Should I consider AppleCare?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by james.sumners, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. james.sumners macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2005
    First, I am a long time x86 user. I am even a Dell certified technician for the college where I work. As a result, I am quite familiar with x86 hardware and, through my work at the college, I know what all can go wrong with a x86 laptop. However, I want a machine with an OS rooted in Unix (I am a hardcore Debian fan) with a slick interface. Mac OS X looks to be that OS; plus, I want to learn the Mac platform.

    Now for my question. The AppleCare service plan is quite expensive for a Powerbook 15" and is rather mediocre as compared to Dell's CompleteCare service plan. The Dell plan covers liquid spills, accidental drops of the machine, power surges, and cracked or shattered LCDs. The Apple plan is just the standard limited warranty extended for a couple of years. Should I consider getting the Apple plan if I purchase a Powerbook? I don't want to buy a $2,000 laptop and some peice of hardware start to malfunction after the warranty has run out. Is the hardware trustworthy enough for me to cut this cost?

    I am a student on a limited budget (my tax refund is the only reason I am considering the laptop right now).
  2. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    Hi James,
    Without getting "anecdotal" and sharing about 4-5 experiences where AppleCare has paid for itself in our family, here's my 2¢ on your question.
    We treat getting AppleCare as part of the purchase for any new machine. Though no one either wants nor anticipates a problem, all it takes is one pretty severe episode to show that it will pay for itself. You do have some time to consider (a year I beleive) and can still get it during that period. When it comes down to it, $400 over 48 months = US$8.33 a month. That's a pretty good insurance rate. Good luck.
  3. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    First of all, it's good that you already understand that AppleCare is basically an extended warranty and not "insurance". Having said that, it's my understanding that Apple is awfully liberal with their policies and in practice they end up covering a lot of things that technically they aren't obligated to (e.g. accidental drops and such). This is of course anecdotal (search these forums for some stories) and your mileage may vary.

    I did go ahead and purchase AppleCare for my PowerBook and yes, I've used it. Had some memory (RAM) go bad shortly after my one-year "anniversary" of purchasing the PowerBook and AppleCare covered the replacement. My out-of-pocket cost for that RAM alone obviously wouldn't justify the cost of AppleCare, but if I rack up even one or two more of those "little" repairs in the remaining time it will. So there you go.
  4. OldManJimbo macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2004
    California Coast
    James - I, too, was a long-time x86 user. And I appreciate the peace of mind that comes with my AppleCare subscription. I've used it a number of times for "bone head" questions about the Mac OS - the techs are quite helpful and take all the time I need to work through issues. (They also seem to have a firmer grasp of the common language than the techs I speak with at Dell).:)

    I have had one mechanical issue that I'm sure would have been covered under the standard warranty, but I have the sense that my AppleCare fee bought me quicker response and priority service.

    They even answered some questions for me about my daughter's iPod, despite not having bought the AppleCare servcie for the Pod.

    I am not sure I would buy AppleCare on the next machine, but the previous post equating the cost to less than $10/month makes a lot of sense.

    Enjoy the new PowerBook -
  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I bought from a store with a 2 year warranty on Macs so didn't think it worthwhile to buy Applecare for the final year.

    My Powerbook is covered on my home insurance for £20 a year against drops/accidental damage/loss.
  6. jyumibe macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2002
    Hey James, I actually would recommend getting applecare for the laptop. I'm basically in the same situation, student, fairly experienced with computers, and I've had a TiBook of three years now. I didn't get applecare and should have--I had a couple big problems past the one year mark and had to shell out some money to get it fixed (logic board for one, internal screen cable for another, which I fixed myself). I wouldn't get applecare if I was getting a desktop, but with laptops . . . mine tends to get banged around, in and out of my bag, even though I'm pretty careful with it. As a student, I'm sure you know that applecare is discounted (I think it's maybe $230 rather than $300). Also, with applecare you do have a year to buy it, so if you don't have the money right away, just make sure to do it within the year.

  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    It appears that the home insurance coverage available in the UK is much more liberal that that in Canada and USA. If I drop and break my machine at home, our insurance says "tough beans". If a burglar breaks in and breaks the screen on the Powerbook, I still have to pay the first $300 of repairs. And that's after having paid extra for a rider to cover the computers. Hmmm.

    AppleCare is a better value for a laptop than a desktop - although the motherboard could fail on either type of machine, in all other respects a laptop is more fragile, has more things to go wrong (like screens and hinges), operates in a more hazardous environment, and the parts on laptops are significantly more expensive than desktops.

    Desktops also are more conducive to self-service (change video card or hard drive, for example).

    So I usually advise "Yes" on laptops ans "No" on desktops.

  8. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I really think that AppleCare is important on a PowerBook. My wife has had to have hers repaired several times. In fact we are taking ti in today, CD ROM problem and freezing. The peace of mind is worth the price. IF you have the money to pay for parts and feel comfortable enough to fix your PowerBook then that should be taken into consideration.
  9. jbrjake macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2004
    As a Floridian, I've never been able to get AppleCare; it's illegal and invalid in Florida since the state views it as an unregulated insurance scheme.

    I've never missed it, not with any of the five Apple laptops I've owned. Just invest in a nice hardshell case and treat it like a baby.
  10. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Someone on another thread suggested ordering from Apple by phone, and turning down the Applecare plan when it's offered (and say you have a year to make up your mind anyway). The service rep will then possibly offer it at a discount.
  11. james.sumners thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2005
    Thank you all for the replies. You all have confirmed what I was thinking. I don't need the AppleCare plan for asking questions so much as I would want to have it if the machine starts misbehaving. While I am comfortable replacing parts myself, I do plan to by an extra 512MB of RAM from, I don't want to have to do it if I can get it done "correctly" by the manufacturer.

    I was unaware that I could purchase the plan within a year of original purchase. That may be a viable option and one that I will certainly consider. I don't think I will be able to order over the phone since I am trying to use my student discount so I won't be able to try and get more money knocked off the price when ordering.

    As it is right now, I will be saving money until Tiger is released. Once it is released, and shipping preloaded, I think I might be joining the world of the Mac :)

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