Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why We Buy from Apple

MacBook Pro vs MacBook
MacBook Pro with Yellow Lab screen saver
Last Sunday, a day before Apple's WWDC, we purchased a 13" MacBook Pro from the Mall at Millenia Apple store to replace her dying four-year-old white MacBook. Before we put money down we asked the salesperson if we could return the MacBook if another version came out the following day that was better than what we purchased. The answer was 'yes' as long as we made any returns or swaps within 14 days after purchase. So we made our purchase, transferred the account via Time Machine from the older MacBook to the newer Pro, made some minor tweaks to the Pro, and for the next week my wife was a happy MacBook Pro user.

Sure enough, less than 24 hours later on the west coast, Apple introduced upgrades to the MacBook Pros, including the base 13" model. We waited until today to head back to the Apple store to attempt an exchange. Before we left for the Apple store I made another Time Machine backup of the new Pro, to make sure I had the absolute latest backup.

When we got to the store in the early afternoon the place was packed. I was already concerned that we might not be able to exchange my wife's Pro, or that if we did they'd charge us a restocking fee, or that there might not be any of the new Pros for us to exchange with. Like I said, the place was packed. But we had nothing to fear. They Apple staff were very courteous and immediately set about performing the exchange. They tried to transfer the account between the two Pros using a Thunderbolt cable, but in the end they used the Time Machine copy I'd made from the drive I brought with us. They checked everything out, made sure it was all working, and we were soon on our way back home.

There were three technical reasons I wanted to get this latest MacBook Pro:
  1. A 2.5GHz dual-core Ivy Bridge i5 vs the older Pro's 2.4 GHz dual-core Sandy Bridge i5
  2. Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU vs the older Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU
  3. USB 3.0 vs the older USB 2.0
I wanted the best that Apple had to offer as close to the laptop's release date in order to make the machine as "future proof" as possible, especially if we're going to keep the notebook for another four years. That, of course, will be interesting, as the MacBook Pro that my wife now has has a sealed-in battery. It's not as locked down as the Retina MacBook Pro, but it's moving down that path. We never had battery problems with the older white MacBook, and I am making the assumption that the battery technology has advanced enough that we won't need a new battery for the MacBook Pro either.

While we've barely had the new new MacBook Pro six hours, I've had enough time to lay my hands on it and I've noticed that this version is even faster and smoother than the first MacBook Pro, which was considerably faster and smoother than the white MacBook. My wife also noticed the difference. I attribute the biggest speedup to the GPU. According to what I've read the 4000 is anywhere from 25% to 80% faster than the 3000, which boils down to a general noticeable speedup in graphic intensive applications. And since Mac OS X is all about graphics, it shows up throughout the general operation of the system.

In all the years we've been buying Macs through the Apple store we've never had any bad experiences whatsoever. I can't say we've had the same stellar experience in other big-box stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City (when it was in business), Target and especially Walmart (which sells iPods, iPhones, and iPads). If you're a hard-core geek then I suppose that Apple charges too much to support these kinds of services you feel you can do yourself, but for the rest of the general population the positive Apple store experience goes to reinforce the overall Apple product mystique. A premium product demands premium customer service and that's what Apple provides in spades. I hope Apple keeps the Apple stores up to as high a level of quality customer service as possible, because if customer service ever slips then it will have an adverse impact on Apple's ability to sell through those stores.

1 comment:

  1. I also just read on the Apple site about the new Mountain Lion OS that comes out in July. I think if you made the purchase after the 11th of June, you can request a free upgrade when they release it. 30 days after the purchase date to tell them, then another 30 days after they release it. That's if you're interested in it.

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