Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The hidden cost of Apple ownership & AppleCare

Yugatech recently wrote an article about how he damaged the LCD of his newly acquired 2011 MacBook Air. Yuga wrote:

The adaptor of my MBA slipped from my hands and dropped around 7 or 8 inches from the keyboard (near the area where the power button is). Hit the F11 and F12 keys and bounced to the lower right corner of the screen. 
One reader commented:

That’s one disadvantage of getting a Mac. Premium parts and services.

In sum, the MacBook Air's 11.6-inch LCD screen needs to be replaced. Now, this kind of damage can happen to any laptop and warranty's do not cover damage caused by accidents and physical damage so the damaged laptop is not a point against Apple.
But the cost of replacement is. Yuga writes that the LCD replacement will cost between Php25,000 to Php30,000. A friend of mine with a damaged MacBook Pro was quoted a similar price for the damaged screen of his MacBook Pro.
Basically, replacement parts for Apple products cost 2-3x more than their competitors. One way to avoid the high cost of parts is to avail of an AppleCare extended warranty, and AppleCare warranty's are very popular because long time Apple buyers know that repairing their Apple will cost a lot. AppleCare packs will extend your warranty coverage to two years (iPad and IPod) three years (Mac's and displays), and will even cover the wear and tear on the battery once it goes below 50%.

AppleCare coverage is not cheap. Getting one for your Php49,900 11-inch MacBook Air will cost you Php13,490 (adds two years to the warranty). Getting a similar coverage for a Php23,990 iPad to will cost you Php4,190.

AppleCare still wont cover accidental damage, and I doubt whether iPhone owners can wait for their battery to go down to 50%. The high cost of replacement iPhone batteries is what makes external batteries for Apple iPhone so popular. But it does convert your nice slim iPhone into a rather Jurassic looking fat and heavy device. Given the high acquisition cost of an iPhone how much batteries cost these days, it would be nice if Apple offered lower prices on replacement batteries at least.

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