Please, Buy Apple Care…and Some Thoughts on Apple Retail in New York
Every time you buy a new Apple product, you are faced with an unavoidable question. Do you spend a few extra bucks to get Apple Care? This past weekend, I got caught up in a rain storm with my backpack. My iPad and my laptop were both inside my bag. When I returned to my apartment, I discovered that my bag had filled up with water and that both my iPad and MacBook were destroyed. I was devastated but still, I remained calm. I quickly attempted to dry my devices, powered them down, and made an appointment at my local Apple Store. When I arrived at the Genius Bar, I discovered that the MacBook’s warranty was not current and therefore I would have to either pay to repair or replace the notebook. But then he entered my iPad Pro’s serial number and it turns out that I had purchased Apple Care when I got my iPad Pro over a year ago. It only cost $49 to replace the iPad Pro with the exact same model. Had I not purchased Apple Care, it would have cost $599 to replace the iPad. Apple Care + for iPad is only $99. So down the road, if you damage your device, you save hundreds of dollars. Sure, it may seem like an excess expense when buying an already pricey product, but it definitely pays off in the long term. I like most people, have not purchased Apple Care for my more recent devices. For products like the Apple Watch Series 2 and the iPhone 7, I would argue it is less necessary since they are both water proof or resistant. When you buy an iPad Pro or a Mac you should without any reservation add Apple Care to your purchase. It sure as hell saved my butt.
I’d also like to add a second experience that I had at the Genius Bar this weekend. My AirPods started acting up and ultimately stopped working correctly. I took them to my local Apple Store and after they checked them they replaced the left AirPod and the case for no charge. The cost to replace each one of those components was $69 a piece. I’m not sure if it was luck, the fact that AirPods are still relatively new, or that they just like me because I go to the store practically every single day. They may also have felt bad because I had just been there for a much more expensive product.
The Apple Store continues to provide the best retail experience in the world. My local store is especially great. The team is fantastic and friendly. One store however is particularly bad and that is the Fifth Avenue store. Apple’s flagship has become increasingly careless in its hiring and training process. I have never criticized Apple like this before, but I have had several bad experiences in the store on Fifth Avenue over the past year from rude employees to incompetent ones. Fifth Ave is arguably the most important store in the world, so the lack of attention to detail is very disappointing. Just for a few examples: an employee was unaware of the photo face on Apple Watch, another was unable to easily tell a customer if their iPad fit the cover they were looking at (when they even had their iPad right in their hand and it says even within the Apple Store app that it’s compatible), employees have been unaware of products that they were selling, and others have just been short with me. The Apple Store is supposed to provide the highest quality of service and every employee should be skilled with Apple products and know just about everything they possibly can. I plead with the Apple Retail team to look into reforming their Fifth Avenue team, training, and hiring process before they open the new store in October next year.
I love Apple more than anyone can possibly understand and it is very difficult to write badly about them. I would never speak a negative word about the company if it were not true. This however is a problem that I have noticed and would like to see rectified. Every other store in Manhattan provides great service, so it appears to be isolated at Fifth Avenue. The best service in Manhattan is undoubtedly at the SoHo store, the Upper East Side store, and the Upper West Side store.
As a disclaimer, I would like to add that I have submitted feedback online to Apple about the Fifth Avenue store. This isn’t just a rant to hurt Apple’s reputation, it is 110% intended to be constructive.