Apple opens graphics card replacement program for some mid-2011 iMacs

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Apple has opened up one of its rare replacement programs for the graphics card in some mid-2011 iMac configurations, according to a notice issued to Apple Support employees. The iMac in question is the model released in May 2011 with Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt ports. This iMac was sold between that month and October 2012 when Apple launched thinner models with new internals. Apple says that AMD Radeon HD 6970M cards (both 1GB and 2GB configurations) in select versions of these 2011 iMacs could fail:

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All Developer Center services back online, members receiving one month extension for downtime

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Apple has been slowly restoring various services and overhauling its Developer Center since the company shut down all services to investigate an attempted breach into the system late last month. After outlining its plan to restore remaining services earlier this week, today the few developer services that remained down are now back online. That includes the Member Center, Program Enrollment and Renewals, and Technical Support. In addition, Apple has extended all developer memberships by one month as a result of the service interruption.

Following the security threat last month, Apple said it would work to completely overhaul its developer services, including “updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database.” Since confirming the security issue and shutting down the developer center, it’s taken the company just over 3 weeks to rebuild its developer system and restore all services.

Apple provided extensions for developer memberships set to expire during the outages, and also launched a new System Status page for developers that shows the status of each developer service.

Here is the email that was sent out to developers: Read more

NPD: Genius Bar, stellar tech support keep Apple product owners coming back for more

Ah, the Genius Bar: It’s (mostly) free, it’s accessible, and nine out of 10 Apple product owners love it.

The latest research from NPD Group indicates folks are willing to buy multiple Apple devices primarily due to their pleasant experience at the Genius Bar. A whopping 90 percent, in fact, said they were “extremely or very satisfied” following their experience. The approval rate is primarily attributed to 88 percent of those Genius Bar consumers receiving complimentary service.

According to NPD Group’s Tech Services Study:

That service left almost all of the 40 percent of Apple owners who took their Apple devices to the Genius Bar very happy. Nearly 90 percent of consumers who used Apple’s tech service said they were extremely or very satisfied. In contrast, top 2 box satisfaction among all consumer service interactions was 78 percent. A major part of their satisfaction came from the fact that only a small percentage actually paid for their service. According to the report, 88 percent of Genius Bar consumers said their service was free compared to 78 percent of all consumers.

The majority of the support was for troubleshooting (37 percent), followed by product repair (28 percent), how-to support (18 percent), software installation/upgrade (11 percent), and product installation/set-up (7 percent).

Apple product consumers also approve the retail giant’s tech support offerings. Sixty percent of consumers claimed they were “somewhat or much more likely” to make another purchase following their experience, while another 31 percent admitted they had a “much more positive view” of the Cupertino, Calif.-based company after their service. However, as the study noted, “physical presence is key.” Fifty-three percent of consumers were extremely satisfied with in-store encounters versus other types of interactions, but 45 percent of younger consumers still preferred virtual communications.

These statistics are interesting, especially considering yesterday’s report from IFOAppleStore. It claimed then-COO Tim Cook and current CFO Peter Oppenheimer pushed former Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson toward revenues over customer satisfaction when then-CEO Steve Jobs was on medical leave in 2009. Moreover, Apple has maintained new policies —despite wide-spread criticism over recent retail layoffs— that reflect budget cuts with an emphasis on revenue. With this outlook, it surely won’t be long until tech support experiences start falling by the wayside.

NPD gathered responses from over 2,000 adults via an online survey in May 2012.

More stats are available in the press release below. 

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BBEdit gets monster upgrade

We’re big fans of BBEdit over here (and its free counterpart TextWrangler) so today’s update is exciting news. I built 9to5mac a few years ago using BBEdit (on Drupal!) and the software has just gotten better and better (though 9to5mac has since been ported to WordPress.com).

How much is updated today?  Just have a look at the release notes if you’ve got some time to kill.

It isn’t upgraded in the App Store just yet but Bare Bones says that any BBEdit purchase since the App Store opened will get a free upgrade.  Get it here until October 20, 2011 for $40.  Full info below:

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