Why Apple.

I know I had some troubles with Apple and OS X since I got my MacBook Pro, but I think that, when someone does something right, you should say it.

So, in the end of 2007, I decided to give myself a MacBook Pro as Christmas gift. I had a computer, but the battery wasn’t that good, and the graphics weren’t that good, and the machine was a bit outdated… And I heard wonders about Apple hardware. So, why not? And, on 23rd of December of 2007, I became the owner of a 15″ MacBook Pro, the aluminum case.

Fast forward about 6 months after that. Apple announced the recall of such models due a problem with the NVidia chipsets. At the time, I did check the serial number and, as such, I had one of the laptops that could be affected by this problem. But, heck, everything was running fine, so I didn’t worry about that.

Fast forward again 7 months, January 2009, one year and about 1 month since I got the laptop. There I was, playing EVE online when something weird pops in the screen. It was some sort of blur, some lines drawing in the wrong place and the game locked. At first, I ignored it, ’cause the Mac version of EVE was kinda bad. Turn off computer, turn it on again and I’m back. I did some coding and decided to play WoW. A few minutes in the game and I get the same wrong drawing and the same locking, which is quite unusual for WoW. Turn of computer, turn on again, and I get a warning saying that I needed to turn of my computer to reboot. I gave the computer a few minutes, turn it on again, talk to some people on IRC and… blur and locking, and the same message after rebooting. But, even after waiting, it still didn’t come back. I kept getting the same wrong display and same warning. And I took pictures of the screen.

Time to use that recall Apple offered. One year after buying the MacBook, I lost the receipt, so I took the computer back to the shop I bought it, “My Mac” in Bondi Junction. I showed the problem, which weirdly worked fine for the first 2 minutes and told the guy that I knew about the NVidia problem and that the serial number was one of the affected one. As it needed some tests to verify that it was a NVidia problem and not something else, the guy asked for about a week. Well, sure, no problem with that.

I got a call about 4 days later. The guy said that, and I quote, “I plugged an external monitor and got the same drawing problem, so it’s a problem with the logical board.” The repair cost: $400 (or so I thought) and it would take another week. One day after that week, I called the shop. The guy told me that there was a change in the price and it would, actually, cost $1700, but because he gave me the price of $1400 before, it would make it for $1400 plus service. Ok, first I must say that I actually have problems hearing people over the phone and the guy had some thick Indian accent. That was too much and I said no. Unfortunately, I had to pay the service of $100.

Why I didn’t replace the logical board, after all? Well, I’m a computer guy and, although I write software and know shit about hardware, I know that if your video card is broken, it doesn’t matter if you change the monitor. It simply doesn’t make sense. So, as any terminal disease a doctor gives to you, I decided to go for a second opinion: Apple itself.

I took the notebook a Saturday morning. I was kinda expecting that I could just drop it there and wait for their tests, as I did in the My Mac. But Apple, being not like others (“Thinking Different”, I think) said that I should book a Genius appointment before dropping it for repairs. So, without a choice, I booked on for the next Monday.

Monday, I explained the same thing I did before to the guy in the Genius Bar. He said it could be a memory problem and, thus, would try changing the memory. At this point, I kinda felt stupid: I was not using Apple official memory, I bought some 4Gbs after a few months. If it was the bad memory…

Anyway, the guy when in the back, and came back a few minutes later. He said that he replaced the memory, got the same problem, so it needed to replace the logical board but, because it was under the warranty (the NVidia warranty), they would replace it for free. The repairs would take 3 days. When I signed the paper confirming the repairs, there was a clause saying that it could occur a fee of $100 due service. Well, I payed $100 already for a service that would charge me $1700, paying $100 for a free new logical board seemed pretty cheaper.

One day after those 3 days I was in the city and decided to check the Apple store. The consegliere told me that, due some backlog, it would take some more time, maybe to the middle of the week. Well, no problem. Monday, 7 days after I took the laptop to repairs, I got a call from Apple saying that the service was complete. I rode all the way to the city to get it back and was greeted with a surprise that even the service was free because of the warranty.

So, there you have it. It doesn’t matter where you buy your Apple stuff but, if you need repairs, better look for the official Apple store.