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February 7th, 2000

[8:00 AM] Apple Rolls Out Technician Repair Program...At Last!
by Staff

This weekend, Apple rolled out a new program for becoming Apple certified. The company has unveiled a new training and testing program called AppleCare Technician Training. Long a mainstay of Microsoft's revenue engine, Apple's new program offers a technical standard that has long been absent in the Mac world. According to Apple's web site:

The only Apple-approved service training - AppleCare Technician Training is the only curriculum of its kind developed by Apple-the people who know Mac systems best. It's self-paced and easy to use, so you have total control over your learning. When you're ready to take the exam, you can go to any convenient Sylvan Prometric testing center.

Apple diagnostic tools - MacTest Pro software can help you keep Macintosh computers and their peripherals running smoothly. It's great for performing preliminary diagnoses and testing systems after repairs. The software's modular design lets you customize its diagnostic tools for different testing environments.

Valuable reference materials - The Service Source CD is loaded with vital resources that you'll need as you work your way through the courses. It includes basic servicing information; troubleshooting flowcharts; adjustment procedures; take-apart, upgrade, and repair procedures; product specs; and exploded-view diagrams.

Certification Exam preparation - AppleCare Technician Training will give you the expertise you need to pass the AppleCare Service Certification Exams. Its courses cover such topics as general computer terminology, Apple-specific computer architectures, Mac troubleshooting and preventive maintenance, and Apple technologies.

Curriculum Requirements

  • An Apple computer with a PowerPC processor
  • Mac OS 8.5 or later
  • A display capable of at least 800- by 600-pixel resolution and thousands of colors
  • A CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
  • A JavaScript-enabled web browser, such as:
    • Netscape Communicator 4.5 or later
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.5 or later
  • QuickTime 3 or later
  • Adobe Acrobat 3.0 or later
  • An Internet connection to use the Internet links included in the training

Curriculum Contents

  • Getting Started letter
  • Technician Training CD
  • Service Source CD
  • MacTest Pro diagnostic CDs

Important Note: A cathode-ray tube (CRT), such as the picture tube in Apple monitors and all-in-one computers, operates at very high voltages and contains a high vacuum. Follow all safety procedures in the Technician Training and Service Source CDs to prevent serious injury or death.

The program is proced at US$299 and is available to anyone interested in becoming certified. You can find more information on the program at Apple's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Becoming Microsoft Certified is the goal of many a lemming. It gaurantees a high paying job at some faceless corporate institution or another. That's the cynical view, though it has some basis in reality. Microsoft's certification process is unbelievably difficult because of the sheer volume of information one must master to pass.

Speaking of reality, because of the prevalence of Microsoft's certification process, the corporate world has largely come to look for being certified in this or that as a measure of one's skill. The mere fact that most Mac repair people do not need to be certified to do their job is actually a detriment to their being hired. It also tends to keep people with this mind set from taking the entire platform seriously. For this reason, it is absolutely fantastic that Apple has developed and released this certification program. Not only does it suddenly give Corporate IT people something to latch on to, it gives the rest of the public something to measure their Mac techs against also.

Add to this the fact that this program will likely be a major revenue stream for the company worth many millions of dollars annually. There are lots of folks out there who would like to be certified, not all of them working in repair shops. The big difference between Apple's new program and Microsoft is the cost (Apple's is FAR cheaper) and the fact that many more people who attempt Apple's program will likely pass it than those in the PC camp trying to become Microsft Certified. We have not seen the program yet, but the level of complextiy is an order of magnitude higher onthe PC side.

One prediction: There will likely be grumbling from Mac users who feel that Apple is charging too much at US$299. This is cheap for a program like this. As we said above, it is also far cheaper than Microsoft's programs. Considering the fact that it comes with very valuable resources, it is well worth the price.


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