Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Cult of Mac or Why I'll Never Buy Another Windows Computer

This is the iMac G5 that I bought 3 years ago.

I used to think that people who bought Apples were assholes. I heard all the stories about how they were easier and more user friendly. I thought it was hype. I thought it was for people who liked style over function.

Then I began looking for a computer for my wife, and the simplicity thing became an issue. She pretty much hates the computer because it intimidates her. My search coincided with the release of the iMac G5. I fell in love with it... the simple, clean form factor. So I bought one.

In the time that I have owned it, I have had exactly three problems with it. The first was an issue with my non Apple wireless router that I had used with my Windows laptop. For some reason, I couldn't get a decent signal on the iMac and it would constantly hang. I called Applecare and they recommended an Apple Airport... of course, right? But as soon as I bought and installed it, I had no problems connecting with the iMac or the Windows laptop.

The next problem was a little more serious. The fan kept running... really loud and all the time. When it powered on it sounded like a jet engine spooling up. Then it started shutting down by itself. Often. And it started occurring more and more frequently. Finally it shut off altogether and wouldn't power up.

As you would guess, it was about 6 months out of warranty and I don't have the extended Applecare. I checked the Apple forums and discovered that there was an existing issue with some iMacs where faulty logic boards were causing them to overheat and shut down. Sure enough, I called Apple support and they told me that even though my iMac was out of warranty, they would still replace the logic board for free. An $800 part... free. I took it in to the closest Apple authorized service center (a CompUSA) and it was fixed in two days. Good as new. Actually, better than new.

Last week I noticed the iMac was off during the day. I powered it back up and a couple of hours later I noticed it was off again. I powered it up again and I also noticed a lot of lines in the lcd like it was getting some kind of electronic interference. It crapped out again shortly after.

I called up Apple. It's been over a year since I had the logic board replaced, so I figured I was SOL and was looking at buying a new iMac. Eventually. When my family didn't have to eat or be kept from freezing anymore. I explained my problem and explained the similarity to the previous problem I'd experienced. It was immediately escalated to a G5 iMac specialist who had me run a utility and check the data log. He told me it was the power supply that was failing.

"Shit," I thought to myself and started to look up prices for a replacement. But he told me that the power supply should have been replaced when it was brought in for the original service (CompUSA's screw up) and that it would be replaced for free at any Apple Store. I set up an appointment on Monday and it was done by Tuesday.

And that is why there is a cult of Mac... and why I am now a part of it. I'm officially a convert now. When my laptop finally dies, or becomes so useless that it needs to be replaced, I will buy an Apple laptop. I'll be replacing the iMac in the next year or so and this one will be bestowed upon Fletcher and Blythe for Webkins and games. Are Apples expensive? Yeah. But good customer service is so rare these days that when you find a company that provides it... consistently... and beyond the period where they are reasonably obligated to, you stick with them.

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