Dramatis Personae: TINO, NICOLE, and a GENIUS.
An Apple Store. TINO and NICOLE approach the GENIUS, behind some kind of bar. TINO is carrying a laptop computer in one hand and a battery for same in the other. The GENIUS is — I am not kidding — wearing a neckbeard and a black fedora that’s a little too small for him.
TINO: Hello, my good man, this battery is defective: look how it’s bulging!
GENIUS looks at the battery and then starts typing away, entering the computer’s serial number into another, functional computer.
GENIUS: Ah, here’s your problem, there. This battery, it’s out of warranty. It’s over a year old. You’ll need to buy a new one.
TINO: When was it sold?
GENIUS: Yeah, well, it was sold in November of 2008, that was. The warranty on the computer is for three years, but the warranty on the battery is only for a year. It’s pining for the fjords. It’s nineteen months old. Now, if you’d bought AppleCare…
TINO: I don’t buy AppleCare because extended warranties are a sucker bet, and I buy a new computer every three years anyway. And this battery isn’t worn out from use; it has failed because of a manufacturing defect. It won’t even fit in the computer because it’s so bulgy.
GENIUS: It’s designed to do that!
TINO: It’s not designed to fail.
GENIUS: No, it’s designed to bulge like that to prevent a fire! Beautiful plumage!
TINO: Be that as it may, it’s nevertheless an ex-battery, and it’s an ex-battery because of a manufacturing defect.
GENIUS: You must have overcharged it!
TINO: I don’t think so, and in any case part of the reason the thing costs $129 is because of all the fancy circuitry in it to prevent overcharging, premature battery failure, and the ignition of fires. If it’s been overcharged, that’s still because the battery is defective.
GENIUS: It’s just resting!
TINO: It’s not bleeding resting!
TINO leaves, because he fears that if he doesn’t, his next action will be to leap across the genius bar and beat GENIUS around the head and neck with an iPad.
TINO sits on a bench in the mall and reads RSS feeds.
Something happens inside the store. Five minutes pass. NICOLE comes out of the Apple Store carrying her laptop bag, saying that they replaced the battery under warranty.
In short, Apple replaced the battery under warranty. They did not specifically need to do this; since batteries are wearing parts, they’re only warranted for a year. But there’s a big difference between a battery that’s failed because of use, and a battery that’s failed because of a defect. Apple has had a lot of problems with defective batteries.
In this case, there was a way for the GENIUS to replace the battery on Apple’s dime. Possibly an unpublicized extended warranty on these batteries, because they’re known for high rates of failure.
But he didn’t do that right away. Things could have gone like this:
TINO: Here’s a failed battery, my good man!
GENIUS: You know, this thing is technically out of warranty, but I’m going to replace it anyway, because it’s defective and because Apple isn’t about trying to nickel-and-dime you to death!
TINO: Bully! Apple always has your back! Quality and Service, that’s the thing!
Note that the end result of this — us getting a battery — would have been exactly the same. But the way things actually unfolded, Apple spent the money replacing that battery while making us feel like they were our adversaries. Had the guy replaced the battery without first telling us to buy a new one, and without first telling us that this was our fault, he could have made us see Apple as an ally. Instead, this guy’s approach resulted in the situation being one of Tino & Nicole vs. Apple and their dodgy OEMs.