The Saga of my iMac, and the benefits of AppleCare

I wrote an article a couple weeks ago on how Apple’s Support is the best. While I still believe this, it has been an interesting last three weeks regarding the saga of my iMac.

First a bit of background, I purchased my iMac in March of 2007, of course I also purchased Apple Care and the machine had been flawless until about a week after the Apple Care support had expired. It was the second of April when I called Apple regarding my iMac giving me a bunch of hard crashes. The entire board would freeze and you couldn’t really do much except shutdown the machine and hope it would come back up.

Blame it on the Memory

After talking to the Genius, I made an appointment to drop it off at the Apple Store. I explained my issue and the genius took it and said they would get to work on it. So, they did. I got a call on the third saying it was all fixed and ready to pick up. The ‘reason’ for all the crashes was due to “faulty memory”.

Being the geek I am, I chose to pick it up that night and also purchased my beloved iPad while I was there. I brought it home to re-install the original memory and re-install 10.6 Server, again. Well, guess what, still issues. I thought it could be the original memory that was the issue, so I went ahead and ordered new memory.

About a week later, after receiving the memory, I went ahead and installed it, and still the iMac had issues. Somehow, the installation would freeze when it got towards the end. Having AppleCare  gave me access to Tech-Tool deluxe, so I ran the test, and much to my chagrin my iMac passed all of the tests. The next step, call Apple again. This time I explained the symptoms to the Level 2 tech, and he agreed it could be any number of issues and asked me to bring it in again.

Round Two at the Apple Store

Alas, another trip to the Apple Store. Luckily, on this attempt, I got a Genius who listened to my issues, took the computer and said it’ll probably be 5 to 7 days for them to fully test everything. I said ‘fine’, it’s not like the machine is working anyway. I left the machine in the hands of the Geniuses again.

Eight days passed before hearing anything from the Apple store. Upon returning home from doing a bit of shopping I get a phone call from the Apple Store, saying that it will be a bit longer due to the speakers not working with the new logic board. I’m a bit confused by this because it’s the same type of logic board, how could the speakers not work. But I don’t argue, at this point I just want my machine fixed.

They receive the part and give me another call on Wednesday (day 11 of the ongoing saga). They received the speakers, have them installed and were wondering if they wanted me to wipe the drive because it wasn’t booting. I explain to them that it froze during install and yes, please re-install 10.6.2 on the drive. The tech informed me that they would give me a call when it was ready. Well, a few hours later I get a call; the install has failed. The tech explained that he wasn’t sure if it was the hard drive or the memory so he has ordered both, just to be safe.

Twelve Days Later

Day 12: I received a call at 8:15 in the morning saying that my iMac is all fixed and ready to go and that I can pick it up at any time. So, I left work an hour early to go and pick up my iMac. I had to run to the post office first, and did so, and then went off to the Apple Store. Here’s where I get annoyed.

I waited an entire half hour before somebody came up to me to ask if I needed any help. I wasn’t wandering the store or anything, I was sitting at the Genius Bar. Despite seeing 5 different geniuses, nobody asked if I needed anything. I don’t get this at all.  Finally somebody came up and asked if I had a reservation and I stated ‘No, I’m just here to pick up my computer’. He then asked for the name and to see my ID; this is a bit off considering nobody asked last time I came in and picked up my computer. I didn’t argue, just waited patiently. The guy came back with my iMac and plugged it in to verify that it was working–it was.


The oddest part of the whole situation is that when I went to pick up my iMac the person who brought it out mentioned that Apple has spent $1100 to fix the machine. This doesn’t come as a shock considering that everything, and I mean everything, except the screen was replaced.

The iMac is now installing iWork ’09 from my Mac Box Set. I have installed Windows 7 already and this thing flies like never before.

The Lesson: AppleCare is worth every penny.

What lesson has been learned boys and girls? Simple, buy Apple Care. They extended my support despite being out of warranty. It saved me $1100. Which, if I would’ve had to shell that much out, I would’ve just bought a whole new computer.

I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.