Blog Post

Back-to-School Specials and AppleCare

Image via AppleInsider

AppleInsider is reporting that Apple’s yearly back-to-school buy a Mac and get an iPod special may be starting early this year, and may be extra special. Speculation puts the price point at about a $199 mail-in rebate. It would be nice if the rebate were enough for an iPod Touch or even an AppleTV. Of course, you do have to buy an iPod and that adds to the total cost with the hope of “free money” later.

The idea of adding cost to an already expensive product begs the question about adding AppleCare to your computer/iPod purchases. After hearing some horror stories about AppleCare, I am seriously debating getting it when I purchase my iMac later this year. Though, I know there is some good anecdotal evidence as well. What are your experiences? Feel free to link to blogs with testimonials.

14 Responses to “Back-to-School Specials and AppleCare”

  1. Bustersdad

    After four years I still feel like a recent “switcher” and I have nothing but good things to say about the switch and the service that I have received from AppleCare. After years of poor customer service from Dell — horrible phone trees, overseas tech support, it taking a week to get the “next-day” support that I paid for, AppleCare has been a revelation.

    Sure stuff stops working and that is no fun. But being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone who seems able to talk a high level or low level (as needed) about possible problems and solutions is a huge plus. It is also great to know that I can get online, schedule an appointment, and show up at the store for face-to-face assistance too!

    It is an extra-expense but I have learned that the pay off is ease of use for my expensive gadgets!

    The one that I have held off on is my iPhone–have another month or so before I have to decide if I want to ante-up the $99 for another year of AppleCare on it. . . guess it depends on how great the “next generation” is and if I can resist.

  2. I used to work in IT and hard drives are definitely the most common thing we saw replaced. I worked in a network of around 5000 computers and in one year we replaced more than 10% of the hard drives.

    Hard drives are just incredibly complex mechanical devices. I’ve had several go out on me, but I mostly use laptops and lug them around with me everywhere. I’m so glad to have Time Machine now because I know my stuff’s backed up every day.

    I had a hard drive crash when I was using a PC laptop and had to pay $1500 for data recovery services. They got all my data back, but it was definitely a lesson learned!

  3. @Jethro

    Repair issues tend to run in a huge range, some items are more common to a specific build or run. This is only evident after seeing many of them come thru the shop and keeping a log of what has happened, mainly repeated experiences help.

    As to the CD-ROM issues, I don’t ever like to blame user error, but items that get used repeatedly and discs inserted/removed tend to wear and break quicker. I do see CD-ROM drives here and there, but much more common are hard drives. This is not just one type of machine, but across the board.

    As for the aluminum, we’ve seen bad interconnect cables, logic boards that cause fans to run at full speed and never stop, video issues. Also look at the flip-side, I only see broken machines. Just think about the ones that are out there with no issues!
    It also takes a bit more work to get at the components of an iMac, especially the newest ones. We have to remove the glass with suction cups, put it in a anti-static bag and then work on the insides.

    Going back to my original comment, I think the Apple Care is wise if you go past the 1yr mark or even if you plan on selling it. I’ve seen too many without it and a logic board randomly goes out and the part with labor is close to the cost of a new MacBook.

    Electronics fail. Period. It is anyones guess as to when. I’ve got some hard drives that are 7 years old and then run great and others that came straight from Apple that were DOA (dead on arrival).

    I feel the need to make this point as well, Apple Care is not for accidental damage or abuse. Apple will not cover a dropped machine, liquid, etc. Many people get confused on this issue and act a bit too carefree around expensive equipment thinking they’ve got insurance.

    I hope that helps. If there is anything else, let me know via comment or email.

  4. Dead!

    I have apple care on my 20in aluminum iMac and they have replace my mighty mouse twice when it has broken and service in store no cost.

  5. Jethro Jones

    Thanks for all the great experiences so far.

    Sam, what are the problems you see coming in most of all? At my work, we have about 50 laptops (MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iBooks) and many of them have had CD-ROM issues.

  6. Patrick Alessi

    I bought Applecare for my 1st Gen MacBook Pro just before the 1 year mark. Like someone mentioned above, I think that it is a good idea to buy it near the end of the initial warranty period to help defray the cost.

    That being said, I have used it 2 times. Once, to replace the battery at the apple store and another to replace a fraying mag-safe connector on the power supply. With regard to the power supply, I called AppleCare, told them that I could see bare wires on the power supply and the immediately drop shipped a new one with a postage paid label to send back the original.

    I guess my point is that not only is the service top notch, but they don’t give you any hassle. As opposed to the horrors that I’ve experienced trying to get service for other products at places like Be$t Buy.

  7. We get AppleCare on all the computers we buy. Macs, like every other electronic device, do have technical problems. Since we typically keep computers for 3-4 years at the office, AppleCare ensures that we GET 3 years out of them.

    I’ve used AppleCare a number of times, and have never had a problem with Apple support. They have always been quick at replacing or repairing items and have had very good customer service.

  8. urpwnd

    As a recent switcher, who bought a first gen Macbook shortly after they came out, I didn’t go for the AppleCare right out of the gate. However, after having a couple minor issues during the first year (a dead pixel in a really noticeable place, and the J key breaking courtesy of a flying feline) that were both handled in-store via the warranty, and a complete replacement of a 23″ Cinema Display that my fiancee uses for web/graphics work (which developed 2 “hot spots”), I was really impressed. I purchased extended AppleCare on both products, and it REALLY paid off for the Macbook. A few months later, apparently the logic board that controls the LCD backlight started acting goofy. They had it replaced. It came back, worked fine for a month or so, and started again. Fixed it again. Came back and literally within 2 minutes of me taking it out of the box and hooking it back up, it did it again. I called Applecare, and to my amazement they offered me not just a replacement unit, but a top of the line CURRENT Macbook. So I went from a 2GHz Core Duo, 1GB of RAM, 80GB HDD, 4X SuperDrive, 802.11G wireless to a brand new 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM, 160GB HDD, 8X SuperDrive, 802.11N wireless Macbook. Free. They even cross-shipped it to me, meaning I was only out of a computer for 16 hours. AND, they *refunded the remaining year of my AppleCare warranty*!!!!!! In summary, Applecare is the only extended warranty I feel that I have ever got my money’s worth on, and they really have done a great job. Plus it’s nice to speak to people that are native speakers of my language when calling for tech support. A language barrier is the last thing I want when I am trying to explain something technical.

  9. I bought Apple Care for my first two Apple products, a Titanium Powerbook and a Mac Mini, neither of which ever hiccuped during the years I had them. When I bought my Mac Pro and Macbook Pro, I declined Apple Care thinking the h/w had become bullet proof. Of course a couple of months after the 1-year warranty period expired on the Mac Pro, all the Firewire ports failed and I ultimately had to have the mother-board replaced. Ouch! I’ll never be without extended Apple Care again.

  10. I’m glad to see you posted both sides of the Apple Care story. I highly recommend getting it. I am an Apple Tech that works for an Apple Specialist, not an Apple Store. I don’t make commission for these comments, just wanted to shed some light on the real story and help out fellow Apple people.

    I will say that the Apple Care is well worth it on many levels. I see machines day in and day out that for some reason (HD, Logic Board, etc.) just don’t want to work and much like a foreign car they are expensive to fix due to a combination of labor and parts.

    Personally, I bought a new Macbook last year and am just now buying Apple Care as I am coming up on the 1-year mark. It helps to defray the initial cost that hurts when buying a new machine and gives you time to decide if you really want to keep the machine and be covered or go for a new one after the 1st year. Apple machines also have excellent resale value when compared to a pc of the same vintage, Apple Care really helps in a sales situation.

    I will say that I have seen my fair share of the new aluminum iMacs already in for service. Just something to think about.

    Hit me up with questions…