Over the years, there have been some articles looking at the differences between owning a Mac and owning a PC. Some people try to create a comparable PC to an available Mac. Others have noted the difference when it comes to enterprise support costs.
Over the last decade, I’ve had my share of laptops. Before I became an Apple user in 2009, I had used a Gateway and Dell portable. I still own the Dell, though I don’t use it anymore. Once I got my first Mac, a mid-2009 15-inch MacBook Pro, I knew I wasn’t going back. It was not just the hardware quality but also the software. OS X was such a change from Windows, and the features built into each Mac, whether with the multi-touch gestures or the operating system itself, meant I was never going back to Windows as my primary system.
Earlier this week, I had to drop off my current Mac at the Apple Store. In short, my trackpad stopped functioning as it should. While a minor issue in itself, proper use of the trackpad is required for me to use my computer on a daily basis. So, early Monday afternoon, I dropped off my MacBook Pro at the local Apple Store. Thursday morning, I got a call saying that it was complete and ready to be picked up.
Since being a Mac user, I’ve never had to drop off my computer for repair work. Having faith in Apple’s support system, I knew that my trackpad would be repaired. But that wasn’t all that they touched. Upon receipt of my computer, I saw the product repair summary, which had a total of three items:
- Top Case w/ Battery – The retina MacBook Pro is created with the trackpad and keyboard being part of the top case on the laptop. To fix the trackpad meant replacing that entire piece. So, this I expected. (Though the new battery wasn’t expected, but I’ll gladly accept it.)
- Bottom Case – According to the summary, there was a sign of a wobble in the enclosure. If there was some kind of battery issue that lead to my failed trackpad, I can see why this might come in. Wasn’t expecting this, but I’m glad they found it.
- Audio Board – While I typically use headphones with my Mac, I haven’t noticed any issues with the sound from the internal speakers. Yet, somewhere along the lines, someone checked my system and determined that there was distorted audio coming from my computer. This replacement was definitely not foreseen by any means.
After three days without my computer, I had it back with the issue fixed and with other items that I didn’t even suspect also fixed. And while the laptop is a mid-2013 model, I bought it refurbished back in September, meaning that it is still in the one-year warranty that comes standard with the laptop. So the cost to me for all of this repair work was nothing.
I realize that this is a typical Apple story. But for me, I have a prior negative story to contrast it with. Back in 2006, I was still attending university. I had a laptop I was working to death in my engineering courses. Going with the advertisements in the day, I ended up with a Gateway. While I don’t recall the specs of my device at the time, I do recall trying to get that laptop fixed.
While I had some experience with custom desktops, I had no experience with troubleshooting issues on a laptop. So, when my 1-year old laptop started taking over 12 minutes to come out of hibernation, I knew something was going on with it but wasn’t sure what it was exactly. (( Yes, it was the hard drive, though I do recall there were other problems with the laptop at the time. I wasn’t good with this stuff back then. )) I decided to bring it back to the place where I had bought it, Best Buy, and see what the Geek Squad could do. After a check of the system and hearing about the symptoms, they packed it up and sent it off to be taken care of.
After a week, I got the call that my laptop was ready to be picked up. So, driving to Best Buy, I excitedly picked up my laptop and brought it home. I wanted to see how much better it performed. Would it be just like the first day I turned it on?
In a word, no. The computer still took over a half hour to boot. What did they do when I had shipped it in? Investigating the paperwork and making a few phone calls, I found out what was fixed: the case protecting my laptop screen. The techs apparently saw a crack and replaced it. Of course, replacing my laptop case wasn’t related to the symptoms I was seeing. The techs did nothing to address my actual concern. It wasn’t until the 2nd time that I sent it in that I was able to finally get it addressed.
That one experience turned me off from computer support for many years. And it is also one of the things that I truly appreciate about Apple. I have a friend that once went through a handful of iPod Touches. Why? The home button stopped working. The device was in warranty, and each time he took it in, they would replace it with a duplicate device.
For me, being able to take in my MacBook and get it repaired to an extent beyond what I had even expected is the kind of support I would gladly pay for. And it was provided for free. Apple might sell their devices for more than the competitors, but their service is top-of-the-line. I can’t think of any other tech company that provides similar service. If there is any reason to buy Apple, this is it.