Anyone who knows me will attest to my love affair with Apple products. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a fan boy, I will say that I sincerely appreciate a well engineered product; I rarely let price alone influence my buying decisions. Quality matters! After all, I frequently recommend the products I have used and enjoy to friends and family. More often than not, it is Apple’s products that meet my requirements. Does that make me an Apple evangelist? I don’t think so.
I don’t claim that Apple products are problem-proof or that the extra expense of an Apple product implies a problem-free product lifetime. In fact, I make no claims whatsoever as to the hardware quality control Apple institutes. What makes me believe in Apple so strongly is how they act when a problem does arise. And yes, I maintain my faith even after I have had problems with my Apple products. Here’s why.
Today my MacBook Pro had the misfortune of requiring a visit to the Genius Bar at my local Apple retail store. After 18 months of [ab]use, I finally decided to have a long-standing issue looked at by the geniuses in blue.
For as far back as I can remember, I have had miscellaneous intermittent problems with my Mac. When it was new, the display periodically went haywire on my Dell 30″ monitor at the office. It was completely random and extremely frustrating, though I eventually traced the problem to the dual-link DVI adapter and managed to swap* it out with a newer model which had a newer firmware version and that seems to have mostly resolved that issue.
Recently, though, my machine has picked up a habit of going zombie and devouring any works-in-progress left open on my desktop. After the display went to sleep, or sometimes when the machine itself was asleep, it would become unresponsive. The fans inside would speed up to maximum and the machine would get very warm. Possibly some runaway process?
Digging through the Console logs, I saw a lot of this:
kernel NVDA(OpenGL): Channel timeout! kernel NVRM-RC: 0 4e565f504649464f5f494e54525f303a307831303031 kernel NVRM-RC: 0 4e565f504649464f5f4341434845315f444d415f53544154453a307838303030 kernel NVRM-RC: 1 363232300a kernel NVDA(OpenGL): Channel exception! exception type = 0x6 = Fifo: Parse Error kernel 00000069 kernel NVRM-RC: 0 4e565f504649464f5f494e54525f303a307831303031 kernel NVRM-RC: 0 4e565f504649464f5f4341434845315f444d415f53544154453a307838303030 kernel NVRM-RC: 1 363232300a
That did not look good. The genius didn’t think highly of it either and quickly concluded that the graphics card, nay the entire logic board in my poor laptop was in need of replacement. Oh dear. The cost of the parts and labor were estimated between $350-700 (essentially, buy a logic board for $700 or option a retroactive Apple Care plan for $350).
This is where the transaction got better. The rep looked through his computer for a moment and I suggested that the problem had been going on for months and that it had taken me this long to compile a reasonable amount of clues. At this point, the technician spoke to his supervisor and offered to waive the entire cost of repair. Apple was going to completely replace the logic board in my laptop 220 days out of warranty absolutely free.
So yes, I will buy any iThingy Apple slaps their logo on. I will consider Apple’s products first and foremost when I am in the market for an iGadget. And I will continue to recommend, nay, endorse the products Apple makes because I know first-hand how highly Apple values the relationship it has with its customers.
Still not convinced? Call the manufacturer of your favorite gadget and see if you can even talk to a human being today. If you can, see if you can convince them to replace your gadget for free, even while under warranty. Good luck.
* When I say “swap”, I mean “purchase a new one, put the old one in the new box and return it.”