And as the tech at an AASP I will give you this advice:
We are very very busy replacing hard drives. Apple has sent an email to everyone that owns one of these models of macs that registered with their email address. They've ALL been advised to bring in their computers for a hard drive replacement.
Apple doesn't ever us the "R" word (Recall) but that's what it is. They call these things "Quality Programs" or "Repair Extension Programs". ("the" program...) Almost all previous REPs required three things. (1) you had to own a computer whose SN fell within the stated range, and (2) your computer had to be experiencing the symptoms described, and (3) the symptoms had to be due to the part failing.
This Quality Program only requires (1) your computer's SN to be in range. As a result, we are getting upwards of a dozen calls a day to arrange service, about half of which actually bring them in that day. So we are quite busy. The repair requires pulling off the glass and the LCD panel, which takes time, care, and space.
We are also doing data recovery from old drives to new. It's very important for you to understand that Apple will NOT pay for labor charges to transfer your data to the replacement drive. Apple's informational page simply tells you that you ought to have a backup, and restore from it after the hard drive is replaced. They make no attempt to explain what will have to happen if you don't have a backup.
This leaves you with several options:
(1) you have no backup and bring it in and don't want to pay for service. We replace your hard drive and you get back a blank drive, will have to use your restore discs and reinstall the OS yourself, and start from scratch or whatever backups you happen to have and need.
(2) you have no backup and bring it in and are willing to pay for service. We replace your hard drive and copy the data from the old drive to new. It goes back with you looking exactly like it did yesterday.
(3) you have a backup and bring it in and are willing to pay for service. We replace your hard drive and restore the time machine backup you provided. It goes back with you looking exactly like it did yesterday. We charge slightly less for this than option (2).
(4) you have a backup and don't want to pay for service. We replace your hard drive and you get back a blank drive. You boot off your restore discs and do the time machine restore yourself.
(5) you have no backup and don't want to pay for service. We sell you an external hard drive, which you take home and set up for time machine and run the initial backup, then bring the computer in to us. We replace your hard drive and you get back a blank drive. You boot off your restore discs and do the time machine restore yourself.
We are currently suggesting option (5) for customers that do not have a backup. It doesn't cost a lot more than option (2), but you get more for your money. Your imac is restored the same, but now you also have a time machine backup which you did not before. We've ordered a large number of external drives to deal with the rush.
We've looked around and some AASPs are charging hundreds of dollars to do the data restore. We're charging 1/2 hour of labor which is considerably less.
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department