Apple has long basked in a glowing reputation as a purveyor of high-end, well-designed products. Sure, the company's wares typically cost more than those of its competitors, but such is the price of quality. Lately, though, Apple's rep has taken a hit, first with the antenna woes of the iPhone 4, and now with a class-action lawsuit over the iPad's propensity to overheat not only in direct sunlight but also "under common weather conditions that it does not function for prolonged use either outdoors, or in many other warm conditions."
Apple has acknowledged the iPhone 4 antenna flaws (sort of). The complaints about the iPad's problem with heat and sunlight aren't entirely new -- and it's not clear just how significant a design flaw they represent. But given these recent complaints about two different high-profile Apple products, one might wonder if Apple quality control has slipped.
[ The quality control issues come on the heels of what InfoWorld's Bill Snyder flagged as a major development: Apple topping Microsoft in revenue for the first time. ]
A closer look at the history of Apple product history, however, suggests that the company's product quality is no better or worse. But now that Apple is a Wall Street darling and a mainstream hit, its products are suffering greater scrutiny. Then again, perhaps we are seeing signs of greater quality decline than before, attributable to Apple's attempt to take on too much at once or to push out products too quickly.
Notably, Apple does have a track record for both hardware and software problems. MacBook Airs, for example, have suffered overheating issues resulting in CPU lockups. Apple released a software patch for the problem, with reportedly mixed results.