I tend to keep my computers running for a long time. Four and a half years ago, I bought my workhorse MacBook, soon after the model was first introduced. It has had its problems, but it has kept me entertained and productive, and still works with all the latest software, even if the hardware is showing its age. It, and my wife's matching black MacBook, are still the newest computers (not counting iPhones and the iPad) in our house.
For some months now, however, the power button on my computer has been flaky, sometimes working and sometimes not. That was fine as long as I never shut the computer down—always either letting it sleep or restarting it when necessary. Then I let the battery run down last week, and the MacBook shut itself off. And although everything else seemed fine, without a working power switch, there was no way to switch it on again, and thus to do anything with it. The MacBook was a brick. (Of course I have backups, so I wasn't worried about my data.)
After trying my usual voodoo tricks (which failed), I had to take it into the shop. Although the Apple Stores in Greater Vancouver are convenient, I like to give independent retailers a chance when I can—and as luck has it, Mac Station in Burnaby is the nearest Apple-authorized repair centre anyway. I had them take a look, and asked them to let me know what it would cost to fix.
The answer? Nothing! Even though my MacBook is well over a year past even its extended AppleCare warranty period, apparently there's some sort of secret Apple warranty for the top case—the part of the laptop housing that surrounds the keyboard, and includes the power button. My top case was showing cracks, so Mac Station ordered a new one, and it corrected the problem. Better yet, Apple covered the cost.
So, thanks Apple, and thanks Mac Station, for keeping my MacBook soldiering on for some time yet.