Almost a year ago, I bought a Late 2011 Sandy Bridge 15-inch MacBook Pro to replace my aging Early 2008 Penryn-powered model. And recently, I bought the AppleCare Protection Plan to extend its warranty. It cost me $489. Never in my life have I paid so much for what is essentially a string of 15 of numbers and alphabets.
But do you really need AppleCare Protection Plan?
In my experience, Apple products are generally well-built. This is my second MacBook Pro and, if I’m keeping track correctly, my sixth Apple product in the past three years. Apart from the two MacBook Pros, I have also owned the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and now the iPhone 5. None of my iPhones ever gave up on me and my Early 2008 MacBook Pro still runs well. I have even updated it to the new Mountain Lion OS.
However, my Late 2011 MacBook Pro appears to be a bit of a lemon. Ever since having it, I have been plagued by graphics and display issues. To fix it, I have already had the logic board replaced twice and had the display swapped once. Thankfully, my notebook is still under the typical one-year warranty that Apple provides on all its products. Otherwise, I have no doubt that the repairs would have cost me the price of another MacBook Pro. And so with the one-year warranty coming an end, it made sense to extend the warranty of my MacBook Pro.
So to answer the question, my advice would be to get the AppleCare Protection Plan only if you have experienced recurring problems with your Apple purchase within the first year. That's one good thing about AppleCare Protection Plan, you can purchase it at any point during Apple's standard one-year warranty period that's applicable on most of their products - you don't necessarily have to purchase it along with your device.
If your Apple product works well within the first year, then you should be safe. Fingers crossed, of course.
Specifications are not everything. It's what you do with what you have that matters.