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Apple should be more worried about Chromebooks than Microsoft

Column The tale of my Macbook disaster
Fri May 02 2014, 12:48

carly-pageTHIS WEEK I went to New York to see Acer unveil its latest product line.

As well as the Windows 8-powered Aspire Switch 10 and the affordable Iconia One 7 and Tab 7 tablets, Acer teased the first Intel Core i3 Google Chromebook, with an Acer VP later telling me that Chrome OS should have Microsoft quaking in its boots.

Before the event, however, disaster struck. As if being in New York on the tenth rainiest day in the city's history wasn't bad enough, my Macbook broke, and it broke hard.

It wasn't Apple's fault, in fairness. In fact, it was probably my own, as I clearly didn't pack my Macbook secure enough for travelling. 

Upon arrival at my hotel, I flipped open my Macbook and encountered trouble. The screen had been severely damaged during travel and the LCD screen was cracked beneath its protective glass coating, filling the display with colourful lines and dark spots that made the screen, aside from 5in of it, unusable.

I told myself that it wasn't the end of the world, and decided to make do with the approximately 5in of usable screen space until I had time to take it to the Apple Store where, I assured myself, all of my problems would be solved.

I went to Apple's swish store on Fifth Avenue. Upon arrival, my umbrella was bagged and a blue shirt was quick to high-five me for being British. This is going to be easy, I thought.

How wrong I was. I explained my problem to the 'genius' on hand, and I was told that for this display on my five-year-old Macbook Pro to be repaired, I'd need to first hand over $500.

Given it had cost £200 to replace the cracked screen on my iPad a couple of weeks before, I was not happy.

I, and my soon to become 'genius' enemy, knew that this was a ridiculous price. My Macbook itself isn't worth $500, given its age, and it was clear that forking out over $1,000 for a new Macbook was the best advice I was going to get. Admittedly, this was much cheaper than a new Macbook would cost in the UK, but I hadn't planned on spending so much on a three-day trip out of the country.

So I left, complete with broken Macbook in tow. And then something odd happened. I considered buying a Google Chromebook. Having heard the cost of my Macbook screen repair, I could have afforded two, if I had opted for the Acer C720 or the HP Chromebook 11.

Sure, I wouldn't have been able to use Photoshop or iTunes, but for $199, I could have got back to work on a brand new machine that offers all of the functionality I would need, perhaps apart from native Skype support.

It was at this point that the rain started, and given that it was the worst that New York has seen in recent years, my hunt for a Chromebook promptly ended.

So, here I am. Broken Macbook still in tow, and still in doubt as to whether to repair it, buy a new one, or take the leap to a Google Chromebook. Windows 8, for me, is not an option, as it's fair to say that Microsoft's latest PC operating system and I don't exactly get on well.

Want to help me make my decision? Leave a comment below. µ


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