AppleCare Is An Extended Warranty Worth Buying

I asked Apple this morning to replace my broken laptop now that they’ve reintroduced the anti-glare option on their 15″ MacBook Pros. Apple agreed, and soon a new laptop will leave China destined for my apartment. This isn’t the first laptop Apple sent me this month. It’s the second. Here’s why…

I run my computers into the ground. They hardly ever sleep, and parts inevitably break after years of constant use. Because of this, I buy AppleCare, which extends Apple’s warranty on all parts to three years. It’s one of the only extended warranties that’s cost effective and easily worth the purchase price. Try repairing a busted Apple at your local computer shop. It won’t be cheap.

Over the past two and a half years, Apple has replaced two hard drives and an optical drive on my MacBook Pro. When the optical drive failed for a second time, it constituted the fourth major hardware repair and, at least according to Apple’s semi-official policy, made me eligible for a replacement machine. I called and asked for a replacement, and that’s what I got.

The new machine was wonderful, except for the atrociously reflective mirror-finish glossy screen. I spend all day with my laptop, and I occasionally suffer from ocular migraines that are triggered, in part, by glare. Migraines are nature’s version of waterboarding. They are torture, and most sufferers go to comical lengths to avoid their migraine triggers. I had seen the laptops in the store and somehow deluded myself into thinking that the reflections wouldn’t be as bad at home where I could control the lighting. For me, Apple’s reflective screen was utterly unusable.

I called Apple and explained the problem. Surprisingly, the wonderful customer relations administrator who oversaw the replacement, Anita M. in Austin, offered to overnight me an anti-glare film. Worth a try!

The films are notoriously difficult to apply, so I brought it into an Apple Store. A cheerful manager applied the film in about 20 minutes, avoiding the bubbles and dust specks that can ruin an anti-glare film. Still, the film didn’t help and the screen was still blindingly reflective. Unacceptable!

Still, there was one final option. The third-party vendor TechRestore has a $200 service that replaces glossy screens with beloved matte ones. Though TechRestore claims their work doesn’t void AppleCare, a monitor replacement is a very visible change, and Apple could have easily denied me any future repairs.

I called Anita and asked if I could return the new unit and hold onto my old MacBook Pro in the hopes that Apple would reintroduce an anti-glare option before my AppleCare expired in November. Anita said that so long as I called within the warranty period, I’d be able to request a replacement. I don’t really use my optical drive, so living without one wasn’t a big deal. Getting a replacement laptop that can spend the next three years running without sleep is much more important. I figured I’d use my capable machine as long as possible, and then if need be, request a replacement in November and void the warranty with the TechRestore replacement.

Today, Apple reintroduced the anti-glare screens as a $50 option on their 15″ MacBook Pros. I called customer service, explained my case history, and again requested a replacement—this time with the newly available anti-glare option. Apple agreed, and upgraded me to the anti-glare screen free of charge. They even tossed in two free mini Display Port connectors so I could connect my external monitors.

Did Apple need to replace my laptop? No.
Did Apple need to send me an anti-glare film? No.
Did Apple need to install the anti-glare film? No.
Did Apple need to take back their replacement laptop? No.
Did Apple need to send me another replacement? No.
Did Apple need to waive the fee for the anti-glare option? No.
Did Apple need to toss in two free Display Port connectors? No.
Did Apple need to worry that I wasn’t already a loyal customer? No.

Apple didn’t need to do anything but repair my broken optical drive; instead, they repeatedly went above and beyond. This wasn’t a fluke experience, either. Every single Apple employee I spoke with was efficient, helpful, and thoroughly professional. This was service worth paying for. Thank you, Apple.