AppleCare Protection Plans – It’s Genius

AppleCare Protection Plan Product BoxAppleCare Protection Plans are a necessary component of any Apple Product Purchase.  AppleCare is Apple’s own hardware and software support offering delivered via phone or at any Apple Store.

AppleCare adds anywhere from 15% to 30% of the purchase price but extends the coverage from one year to two years for iPods, iPhones, and iPads and to three years for Macs, Mac Books, and iMacs.  While under warranty only Apple or Apple Authorized Service centers can repair your units.  Once the warranty expires, there are a variety of service shops that can replace cracked screens and cases on iPods, iPads, and iPhones and others that can do more advanced repairs on Macs, Mac Books, and iMacs.

If your iPod, iPhone, or iPad is under AppleCare, instead of getting a repair to your original unit, you get an Apple Brown Box (Factory Refurbished to like new) unit in exchange.  For Mac Books, Pros, iMacs, and Macs, if within the warranty or under AppleCare, these units are repaired by Apple directly and in extreme cases are completely replaced with Apple Brown Box (Factory Refurbished to like new units.)

The most compelling feature of AppleCare is the significantly discounted Accidental Damage replacement option, up to two times, on any iPod, iPhone, or iPad for a flat $49 fee.  Considering that cost of an iPad ranges from $499 to $829, with AppleCare at an additional $99, one cracked screen and $49 puts you ahead of the game.  (AppleCare at $99 plus Replacement Fee of $49 is $148 which is significantly less then purchasing a new one or even the exchange/replacement option described below.)

If you have an Original iPad/ iPad2 and crack the screen and you do not have AppleCare, the cost of an exchange/replacement iPad2 at an Apple Store is $249 at the Genius Bar.   (The cost would be $299 to replace the new iPad – a.k.a. iPad3.)

Realize that with or without AppleCare, you can walk out of an Apple Store with a Factory Refurbished iPad that might as well be brand new because you cannot tell the difference as the case and glass are in perfect condition.

The above experience with a cracked iPad2 screen is real.  The names and genders have been carefully omitted to protect those claiming innocence.

Our story begins in 2011 when a family member purchased an iPad2 for another family member for a birthday and overlooked the purchase of AppleCare.  The iPad2 was dropped or banged up against something and the Touch Screen cracked.  My first inclination was to look for one of the many iPad Repair Services on the Internet.  Price, speed of repair, and location were all considerations.  Candidly, I did not have a week or more for shipping back and forth to another State.  I found a top rated repair shop, actually with the lowest price of $130 in Hoboken NJ, just a PATH ride from Midtown Manhattan.  They could even do the repair, “while you wait.”

If I were to hike out to Hoboken and wait for the repair, it would take me a minimum of four hours, assuming approximately two hours of roundtrip transit and about two hours or so for the repair.  To do the repair, they pry apart the iPad2 and replace the damaged screen.  A major consideration of not having the unit repaired vs. just going to the Apple Store for an exchange was not knowing if the screen was the only component that was actually damaged.  And, then I had to consider four hours of my time vs. an approximate $100 savings ($150 Repair plus Transit vs. $249 for Apple Store Exchange) – and getting back a year plus old iPad2 that might still have other issues.

I decided that I would have the best outcome with the least amount of aggravation by simply making an Apple Store Genius Bar Appointment and exchanging the damaged iPad2 for a “Brown Box” Apple Factory Replacement unit.

I could not have had a more pleasant or better experience at the Apple Genius Bar.

Within minutes of my appointment time, an “Apple iPad Genius” made an introduction, surveyed the situation with the iPad2, took down the serial number, completed some quick electronic paperwork, and went in to the back room to get a replacement iPad2.  Then, verified that there was a current iCloud backup of the damaged iPad2 data, had me wipe our personal data from the damaged iPad2, helped me setup the replacement iPad2 and restore the data from iCloud.  I was in and out of the Apple store in less than 30 minutes.

The experience at the Apple Genius Bar had been exactly the same with my Mac Book Pro 17” which is under AppleCare and had an issue with its’ Power Port connector. The part was changed out in less than 30 minutes.  For the Mac Book, Pro, iMac, and Mac’s, some repairs and issues can be done while you wait like the Power Port connector.  Others like hard drive and system board replacements or screens, requires you to leave your unit for a few days.

As Apple makes the hardware, operating system, and many of the applications, it makes sense to have the experts at Apple Support help you.  AppleCare offerings along with the Genius Bar give you a one-stop service and support experience like no other.

Cost of AppleCare?  – A few extra dollars.

Benefit of Genius Bar Expert Help, Factory Replacement Units or Certified Repair Parts and a working Apple Product in the shortest period of time? – Priceless.

[For everything else, there’s Windows…]

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