The Apple Geniuses With Time On Their Hands

Getting a Genius Bar appointment doesn't have to involve lengthy waits, if you know how to shop around.

I seem to be spending a lot of time talking to Apple support recently, having had a hard drive fail in an iMac, a headphone socket fail in an iPhone 3GS and then, while the hard drive was in being replaced, a USB port fail in the exact same iMac. Now, while Apple's support usually ranks pretty well in any consumer survey of tech company support profiles, the one thing that almost always rankles with everyone are the dreaded words:

"You'd better make an appointment at the Genius bar." It's not that the Geniuses (or is it Genii? I always forget, because I'm not a genius) aren't relatively nice people. It's just that actually getting a Genius Bar appointment can be fraught with horribly long wait times. When I was in the Chatswood store last weekend folks were coming in, being told they'd have to get an appointment, and then being informed that the next available appointment wasn't until at least the following Wednesday night.

Needless to say, folks were not impressed.

So when the headphone socket in my iPhone 3GS started playing up - it currently sounds through any headphones as though the musicians are underwater, which is only really applicable when you're playing Octopus' Garden - I was dreading the wait times, especially as the 3GS is my "work" phone.

Checking the big flagship Sydney store? Not so good. Here's the availability checking for iPhone appointments at 7.50pm on August 31.

Ouch. Bit of a wait there, even for the world's "longest" Genius bar. What about the shiny new(ish) Bondi store?

That's mildly better, but not much. The smaller and established Chatswood Store?

Ouch. That's getting worse, and having been there recently, I'm well aware that folks are coming in constantly trying to queue jump.

That just leaves the Castle Towers store, Apple's newest outlet. It is technically the closest Apple Store to my office, but one that I've avoided, because Castle Towers is a bit of a towering and confusing monstrosity, all things considered. With no confidence at all, I clicked the link to check the appointment schedule.

What gives? That's a LOT of appointment times. Needless to say, it's enough to overcome my qualms about the shopping centre in question, especially if it leads to speedy resolution of my problems.

For what it's worth, I checked the interstate stores, but they were no better than the main Sydney ones for the most part, save for Perth, which had Castle Towers levels of appointment availability. People who don't reside in Western Australia could technically save some time there, but you'd have to be willing to fly up to five hours each way to make it happen.

The lesson here is pretty simple; if you're based in Sydney and need a speedy Apple hardware problem resolved, almost nobody is going to the Castle Towers store.

But keep that amongst yourselves, OK? I kind of like the idea of having a Genius Bar to myself...

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