I am aware of the meaning of
quality as an attribute of something, e.g. an apple has the quality "color". Most questions here on the site seem to be about quality in this sense.
But in everyday life,
quality is frequently used to say that something is of "high quality". Wikipedia calls this Quality (business). I have trouble finding a good definition of what quality is in this sense. Defining it as "superiority" needs another object to compare our object to. Defining it as "free of defects" is part of it, but not the whole story. I can say that object A is higher quality than object B even if both have no defects at all. And I can certainly say something like "This heavy, glossy paper is very high quality, but it doesn't fit my needs, because I need a semi-transparent sheet of paper", so "fits the needs of the user" is not good enough either. "Fits the specification" is also not good enough, because we mostly don't carry in our heads specifications for the products we interact with, and still we make statements about their quality.
So, is there any theory (outside of Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance) which defines the quality of an object?
Also, what criteria does an object have to fulfill to be able to have quality? Does it have to be inanimate? Non-sentient? Or do all objects have quality, but we just avoid to speak of the quality of humans (and animals) for ethical reasons?