Pros: Fast service, excellent phone support, product carryover, educational discount, flexible coverage
Cons: Costly for laptops
Applecare is an extended warranty service offered by Apple computers. Since Apple sells direct to the consumer or only through authorized retailers, this is the most recommended way to extend service and coverage for Apple products. Currently Applecare is available for all Apple desktops, laptops, and iPods. Accessories and peripherals bought with a computer can also be placed under Applecare. So what exactly does Applecare provide?
3 years of phone support: the standard warranty with Apple products only has 90 days of phone support, which is rather thin. Otherwise it must be physically brought into an authorized Apple retailer or repair center. Still, it is by far the leader in telephone support for computer companies. Unlike Dell and HP, which have outsourced their operators, Applecare technicians are still based in the US and are fully able to assist in English - as well as other languages with full fluency.
3 years of full hardware coverage: beware, as some manufacturers only cover the logic board and main motherboard when it comes to extended warranties, and doesn't extend support to RAM, ethernet cards, videocards, or hard drives. This is because many manufacturers actually don't build their own parts, they assemble the computer from parts they buy wholesale from other companies. Applecare covers everything that came with the computer, even the mouse and keyboard. You can also extend Applecare to cover peripherals that are used with a computer, such as their Cinema Displays and their Airport Wireless Base Station.
[b]How repairs and replacements work[/b]
Repairs have an astonishingly high turnaround time; most products are serviced and returned within 2 weeks. They have an upper limit of 90 days, which is usually reserved for older products that are more difficult to service as replacement parts are rare. However, in this case, most products are simply replaced by Apple with a comparable model. In this case, the consumer can only benefit because Apple constantly updates its product line, you'll always be getting a brand-new product that's top of the line, just as when you bought it. Applecare doesn't just insure your computer, it insures your investment in that computer.
When it comes to replacement, this is the smartest decision a consumer could make. Unlike many extended warranties offered by companies like Best Buy, Circuit City, and even Dell, if your product should be fully replaced with a brand-new model, your previously purchased extended warranty does not carry over to your new product. Instead you are left with the 1 year manufacturer's warranty. Applecare replacements always carry the previously purchased warranty. Your product can be replaced and repaired as many times as necessary to deliver a fully working product.
Lastly, remember that as with most Apple products, you can obtain an educational discount for Applecare service. It usually ranges about 15% for most products.
If you're considering an Apple hardware purchase, then Applecare is a must.