No Assembly Required, Battery Included

Where did I see that the other day? Oh right, nowhere. Although….

When we bought our MacBook Pro last February the Apple experience was brand new to us (minus some iPod exposure). The battery lasted close to four hours on a charge and the majority of my time was spent in configuring the machine for both my setup and my wife’s preferences (those that know us are familiar with our gMail vs Yahoo! discussions). In doing so, I eventually set up two separate user profiles, and a couple of admin accounts. Soon after, I noticed that the battery life was diminishing, somewhere under the three hour mark, and eventually in the neighbourhood of two hours.

The balance of the year went by without much incident, if you don’t count the Blackberry syncing issues we had with my wife’s Pearl (see my post “Maybe now we can actually sync a Blackberry with a Mac?“). In the last few weeks, our laptop started to have random shutdowns. At first I thought it was a thermal issue, but it even happened while the Mac was sitting on a flat cool surface. This also never happened while plugged. So after some further analysis, I concluded that the shutdowns only happened when unplugged, and usually in or around the 40% charge mark.

Never one to wait to the last minute, I made an appointment at the downtown Montreal Apple store to consult with a Genius (with 13 days left on the warranty). This is basically how it went:

ME: I wonder how long I’ll have to wait?

APPLE CONCIERGE: I’ve checked you in, you’re a few minutes early (those of you that know me understand how rare this is). Your (the wording is key, and I’m sure its no mistake) Genius will be with you shortly.

ME: Thanks.

GENIUS: <12:02> Steve.

ME: So here’s the problem …

GENIUS: Let’s check your warranty. Hmmmm, you still have 13 days, cutting it a bit close.

ME: Yup

GENIUS: Let me just plug in this iPod Nano, use it to boot your system, and run some system diagnostics.

ME: Sounds reasonable.


GENIUS: Let me go and check if we have one in stock.

GENIUS: We’re done. Can I interest you in Apple Care?

ME: Yup, sign me up.

Why can’t other stores do this? I was able to make a Genius reservation the previous day, show up for your appointment, get top notch service, and walk out feeling good about my “overpriced laptop”, and still had time to eat my lunch before my next meeting.

The Apple Store model has been deployed for years now, why hasn’t anyone else picked up on this? Even if my Mac was a little more expensive, I didn’t have to spend a day at home waiting for my laptop to be picked up, or have some part shipped to me. I walked in, was greeted, had my expectations set, had my issue resolved and walked away feeling good about spending another $399. No Assembly Required, Battery Included.