I visited our local Apple Store today because the top power button on my iPad had stopped working, and I needed to get it fixed. That was an easy solution: Apple simply gave me a new 32 GB iPad to replace my old one. I backed everything up to iTunes last night on my old iPad, so this was fine with me. It’s the reason I purchase AppleCare warranty protection on all my Apple products.
My second issue to discuss during my Apple Bar appointment has (so far) had a less satisfactory resolution. My MacBook Pro battery has been holding a charge for less and less time, and I wanted to find out if my AppleCare warranty (which is good through this July) would cover battery replacement. The “status” of the battery when I click on it now in the top menu bar of my screen says, “replace soon.”
The Apple Genius assisting me opened my System Profiler and under Hardware – Power brought up the following screen:
He explained my battery should normally hold a charge of about 5500 mAh. Since it is now supporting a full charge capacity of 3687 mAh, it’s definitely not performing as it should be and has developed a “memory.” This is natural with laptop batteries and is expected to happen over time. He also explained that my battery shows a “cycle count” of 368. A cycle count is a charge on the battery. He said normally people go through 150 battery cycles (charges) every year. Once an Apple laptop battery exceeds 300 cycles, AppleCare will no longer cover the full replacement of the battery. A new battery costs $129 US, so Applecare will pay $30 and the customer (with a laptop battery having a cycle count over 300) has to pay the remaining $99. He explained this battery situation is similar to car tires, which over time lose tread and have to be replaced entirely at some point. (I do have another option: Keep my partially-functional old battery and buy an entirely new one ourtright for $129.)
I am (of course) disappointed I couldn’t get a new battery today under my laptop’s AppleCare protection plan. I understand Apple needs to have some kind of tracking / metrics to take into account how many charges someone has put their battery through before replacing it. I am concerned, however, that this situation may be a case where the AppleCare terms of agreement (which I purchased almost three years ago) have been changed since that time and I’m being subjected to new terms. In past years I’ve received replacement batteries on our family’s MacBook computers covered under AppleCare several times, and this is the FIRST instance I’ve ever heard about “300 cycles” being the maximum number of battery charges Apple will cover. I asked if the AppleCare agreement I purchased just under three years ago included this caveat / statement that “only batteries with cycle counts under 300 will be fully covered for replacement by Apple.” The Apple Genius said he didn’t have that information but could put me in touch with Apple’s legal department and/or AppleCare department. I’m going to follow up with an email to them. He created a case number for me which may facilitate this communication.
If my original AppleCare agreement included this restriction and limitation, there is nothing I can do: I’ll have to fork over the $100 to get a new battery. If these terms have been added since that time, however, it seems that Apple should have a contractual agreement to replace my battery. My AppleCare warranty is SUPPOSED to cover me for three years. If Apple views 150 cycles / charges on a battery as “normal” for a year, it doesn’t seem right for them to only cover 300 charges or 2 years worth of battery use. Again, I understand this limited battery coverage is part of the current AppleCare service / warranty agreement terms. I’m interested to find out if was part of MY warranty terms when that warranty was purchased in 2008. We’ll see. My laptop needs a new battery!
Of course what I’d like even more is a lighter MacBook Air laptop with a solid state drive of at least 250 GB, but Apple hasn’t reved the specs for the MacBook Air in awhile. Hopefully an update is coming soon.
Even when they do update the Macbook Air line, my “older” Macbook Pro will still need longer battery life!
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