Photo: via Ronald Heft on Flickr
My Macbook is dying.Yesterday, the “M” stopped working. My wife took it to the local Apple Store — it’s only about a half mile away, as an Apple Store always seems to be — and they determined that the keyboard needed to be replaced. It’s already on order.
Then today, it stopped taking a charge.
I took it back to the Apple Store. Turns out that the problem isn’t the charger, which works fine on other Macs. It’s probably the I/O board, or worse, the motherboard.
I left it at the Genius Bar. They’ll fix it by next week, or let me know if it can’t be fixed.
With only one computer left in the house, and my wife needing to do some work this evening, I was reduced to using the Galaxy Tab that Google gave me at their I/O conference earlier this year.
I say “reduced” because that’s how it always feels. I can usually read my Twitter stream and email pretty well, but beyond that it’s awful.
Tonight, the first video link I clicked went to a “you need Flash” message. The next led me to a YouTube video that promptly froze up (which happens frequently). The Facebook app has always been and remains a total disaster — it has no way to do things you expect to be able to do on the Web or iPhone version (like respond to messages), and it hangs or crashes with cryptic error messages almost every single session.
And typing on the keyboard requires Everest-sized amounts of patience — the auto-correct is horrible, but turning it off means you have to remember to capitalise every “i” (funny how lazy you get after a couple years of iPhone use).
I have a lot of patience for technology — I’m old enough to have mucked about with config.sys and Regedit.
But tablets are for consumers. This is a totally unsatisfactory experience. If I’d bought this thing, where would I turn for help? Google? Samsung? Facebook? Best Buy, or wherever I bought it?
In short, who takes responsibility for this mess?
So fast forward a couple of months. I’ve got my new Kindle Fire. It’s awesome — for a while. Then something goes wrong. I can’t figure out how to fix it.
Where do I turn for help?
Am I supposed to box it up and send it back to Amazon? That’s a hassle. Will they really help me? How fast? What happens if I’m not satisfied? (My only experience with Amazon’s customer service has been abysmal — they shipped the wrong Christmas gift and gave me endless hassle when I tried to get them to replace it with the right one. Hopefully they’ve learned something from Tony Hsieh.)
With an iPad, there’s no question what to do. Take it to the Apple Store where you bought it. If it’s under warranty, they’ll fix it or replace it for free. If it’s not, they’ll try to fix it, but you’ll have to pay. If they can’t fix it, well, there’s a whole new line of shiny gadgets for you to buy right there.
Amazon will sell a lot of Kindles this holiday season. It has a lot of expertise in online services. It knows how to do fulfillment. With a couple Kindle revisions out of the way, it knows how to do hardware and software pretty well. The price is right.
But it is still no threat to Apple because Apple has proven that it takes full responsibility for its products. It can do this because it controls the entire experience, from the moment you walk in to make a purchase to the last dying breath of the gadget it sold you.
As far as the other Android tablets go, yeah, they’re really truly dead (at least until Google turns Motorola into its dedicated hardware division). Good riddance to bad rubbish.
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