There was a time when all loyal Macintosh users knew this as a symbol of all that was fair and good in the land of Apple. Free, lifetime, 24-hour tech support was just a toll-free phonecall away.

For example, years ago my PowerBook 520 died when it was about a year old. One pleasant phonecall and a few diagnostic steps later, an empty, padded box was overnighted to my home. I packed up the laptop, and Airborne Express picked it up for me the same day, free of charge. Five days later, I had my laptop (with all its data intact) back in my grateful hands, and not a penny out of my pocket. That is what customer support should be like. I've been spoiled for tech support ever since.

Now they make you pay into their Apple Care scheme, and the quality of support has gone downhill as well.

Note that there is an answer if you call 1-800-S0S-APPLE (by mistakenly dialing zero instead of six for the 'O' in 'SOS'), and it is a phone sex line. Supposedly people do this by accident all the time, but it sounds like an urban legend to me.

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