Apple's tech support is a real clusterfuck. What is amazing to me is that I know how bad their tech support is yet their products have been so much better than the competition's that I keep buying Apple devices. Yesterday I was at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store in Tukwila to report a problem with my video iPod. For some reason, my iPod no longer plays sound out of the right side of any headphones plugged into it.

Before complaining about the experience, I should probably point out the one positive thing about the experience was that I could make an appointment online instead of waiting around in the store for a "genius" to become available. I got there a little early and got to marvel at the all-in-one design of the iMacs which blew my mind as someone who spends all his time on Dell PCs and laptops. Now that I can run Windows on a Mac, I may end up buying one of these the next time I have to buy a computer. 

Anyway, back to my tech support woes. When my turn came up, I told the "genius" my problem and he gave me two options.

  1. I can get a used refurbished iPod as a replacement from Apple which would either cost me $200 or $0 (if mine was still under warranty)
  2. I could go online and try an iPod repair sites like iPodResQ which aren't affiliated with Apple at all.

Since my iPod was no longer under warranty and I didn't feel like paying $200 for a used iPod, I decided to go with iPodResQ . While the iPod "genius" was helping me I noticed that the Mac "genius" was also answering some questions from a customer about Apple Boot Camp. The Mac "genius" told the customer to go to Google and search for "Apple Boot Camp" to get information about it.

At this point it seemed to me that Apple Inc. can save itself a lot of money and its customers a lot of time by replacing its Genius Bars with the following FAQ

Q: I have a question about ...
A: Go to Google and type your question.

Q: I have a problem with my iPod
A: Go to iPodResQ

Q: I have a problem with my iMac/Mac Pro/Mac Mini/MacBook
A: Go to MacResQ

It's really a sad testament to the PC industry that despite these negative tech support experiences with Apple products I'd still get a 20-inch iMac in a heartbeat.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5:29:46 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
the genius said go to google and search for bootcamp because in the terms and conditions for bootcamp it states that it is still in beta and that support is not provided until official release. they are not able to direct any specific questions or technical issues with bootcamp because it is in fact beta software and should be used with caution and are not trained on how to work with bootcamp issues because its still underdevelopment. but some people like to jump to conclusions and make assumptions about people. oh wait no excuse me companies, by one persons seemingly erratic response to a question. and as far as $200 for a used ipod? i dont know where these facts are but you could of gotten a OWB (out of warranty battery replacement) regardless if your battery is dead or not they will replace any generation ipod for $59 + tax. I got my 3rd gen ipod replaced because I a) didnt have the cash for a new 5g 30gb video ipod and b) didnt want to leave my beloved 3gen design behind.

so get the facts straight. oh and your rants always suck.
horatio humberpan
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 6:12:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I have had a much better experience with the beta Bootcamp than the released Parallels workstation as a way to host Vista on a Mac Mini.

I also hate dealing with Apple because of their arrogance (which rivals the 1960s GM, the 1980s IBM or the 1990s Microsoft), but as Dare points out their hardware is so much better designed than the competition that the hassle is more or less worthwhile. But they must be pushing the limits of even their fanboys' tolerance with this planned obsolescence thing.

At GM the beginning of the end was when the stylists took over, the finance people insisted on planned obsolescence to make sales, and the engineering lost whatever edge it had. Who will do to Apple what Toyota / Honda / etc. did to Detroit?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 8:52:38 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I can understand that frustration, but just to relate my personal experience. I got a new MacBook, and after 5 months the battery stopped working - you could charge it for hours without it getting any power...

So i call TechSupport, and they work me through all the hoops. I understand that, it's part of their job. At the end, they are sending me a new battery, and I am supposed to send the old one back (envelope and postage provided).

The new battery arrived early next morning.

So while I am not happy that the thing broke in the first place, that warranty service at least, was very good.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 1:16:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I second the Boot Camp issue. It's beta software, which Apple explicitly does not support. Does not support = not allowed to spend time helping you with.

Regarding your iPod issue, if the iPod is out of warranty, what resolution were you expecting? How many manufacturers would offer you a (probably cheaper) third-party repair option?

Other than Boot Camp, do you have some other example of blow-offs for Mac support?

Isn't it natural that there is some kind of limit on support? I've been in customer service (not as a Mac Genius, though). It's always rough when customers expect you to be an expert on not only every aspect of every product your company ever made, but also any product they might want to use with it.

It's easy to mock the underpaid masses of the corporate giant. Remember, Apple has won Consumer Reports best tech support awards for the last 5 years running. You can decide for yourself whether that means that Apple is better, or everyone else is just worse.

Anyway, you're entitled to your opinion, but just consider that a rant isn't any kind of reasoned or balanced way of expressing it.
A. Nonny Mouse
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 1:53:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
The point re Bootcamp has been made in previous comments.

I've had nothing but good experiences with either the Genius bar or the phone support over the four years of being an Apple customer. If a device is under warranty you expect to get things fixed - I see no issue with this. I'm unsure why the offer of a refurbished iPod for one that has broken and is not under warranty causes you such anguish.

As a technical person one thing I recently appreciated with the genius bar tech support was that once they realise they're talking with someone who's already done his own diagnostics to an extent, they establish rapport and immediately skip over the inane preliminary tests and skip to where I'm at with it - made for a wholy satisfying experience.

Hardware fails for us all at some time - no point getting upset.
Edward Deards
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 9:54:44 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I have had pretty good experiences with Apple's tech support. When I called them about a way-out-of-warranty Airport Base Station, for example, they replaced it, no charge. [1] Apple's support is certainly not perfect, but it is noticeably better than just about everybody else's in the tech industry that I have dealt with. And I'm not the only person to notice the difference: Apple consistently tops Consumer Report's periodic tech-support ratings.

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