Sunday, 30 December 2007

The genius of Apple

With the huge resurgence in popularity and profitability at Apple, the importance of sleek design is clear. But I wish they would apply the same rigour (and some of their soaring value) to customer support. I spent five years in the Windows wilderness until I returned to Mac world three months ago.

All was peachy until Christmas night when the Mac battery stopped charging on Christmas Day. On close investigation we discovered that a staple was embedded in the magnetic power socket and was interfering with the contacts on the power adaptor. Even after removing the staple, the adaptor was not working and the magnetic pull was very strong. I went to bed and slept on the problem and the following day I tried again. The mac booted up, but only on the external power and only when the battery was removed. When the battery was in place, the mac booted but the screen remained dark - pointing to a power management issue.

Apple telephone support advised me to take it to my nearest Apple store - in Exeter, quite a distance from me. I had to ring and book an appoinment with a "genius" - another two day delay and a half day's time. The genius replicated the behaviour and said I'd have to leave it with them for investigation. He also suggested that the staple might invalidate my warranty.

When I said that it's pretty shabby to have to leave my three month old computer with them and not receive a replacement, the genius said that BMW would probably not give me a replacement car if they found a banana skin shoved up the exhaust pipe. I fail to see the connection between shoving a banana skin into something and not noticing that my socket has attracted a small, neighbouring object. And the bottom line is, if my car breaks down, it's easy to find an alternative. It is not easy to find an alternative computer where you can transfer your applications and files in a seamless manner.

Why is it not possible to rent a replacement machine at a low rate while your machine is in for repair? Before you buy, all the literature tells you why you must buy this product, how it will transform the way you work and socialise. But when something goes wrong, there's no hurry now, you'd better learn to manage without it!

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