2011 MacBook Pro upgrade

I’ve written before about customer service at the Apple Store here in Austin. Here’s another experience worth sharing.

On Jan. 22 I bought a 13″ 2010 MacBook Pro at The Domain. Earlier this week, the new MacBook Pro models were announced. I was impressed enought with the new models — especially the Thunderbolt i/o and i5 processor contained in the 13″ model — to take a chance and call the Apple Store about an exchange.

Without any hesitation, they agreed to exchange my 2010 Pro for the newer 2011 model. No questions, no fees, just an even swap. I was out of the store in 10 minutes, which was an added bonus as I’m currently fighting a virus.

The new machine is a nice step up for the MacBook Pro line. Big thanks to the managers and staff at The Domain’s Apple Store for always being of assistance.


Enough with The Beatles – today’s real news is on the iPhone

Apple’s announcement today that it added The Beatles to the iTunes Store overshadows two news items of much greater importance to iPhone and iPod Touch users.

The first is that Google Voice finally squeaked its way through the App Store’s approval process. U.S. users with a Google account now have better mailbox and voicemail functionality than before, with free text messaging, voicemail transcription, call screening and call blocking. The service also offers cheap international calls. Google has tussled with Apple in the past about the Google Voice app, just one battle in an already contentious relationship between the two companies.

Second, an update from Twitter late today now allows push notifications. @ mentions from people you follow now push as a notification to iPhone and iPod Touch users, making Twitter a much more real-time conversation tool.

Posterous gets a full feature iPhone app

Posterous, the service that lets you blog from your email client and syndicate your stuff to services like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, just released a pretty sweet iPhone app. Sure, Posterous has had its photo app in the iTunes Store for some time, but I found it a bit clunky.

The new Posterous app lets you post text, images, video and control geotagging and autoposting services directly from your iPhone.

iPhone repair at the Apple Store in Austin

iPhone 3GI love my 3G iPhone. I got it on Christmas back in 2008, and it was one of the most exciting gifts I ever received. I had wanted one for some time, but we were locked into a contract with Sprint. The hassle of getting out of the contract seemed too great to bother. But Lauren worked her wonder and got us out of the contract on a technicality.

I’ve carried the iPhone with me every day since.

For that reason it was troubling when, two months after my Apple warranty expired the ear speaker on the phone started failing. This morning it went totally kaput. So this afternoon we swung by the Apple Store at The Domain and made an appointment to see an Apple Genius.

After waiting for a little over an hour we met with an extremely friendly genius who, it should be noted, was a very dedicated baseball fan who was excited to see my phone’s MLB wallpaper. Like all decent people, she was a Cubs fan. We spent a few minutes swapping stories about the great bratwursts we’ve experienced at Wrigley Field over the last 20 or so years, then got down to business.

I explained the problem and  she left to a room in the back to disassemble the phone. After about 10 minutes, she returned and told me that the internal wires of the device seemed Ok, but that she could tell there was damage to the speaker. She said because of that, and the fact that I had a two inch crack in the back casing of the phone, I should consider replacing it. I grimaced, certain that I was going to have to pony up $200 to $300 for a refurbished replacement phone since I was out of warranty.  Then she spoke the magic words:

“I think we’re going to be replacing this for free.”

After 10 more minutes and two signatures on a piece of paper I walked out of the Apple Store with a shiny new phone and a new 90-day warranty.

That’s service with a smile. Kudos to the Apple team at The Domain.