From Mac Guides
AppleCare packages add additional support options and extend the warranty of your Apple Mac computer or iPod up to a total of 3 years (2 years for iPods) from the date of the original purchase.
AppleCare for computers
- TechTool Deluxe supplied on CD for diagnosing problems.
- 2 years extra hardware warranty on top of the standard 1 year, giving a total of 3.
- 3 years of telephone support access. Without AppleCare you get 90 days.
US Pricing as follows:
- MacBook, MacBook Air, or iBook $249
- iMac or eMac $169
- Mac Pro or PowerMac $249 (w/ or w/o Display)
- MacBook Pro or PowerBook $349 (w/ or w/o Display)
- Mac Mini $149 (w/ or w/o Display)
- Apple Cinema Displays $99 (If purchased with a Desktop, the Display is covered by the AppleCare of the computer)
- When devices such as an Airport Extreme Base Station are purchased with a desktop, they are covered under the AppleCare warranty of the computer.
- AppleCare does not have to be purchased with the system at the time of purchase, thus it can be acquired from other resellers for a small savings over Apple's retail price.
- Students and Educators should also note that AppleCare is available through the Educational store for significant savings.
AppleCare for iPods
- $59 (US)
- 1 year extra warranty on top of the standard 1 year, giving a total of 2.
- 2 years of telephone support access. Without AppleCare you get one "incident" within a period of 90 days.
- You can only add 1 AppleCare plan per computer, display or iPod. That means you cannot 'top up' your warranty when the already extended 3 years are nearly up.
- AppleCare extended warranties should be accepted by all authorized repair centers, not just Apple themselves.
- AppleCare is not an insurance policy. Apple will not pay repair costs for accident damage or cover the cost of a lost of stolen computer or iPod.
- You can purchase AppleCare for your computer, display or iPod from most resellers or Apple Stores at any time.
- AppleCare must be activated before the initial 1 year warranty has expired.
AppleCare worth it?
Whether or not AppleCare is worth buying is mostly a matter of individual opinion and who one chooses to listen to. There are a lot of users who swear by both opinions.
Here are some general thoughts and advice. For individual users who expect to replace their products as infrequently as possible, a plan like AppleCare helps meet those expectations in instances when one has the misfortune of buying a "bad piece" of hardware. Although Apple makes great products, they rely on several third party vendors for the components they use to build the products. The worst experience one can have is to lose their peace of mind over a failure that's not covered by warranty (not to mention loss of productivity or revenue). And modern electronic devices may follow their own version of Murphy's law by showing a tendency to fail just a few weeks or months after the standard warranty has expired. For those who replace their hardware quite often, the cost of AppleCare may be more of an additional expense that's probably better avoided.
In a way, AppleCare is like term life insurance - you pay the premium to plan for the unexpected, but hope that you never have to really use it (because it still is an inconvenience if your hardware breaks down)!
Another thing to think about is the price of AppleCare versus the price of the Mac. In the US for a base Mac mini, AppleCare costs 30% of the price of the machine. On the other end of the spectrum for a Quad PowerMac G5 with a 30" Cinema Display, AppleCare is under 4% of the cost of the system. Start adding options to any system and the price of AppleCare as a percentage of the cost of the system decreases - for example a Mac mini with a 20" Cinema Display, AppleCare drops to about 12.5% of the cost of the machine.
AppleCare for notebooks
For notebooks, an extended warranty like AppleCare makes a lot of sense! All notebook computers, Mac and non-Mac, share some common weaknesses - since they're portable and are often moved around quite a bit, many things can go wrong sooner than on desktops; the cost of repair or parts for notebooks has always been, and is, much higher than the maintenance cost of desktops; notebooks are usually not as "modularized" as desktops, which implies that if there's an issue with something, it's likely that a big chunk of that notebook will have to be replaced (instead of a small module in a desktop); overall, notebooks have a much shorter lifespan than desktops. When all these factors are taken into account, it makes a lot of sense to get AppleCare for Apple notebooks. The cost of AppleCare more than provides for peace of mind, longer computing life for your notebook and better resale value (which, in other words, also means you don't have to buy a new notebook unless you want to).
AppleCare for desktops
As mentioned above, the cost of AppleCare as a percentage of the total cost is a factor to consider. Additionally, desktops are usually more robust compared to laptops. Generally, having AppleCare for PowerMacs is highly advisable since they're expensive equipment (if you add the display too) and it's better to be safe than sorry.