Hate to say it, but I think Apple, one of America's premier companies, may have its best days behind it.
Yesterday, I wrote about incompetence at the U.S. Postal Service. Today, it's Apple.
Used to be, you paid more for an Apple computer, but, in exchange, you got hardware that would last and an operating system that was superior, even if you did have to give up on a lot of software options because many developers only made their products for Windows or, showing my age here, MS-DOS.
I speak, obviously, of the Steve Job days, so I concede there was an exception for some years in the 90s (although we stayed loyal, even then).
I went for Apple -- which means the National Center for Public Policy Research went Apple -- in 1985, and we never looked back, despite some concern for the company's politics, and a well-covered contretemps with Tim Cook after we submitted a shareholder proposal examining the company's actual record on environmental issues versus the one the public hears about.
But last week, one of our laptops, purchased in 2015, wouldn't start up. We took it to an authorized Mac repair shop in Severna Park, MD. Bad logic board. Apple sent a replacement. It was bad also. Ever since, we've been trying to get Apple to ship a second replacement logic board to the repair shop. It won't. It says it will, or so we're told, but, every day, it doesn't.
I even called Apple myself to try to find out why it wouldn't ship the part, but got nowhere, because the person at Apple, while cordial, had no idea how to tell if Apple would ship the part and he told me he had no idea how to transfer me to someone at Apple who would know -- even though the repair facility gave me the order number so Apple could pull the record up on its computer system and trace the request.
The guy I'm speaking with at the repair shop tells me he worked for Apple itself for a decade, and he swears Apple has these orders on a computer (of course it does!), but the guy at Apple had no idea how to find us in the system, even with all our data on hand.
Once upon a time, when I needed Apple repairs (rarely) or upgrades (more likely), I actually would go to the back of the shop and watch them work, to learn how to do it myself.
The company in those days seemed organized and well-run, even though everyone swore it couldn't last.
This version of Apple seems to be in chaos.
Logic boards really should last longer than a year, but let's set that aside, and just say this: One ought to be able to get a replacement if it does go out. Apple's not claiming it has a shortage, or a backlog, of logic boards for late-model laptops. It just isn't sending the part after saying it will. Day after day.
How long will this go on?