It was Thursday, Jan. 29 and I was sitting at a restaurant in the Denver airport when I noticed something peculiar about my iPhone. The display had stopped responding properly to my touch. I thought it was my case maybe interrupting the screen somehow, so I took it off. I walked to an electronics store and bought some screen cleaner. The display worked again for a few days without issue.
Then last week it started acting up again, this time a white bar would appear horizontally across the top of the screen. I couldn’t interact with the device at all, not even to enter in my PIN code to unlock it. I’d treated the phone properly, hadn’t exposed it to water or dropped it, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. Maybe the stories about faulty memory were causing the device to malfunction.
I scheduled a visit to an Apple Store in Manhattan last night. I walked in and showed an employee my problem. He confirmed there wasn’t any water damage and said the device looked like it was taken care of. Since I had paid $99 for Apple Care, Apple would try to figure out what was wrong and either replace the screen or the device entirely, at no cost to me. I walked out of the store with a request to come back in 45 minutes to pick up my fixed phone.
So I did. I walked in 45 minutes later, grabbed my phone and headed out to grab a light bite to eat while I waited for my wife to get off of work. While I was eating, the screen started to act up again, the white line was back and I couldn’t interact with my phone. I made another appointment at the Apple Store, now three blocks away from where I ate, and went back an hour later.
Apple was busy – there were lots of folks in the store for support, some wanted help restoring their phone backups, another woman needed service on her laptop and one young man had two phones he wanted fixed. I sat at a table while a single Apple employee who serviced us all. “Wow, you’re good at this,” I said. “Thanks, I was a kindergarten teacher for a while,” she said with a smile.
She helped all four of us at the same time, incredibly, bouncing back and forth through the iPad service application. She said that, even though I had Apple Care, I was still due a replacement device since the first fix didn’t work and it was still under warranty. She asked if I had my data backed up to iCloud, which I do, and then went back and grabbed a brand new iPhone 6 Plus and handed it to me. “You’re all set,” she said, as I signed my name on a form confirming I had received service.
I walked out and today I have a fully functional iPhone again, at no cost to me. The purpose of all of this is to point out that there isn’t another gadget maker out there with this kind of service. You can’t walk into a store for any other smartphone maker and get your device repaired on the spot, immediately. You might have insurance on a wireless phone through your carrier, but that requires going through the insurance provider and waiting a few days for your replacement device.
Whether you prefer Android, iOS, BlackBerry or Windows Phone — all great operating systems in their own rights and for certain people — choosing iOS has its benefits during times like these. Apple’s service is impeccable and I hope other firms start to follow its lead.
I buy lots of gadgets each year. (Too many. Just ask my wife.) But I’ll continue to buy an iPhone at the very least because I know, the day I’m sitting in an airport and the screen malfunctions, I’ll be up and running on a new one in no time flat.