Yes, my wife and I paid more for our Apple computers (MacBook Pro and an iMac) than a PC would have cost.
Dream on, PC users, about what I experienced this morning when I made a call to figure out a couple of problems with my wife's new iMac.
Within a few rings the 800 number was answered. OK, not by a real person. However, the automated voice recognition system was snazzy, crisp, and clear.
I was asked a few questions about my problems, the most vexing of which was an inability to sync iTunes on the iMac with Laurel's iPhone. So I started with that. In less than a minute I was transferred to an iTunes specialist via the automated system.
Who wasn't in India, though a few years ago Apple considered opening a tech support center there and (thankfully) dropped the idea. Here's a Business Week factoid:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has long had a thing for India. After working at game developer Atari in the mid-'70s, Jobs took a break and backpacked around the subcontinent in search of spiritual enlightenment. Upon his return to the U.S., his more capitalistic instincts took over, and he and Steve Wozniak launched Apple.
Anyway, I digress.
The AppleCare woman listened patiently to my tale of repeatedly connecting the iPhone to the iMac and finding no sync'ability.
We'd put an audiobook and Sade album into the hitherto virginal iTunes on the new iMac, but they weren't being smoothly copied to Laurel's iPhone, as has always happened when I connect my own iPhone to my MacBook.
She had me click away on various attempted cures. Then asked, "Has the iPhone been sync'ed with another computer?" "Yes," I said, "my wife's previous PC laptop."
Now, you'd think that iTunes would pop up a helpful message if it discovered that an iPhone user had been playing around with a different computer, so wasn't in the mood to get sync'y intimate.
This shows that Apple software isn't perfect, just as PC software isn't.
But as some friends and I were discussing at a coffee house today, here's the difference: an Apple problem can be frustrating, but usually is resolved quickly due to the company's great tech support and service programs. A PC problem, though, can ruin your days for a long time.
Is third-party software the culprit? Your hardware? Operating system? With Apple almost always it doesn't matter, since everything is so highly integrated.
I learned from the iTunes specialist that the iPhone wouldn't sync because it is monogamous and needed a divorce from the PC before it'd hook up with the Mac. So she showed me how to back up the iPhone's contents, then give the go-ahead to iTunes to "marry" Laurel's iPhone with the iMac.
On to the next problem: the iMac kept demanding an administrative password after a restart even though I'd selected "Automatic log in." I got transferred to an operating system specialist for this question.
After checking the settings that I already knew were correct, she made me feel really special. "This is amazing," she said. "I've never seen a log in request when automatic has been selected."
Oh, great, I thought. The one and only time an Apple computer has played this trick, and we happen to own it. What now?
Well, an impressive response. I told the OS specialist that this problem wasn't a huge deal, since we won't be turning the computer off very often. Restarts mostly are needed after certain software upgrades.
But she was the one who wouldn't let it go.
"No," she told me. "I want to figure this out. I'll talk to some other people here and get back to you." I suspect she will. Haven't heard from her yet, but it's been less than a day.
With both of the Apple tech support staff, I felt that I was talking to someone who was unrushed, competent, and genuinely committed to helping solve the problems with my wife's computer.
Believe me, I've talked to a lot of tech support people in my almost thirty years of personal computing. Few, if any, have been as pleasant to deal with as the folks who work for Apple.