PCs

Choosing an AppleCare plan is best bet for businesses with Macs

Erik Eckel explains why he thinks springing for the extra cost of Apple's extended warranty on Macs is a good business move.

Some technology questions prove complex and confusing. Whether to add an AppleCare Protection Plan to a new Mac or iPad order isn't. It's a no brainer.

Technical support

Most Mac customers know an AppleCare Protection Plan extends technical support coverage from 90 days to three years. It's hard to escape an Apple store, or complete an online order, without hearing or seeing Apple's plug for its extended support plan.

That's not insignificant. The ability to contact the manufacturer as often as you wish for three years for technical support and assistance is important. Educated, accurate staff can assist business users in answering common configuration issues, overcoming printing problems and troubleshooting frustrating failures. Better yet, AppleCare doesn't just provide technical support for the computer and operating system. The contract also provides telephone support for the iLife and iWork suites of applications. Users who encounter trouble customizing a presentation, editing a video, burning a DVD, modifying financial spreadsheets, and performing other tasks will find qualified assistance just a phone call away for three years.

Additional technical support is included for server users. For example, server administration and network management issues are included for Mac OS X Lion Server customers (note, advanced OS integration and migration questions are better addressed using AppleCare's OS professional support plan).

Hardware protection

But an AppleCare Protection Plan provides significantly more value. The plan also extends the hardware warranty for Apple hardware from the typical one-year of coverage to three years. The protection plan includes global repair coverage for the Mac, both parts and labor. The warranty coverage protects not just the Mac computer with which it is purchased, but accessories and corresponding displays.

Businesses become absolutely dependent upon their computers. When a Mac goes down, business users often need them repaired quickly to enable meeting production deadlines, responding to important email messages and performing other operations. With systems under warranty, Mac users need not even be in the same state (or country) where the Mac was purchased. Because Apple maintains retail and authorized service presences in so many countries, users can take their systems to any of these authorized locations for service, support and repair.

Cost of doing business

When faced with operating expenses, I don't particularly enjoy having to pay (electric bills, fuel charges, accounting fees, etc.), I remind myself those are costs of doing business. AppleCare Protection Plans belong in this category.

Sure, when buying another 13-inch MacBook Pro for $1,199, it'd be nice to forego the $249 surcharge for adding AppleCare to the order. AppleCare costs are even more attractive for iMacs (just $169 for a $1699, 27" model) and Mac Pros ($249 for a $2499 Mac Pro).

But the investment is intelligent. This is especially true for smaller organizations that might need to offload help desk responsibilities and encourage users to contact Apple for support or protect against unanticipated repair costs throughout a computer's anticipated lifecycle.

Does the added expense seem excessive? Just compare those prices to the costs of having to replace a display in a two-and-a-half year-old laptop or iMac.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

2 comments
Gisabun
Gisabun

You mean Apple products break at one point that you need AppleCare? Wow! No bother putting a warranty on any Apple product that has a battery you can't replace. The product's battery will die before the product does.

mjh2901
mjh2901

The Mac Mini has a $99 warranty. If you buy 6 or more for a business it is cheaper to pick up a spare than applecare. Laptops are a no brainer always get applecare. We buy minis on lots of 30 and simply figure into the budget that we will replace dead ones from the money we safe on applecare. So fare we have never had one die in the first 3 years.