keyboard picture is crazy…sometimes I think my Dell laptop might do something like that it gets so hot. xD

    Still love their products though!

  35. Cheri said:
    On August 5, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Wow, now I'm afraid to use my iPod. LOL Oh, Apple… now they are normal humans just like the rest of us.

  36. Jenni said:
    On August 5, 2009 at 6:03 am

    You know Apple fail just by looking at the user-to-user discussion forums over at – brand new technology that fails straight out of the box. Users have found fixes for things like bending battery connectors, sticking rolled up bits of tin foil into keyboards and purposely dropping ipods on the floor because Apple refuse to acknowledge any problems even on their own website.

  37. Vixx said:
    On August 5, 2009 at 11:05 am

    We're not all mactards …

    I use Apple stuff because I prefer it, but not necessarily because I think it's any better than MS. To be honest, I've had shit apple stuff (first iMac died within 24 hrs) and shit MS stuff (too numerous to mention), and great apple stuff (I do love my macbook) and great MS stuff (once the bugs were sorted, I actually don't mind vista). I use both OSs on my iMac and don't really have a preference for either – it's swings and roundabouts, really. What I *do* love about Mac is the software; I think it's *generally* – tho certainly not exclusively – more user-friendly than MS, and things are often much more intuitive. But like I said … it's a preference, not a fact.

    V xx

  38. Amelie said:
    On August 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    @Jenni: They delete any comments that they don't like. See my comment above, but basically I was banned for complaining about an issue that is THEIR FAULT. :(

  39. Arwen said:
    On August 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    The only Apple product I own is an iPod (5th generation, I think? Don't really care) and only because I bought it off of craigslist. I'm not much of an Apple fan, probably because I mostly grew up using PCs and Windows and all that jazz.

    @Cristina – no one should have to get used to errors, but half the time "errors" on the system are the users' own fault. I barely ever encounter errors on my Dell laptop, because I know how to treat my computer. Macs are easier for those who aren't very computer savvy and don't really know their way around a computer, because the interface is shiny and friendly and (for some) easy to use.

  40. Cristina said:
    On August 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    @Arwen I think that's strictly a matter of opinion. My errors in dealing with Windows is not because I don't know how to use a Windows based computer. I grew up with Windows and am very savvy with it. The errors I had with my recent Dell laptop were caused by Vista – that's actually what the Dell customer service rep told me! I got tired of fighting with my computer so I made the switch. Haven't had any problems since. I didn't make the switch because I didn't know how to use Windows – I did it because I was sick of the errors!

  41. Lilian said:
    On August 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    My previous machines struggled with my insanely huge creative projects, so I made the switch based on my previous experience with Apple computers. It was never a lifestyle choice – I just wanted a computer that would do what I wanted out of the box (as I don't know how to build custom PC's and Apple gave me student discount). It's never given me problems thankfully, but now I know what to expect.

  42. Misha said:
    On August 7, 2009 at 1:51 am

    And to think I've wanted a Mac Pro so badly! Now that I've read this, I'm completely satisfied with my laptop. And it's just messed up how the Apple company has told people with problems with their products that if they keep quiet, they'll give them new stuff. What the hell is that?? My sister has been a mac user and she loves it but recently, her mac hardware completely crashed down! It was out of the blue. No one expected it. I guess compared to all the other problems, my sisters laptop incident wasn't that bad. :S

  43. Sean said:
    On August 7, 2009 at 3:11 am

    You know I use a Mac because it works. It is built over a Linux system (which is what I'd prefer to use, and I would be if Dreamweaver and Photoshop worked with it), but each OS has its flaws. Each OS can get a virus, it is just Windows is the most common and therefor the most prone to viruses.

  44. Katy said:
    On October 1, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Sorry I had to comment on an old post. ;)

    I’m not a Mactard nor do I think Apple is a way of life but I love SOME of Apple’s products because of how they look (have to admit I’m vain like that) and their throughly thought-out interfaces that is so simple and easy to use (and of course, nice to look at). Also being a designer, I work with Adobe files that are over 4gbs in size and I find the performance on a Mac is way faster than a PC. Maybe the PC was just crappy but like one of the commentors said above, I don’t have any experience in building PCs and Apple already has all that and more so I’d rather just go for a Mac.

    I really don’t like their iPhone though because I’m not a huge fan of the touchscreen but I own an iPod Touch and I love the interface. If Apple were to come out with a iPhone-esque product with a QWERTY keyboard, I’d ditch my beloved Crackberry in a sec.

    The Apple vs. Mac debate is a matter of opinion and what you do. I know plenty of engineers who hate Macs and that totally makes sense.

    I still love my PC too though. ;)