To Apple, I say this: I agree with you, and I think every single hardware OEM and consumer electronics company should follow suit.
To the smokers, I say tough noogies, take your rotten cancer sticks with you and please swallow a truckload of Altoids down your creosote reeking maw before you get in close proximity of me, or I will throw up in your face.
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There are those that feel that once you purchase a computer you should be able to do anything you want with it. Fair enough. But that doesn't mean you should abuse the the heck out of it and expect an OEM to honor a warranty or accidental damage coverage.
As far as I can tell from my previous research on the subject, Apple is the strictest of the OEMs when it comes to its policies on accidents or abuse of equipment. Its Applecare program doesn't even offer the same type of ADC that HP, Lenovo or Dell has, as far as guaranteeing against drops or screen cracks or anything of the sort that falls out of the range of normal equipment failure.
Apple should definitely offer this type of additional insurance to buyers, considering those folks who travel often and may put their laptops or other systems at risk due to the sheer chance of it getting klunked around in the Rapiscan, in an aircraft overhead bin or by a mishandling by a TSA gorilla during a random inspection. These sort of things do happen, through no fault of our own.
However, as it relates to smoke damage, the company should have no mercy. As someone who has had to repair and maintain systems owned by chain smokers, I applaud what Apple is doing, and I think that every single vendor of systems equipment as well as consumer electronics should follow suit.
[UPDATED for clarification] I'll take Apple's objections over warranty coverage -- which is refusing to have their technicians work on smoke-exposed equipment due to Nicotine contamination concerns one step further. In my opinion, smoking next to a computer constitutes severe abuse of the equipment and if manufacturers continue to allow warranties to stand on systems which are sent in with smoke damage, then the costs of damage coverage is going to continue to be high and will rise for those of us who are non-smokers.
It costs OEMs money to replace those parts and perform the labor to clean out those gummed up filthy systems and those costs filter down to the consumer, whether they smoke or not. Not to mention run the risk of exposing their workers to the horrible gunk when they work on these machines and having to pay much higher insurance premiums on their health care plans.
Don't like this? Well, alternatively, if you smoke, your ADC insurance should be significantly higher than those of us who don't, just like it is for health and life insurance.
Sure you have the right to abuse your computer. But don't expect the OEM to honor any replacement or warranty repairs if you do.
Should Apple and other OEMs void warranties of systems with evidence of smoke damage or require more expensive ADC plans for smokers? Talk Back and Let Me Know.