Why I didn't buy AppleCare

Posted on Thu 14 September 2017 in Articles • 3 min read

Last Monday (11th of September) my MacBook Air's 1-year warrant expired. I had a choice. I could either buy AppleCare to extend it another two years or I could let it lapse. I decided to let it lapse in part after learning that the cost to extend it was $300 AUD; my wife whose warranty is up in late October has decided to do the same.

It's not just about the money -- although paying the same AppleCare cost for the MacBook Air1 ($1500) as the 13 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar ($2700) does seem a little unfair.

The decision came down to a calculated risk that I won't need a repair in the next two years. The MacBook Air is a very reliable machine, thanks to Apple's iteration of the design and manufacturing process over many years. Also, I rarely take it out of the house and mostly use it docked to a keyboard, mouse and monitor in my study or when I want to write in bed or the living room.

Mostly though, it's because of my changing needs and preferences as a computer user. I've realised in the last few days that not only can the iPad accomplish 90% of my needs, but there are times when I prefer to use it. If my MacBook Air does die in the next two years my replacement strategy will be to shift to the iPad rather than buy a new portable Mac.

Heresy! Hipster! You can't work on an iPad!

I reckon that ship has long-since sailed and this post is not about whether you or anyone could or should. This is about me.

In last few months, I've made a conscious decision to write more and I've felt much better for it. I've been more productive and creative because I've tried to free myself from messing with computers just for the sake of it. Where I've coded, it's been to solve a problem and typically when I do so, I've been offloading and automating tasks on a remote server rather than bogging down my local devices2.

At the same time, that does not mean I can live without macOS. There are times when I'll need Scrivener's full power for example. However, it's not something I need a dedicated, personal Mac to do. For a while, my wife and I have been thinking of getting a family computer. It would provide the kids with something to use for school. It will act as an iTunes server for our Apple TV. It will provide my wife and I with a full desktop for the occasions when we need one. In all likelihood, we'll choose a 5K iMac to give us a nice big workstation -- plenty of screen, plenty of storage, plenty of power.

Apple's current laptop line, with its increased emphasis on reductionism, has less appeal to me each year. USB-C is nascent. The butterfly-mechanism keyboards are unpleasant to use and prone to failure. Thinner laptops mean more compromises, making them less appealing as a general purpose workstation.

Perhaps the shared iMac workstation and person mobile iPad is the better solution? Food for thought.

  1. The MacBook Air I have is the 2015 model, containing parts that are much cheaper and easier to fix than the current generation products. 

  2. One reason for this is my Mac mini, which I use as a home server is dying. 

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