also, while the initial 90 day phone support may run out on the standard 1 yr warranty, if u have a local apple store u really don't have a need for it seeing as how u could actually go into the store and sit down w/ a tech about the potential problems.
so for example u could just use your Mac for the bulk of the year, get in-person service if possible, and then decide on applecare toward the end of that period.
the cheapest price i've seen on applecare has been thru lacomputer
which isn't far off from many other brands' 3 yr service plans, and is actually cheaper than some. @ the standard $359 (i believe) for PB applecare, u'd be paying too much imo, and the applecare while sold thru a different vendor is the same coverage as u would buy from apple itself.
hope this helps.