This is a good question, and at $250 for another 2 years of limited warranty and almost 3 years of phone support some may argue that AppleCare is the best value no nonsense Apple warranty you can buy, while others might tend to think it’s the biggest waste of money possible and you would be much better off self insuring your new MacBook Pro yourself.
First off, let’s forget about the telephone support as I think for a professional notebook buyer this is waste of time. You’re buying a pro notebook from Apple so I’m going to assume you know how to use the thing, or at very least you know how to use the tools with your MacBook Pro whether they are Adobe Photoshop for graphics pros or Microsoft Office for business professionals, it’s highly unlikely you’ll use the phone support. At least I never have and with every new Mac I have ever bought, I just unwrap or unbox the Mac and get to work.
The limited warranty is the kicker I think. On one hand you could argue that the one year warranty that ships with every Mac is more than enough for finding out if you’ve got a dud of a Mac as that’s a year of bumps and bruises and reboots and restarts and there is going to be a problem with your new Apple notebook, it would have reared it’s ugly head by now.
On the other side of the argument, $250 for another 2 years of warranty is a pretty good deal and assuming this is a business computer the AppleCare might be considered a cost of doing business resulting in tax writeoff or refund and even if it isn’t in your case, ten dollars a month for Apple Warranty seems like a pretty good deal for the additional warranty and when you consider that AppleCare only adds another ten percent to your total MacBook Pro cost, give or take – the AppleCare for MacBook Pro seems like a no brainer.
I’ve never bothered with AppleCare for MacBook Pro, as even though a MacBook Pro should get you through three years or so before you start lusting for a faster Mac, I tend to just trade my old MacBook Pro in for a newer Mac notebook. My approach is this:
New MacBook Pro Price: $2500.
MacBook Pro traded in a year later for $1000.
This means I now have a $1000 credit for my brand new next generation MacBook Pro with another year of AppleCare warranty included without having to buy AppleCare ever. Yes, it costs me $1500 for the year I have the current MBP, but I earn much more money with my MacBook Pro than $100 or so a month, so I don’t care and I get a new MacBook Pro every year without having to buy additional AppleCare and I would rather put the $125 a year to newer technology which allows me to work even faster than before, another added benefit of this approach. Buying more insurance does not get my work done any faster.
Essentially, by opting out of buying AppleCare and just replacing my Mac every year when the warranty is up I have no need for AppleCare. The downside of this approach is I’m losing $1500 per year (estimated) by doing this and keeping my MacBook Pro for longer than a year would definitely be the more frugal choice, even with the added costs of Apple. Assuming I kept my MacBook Pro for three years – the same length of time as the AppleCare coverage and the MacBook Pro was entirely worthless at the end of those 36 month, my total yearly cost for my MacBook Pro, including the extended warranty of the AppleCare would be about $800 per year
If saving money on your computer purchases is your main concern, then AppleCare is the best deal as it allows you to extend the life of your MBP knowing you’ve got full limited warranty coverage from Apple. The downside to this is approach is that your Apple Notebook will be pretty slow when you compare it to newer models at the time.
If you prefer to use a new MacBook Pro year after year, then buying AppleCare for MacBook Pro is not worth it as it’s not needed. Every year when you buy a new MacBook Pro will come with AppleCare included. The downside to this method is you will be hit with high depreciation costs when it comes time to trade in your MacBook Pro at the end of the first year and your total computing costs will be significantly higher.