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An Afternoon at the Apple Genius Bar

Discovering the true market value of the AppleCare programme; a birds eye view of Apple financial policy.


Alphasubzero949 has previously written about issues with his PowerBook G4 (still under AppleCare warranty). The story now takes a turn for the worse, including a regrettable (but typical) confrontation with 'Apple geniuses'. For those who don't know, those 'Apple geniuses' who staff Apple's own stores are often cast-off 'apprentices' from Apple resellers who couldn't make the grade. They're locally hired into the stores at Tastee Freez wage levels, they're not skilled, and as this article will show, they're not particularly friendly or helpful either. Caveat emptor.

Things take a turn for the worse.

Last night while burning some audio CDs the upper foam strip was torn loose away from the case and I had to finally pull it out completely. Again an audio CD was trapped in the machine and was completely scratched after having to pry it out. The case was warped again.

So now I do not have a foam strip on the upper end of the slot. No big deal - it's the bottom half I'm worried about (easier to scratch media that way).

I took my machine in to have it looked at. I was told that for the amount of money required to diagnose the issue, replace the entire bottom case, and the labour required to move all of the components to the new case, it simply was not worth it and that I was better off with a new machine.



Yeah right: a new Apple toaster that whines, slimes, smokes, stinks, stains, flakes, moos, shuts off, and warps. No thank you.



This really sucks because I use my PowerBook to watch DVDs at my place. I have it hooked up to my TV via S-video.



So I went to an Apple store today. Absolute waste of my time and having to wait 1h to speak with a 'genius' (thanks to their lovely automated wait list BS).

They refused to cover the issue under AppleCare because they claimed it was due to abuse, which was obviously bullshit. They fed me the predictable 'almost three year old machine, wear and tear, cosmetic, etc' crap. But the machine is still under the AppleCare program for which I paid dearly.

Amusingly, there was someone there with a random shutoff with their white MacBook and I overheard the Apple genius claim that he never heard of the issue. I told the customer to go online to the Apple support forums and do a search for 'random shutdown' and I informed her that she definitely wasn't alone - far from it.

I left, sucked it up, and picked up an external DVD burner. Funny enough, Ubuntu recognised it on the spot while I had to install drivers for it in OS X.

Here are some photos I took of my PowerBook. I included the strip of foam on the first picture to show that it was knocked cleanly out upon ejecting a CD.

The machine wasn't dropped or abused or whatever the fanboys and 'Apple geniuses' suggest. If you notice the left side isn't warped at all.

And the machine is still under AppleCare warranty.

[Apple design things to 'look cool' - not to last - and in many cases to deliberately fall apart [sic]. In this case the design jeopardises the safety of other products - your purchased and rented DVDs. Ed.]


Alphasubzero949 is the secret code name of a molecular biologist who also administers beige and other boxes in a research lab.

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