Color me impressed …

Flying down to SF last Monday for RSA, I opened up my Macbook and got … nuthin’. Once I landed and plugged it in, and the little green light on the power supply connector didn’t even come on, I realized I was in trouble. So I headed down to the Mac store, conveniently right by the Muni stop, and made an appointment at the “Genius Bar” for that evening.

One of the geniuses in residence verified that his power supply connector light didn’t come on either, checked a couple of things, and asked if he could go in the back to run some tests. Sure, no problem. He came back within 10 minutes and said that seemed like there was some liquid in the display — he had verified that the machine booted, so it wasn’t hopeless. After signing the usual disclaimer in case of data loss (and wondering when was the last time I had backed things up — I’m still on Tiger, so haven’t yet experienced the joys of Time Machine) and authorizing a charge if need be (I hadn’t bought AppleCare), I left my Mac to be shipped off for repairs.

Thursday afternoon, I got a call: my Mac was at the store, I could come pick it up whenever. I Muni’ed back down the store, showed my photo ID, and there was my machine. I booted up to verify, and everything was hunky-dory; Firefox even offered to restore my last session state. Color me impressed.

“This was a really good experience,” I said to the helpful Genius.

“Always glad to hear it! And you’re still under the one-year limited warranty, so there’s no charge.”

Hey, I may be a geek, but I really hate dealing with hardware — or any other kind of machine configuration. Being able to find a place in whatever city I’m visiting on a business trip, talk to somebody knowledgable and competent, and have the right thing happen without me having to put out a lot of effort … that means a lot to me.

I found myself thinking about the arguments that cropped up from time to time on the Litebulb DL at Microsoft, as techie guys went on at great length about how Apple’s emphasis on the retail experience was a sign of weakness and used market share numbers to “prove” how real people (as opposed to the ones in Apple ads) didn’t really care about things like this. The other people at the store, or at the Genius Bar getting Mac, iPhone, and iPod help, seemed pretty real to me.

Sure, I beat Apple up about their security. That’s not the only consideration. I find the usability, responsibility, and attention to design of the Mac experience much more pleasant than Windows; it feels to me like I’m more productive (although when I’ve actually tracked my time, it’s roughly comparable). Throw in stellar support experiences like the one I had …

I hate to say it, but I think I’m now officially a Mac fan.

[And yes, I have now made a current backup. Thanks for reminding me.]