Others will tell you they’ve owned several Macs, without AppleCare. This is the same lot who never purchases “extended warranties,” which they consider “scams.” To them I say that AppleCare is an exception, especially since Macs are increasingly difficult or impossible to get into. Still others will say that Apple ought to include 3 years’ worth of protection with every Mac they sell. Perhaps, but the world as it exists is often disappointing compared to the world as we wish it existed.
In a previous life, I worked as the Lead Mac Genius at our local Apple Store, and then helped start (and then managed) an Apple-Authorized Service Provider here in Memphis.
I know about AppleCare. I can take apart, repair and re-build almost any modern Mac apart without looking at directions. I can troubleshoot Apple hardware and software with my eyes closed. I predicted the MacBook SMC shutdown issue as a firmware issue, not a hardware issue, even though Apple had Genius Bars replacing logic boards and heat sinks like it was going out of style. I took apart the first aluminum iMac our Apple Store had in for repair. I personally own a set of tools used in Genius Rooms around the world because they are awesome.
I know all of this, and I buy AppleCare for my computers. Why? Because stuff breaks. And when Apple stuff breaks, it can be expensive. Unlike a PC that might use a separate board for everything, Apple’s all-in-one logic board approach makes for expensive out-of-warranty repairs.
(I don’t buy AppleCare for iPods or iPhones.[1. I’m debating iPad AppleCare, however.] These items are cheaper than computers, and if something goes wrong out of warranty, I just view it as a chance to upgrade, honestly.)
I view AppleCare like I view insurance. I really hope my family doesn’t ever have to use my life insurance policy, but I don’t mind paying for it monthly, knowing that is there as a safety net in case something ever happens to me. A computer is an investment, and AppleCare (even the expensive AppleCare for MacBook Pros) is a great way to protect that investment.
In short, buy AppleCare. You don’t want to be caught without it. If you never need it, consider yourself lucky and move on. It’s as simple as that.