With recent flooding and now cyclones, Australian primary industry is in disarray and there are fears that Australia is about to be flooded with cheap imports; apples from China and bananas from the Philippines are likely to compound the short-term damage by producing a longer-term problem in hindering recovery of local industry. These fruits are widely seen as being inferior to local produce.
But there is another Chinese Apple that is also of concern and I am talking about the Apple computer, specifically the Imac.
All of the courses I have developed and delivered so far have been centred around the PC and Microsoft applications and one of my resolutions for 2011 was to balance the playing field by looking more closely at the offerings from Apple. After all the recently introduced iPad has taken the market by storm and followed closely on the heels of the iPhone which is now just about de rigeur as a fashion accessory.
And with business going increasingly mobile, recent US surveys have suggested that over the next three years mobile computing via smart phones and pads will increase dramatically – perhaps as high as 25% of the market.
So I decided to invest in an iMac and purchased one two weeks ago. I chose the quad-core i5. So far I have lived to regret it.
I had two reasons for choosing an iMac. Firstly, I thought that it was about time I learned more about Microsoft’s chief rival. The course (re)written over the Australian summer has included a section on OpenOffice along with discussion of MS-Office and I thought that to be fair iWorks should also be included.
Secondly as someone moving into electronic publishing, I thought that a high quality desktop machine should work alongside my trusty Acer laptop (on which this is being composed – more about that later). The plan was first an iMac then an iPad (so I could test out our e-books) and then when it came to replacing my laptop, maybe (just maybe) and then a Macbook pro. Those plans are now being rethought.
I had been warned by others that the Apple was not as reliable as the advertising makes out but I dismissed them.
So on Monday 24 January I took the plunge and purchased my new computer together with the AppleCare support package; took it home and set it up in my office. I felt so proud.
I went through the registration process and downloaded Pages and Numbers to begin with – two applications from the iWorks suite and those immediately needed. Curiously, it is much cheaper to download from the Apple online Store than it is to purchase over the counter. Around $150 for the boxed set but less than $75 for the downloaded versions.
Sadly, almost immediately my computer started to hang despite its one terabyte of memory and less than 1GB used on the system. Probably during the first week I was having to do a cold reboot around five times a day. I put it down to my own inexperience and drove to my local library for a copy of the Visual Quickstart Reference Guide MAC OS X 10.6 SNOW LEAPARD. Now I was properly armed.
Last Sunday it died. Nothing I could do would revive it. No worries, I had AppleCare support. I rang them first thing Monday morning. A pleasant young American gentleman (or so he sounded) took my call. No he was not in the States but working in a Brisbane call centre. He walked me through a number of steps but nothing would revive my machine. The only option was to take it into the Apple Store in Robina Town Centre and the service representative booked me in for 4:20 that afternoon.
I had to wait a while. That store is always packed with people but eventually I was attended to by a pleasant young lady who hooked up my computer and ran some magic diagnostics which showed I had a corrupted disk drive. No it was not my fault; it seemed to be a not unusual problem (that at least is the inference I got and putting it politely). It needed a hard disk replacement. None in stock, had to be ordered. I left the computer in their capable hands.
Tuesday, back at the store and I was told that the new drive was expected Wednesday. It did not arrive Wednesday and they were not sure when. In the meantime I was becoming ever more frantic at the mountain of work in front of me and my inability to complete it. Then I was told that as the computer was less than 14 days old I was entitled to replacement and that this might be my best option.
I walked back to the store from which I purchased my machine to ask them about a replacement. At first, they tried to fob me off by saying it was Apple’s problem but eventually they acknowledged that, yes, I was entitled to a replacement. Problem here was that they had none in stock but a shipment was expected Thursday.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was spent at Robina Mall shuffling between JB Hi Fi and the Apple Store. I know how much time I spent there by the number of free coffees I earned at the Shingle Inn. By Thursday evening I thought all was well. The Apple Store had backed up what little data I had (no mean feat as it turned out and I thank them for their perseverance), my mortally wounded machine was returned to JB Hi Fi (I am told that returns are stripped down for their parts or refurbished and sold as such) and I left with my new replacement computer.
It had been a harrowing few days but my trials were over (or so I thought). Rather than set up on Thursday evening I decided to open a bottle of Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz, my stress buster since university days (I am an Adelaide boy). Friday morning I set up my new machine and was ready again to face the world. All I had to do was re-register my replacement machine and redownload the software. I had enquired about both these concerns of mine in the store and was told – in true Aussie fashion “no worries” – I was entitled to redownload purchased applications and all I had to do was call AppleCare and inform them of my new serial number.
Wrong on both counts. The Apple Store wants me to pay again for downloads and AppleCare is refusing to register my new machine without a load of paper that I don’t have. I have not quite given up on Apple but I may well do so! My patience is exhausted. I cannot get back to work. For a paltry $300 that could be fixed by anyone with half a brain, I am now seriously considering an action before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. After all, if I am having these problems my bet is that others are as well.
I have nothing but praise for those that man the customer interface; they make the customer experience very worthwhile. But sheltering behind them are other Apple staff who seem to do their best to piss customers off.
In fairness, I am about to go back again this morning to the Apple Store, put on my smile and try to get this resolved. But I am not putting up with further obfuscation. If it is not solved over the weekend amicably, it can be resolved by the courts.
Anyone else out there with similar problems?
I will report on the outcome one way or another.