Quality Is Important

To quote Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal at Consumer Technology Ventures last week, quality is an essential pillar of success for consumer products, and I couldn’t agree more. Often, products are hyped with incredible promise (marketing), but the product either doesn’t work as advertised, requires other services to be activated, or is not ready (does Zune ring a bell).

From that perspective, I am less happy that Apple (the only PC platform I have ever bought) is gaining popularity. Price pressure and demand do not always do wonders for quality.

I currently use a 2-year-old Powerbook G4 1.5Ghz, of which the fan (right after the one-year warranty expired) makes a noise like a sawing machine, and I had to reduce the processor speed to keep the fans from cooling. I purchased a $999 23-inch Apple flat panel for work, producing stunning image quality and brightness. Yet, ghosting images on this expensive piece of equipment allows me to see what window was there 5 minutes ago. I expect the best from Apple and am willing to pay a premium, but I am not ready to pay a premium for under-par quality.

Now, I am not picking on Apple because it is the worst performer in the consumer space; quite the opposite. Apple undoubtedly is the best performer in the business, but given that, Walt’s comments make even more sense to me. Switching off Apple is not an option for me, but griping is.

After unscrewing at least 20 screws on my out-of-warranty Powerbook G4 (directions courtesy of iFixit), I discovered that the reason why I had reduced the processor speed on my laptop for over one year and avoided the fan from coming on was created by –get this: a quality control sticker in the fan compartment that had come loose and was spinning along with the fan. A simple removal of the sticker solved the issue.

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