Macs Only: I say we’re even – My recent repair experience with Apple – Part 1

First, I’ll start off with a problem. Last Saturday, my MacBook Air (mid-2012 model) started to fail. Shockingly, it randomly rebooted without my input. Apple includes some basic testing tools with every Mac called Apple Hardware Test. The test indicated a failing hard drive. I MADE SURE I HAD MULTIPLE BACKUPS OF MY DATA (not just one). I didn’t want to bring my computer to the Apple Store prematurely. I erased my hard drive (aka formatting) and then reinstalled the latest Mac OS, version 10.8.2. I did not transfer my data back to the computer. Instead I ran the Apple Hardware Test again. I got the same failure code.

I brought my Mac Book Air to the local Apple Store and the Genius (aka technician) believed that I would need the hard drive replaced. Unfortunately he quoted me a repair time of 3 to 5 days. I was hoping to get this MacBook back on Monday or Tuesday. Subsequent calls to the Apple Store throughout the week were not very encouraging. Staff members told me the did not know when they were getting my part (the hard drive) in. I felt like I was being treated like an infant.

Brief primer on hard drives —- Your hard drive is where your data is stored. This is not RAM or memory, which are only temporary storage locations. For years laptops have had 2.5 inch rotational hard drives. Remember how I always tell you — your hard drive has moving parts? About 5 years ago, Solid State Drives (SSDs) started to hit the market. They were also 2.5 inches but had storage similar to the memory cards you use in your digital cameras. Given that the physical dimensions were the same, it became very easy for one to swap out rotational hard drive with an SSD. I’ve done this for customers; the performance boost is profound! Conveniently manufacturers have been able to offer customers options on hard drives when purchasing, ie. regular hard drive included in the base price and SSD for ___ $ more. It wasn’t a hassle. The hard drives were only different on the inside not on the outside. They fit into the same slot inside the laptop.

Then in 2010, Apple changed things up. They began using a "next generation" SSD in their MacBook Airs and have ever since. Essentially, I am calling this a boutique hard drive. It was designed specifically for Apple. It is not interchangeable with common hard drives on the market. In fact only one company sells aftermarket replacements. They are not cheap!

The availability of this hard drive drastically affected my repair time. ** If you are buying a Mac laptop, please go with the MacBook Pro. It costs the same as the Air ($1199) and is much more serviceable and standardized. **

Please stay tuned for Part 2….. The Resolution !