Sunday, September 9, 2012

Guess I would stick with Apple after all

In the last couple of weeks, we were having trouble with my wife’s iPhone 4S’s earpiece. We did everything we could from out end, but it didn’t heal. It didn’t heal by itself either. So finally we decided to get the Genius Bar involved.

I called the Apple Support center and they came to the conclusion that they may have to replace the handset. There were two options. I could either tell them to pick the phone up free of charge (pretty cool, ha?) or I could head to an Apple Store. If they picked it up, it would take up to a week to get things resolved. I could not take that option. My wife has to go to work. There are a million things that can go wrong in an event of a big incident. So she had to have her phone with her at all times she was out of the house.

So it was decided that we went to an Apple Store. There were two Apple Stores close to our apartment. One in Shibuya and one in Ginza. Both were within an hour of travel time. Shibuya was closer and in addition to that, we were planning to attend the Sri Lankan Festival 2012 which was only a walking distance from the Shibuya station. So without further ado, we decided to pay a visit to the Apple Store in Shibuya.


We made a reservation for the 10 minute time-slot on Saturday at 11:40AM. I got the details about the reservation by email as well. I could easily export it to the Calendar on the iPhone. The calendar item contained the link to the Shibuya store. There was the Google Map item showing where the store was. But I couldn’t make it show up on the phone’s Maps application. No problem on the PC, but you would expect Apple to have done that properly. Anyways, it wasn’t the case. I was asked to backup the phone before coming to the Apple Store. They said they were not able to do that at the store. I was amused by that, until I saw the place. Read along to find out why.

But just as usual, Ama underestimated how long it takes for her to get ready despite how much I urged her. We were about to miss the last train to get there in time, but she never got ready in time. Then I had to call them and change the reservation. I only managed to get the 1PM time-slot.

We went to Shibuya at around 12PM because I’ve never been to Shibuya. Shibuya is a city and unlike the small town we live in, it was all about high tech and glamour. But it was so hot outside that we decided to go to McDonalds and have a light lunch. We came out of there around 12:30PM and decided to head towards the Apple Store.


The Apple Store wasn’t as big as I expected and it was very crowed. 1st floor was the showroom and the 2nd floor was the support section where they handled customer problems as well as workshops. I had no need to look around the Mac hardware, because there wasn’t anything that excided me, not even the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. We headed straight up to the 2nd floor and told the guy that we came for a support session. He told us to wait a bit, because it wasn’t 1PM.

A genius girl came to us with another apprentice and asked us what the problem was. She could speak some English, but her Japanese was much more clearer (I mean, understandable) so I decided to continue in Japanese. I explained the problem with my level of Japanese and she seemed to understand the problem. However, we couldn’t reproduce the problem. She told us that it could be due to moisture, but didn’t mean that it had been in water. (I guess.) But the moisture check came out positive. It could not have been water, but something must have been in there. It could even been the dehumidifier being close to the phone or a leak in her water bottle. But there wasn’t any other problem with the phone. She even showed us how the inside headphone jack when viewed through a magnifying glass was all pink.

But, because the phone was under warranty, she gave us a new phone. We were asked to check if there were any problems with the phone first. Everything was OK. Then she told us to wipe the phone from the settings pane. There were so many people there and each one-to-one meeting lasted 10 minutes or less. There was no way to backup the old phone, and restore that to the new phone. That’s why we had to backup the phone before coming home.

Anyways, we got a new phone. She told us that even though this is a new phone, the warranty period was according the original purchase. But no worries, I have paid for the Apple Care Plus – which extended the warranty by another year. Not cheap, but was a must considering how the home button of my 3GS stopped working after 1 year.

I got to know later that if we had changed the phone after the warranty period had expired, it would have cost us $200. All that’s happened surrounding my wife’s phone have made me rethink about my phone buying plan. I might stick to Apple while I’m in Japan after all.

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