applecare-logo.jpgI’ve probably owned a half dozen Apple laptops over the years and every single time I always fork over a bit extra to get the extended warranty provided by Apple, better known as AppleCare, for my shiny new purchase. In the back of my mind I’ll always wonder why I decided to give an extra few hundred more dollars of my hard earned cash since I’ve never had any hardware problems with any Apple product ever. But for some reason I feel better knowing I’m covered for 3 years instead of the standard 1 year of limited warranty and 90 days of telephone tech support.

Last night I made my very first telephone support call to Apple and it all started with the Magic Trackpad. As I mentioned in my prior post I decided to purchase a Magic Trackpad online to compliment my 24″ LED Cinema Display. Apple yesterday also released software via Software Update to support it (and extra trackpad functionality for existing MacBook[Pro] users) as well. Knowing my Trackpad would be arriving in a few days I decided to go ahead with the update in anticipation of its arrival.

The almost 80 MB update downloaded fairly quick and the update took all of a minute. Once complete the mandatory reboot commenced. That’s when things started going downhill. After rebooting I would see the Apple logo and hear the chime and watch the screen flicker as it switched resolutions to display my desktop. Well instead of my desktop I instead got this:


A very nice set of alternating horizontal black and white lines. OK I thought.. let’s reboot this one more time. No go. PRAM reset next. Nope. SMC Reset. Nope. Now I started to get a bit more panicky. I decided to boot from the Application DVD while holding down the “D” key on the keyboard to perform a system diagnostic. The diagnostic passed with flying colors. Just for kicks I then booted off the install DVD which went to the install screen without a problem. Well it was nice at least to see that both my display and video card seemed fine.

I then remembered that at the time I performed the update I had my MacBook Pro hooked up to my external display. OK let’s try cold booting while it’s connected. Hey! It booted up just fine! Both my MBP display as well as my Cinema display showed my desktop. OK… maybe that’ s all that it needed. Shutdown. Disconnect the external display. Boot up again. What the heck! Black and white lines again! So it’s fine when it’s connected to the Cinema display but not so much when it’s on it’s own. This was just getting weirded and weirder. It was time to make the call.

I proceeded to browse to and navigate through the support page till I found the jump off point to create a case and initiate a call. The “Apple Expert” page summed up the process quote nicely:


Seemed simple enough. I entered my serial number, chose my hardware, described the issue I was having in about 4 sentences and was presented with the option to have Apple call me right away or choose a time that worked for me. Very slick. Of course I chose to get a call immediately. After clicking submit I waited for about 20 seconds when my phone rang. An automated voice response confirmed that I was trying to initiate a tech support call and told me the wait would be less than 5 minutes. In about one minute I was talking to a live person.

I was asked to describe the issue I was having. I proceeded to tell them what I had already done to troubleshoot my problem. Surprisingly they seemed to actually believe me and not make me repeat the entire process over again as I assumed they would (based on other support calls I’ve been on with other large tech companies). I was then told to try to boot into safe mode which surprisingly worked. I was then told that this was beyond the scope of a basic simple issue and that I was going to be transferred to a more senior support rep. Wow… OK. very quickly rep #1 knew that this was beyond their expertise and that someone else more advanced was needed. Impressive.

I was then hooked up with rep #2. I sent him a snapshot of what my screen looked like and a vide of the boot process taken with my iPhone. Rep #2 had never seen anything like this before. Back in safe mode we moved the:


file to the desktop. Rebooted. No change. I was then put on hold so he could consult with his colleagues. 2 minutes later he was back. Now we’re going to put that file back and move


to the desktop instead and reboot to let the the system create a new one from scratch. Woah! It worked! Wow. Thoroughly impressed now. I was certain from the start I was going to have to ship my machine to them and be completely unproductive until it’s return.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a better tech support experience in my career. I have no doubts whatsoever that I will be purchasing AppleCare for all my Apple PC purchases in the future and perhaps even non PC purchases as well.

If you’ve ever had any doubts, you shouldn’t. I hope I never have to use AppleCare support again but I know that if I have to that I’m in good hands.

Wow was this the sappiest blog advertisement for AppleCare or what 🙂 I don’t care… I just wanted to gush about how much I loved my first experience with AppleCare… there… I’m done.

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