updated 01:15 pm EDT, Thu September 17, 2009
iPhone, iPod, Macs top
Apple has won every category it participated in as part of a new study of service and reliablity. The reader-driven PCMag rankings saw it lead the cellphone, desktop, notebook and portable media categories, in some cases with particularly wide margins compared to rivals. Apple's best success was in the notebook category, where MacBooks earned an overall score of 9.2 out of 10 and a very high 9.4 out of 10 "would recommend" score.
The win was a narrow one as Taiwan's ASUS made a relatively large gain to claim second place with 8.8 overall and 9.0 in recommendations. Its general quality has increased and has been helped by the rise in popularity of netbooks. Sony climbed slightly to reach third place with 8.1 overall.
Of all the categories, Apple's widest lead was in cellphones, where it increased to 9.0 and was much higher than next-up Research in Motion, whose BlackBerries only led to a 7.9 score. The difference is partly explained by a jump in the number of BlackBerries that needed fixing, at 38 percent, as well as a drop in the perceived worth of their web browsers; Safari on the iPhone was given an 8.4 mark where RIM's entry fell to 6.0.
In desktops, Apple scored a 9.1 overall and a 9.2 recommendation score, trumping even custom-built systems' respective 8.5 and 8.9 scores. The next-closest name brand was Sony, which scored 8.2, while HP was next at 7.7. Most of Sony's gains came from halving the number of its PCs reported as needing repairs.
Unusually, the tightest margin of victory was in portable media players. Apple's iPod scored an 8.5 (8.9 for recommendations) but was only a tenth of a point ahead of Microsoft's Zune line. The score notably doesn't include the Zune HD or Apple's newest iPods as both were released too soon to make an immediate comparison.