New computers – Mac – batteries and the Apple Store

My MacBook battery, which has had problems in the past, suddenly decided not to charge at all.  Well, one Mac fanatic friend had been on at me to take it in to an Apple Store and have it repaired, as it was still under warranty.I have now had my first, and hopefully last, experience of an Apple Store.

I’m fortunate.  I live in one of the few places in BC where you are less than 500 miles away from an Apple store.  I looked it up on the Web.  I even made a reservation.  Turns out that was porbalby a good thing.

I made the appointment later in the day, after business hours.  The Apple store I chose was in the downtown core, so I figured that I had best do it after office hours, to reduce demand from businesspeople needing to have their devices fixed.

As I approached the Apple Store, I could see which one it was.  This is because, unlike every other store in the mall, it had signage sticking out into the mall.  All the other stores had signage above the front face of the store.  The Apple was relatively small and tasteful.  But it also seemed to indicate a “the rules don’t apply to us” attitude.

Since it was late in the day, the mall was not crowded.  However, my second indication that I was near the Apple Store was a crowd of people outside the store, all looking at iPhones or iPads or with iPods plugged into their ears.

As I got to the store, I could see that it was narrow, but fairly deep.  There were devices of all types (in boxes) wallpapering the walls.  There were two rows of tables, with various devices and laptops on them.  And hordes of people.

It was packed.  It was crowded.  It was noisy.  It was a zoo.  I had a hard time fighting my way to the back to the service desk.  (Sorry.  “Genius Bar.”)

One of the staff asked what I wanted, and I told him repairs.  I told him my name and the time of my appointment.  He said someone would be with me shortly, probably before my appointment time.

At the appointment time, someone found me.  He asked what the problem was.  (At least, I think so.  He had a slight accent, but the noise of the crowd made it extremely hard to hear anything.)  I told him about the consistent problem with charging time, the refusal to charge, and the fact that, after having tried all kinds of rebooting and pulling plugs and checking profiles, that leaving it plugged in while I did some other work had apparently resulted in it finally charging up.

He looked at it and told me it was charged up.

I told him about the consistent problem with charging time, the refusal to charge, and the fact that, after having tried all kinds of rebooting and pulling plugs and checking profiles, that leaving it plugged in while I did some other work had apparently resulted in it finally charging up.

He said he couldn’t do anything while it was charged.

All this had taken place at one of the tables, not the “genius bar.”  (I guess you have to be relatively near the bar to be an actual genius.)  So we moved over there, and he decided that looking at some YouTube videos might run the battery down a bit.  (I suggested that news sites seemed to be faster, but he’s the genius.)  After running the battery down a bit, he looked at the power profile.  Then he rebooted and looked at some diagnostic utility that must be built in, but not accessbile to us plebes.  Then he looked at some other similar utility.  Then he looked at some logs.  Then he ran a short diagnostic.  He told me there the utilities showed that the battery was fine, but the logs said that at one time it wasn’t.  So I’d have to get the battery replaced.  He gave me some forms to sign and disappeared into the back.

I signed the forms and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Eventually I started to think that maybe he was, in fact, doing the battery replacement.  I waited some more.  And more.

Finally he came back.  He said he had replaced the battery.  It certainly seemed to have less charge than before.  He showed me the power profile, and it now showed 0 cycles rather than the 47 it had showed before.  (This is less comforting than you’d think, since one of the other diagnostics had showed 42 cycles.)

I will take it on faith that he replaced the battery.  Since then I have run down the battery (watching an hour of live video on what was supposed to be a five hour charge), fully charged it, and run it for about seven hours.

But I sure don’t have much faith in them …

Since then, another Mac fanatic has told me that I should buy the extended warranty on the MacBook, since it was really comforting to know that Apple would fix all the problems that would happen over a three year period.

This advice is less reassuring than one might suppose …

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  • Rich

    I’m at a bit of a loss to see what the problem was?

    You had an issue with your battery, you booked in and recieved a new battery on the spot.

    Your battery now has a seven hour charge…

    How did you get to this?

    “I faithfully promise never to buy another piece of Apple gear ever again in my life, and to alert all and sundry that Apple makes crap wretched devices, and Macs are annoying as all get out.”

  • Spaf

    Not every Apple store is like this. I’ve been in 4 and not had experiences such as you mention.

    And, as Rich asked, what exactly i the real problem? He actually listened to what you said (at least the 2nd time), performed diagnostics, and fixed the problem on the spot without charge to you. You didn’t have to mail the laptop away. You didn’t get some tech support in India telling you to reinstall the OS. You didn’t get charged a service fee.

  • Kevin

    Gonna have to agree with Rich and Spaf on their perception of your story. Sounds to me like you received service above and beyond what I have experienced in any non-Apple electronics/computer store.

    It really sounds like the biggest problem was that you ended up in a store with a vibrant and engaged clientele instead of a deserted wasteland. Annoying, but certainly doesn’t seem like a reason to hate Apple and all their products forever.

    Disclaimer: I really like and own Apple products.

    Caveat: I also like, own and use Linux and Windows products.