...never again, Apple.
I have owned two reliable Apple products in the last 24 years. One of them is a Mac Plus, which would still be running today if I hadn't lost all the system software and hosed the hard disk by letting an 18-month-old play with it, and the other is my iPod Photo, which I've had for several years now and which is still going strong.
This is far outweighed by the large amounts of junk I've worked with, both personally and professionally, that has the Apple logo on it.
It's also outweighed by the somewhat more nebulous sense of personal betrayal I feel whenever I think about having been burned by two processor switches--the 68K-to-PowerPC switch and the PowerPC-to-Intel switch. In both cases, I had bought new machines not too long before the switches were announced. It's more that I feel like I was burned than that I was actually burned, but emotion is the primary source of whatever loyalty Apple has among its fan base and so I think that I'm allowed some emotion in this case.
But back to the large amounts of junk.
I have never gracefully retired an Apple machine (other than the Mac Plus). Every Macintosh I've ever owned has fireworked or bricked in some way. Two Macintosh LCs suffered catastrophic disk failures; in one case, the hard drive seized with no warning, not even the "Iiiiiii'm dyyyyyinnnnnngggggg" whine that usually precedes such a failure. One iBook G4--same deal, which I covered in detail elsewhere.
More anecdotally: when I worked for the School District, we were constantly sending Macs in for repair. PCs just chugged along. Macs, not so much. Macs required more handholding and setup and massaging; the PCs were far more reliable, and in greater numbers. To this day, I always recommend Dell to people who are buying PCs, because the Dell PCs we used were stone cold solid.
The latest, and I hope final, outrage: the Mac mini that I bought five months ago has turned up a bum DVD drive. It won't mount any DVDs at all--movies or software. The last time I used the drive for DVDs was sometime in March, at which time it worked perfectly. Now, nothing. Oh, it works fine on CDs, but it just kind of chews at DVDs for a few seconds and spits them back out.
Fortunately, it's still under warranty, and I have an appointment at the Apple store in the mall tomorrow to have a "Genius" look at it. So I should be able to get a warranty repair out of the deal. I hope.
(And remember...there were ALREADY problems with this machine when I took it out of the box.)
Still: never again, Apple. I have had enough of your junk. This time, I'll take the hint. And Apple fans--of which I used to be one--I don't want to hear it. Other than the Mac Plus and the iPod, I have never, ever had anything but a disappointing experience with Apple. Never again.
It's bizarre. My computing experience has been totally at odds with reported anecdotal evidence from other people who know what they're doing: Windows ME was rock solid for me; I have no problems with Vista; every PC I've ever owned and/or built has been completely stable. Apple products, on the other hand, which are supposed to Just Work and to help you Think Different and which feature in all of those cute ads with John Hodgman, have been nothing but a headache and a nuisance.
Never again, Apple.