By Matt@smalldog.com (posted by Ed, written by Matt@Smalldog.com)

Whenever Apple releases a new product, like the AppleTV, predicted ship dates are rarely an accurate predictor of actual ship dates. The AppleTV didn’t meet its ship date, the original iMac didn’t, the 15” Aluminum PowerBook was introduced months after the 12” and 17” models. Here’s hoping the iPhone comes out on schedule.

What many people fail to realize is that Apple sometimes has trouble getting parts to its service providers. Some Small Dog customers with eMacs in for repair had to wait over a month for replacement logic boards under the eMac repair extension program. A month! We’re seeing our fair share of failed MacBook batteries, and they’re significantly back ordered right now. I have two 17” 1GHz PowerBooks that have been waiting six weeks or more for new logic boards. A customer cancelled his order after waiting 7 weeks for an iBook G4 battery.

MacBook batteries I can understand: with tens of millions of laptop batteries recalled last year, a worldwide shortage is almost expected. But for computers covered by a repair extension program it’s downright crazy for customers to wait so long. The 17” PowerBooks are not under warranty, were mailed into Apple under their flat-fee mail-in repair program (NOTE: the 17” PowerBooks currently on sale at smalldog.com are the very last-generation 1.67 models, with dual layer SuperDrives). Thankfully, eMac logic boards are back in stock now and repair turnaround for those machines rarely exceeds three business days.

To Apple’s credit, they are not the actual manufacturer of the parts in question. Logic boards, batteries, cables, LCDs… essentially, the manufacture of all components and assembly of Apple computers is outsourced to companies in Asia. When these parts break, Apple sends them back to the manufacturers for repair, and eventual installation into needy computers back all over the world. When a widespread problem arises, however, with eMac or iMac G5 logic boards, simple supply and demand make expeditious repair and customer satisfaction occasionally impossible to realize.

If you’re having a problem with your computer and are out of warranty, it’s always a good idea to check out Apple’s support site for troubleshooting tips and information on current repair extension programs. The general site is www.apple.com/support information on repair extension programs can be had at http://www.apple.com/support/exchange_repair/.

While we’re on the subject, I’d like to vent about the way these programs work, specifically the way the parts are handled. Right now the two most common problems that fall under repair extension involve logic boards in some eMacs and some iMac G5s. Failures remain statistically uncommon, but the parts used in these repairs are not reengineered, they are simply remanufactured. A few unlucky customers have been in for two or three replacements of the same part in their iMacs. I’m sure a committee in Cupertino sat around a big wooden desk and calculated the cheapest way out, and determined that paying service providers to perform these repairs instead of reengineering parts was the cheapest way out.

Have no fear, I’m not going to buy a Dell. I won’t even install Windows on a personal Intel Mac. And I’m going to buy a new Mac soon since my PowerMac G5 has seen its day. But I wish some situations were handled differently, and I am pretty powerless to change things. Tell Apple how you feel about this and anything else at http://www.apple.com/feedback/

By Matt@smalldog.com (posted by Ed, written by Matt@Smalldog.com)

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