Apple received an aggregate score of 91, earning 54 points for its web-based tech support and 37 points for its phone-based tech support. Laptop Mag says that Apple’s support staff are among the “fastest and most knowledgeable,” offering up “accurate answers” to Mac questions across live chat, social media, and the phone.
In a more in-depth breakdown of Apple’s score, Laptop Mag says its editors queried Apple about Dark Mode in macOS Mojave, disabling automatic updates, and turning off the webcams (something not possible).
Live chat was determined to be the best Apple support experience, and it took between 4 and 9 minutes for live chat staff to walk Laptop Mag through answers to its queries. Phone support was also quick, thorough, and helpful.
Larry was surprised when I told him I wanted to disable the MacBook Air‘s webcam. After saying he typically just puts tape over his webcam, Larry asked me to wait for 3 to 5 minutes while he checked to see if anything else were possible. Two minutes later, Larry was back on the call to walk me through the System Preferences app and show me how to disable webcam access, app by app. He also noted there might be a “fancier” way to disable the webcam via the Library (it’s actually in the Terminal program), but that this was easier.
Few companies even came close to beating Apple’s score of 91 in the Tech Support Showdown, but Razer, the number two company, scored an 88 and Dell scored a 73. Apple competitor Samsung earned a score of 73, while Microsoft got a 64.
As always, Laptop Mag arrived at these scores by posing as everyday PC and Mac users to get answers to three questions from major laptop manufacturers. Both the online and telephone support systems were tested. 100 points total were possible, 60 from online support because it’s a more popular way to get help, and 40 from phone support.
Apple shipped an estimated 3.98 million Macs during the quarter, down from 4.08 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple’s market share grew year-over-year though, coming in at 6.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in Q1 2018.
Apple continues to be ranked as the number four PC vendor worldwide, coming in after Lenovo, HP, and Dell, but ahead of Asus and Acer. Apple also held the number four spot in the year-ago quarter.
Lenovo, HP, and Dell all saw shipments grow or remain steady, while Asus and Acer, like Apple, experienced declines. Lenovo, the number one worldwide PC vendor during the quarter, shipped 13.2 million PCs for 22.5 percent market share, while HP, a close second, shipped 12.8 million PCs for 21.9 percent market share.
Dell came in third with close to 10 million PCs shipped and 17.6 percent market share, while Asus and Acer brought up the rear with 3.6 and 3.2 million PC shipments, respectively.
Overall, there were an estimated 58.5 million PCs shipped in Q1 2019, down from 61.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
Apple’s U.S. Mac shipments also declined, with Apple shipping an estimated 1.44 million Macs during the quarter, a 3.5 percent decline from the 1.5 million Macs it shipped in Q1 2018. Apple is ranked as the number four vendor in the United States, trailing behind HP, Dell, and Lenovo, but beating out Microsoft.
HP was the top U.S. PC vendor with 3.24 million PC shipments, followed by Dell with 3.16 million and Lenovo with 1.5 million. The overall PC market in the United States saw a 6.3 percent decline compared to Q1 2018, with a total of 11 million PCs shipped.
IDC also released its shipment estimates this afternoon, and is often the case, IDC’s shipping estimates are different than Gartner’s due to the variations in the way each firm makes shipment calculations.
IDC also suggests that overall worldwide PC shipments declined, but by just 3 percent with a total of 58.48 million PCs shipped during the quarter.
Apple is also the number four worldwide PC vendor in IDC’s estimates, with IDC suggesting Apple shipped an estimated 4.058 million Macs during the quarter, a mere 0.5 percent drop from the 4.078 million Macs shipped in the year-ago quarter.
Data from Gartner and IDC is based on estimates, and while Apple used to provide specific breakdowns of Mac sales, the company is no longer doing so and there will be no way to confirm shipment estimates going forward.
These new numbers follow refreshes of both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air lineups, both of which were overhauled in October 2018, but come prior to the launch of updated iMacs. Apple this year has several additional Mac updates on the horizon, including a new high-end high-throughput modular Mac Pro.
Apple’s Mac sales could potentially be suffering due to the negative publicity surrounding the butterfly keyboard issues in the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, a problem that has become increasingly visible due to its impact on even the newest Mac notebooks.
Van Hoff is now working as a senior architect at Apple, with no other detail provided. His company, Jaunt VR, created VR capture hardware, including a $100,000 3D VR camera, the Jaunt One.
Rumors of troubles at the company started in 2018, and in October, Jaunt VR let go of much of its staff, pivoting from VR hardware to augmented reality. Jaunt is now focusing on building a platform for the scaled creation of AR content.
At the time, van Hoff said he would be leaving Jaunt by the end of 2018, and it appears he ended up at Apple instead. It’s not clear specifically what he’s doing at the Cupertino company, but given his expertise in AR and VR, he’s likely joined Apple’s augmented and virtual reality efforts.
Prior to founding Jaunt, van Hoff was CTO of Flipboard, software and services CTO at Dell, and an engineer at TiVo.
Rumors have suggested Apple is working on developing a set of AR smart glasses, which could be released as soon as 2020. Apple also has other AR/VR prototypes in the works, and there have been mixed rumors that have also pointed towards the possibility of some kind of virtual reality hardware product in the future.