Mountain Lion Caged–An Apple Tale

MLThumbI stunned a great many people on June 19th by announcing that I had purchased a MacBook Air. I have been a long time voice against Apple but there comes a time when you must stop relying on other people’s opinions and form your own. I began my journey with iPhone, continued along the path with an iPad and jumped full on into the Apple eco-system with a MacBook Air. But this isn’t about that. This is another kind of story.

One of the perks of buying a MacBook Air when I did was there was a promise to upgrade to the latest copy of the OS for free when it released. It wasn’t a huge deal. The OS was priced at $19.99 but it was nice to know that it was one less expense, optional or not, that I’d have to worry about. I read through the features of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and got excited about how they planned on bringing the iOS and Mac experience a little closer together. I know that’s not a popular opinion but it is my own.

On Tuesday’s Earnings Call Apple made the release date for Mountain Lion official. It was to release the following day, Wednesday July 25th. And it did. I went out to the Apple Up-To-Date program page and eagerly filled out the several forms required to request my free copy of the OS. Everything seemed to go without a hitch and several hours later I got a couple emails.

The first included an encryption key. The second included a PDF that required that encryption key to unlock the redemption code to download OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. I copied the key, popped into the Mac App Store and got the message that my code had already been redeemed.

Well crap.

I decided to call Apple Support. I got a very helpful representative that told me that their code generator screwed up and sent out the same code to many folks. I was told I’d get a new code within 24 hours. I sighed. Thanked the rep for the information and hung up the phone to begin the waiting game.

A few hours later I saw a tweet from Cult of Mac that said some folks were getting their new redemption codes. I got excited. But it was not to be. I went to sleep last night with no new redemption code in my Inbox.

I woke up this morning, picked up my iPhone and confirmed that nothing had changed. I waited for the 24 hour mark and called Apple again. I got another extremely nice rep who apologized and told me that unfortunately I should have been quoted 24-72 hours. She said to hold out hope though because it’s still early and there should be another batch of codes coming out. She didn’t say as much but she seemed to indicate that they were staggering code releases due to the demand on their servers.

So I was hopeful but resolved to another up-to 48 hours of waiting for my new code. And then it happened. I got another two emails from Apple. I grabbed my encryption key out of the first email. Used it to open the PDF in the second email. And viola a new redemption code. I hurried into the Mac App Store and pasted my redemption code into the ‘redeem’ box.

Failed. This product requires OS X 10.8. What? Mountain Lion requires Mountain Lion? Wait. What do they have me downloading? OS X Server? What the hell?

I went over to the Mountain Lion app page and the familiar $19.99 prompt is still sitting there. I went back to OS X Server. That button reads “Install.” It’s time to get Apple back on the phone.

I call a third time and get another very friendly rep who asks me to go back to the Up-To-Date program page and fill out the forms again. I get an error message indicating my serial number has already been redeemed. Of course I was already aware. The rep asks to place me on hold and I wait as Taylor Swift’s “Mean” serenades me. A terrible John Mayer song begins next and I am thankful when the rep picks up the phone.

“Dusty, I talked to our level two support and we’re going to reissue you a key. Unfortunately, it’s going to be about 72 hours before you receive it.”

Of course it is. I’m frustrated but I don’t let on. I thank him and he thanks me. We wish each other a good day and I hang up.

And here I am. Waiting.

And my Mountain Lion is still caged.

Update: Apple fixed the issue and sent me a new redemption code. Mountain Lion is downloading as I write this amendment. Gaffes happen. We’re only human. So I can appreciate when a company at least makes going to them for help painless. If I HAD to call Apple Support, I’m happy that the experience was a good one and the resolution was far quicker than I was originally quoted.