The world is flat

2008/03/05

After a year long struggle with Apple, finally, I have my macbook battery replaced.
 
Apple claims the battery lasts 5 hours, 5 hours!! yes, by dimming the lcd, no wifi no bluetooth, no dvd no flash, no usb no sound, only using plain text editors like vi or emacs you have a pretty good chance to reach 5 hours. Being a sensible computer geek, I multiply this number by two-third and I got three hours with minimum usage in the first thirty charges.(using lan cable and reading plain text webs… )
 
I was pretty happy since this is the first laptop I have ever owned and I have no expectation of how long does the battery lasts, we all know that the battery manufacturer always lies. (oh yes, they dun lie, but they test under some non-disclosed environment with minimum system loads and minimum whatsoever….)

Time flies and battery dies. The battery life started depreciating 2 months later. I got 2 hours left. I thought that was usual. At the same time my friends jhk and kd bought a macbook and claimed their battery last long, and sometimes later another friend kane (I persuaded him to get a mac despite of the fact that he was going to do intern in MS) complained the battery sucks. 

I browsed the web and some even complained his macbook battery had never recharged since the first day, and some complained it dies within 100 cycles.

And I realized that not all mac are born free and equal. 
 
Apple offered a battery placement program for macbook and macbook pro in spring 2007 (or winter?) due to the huge amount of complaint about the poor performance of the battery.

So, this is the chance for me! I browsed the web again and see if the plan really works. Some said they got the replacement after a 5 minutes call, and Apple shipped the battery in the next day and they got it replaced!, oh ho, that was so call!! I called the apple support line and expected to get a new battery mailed to me in a week. I told the guy that my battery only last for 2 hours. After checking thousands of different information and the guy asked me to bring it to the local Apple support store (luckily I don’t have photos in my laptop), I asked if the battery will be replaced immediately and the guy said that depends. Hey, so why are you asking for thousands of information before?? why don’t you simply ask me to go to the support center directly? to make sure I actually own a macbook but not a fujitsu?

Then I went to the support center. I pulled out my fully-charged macbook and hoped that process could be done as short as possible. The lady, without even opening the computer, told me the process would take at least ten days. TEN DAYS! I could never imagine how my life will go without computer for 2 days, all my notes all my programs all my papers were stored in this machine. I brought it to work, and I brought it to starbucks and I brought it to my bed (yes, a majority of my blog articles were written in my bed). The lady kindly explained that it takes time for the technicians to check and it takes time to ship the battery. Is it reasonable to take 10 days for that? I can show you my battery dried up in two hours, okok, maybe you want to make sure my battery is completely fully charged, 3 days should be more than enough. Shipping time is another thing that never makes sense, I guess any store selling macbook must also offer additional battery, how come it takes a few days to ship the battery from Wanchai to  Casusewaybay. I thought it was nonsense to leave my macbook for 10days, I took it away.

World is flat? Thomas Friedman gave an example of repairing his laptop. His Toshiba laptop was down. He called the Toshiba hotline and scheduled a UPS pick up. UPS took his laptop and shipped it to a whatever UPS hub that was also an authorized Toshiba repair center, he got his laptop back within a very short time. He used this to illustrate the world is flat thanks to the advanced logistic network. I am sorry, in this oriental city, who claims to be the most important logistic hub in Asia, it takes 10 days to ship a battery. The World is Flat? The America is flat.

Months later, I went to California and visit the local Apple store and see if I do the replacement. Oh gosh!! I need to make reservation a day in advance. So I failed.

Months later, I came to Rhode Island. I had more than enough time and I gave a second shot. I make a reservation. I arrived in time. I fully charged my battery. And the system profile showed my laptop could only charge up to 50% of its full capacity. I showed it to the support guy. The guy said that because I had completed 160 charge cycles (Apple guarantees it lasts at least 300 cycles), so that it is reasonable for my battery capacity to drop to 50%. Come on!!!! Let’s play simple math. Does it mean that the battery is expected to die right after 300 complete cycles? The guy refused to replace my battery and my English was so bad to argue with him. I left the apple store sadly and started to tell people about how bad an Apple battery could be.

Until recently, I found that Apple do guarantees to retain up to 80% after 300 complete cycles. Huh!!! This time I tried not to go to the store directly but by calling the Apple hotline. After reading a couple of serial numbers, and the guy agreed to replace my battery! I called on Friday afternoon and the battery arrived on Monday morning. 

Yes. Friedman, finally we share the same experience, I am very happy with my new macbook battery now, but you gonna change the name of your best seller. The world is flat?!?! The America is flat.

 

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9 回應 to “The world is flat”

  1. leona Says:

    Ah…a series of painful experience.

    But I think if you called Apple hotline in HK first, those guys would probably do the replacement for you – just like what they did in the US.

    I’m sorry for you. The service I receive from Apple Support Center HK is has been so far so good.

  2. Yun Says:

    我覺得呢﹐唔好得罪你囉﹐會死得好慘。So persistent!!!!!!! (And I can’t believe I actually read the entire post!!)

  3. 權權 Says:

    I have similar problems with my MacBook Pro and I was planning to do the same thing that you did. I figured that the representatives at Apple’s hotline will be more helpful than those people at Apple’s support partners. So I purchased AppleCare (so to extend the call-support period to 3 years) and will call the hotline when my battery capacity drops further. System Profiler shows a capacity level of my battery at much less than Apple’s guaranteed level.

    You maybe interested to read Apple’s reply to Ars Technica on MacBook’s battery life testing. I’d say Apple’s battery life testing is rather realistic than most manufactures have to offer.

  4. JHKChan Says:

    Mine is this now:

    Battery load cycles: 131
    Age of your Mac: 18 months
    Maximum battery capacity: 4217mAh
    Original battery capacity: 5200mAh

    so it dropped to only 81% now… how can it retain to the same level after 300 complete cycles….

  5. 權權 Says:

    @jhkchan: My battery capacity level varies over time. It was once as low as 50% and then restored to around 70%.

    And the cycle count is 47.

  6. 米搞 Says:

    and you are still waiting for the Mac book air?


  7. 點解喺美國換電池可以咁快嘅?

    > my English was so bad to argue with him
    你嘅英文都唔錯呀,我相信其實你有足夠能力同個店員理論。

  8. 余若虛 Says:

    你真係有恆心…!由香港追到去羅德島…woo!

    so, after reading the whole ENGLISH post(well, i shared same feeling with YUN!), i realized one thing – never buy a Mac notebook!

    and, i can’t imagine this kind of sucking customer service still exists in Hong Kong, besides i-cable!

  9. Justin Says:

    Leona: I called the apple hotline, and i was asked to go to the support center directly. I think at that time, probably becoz they were not prepared for the battery replacement plan.

    Yun: haha!! i don’t imagine i can write such a long passage as well!

    權:good luck for ur replacement!

    JHK: that is pretty good! when i was in 13x cycles, i got only 6x%.

    米搞: probably not. I dun travel that much and i need a stronger computer. my next machine will probably be macbook pro.

    Geoffrey: 佢地準備好曬,我打完電話,佢貼我個地址就可以寄。

    thx for ur appreciation. 我遇到呢啲情況,現實裏,我會好怯的。

    余若虛:畸寶我都領教過。我用過兩年有線寬頻,真係呢⋯⋯⋯

    不過我對畸寶冇期望,所以鬧都費事。


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