Friday, June 15, 2012

A letter to Apple

Dear Apple,

I am writing to provide some feedback about how impressed I am with the durability Apple devices.

Not so bad, right? At Box Office, Corio St, where Stick
offered condolences and coffee
A month ago, while riding to university, a strap on my bag snapped, and caused it to fall on to the road. Before I was able to retrieve the bag, it unfortunately found itself beneath the back wheel of a school bus. No, he did not stop. Yes, I agree, that’s a bit rude. The bag contained, among the normal university commute items, my Macbook Pro, iPhone 4S, and two external backups being moved for ‘safe keeping’. Immediately, I resigned myself to the complete loss of everything in my bag, including my beloved Keep Cup, and of course the 4 years of cancer research notes, my library of 1200+ PDF papers, and the last 2 years of photos housed between my Macbook and backups. Whilst dodging sweary soccer mums in Landcruisers, I retrieved the contents of my rather flattened bag, and removing the unsurprisingly intact biology textbook, I proceeded to determine just how bad my losses were.

After being run over by a bus, which item survived:
A Macbook, an iPhone 4S, or a pair of reading glasses?

Yes, the back glass panel was shattered, the metal frame was slightly bent, and getting the charging jack connected required 15 minutes of patient manipulation, but my iPhone was otherwise intact, and in perfect working order. I have a notoriously bad history with mobile phones, and by some miracle avoided having to talk to my phone company about requiring a new phone less than a fortnight after receiving the new upgrade. It also allowed me to ring my boss to tell him I’d be late, organise new bank cards, and call my mother to throw a tantrum maturely discuss my bad luck. I would like to heartily congratulate Apple on the design of their iPhone 4S, the durability of which allowed it to survive being run over by a bus.

MacBook Pro Pancake
Unfortunately, the Macbook Pro was not so lucky. Since 2010, that Macbook had been the workhorse of my PhD, taking the all-nighters, conference presentations, 'Protect Research' campaigns, mass data analysis, movie marathons, and Twitter trawling in stride. Initially, I was excited by the fact that it appeared to be in one piece. The outer casing, whilst now decorated with a charming array of scratches, dents, and depressions, was still intact, as was the ‘clam’ hinge. The Apple logo hadn’t even sustained a mark! Sure, it wasn’t quite closing properly, and you could see exactly where every piece of internal hardware was located, but all the pieces were contained inside the hard casing! That much could not be said of the external hard-drive, which was so badly broken that it was unable to be picked up from the middle of that busy road, or the USB drive that was literally snapped in two. Unfortunately, the tinkling of glass indicated the screen was completely destroyed, and whilst making a gallant attempt to start up, the ominous knocking of hard drive components and loud, previously inaudible, whirring of fans shattered the last of my hopes. Admittedly, those hopes were minimal after discovering my insurance didn’t cover ‘transit damage’. A quick trip to my local Apple reseller confirmed my worst fears, with the device declared “unsalvageable”. The lovely lads did, however, whip out the hard drive for me, with murmured, half-hearted encouragements of “perhaps a professional recovery service can save something for you”. Alas, the $1,900+ recovery fees far outstrip the resources of a PhD student stipend, but I took home the priceless lesson of ensuring you have multiple back-ups, stored in water/fire/terrorism/bus-proof safes, that are never allowed within a 1km radius of each other under any circumstances.

Shattered, but functional
New ergonomic iPhone design
 The fact that the iPhone emerged with little more than cosmetic damage is a testament to the durability of the devices designed and built by Apple, and despite the damage it incurred, I remain very impressed about how intact the Macbook was, allowing it to be quickly and safely retrieved from the flow of irate peak hour traffic.

I fully intend to purchase a replacement Macbook Pro, once my savings account reaches Apple-supporting levels. Five years should just about do the trick.

Kind Regards,