Apple products are immensely popular with people.

And with me too.

You can't help but admire what Steve Jobs did with Apple the first time he built it.

Even better the second time when he was brought back and he re-invented it.

The products are great and easy for people to use.

I've had an iPhone for quite awhile and I moved to a MacBook Air in June 2013.

It's the best computer I have ever had.

  • Super easy to use
  • Very fast
  • Great design
  • Long battery life
  • Weighs just less than 3 lbs
  • Terrific telephone support

There's a lot of fun and useful things about the MacBook Air.

In June this year I had a problem with my MacBook.

The left speaker crackled intermittently. Which is not something you expect from an Apple product.

So I called AppleCare for help and they are almost always very good over the phone. The Apple tech agent walked me through the computer to do a reset and a computer share which didn't resolve the speaker problem.

AppleCare made an Apple Store appointment for me for the next day.

At the Apple Store it's an onslaught of hip Apple employees all dressed in official Apple tee-shirts with a super cool and relaxed demeanor.

After you get handed off to 3 very nicely trained people who can't help you then wait for the on-site tech who can.

Anyone who has been to the Apple Store knows it's loud. The decibel level has to be very high.

So I have a crackling speaker problem on a MacBook Air and the technician needs to hear it. Very lucky for me he does and they don't think I am imagining the problem.

That was good news.

The bad news was that they needed my MacBook for 3 days once the replacement speakers came in to the store. This meant I needed schlep back up to the Apple Store which is a 62 miles roundtrip and about one and 45 minutes of driving time if you catch a traffic break on I95. So my one trip to get my MacBook speakers up to speed would take 3 separate trips.

It was under warranty and Apple techs confirmed that there was a speaker crackling problem.

I followed the Apple servicing process and they fixed my MacBook Air's speakers. We tested it at the Apple Store and everything was as it should be.

Or so we thought.

Mid-September the same thing happens all over again. Speaker crackling and I call Apple Support. We run through their diagnostic process and reset. That fails. We schedule a visit to the Genius's at the Apple Store and I schlep up their once again. Where the Apple Genius wants to replace the speakers again and go through the MacBook to see if there is another problem.

They order new parts. And I go through the 3 trip drop off and retrieve Apple Process once again.

Not 4 weeks later speaker is crackling again.

I do the Apple Care telephone support and Genius Bar scheduling dance where I asked that a manager meet with me. I get to the Apple Store and go through the phalanx of Apple Tee-shirted people who can't help me and after waiting I meet with Helen the manager.

I explained to Helen that this now the 3rd time for my MacBook Air's speakers to fail. And I said that as good as the Apple Geniuses are they can't get my MacBook right and that it was a waste of my time to keep trudging back and forth to the Apple Store. Was it time for Helen to replace my MacBook Air with a new machine that fully functioned?

Helen convinces me to let her send the MacBook out to Apple's service center for better diagnostics and to a place that would have any part my computer would need. I agreed to it.

5 days go by and I receive my notification that the repairs were done.

This time Apple replaced the speakers (the 3rd time) and in addition a new Logic Board.

It didn't take but a few days and the speakers started to crackle again.

So I make the appointment and go to the store. I ask for Helen and I get Eileen. I tell Eileen the speaker story and she gets a Genius.

Let me take a break and tell you some of my observations of the Apple Store and the Apple Way. When things are easy to fix or user error the Apple Way works. And if you're buying something they have that down to perfection.

Apple team members have no last names and you can't tell a manager from a janitor since they all wear the very same hip Apple Tee-shirt. My thinking is you should not trust a company whose employees have no names. Apple has a reason for this and it's not to help you.

The Apple Way is designed to control you.

The hand off from employee to employee and queueing to wait for the Genius or manager.

The assault on your hearing with the noise levels and super bright lights.

The presence of uniformed and armed police.

The Stepford Wives trained all too nice staff.

Eileen and the Genius can't get the speaker to crackle and hear the noise. I suggest to Eileen that it is time to replace the MacBook. She wants the Genius tech to look it over.

The Genius complete's his inspection and another hip Apple employee tells me my options. Well there was only one option. Get a 4th set of speakers. To which I object ( the Apple hipsters do not like objections) and am told that maybe there really isn't a speaker problem.

Now I have been more than reasonable about a product that I love. But my Apple hipster has gone too far and I step it up a notch and she does not like it. She feigns a righteous indignation and runs off to get Eileen since she refuses to deal with me any longer if I am going to be difficult.

Eileen and I recap my MacBook speaker adventure and she now thinks it's a good idea to replace my MacBook right then and there. So back to the Genius Bar to set up the new MacBook and move my data.

So I won. I beat Apple. Just barely.

They were never going to offer a replacement Macbook. And they will make you earn it. The Apple Way is designed to suit Apple it's not about you.

After over 30 hours of my time and having driven 700 miles on this problem I am back to where I started with the exact same computer I originally bought.

If you haven't tried a MacBook Air I recommend it.

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