Currently being Slashdotted: the Macintouch iBook and PowerBook reliability survey. Usual statistical cautions apply: while the overall sample size of 4,614 repairs out of 10,627 respondents should yield reliable answers at the top level (when did your ‘book need to be repaired? did you buy AppleCare? have you ever dropped your machine?), it’s unlikely to do so at the machine level.
And yet. For the two machines I’ve owned (the Powerbook G3 Firewire and the 1GHz G4 TiBook), the stats are dead on. To wit: the three things that gave me problems on the G3 were the power adapter, the RAM, and the optical drive, and I’ve experienced serious case problems on the G4 TiBook.
Fortunately for Apple, it looks like recent AlBook models have been much more reliable. Which probably means that Apple really is due to introduce some new designs to shake things up at next week’s MacWorld Expo.