The “Other Side” of Apple

I have all the latest and greatest from Apple. iPhone, iPad, iPod nano, Mac Book Pro and Mac Book Air, and if they had other products that I would need I would certainly buy from Apple. In addition, I’ve also encouraged all my employees at Totango to go for a mac as their prime laptop and we provide iPhone 4 as part of our employment contract.

The reason I love apple is for it’s user centric approach and elegance, I simply enjoy using their products.
Apple products are usually reliable, however, I got one Mac Book Pro, which wasn’t, and this story is about my journey with Apple service.

So the story starts on Feb 2011, when while I was creating an investors presentation my computer simply crashed, the screen went black and there was nothing I could do but to restart it. This happened several times while editing the presentation, and I figured it may be a problem with a corrupted file. So I started a new file (the default black presentation) and this problem occurred again.
As I was in the bay area at that time (you can guess who the investors were…), I rushed to the Palo Alto Apple Store, on University Avenue, where my computer was checked by one of Apple Genius guys. The result of the diagnostics was that “it may happen, and you should reinstall you Mac OS X” and so I did. The next morning 10 minutes prior to the presentation, It happened again and I had to give my presentation as a PDF, you can imagine how good it went.

This problem went on and on, and I had a very angry support call with Microsoft, as I figured these guys really can’t create a decent software for the Mac. But while we were troubleshooting the problem together, other software caused the same problem: Preview, QuickTime and other, and these are all Mac native software. This is when I realized it is probably something with the graphics card.

This was April, and I was in Israel, so I had a 60 minutes support session with someone from Apple support on the line. I went through all the magical key strokes which diagnose your computer without any luck. As the agent wanted to wrap up the call by saying “I think it’s fixed, please let me know if something happens again”, I guess the typical support summary sentence when they don’t really know if they fixed anything or not, I suggested the test before ending the call, and then again, online, in front of the support rep, the black screen of death hit again, and it only took me 10 seconds to reproduce the problem. No luck here.

The next time I was in the states, and this was on May, I rushed to the Apple store in Manhattan, the one of 5th ave and 59st. (beautiful store), after waiting more than 30 minutes for my scheduled appointment, my Mac Book Pro was tested by another Genius, who was certain he’s on to something: “It’s the hard drive!” he said, “you have too many errors, all your data is lost and we need to ship it for repair!”. Well, I figured there was nothing I could do now about the data (it’s good that most content was replicated to the cloud), at least it’s going to be fixed within a week.
Rolling forward to next week: I got my computer by mail to the bay area where I was visiting customers. I was eager to put my hands back on my working mac, right? wrong!

Not only that the problem was not fixed, I ran few graphic software and immediately the black screen of death reappeared. In addition, my anti-glare screen was replaced with a glossy (errrr!!!!). I thought I was getting nuts.

Well, the next phase, was to call Apple support again, explain the history over and over again, escalate to level 2 and to level 3, and the great outcome is….

I will have to re-ship my mac book pro for another repair, wait for a week, hope to get a mac with the right parts, and if you ask me, will the problem be resolved? I’m afraid we’ll have to wait and see.

What did I expect?
I expected a service which is elegant and user centric. By now I should have had a new Mac Book Pro delivered at my door instead of the four months saga that’s been going on, and is still not over. During this time, I had to buy another Mac Book Air, to really be able to work, while as a side job, spend time over the phone with Apple support. I guess this may happen on big systems when procedures are not 100% aligned with common sense and proper customer service.

Sorry for the long post, had to get this off my chest!

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