I've had a lot of problems with the Apple products I've bought over the last year or so: A dead iPod, a dead Powermac, a 'flaky' iPod Shuffle. Pretty much every Apple product I've bought over the last year or so has had a problem that required me to bring it in for service. And yet, I still love their products. Why? In a word - service!
Apple's customer service has been, without fail, fantastic. Their employees are always friendly. They don't talk down to you. They don't seem annoyed that you are 'bothering' them with your problems. They are very helpful and they do their best to solve your problem with the minimum of impact to you. When my Powermac broke down, it was in service for a week. When I got it back, it worked perfectly and all the data on my hard drive was intact. I lost nothing. If you sent a computer in for service with most companies, they would just give you a new computer and get rid of you. This would mean that you get a new hard drive and you would lose everything on your hard drive. For most people, this can be a disaster. Apple appears to have a standard policy that if you bring in a computer for repair, they will backup all your data for you in the process. A nice move. Later, after getting my Powermac fixed, I discovered that one of its two processors was not functioning. I was essentially running on half the computer I should have been. Apple's customer service promised to order me a new CPU and let me use my Powermac in the meantime, so I wasn't going to be without it. I may have only had one CPU working instead of two, but the machine was working enough to be useable. The fact that they were considerate of my need to have a working computer in the meantime was another nice sign.
A couple of months ago, my 4th generation 40GB iPod died. I brought it in and they replaced it with another one. The one I gave them was nearly a year old and badly scratched up. The one they gave me in replacement was a refurbished one, but you would never be able to tell. It looked brand new! It didn't have any scratches at all. For all intents and purposes, they gave me a brand new iPod! Yes, I had to restore all my music to the new iPod, but it was all in my iTunes library, so with 5 minutes of effort, everything was back. A couple of days ago, my replacement iPod appeared to die as well. Last night I took it in to the Apple store to get replaced, but oddly enough, it decided to work perfectly when I tried to show it to the Apple tech! The battery was very low when I showed it to him, to the point that it wouldn't even come on for more than a couple of seconds. Strange how it refused to work at all when I had a problem with it. Maybe the battery was just so low that it wouldn't turn on. *shrug* It works now.
I've also been having problems with my iPod Shuffle. Ever since I got it, it's had a weird problem where you plug it into the computer and it will be detected. It comes up in iTunes and works fine. After a few minutes, though, it mysteriously dissapears from iTunes even though it is still connected. The computer seems to lose track of it, even though it is still connected. This has been happening increasingly over the last few months. I never brought it in to get serviced because honestly there was no need. The battery life on that little thing is so good, I could listen to it for weeks or months on end without needing to plug it in. The Shuffle is very much a load it and forget it kind of iPod. I mostly use it as a workout iPod. I put on a collection of songs to listen to at the gym, hop on the treadmill, hit shuffle and off I go. I don't have to load things on it very often, so it was never a big issue. I finally decided to get it fixed because with my other iPod seemingly dead and my new Shuffle acting up, I was without music! I took this down to the Apple store and they replaced it without any fuss at all. I took it home, reloaded it, and charged it and now I'm back to full 'power' with my music! Gotta love that!