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Is AppleCare worth it if you have a pet geek?
November 26, 2006 12:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm buying my wife a MacBook. Should I also buy AppleCare?

Consider:
I'm a geek, comfortable building PCs from the ground up. I also own a TiBook and a blue g4 tower , thus I'm quite familiar with Apple systems. I figure that my skills + the 1 year warranty that the MacBook comes with should be enough to sort out any initial difficulties - past that, I can handle the rest.

So, is AppleCare worth it?
posted by C.Batt to Technology (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
From my boy (who worked at the Apple store for two years):

You geek skills will certainly be useful in keeping the computer happy and healthy and preventing common mistakes that could make it die. Macs do have a pretty low failure rate and most of those that die do so in the first year. The only problem you might encounter if something does go wrong after that first year, and you want to fix it yourself, is that Mac parts aren't for sale on the open market. You might be able to find a vendor who would selll them to you, but expect a signifigant markup on the price.

In short, he thinks you probably don't need to get AppleCare. Buy the time it might start breaking down in a serious way (around year three, when AppleCare expires), the money that would be spent fixing it would be better spent upgrading to a new machine.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:16 PM on November 26, 2006


For a portable - yes, without a doubt. In any case, you've got a year to decide if you want AppleCare, as you can buy it any time before the original warranty runs out.
posted by mrbill at 12:22 PM on November 26, 2006


Applecare is 100% worth it. My iBook had some serious problems a few months ago. I thought, great, now I have to buy a new computer. But it will still under warranty, huzzah! Repaired for free. Definitely get Applecare.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:23 PM on November 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've always obtained applecare for my Apple laptops, and it has always been worth it. One machine had repeated problems, and the other was perfect until 2.5 years in a major component failed. (The first machine required a new screen at one point; without Applecare that would have cost me $1000 or so.)
posted by raf at 12:24 PM on November 26, 2006


Get AppleCare not for the tech support, but as an insurane policy against any physical problems you might encounter as the computer ages. As my laptop aged, I encountered broken hinges, cracks in the casing and screen, etc., and Apple replaced the parts quickly and for free. Even if you are able to make those repairs yourself, the parts might cost more than AppleCare over time.

On the other hand, if you are nicer to your computers than I am, you might not have these problems. You can wait until the free AppleCare period expires (a year) and then decide if you want to purchase it.
posted by lalex at 12:29 PM on November 26, 2006


I have found the MacBook line of laptops (Pro and not Pro) to be really crappy. I am deeply missing the quality of my PowerBooks. I can't say whether you'll come out ahead with AppleCare, but I'd venture a guess towards 'yes'. I'd suggest you get it.
posted by mto at 12:32 PM on November 26, 2006


The Apple repair guys I know get Applecare on their own laptops. The parts are so expensive that even if the repair work is free, Applecare still pays itself off by the third year more often than not.
posted by limicoline at 12:33 PM on November 26, 2006


I'd say go for applecare. From what I've read and been told Apple treats you like royalty if you have it, and like a red headed stepchild if you don't.
posted by Hexidecimal at 12:36 PM on November 26, 2006


mto is absolutely on the money. My experience of the MacBooks is that they are very poor in terms of parts quality and robustness. Get it, even if just for the parts.
posted by bonaldi at 12:48 PM on November 26, 2006


Yes - I just got it for my macbook. And AppleCare was more than worth it when the battery on my ibook crapped out just after the one year warranty expired.
posted by meerkatty at 12:51 PM on November 26, 2006


For what it's worth, Consumer Reports generally suggest staying away from extended warranties. However, they make an exception for laptops generally, and AppleCare specifcially (free article here--link might die in December) for the tech support.

Also, don't forget about the credit card warranty extender.
posted by kenneth at 12:51 PM on November 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


My business partner was a tech at Tekserve (NYC's biggest and best Mac repair shop) for years; he gets AppleCare on every Mac he buys.
posted by nicwolff at 12:58 PM on November 26, 2006


Does the credit card warranty extender apply for computer equipment though? I have a friend who works at an Apple store in CA and he says people don't want to get AppleCare because they think the warranty extender will cover it, but apparently it doesn't. I could be misremembering, however.
posted by calistasm at 1:00 PM on November 26, 2006


AppleCare = peace of mind
posted by anadem at 1:05 PM on November 26, 2006


Another yes here. Got a MacBook Pro + AppleCare. It had some issues and they took it away and handed me over a new one.
posted by jdl at 1:08 PM on November 26, 2006


My Applecare (on a G4 desktop, an iBook, and two powerbooks) has been worth every cent.

In 2007, I'll but an Intel MacBook, and will certainly get Applecare for that. I also plan to acquire a Mac Mini, and won't get it for that because of the absurdly low price by comparison.

It's a crap shoot on the laptops... chances are you won't need it, but the very first time you do, for anything, it'll cost more than the Applecare.
posted by FauxScot at 2:19 PM on November 26, 2006


Alright, thread over. Thanks for all the feedback so far.

I purchased a 2.00ghz Core2Duo MacBook for my wife. I held off on the AppleCare, for now. I purchased it with my credit card, so I could get any warranty benefits that (may or may not) apply. If I detect even the slightest smidgen of nonsense in the first year, I'll buy her the AppleCare.
posted by C.Batt at 2:22 PM on November 26, 2006


You don't have to buy Applecare with the computer. You can buy it up to a year later to the day from when you buy the computer. So, my suggestion is to wait. It may go down in price and, to my knowledge, it has never gone up in price.
posted by dobbs at 4:55 PM on November 26, 2006


I bought a TiBook and waited on the AppleCare just like you're planning to do. Saw no problems that first year so I did not buy it. My titanium is still running strong after 4 years.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 5:52 PM on November 26, 2006


I used to say Applecare was worth it. In the past, when my power supplies broke, it was a 5 minute phone call and I had a new one overnighted to me.

However, my battery recently died. I mean DIED, the laptop doesn't even recognize it anymore. If I have to unplug the laptop, I have to set the clock. It's a pain. So, I gave the Apple folks a ring. We run through the whole diagnostic, she determines it's the battery and then. Then. Then it's 110$.

Turns out batteries just aren't covered in that ridiculously expensive plan. READ THE FINE PRINT! Other than that caveat, it's the best customer service expirence I've ever had and I hate to be less than 100% enthusiastic about it.
posted by GilloD at 6:34 PM on November 26, 2006


Always get AppleCare for laptops. Always.

However you do get 12 months hardware warranty and the 3 year applecare contract starts on your Mac's purchase date so it is really only 2 years warranty. You can also wait until your 12 months warranty is almost up before buying AppleCar.
posted by schwa at 6:47 PM on November 26, 2006


Apple care is totally worth it. When the logic board craps out around year two - they take care of it simple and clean. And anything else that happens, for three years. They figure out whats wrong and fix it, for no charge.

In my experience extended warranties are usually a rip, but not in this case. It is a rip in the sense that they charge you for it, but they really do honor it, and it will change any experience you might need to have with Apple significantly.
posted by 31d1 at 7:16 PM on November 26, 2006


laptops fall off desks. buy applecare.
posted by UESMark at 10:34 PM on November 26, 2006


As a former electronics salesman the rule of thumb I told my customers was "if you use it every day, shove things in it, or if it has moving parts, get the warranty. And if you get the warranty, take advantage of the preventive maintenance."

And with that said, I could never stand Consumer Reports who were toilet paper experts on page two, dishwasher experts on page three, and tv experts on page four. Ask people who sell or service the product that you're interested in. They're the real experts.
posted by tsarfan at 11:40 PM on November 26, 2006


Contrary opinion here. It all depends how you use a laptop and how often you intend to replace it. Since I replace mine every year, I do not buy AppleCare. Thats a little extreme, to be sure (and I don't pay for the machines, or I would make them last 18-24 months). But if you're handy, it's not true that Apple parts are not available on the open market. By the time the MacBook is a year old, used parts will be easily available (though never "cheap" compared to Wintel machine parts). Major failures on Apple laptops are often covered out of warranty, since they are often the result of design flaws (they are *still* replacing iBook logic boards, I believe). For the $300 AppleCare costs, you're 1/3 of the way, more or less, to a new MacBook. A MacBook Pro entails a different calculation, of course. But in my experience, Apple laptops give one year of intensive service, or 2-3 years of lower level service, before they fall apart and/or achieve obsolescence. Depends on what you do with them.
posted by spitbull at 7:24 AM on November 27, 2006


You should definitely buy it. The mac laptops are great computers but things go wrong. My case cracked, and they're fixing it for free.
posted by kdern at 8:00 AM on November 27, 2006


I bought my Macbook back in the Summer and I've had to get it fixed 3 times already. I think I'll suck it up and buy that Applecare. Of course, YMMV.

Not to jack this thread, but RE: credit card warranty coverage... Can anyone point me to details on this? Is it by card or is there a universal policy on this? I have a Platinum Mastercard if it matters.
posted by GS1977 at 2:42 PM on November 27, 2006


YES, buy applecare. Especially on unproven technology. Laptops present very little option for seasoned IT vets to fix. I've had an iBook with applecare for 3 years, and when it broke, they fixed it!
posted by emptyinside at 3:54 PM on November 28, 2006


This isn't really an answerable question because so much goes into the decision. The pinksuperhero having a problem fixed and telling you it's worth it is, well, worthless. The next person could tell you they didn't use it so don't get it.

If you simply want piece of mind, get it. Otherwise, this isn't a yes/no question. Lots of people don't get applecare and have no problems. If you're going to keep the macbook 3/4 years, I'd say certainly. 2? Or are you going to update frequently? Then it's a tougher choice. Don't get apple care on three laptops and you have almost enough saved to buy the fourth. Remember, most problems with laptops come in the first year, and you're already covered.

laptops fall off desks. buy applecare.
posted by UESMark


Very bad advice. Read your apple care agreement.

"accident, abuse, neglect, misuse" are not covered under applecare.
posted by justgary at 4:05 PM on November 28, 2006


Ask people who sell or service the product that you're interested in. They're the real experts.
posted by tsarfan


Nonsense. Ask the best buy dude if you need insurance and you're asking someone who's not an expert and gets ordered to push it. Jesus, no wonder so many people get screwed.
posted by justgary at 4:08 PM on November 28, 2006


Question: Does the Apple Care cover things like a dropped laptop, which suffered some damage during as a result of the drop? After 2 months of getting my 17" PowerBook G4 the laptop, which was in my carrying case, fell off my washing machine and was damaged pretty bad. I did get the Apple Care package, but didn't know if this is covered.

My Dell laptop was repaired under the Dell Complete Care program without any additional costs and the entire mother board and case was replaced with no problem.

Does the Apple Care program cover accidental damage?
posted by randomthoughts at 6:02 PM on November 28, 2006


Extended warranties are a crock, pretty much by definition.

But after a year of service the AppleCare salesman called and offered me a discounted ($250) policy on my 12" al powerbook I bit. I actually thought I'd perhaps get some software questions answered, but that was rationale.

10 months later the hard drive in the albook died. The cost to replace would have been more than the AppleCare contract, I felt I hit the lottery the same way I did coming down with pneumonia a year after getting health insurance.
posted by pkreutzer at 10:39 PM on November 29, 2006


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