Dear Friends,

Artie Hendrickson is our most senior employee. He has held just about every position in the company and is currently our senior purchasing manager. We established a tradition when we first hired him where we would hold his annual review on a new (to us) golf course every spring near his anniversary date. We always say that he needs to play well because his golfing skill could have a serious impact on his review and salary. There is a big bonus for a hole-in-one, a moderate increase if his drive hits the fairway and a subtraction from his bonus if he three-putts. We were out doing his review yesterday, and I’ll report the results on Twitter or Facebook!

I seldom buy extended warranties but I want to make the case to you that Apple’s AppleCare is an exception to that rule and an outstanding value. The computer business is a competitive marketplace and it would certainly be nice if manufacturers standardized on longer warranties. However, in the name of cost competitiveness, the standard is a one-year warranty. Macs and iPods are the most reliable computer products manufactured, but they also only have a one-year warranty. Adding AppleCare gives you an extra two years and thus puts your coverage in sync with the reliability of the hardware.

The bonus of AppleCare for Macs is that it not only extends the one-year hardware warranty to three years, but it also extends Apple’s excellent technical support from an included 90 days to a full three years (after the 90 days you are asked to provide a credit card for help). This is an outstanding value. Almost anything that might fail on your computer in the first three years will cost you more than the cost of AppleCare! Plus, how do you put a price on the convenience of calling Apple directly to receive technical support when you are in the middle of a project and are stuck?

AppleCare is clearly not just an extended warranty; it provides real tools to keep you productive and makes the first three years of your Mac ownership stress-free so you can just use the awesome tool of the Macintosh.

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