Over half of Macworld Online readers (55 per cent) have total faith in Apple's updates and install them straight away.

Asked "Do you completely trust Apple's updates and install them right away, 1,072 poll respondees answered as follows: 'Yes, no worries': 55 per cent; 'No, wait and see: 33 per cent; What? Should I be scared?: 12 per cent.

The poll follows no action by Apple following the Mac OS X 10.2.4 update that has caused battery problems for a number of iBook users. Many iBook owners have had to buy £99 replacement batteries. A potential 300,000-plus customers could be affected, but Apple has not yet responded to user comments.

The 10.2.4 update also caused problems with date resetting to 1970, with networking, sleep, DVD-player, and the dial-up modem.

Of those readers that install immediately, one said: "I'm a Mac engineer, so I'm always at the bleeding edge and apply updates immediately. It is important for me to know what, if any, problems my users may face."

Waiting game However, he cautioned Apple's public: "I advise my clients to wait a week before applying any updates," he said.

One reader offered a cautionary tale: "Unfortunately twice now updating using Software Update has been a nightmare. The last one was 10.2.4, which cut me off from the Internet. Apple's answer was "Why don't you download the latest drivers for your WebShuttle, as that might fix it." It's very important for people to remember this type of thing may happen."

Another said: "I wait a few weeks to see if problems will arise, rather than jumping straight in and seeing my work computers fail."

"I used to update without worries, but now - nothing but trouble. 10.2.4 is not OK," said one depressed iBook owner.

Avoid Software Update One Mac user suggested: "I've not had any problems because I only ever apply updates from stand-alone installers, instead of using Software Update. This is mainly because there's more feedback from stand-alone installers. Also, I always apply the combo updates, which seem to work better and so far, have never caused problems that others have experienced from non-combo updates."

Apple often releases combo updates. These have the effect of taking a Macs system from, for example, 10.2 to 10.2.4 in a single installation session.

"I used to trust the updates, but after my experience of 10.2.4, which resulted in a complete reinstall, I feel like I'm being used as a beta tester," another Apple customer complained, adding: "Apple should talk to developers and users more before it releases updates. 10.2.4 should have been a massive productivity boost, instead it lost me a weekend."

WebShuttle manufacturer Hermstedt was forced to rally its technical staff to work non-stop for a weekend to develop an update for the product. This was because 10.2.4 uses a different TCP stack than previous OS's. "Apple offered us no warning that they were going to do this," complained a Hermstedt representative to Macworld.

Some readers are more positive, despite the pitfalls: "Keep the updates coming. Windows users could only dream of this," said one.

Why go to Apple? Others are still discomfited by Apple's policy to drive all its customers to download updates directly from Apple. While globally fair, this causes significant expense and annoyance to Mac users on dial-up connections.

"Even if it works beautifully, I don't fancy having to wait hours and hours for mega megabytes worth of update to download every couple of weeks, particularly on a dial-up connection," a reader complained.

An overwhelming 82 per cent of 2,092 Macworld Online readers agreed with this comment in a recent reader poll.