The myth of premium hardware or why Ottawa needs Apple Store

Back in November 2007, when I was buying Macbook Pro, I did order the AppleCare option, which added several hundred dollars to already pretty expensive notebook price. For moment I was tempted to go without it – after all, Apple makes top grade, high quality hardware and considering pretty low failure rate I have seen with my Windows based notebooks between 1998-2006, why to pay more ? Little did I know how much mileage will I get from the extra cost :-(.

It is sad to admit, but during last 12 months, I had three major hardware issues with my Macbook Pro. Maybe it was just my bad luck and I got a lemon, but frequency and seriousness of hardware failures makes MBP the least reliable notebook I ever owned.

In June 2008, the 250 GB hard drive failed and had to be replaced. Fortunately, I had disk clone and Time Machine brought back  everything, so no data was lost. One month ago, one of two 2GB DIMMs died and had to be replaced (to be fair, this one was not original Apple RAM, but cheaper version purchased and installed by authorized service centre). And third issue was failure of graphic card last week – which will likely mean mainboard replacement. The notebook is still in service and I am for 8th day computationally impaired, locked to spare Mac Mini or my home iMac/Macbook, stubbornly refusing using Windows based notebook …

So how would Apple Store help the situation – other than walking in and buying replacement ? As it seems, from discussion with other Mac users, Apple Stores may be the only type of service provider that actually can (and does) keep stock of replacement parts. All other service centres have to take your computer in, detect the cause, order replacement part and wait until is shipped to them from Apple in order to finish the repair. How quickly the part arrives is completely out of their – as well as your – control.  It can add up quite a few days to your repair time.

Another consequence of no-stock rule is that in this economy, to optimize shipping costs, the parts are most likely to be send in batches.  Which means more delay …

Yes, I know – it could be much worse, one could have to mail the computer somewhere in USA or overseas rather than dropping them to friendly hands of local Apple certified service depot, and have it mailed back to you. Which would add even more time, more cost, and much more chance of additional damage in transport. But on the other hand, if we had Apple Store stocked with replacement parts in the city, with a bit of luck one could walk in, drop the machine and pick it up fixed next day. Would not that be cool ?

Let’s hope that Ottawa’s Apple Store is more than just a rumor …

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2 Comments on “The myth of premium hardware or why Ottawa needs Apple Store”

  1. mat Says:

    From what I’ve read it seems like Macs aren’t very durable. Most people end up replacing them after 2 years. My MBP is only 6 months old but I’m thinking I should get time machine up and running as soon as possible…

  2. cyril Says:

    You are not alone.

    I got a MBP for work at the end of 2006 and I agree 100% with the “least reliable notebook I ever owned”.

    Mine was in the shop for 8-10 weeks during the first 12 months. First the on/off button sunk in the case. Then the machine would not boot up (turned out to be a loose disk connector, the disk itself was fine). Plus the annoying screen buzzing noise…

    Now some screws are coming off the case… come on, is this a 2000+$ notebook?

    I also hesitate to get it fixed for the reasons you mention: it would probably be in the shop for days, waiting for parts (or for an available tech) and I’m supposed to get some work done with this machine!

    I’m almost considering a Dell so that at least I’d get decent service when it fails!


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