Japanese users of Apple laptops are facing two customer service problems, which they hope Apple and Enax, a manufacturer of lithium ion batteries here in Japan, will work with them to resolve.
Hiroshi Kobayashi, a member of MMUJ (Mobile Mac Users Japan) and the PowerBook Army, two organizations for Japanese users of Apple portables, said the groups face problems on two fronts. For starters, they’re pleading with Apple Japan to revive “face-to-face” repair service, he told MacCentral. The service ran for 10 years but was changed Dec. 18, he added.
With the “face-to-face” service, you could get a damaged Mac repaired in front of you at the service provider shops that are located in provinces all over Japan. You could consult with the technician doing the work and keep the contents of your hard disk secret, Kobayashi said.
“But Apple Japan suddenly abolished this useful system,” he said. “Now we have only send-back repair service, which takes 2-3 weeks. I am using my PowerBook 2400 on the job and can’t afford to be without it for so long a time. So Many Japanese professional users prefer the Mac to Wintel PCs. And Apple has a larger share in Japan compared with any other country.”
Japanese users who want to join in this movement can learn more at their Web site. (For those who don’t read Japanese, sorry, but there’s no English translation.)
Members of the MMUJ and PowerBook Army are also working to improve the dismal battery situation for the much beloved PowerBook 2400. The 2400 was discontinued years ago, and Apple has announced no subnotebook replacement. Meanwhile, the 2400 batteries are beginning to age.
“A third party, Enax, gave us a PB2400 battery refresh service,” Kobayashi said. “They would receive a battery from a user, open it, and change the cells into a new one. Unfortunately, they’ve now stopped this service. However, Enax promised me that they’ll start it again if many users send e-mail to them requesting it.”
To find out more about adding your voice to those petitioning for the return of the battery refresh service, e-mail Kobayashi. Meanwhile, Japanese users are still hoping that Apple will release a new subnotebook sooner or later.
“The PB2400 is the one real portable PowerBook, meaning under 2 kg,” Kobayashi said. “The PowerBook G4 and iBook are too huge and heavy for Japanese users.”
Robert Kawaratani, a commuter on the Tokyo railways, said that as much as he “lusts” for a Titanium G4, it’s going to be a three-pound NEC minisubnote with a Crusoe processor in his business bag. The G4 is simply too large to use in a train, and the battery won’t hold up for a day away from the office, he said.
“As much as I like Macs and dislike Windows, Apple is not producing a mobile machine for us on-the-go types,” Kawarantani said. “Many of my Mac user friends are in the same boat and are going with Windows for portable needs. The high price of use PB2400s in Japan reflects the lack of interest by Apple in filling this important niche in their largest market.”