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The Final Straw

Alphasubzero discovers manufacturing flaws in Apple's flagship notebooks. And realises they're widespread and as per usual Apple are doing nothing about them.


First the display problem. Then the overheating batteries. And now another ugly design flaw has reared its ugly head.

Tonight I lent my PowerBook to help in burning audio CDs for my girlfriend's sister's wedding, unaware that I was about to discover yet another nasty Apple design flaw that is well documented in Apple's support forums - with Apple's usual stance of refusing to recognise the problem or fix it under AppleCare.

I had one of the few master CDs and had started up K3b under Kubuntu to begin duplicating it. A lot of force was unusually required to get the CD to insert fully into the slot. The tracks were read and cached to my /tmp and the time came to insert one of the blanks. Except that the CD wouldn't eject. What? I tried all of the usual tricks. And then I had a look at the slot.

The case was warped above the slot and put enough pressure on the slot to warp it into a small smile. Great.

It took roughly 30 minutes with tweezers and a Q-tip in hand to pry up the case long enough to pull the CD out. Unfortunately the tweezers scratched the CD but that was the least of my worries.

A quick check on the Apple support forums as well as Google showed that this incident was not exactly isolated. Supposedly either from heat or palm pressure the aluminum case above the slot drive loading area warps, often to the point where the display/lid won't close the entire way and stay latched down.

See for yourself and do it now. Go to the Apple support forums and put in 'warped slot drive' as the search terms in the PowerBook forum.

http://discussions.apple.com/search.jspa?q=warped+slot+drive

One user lamented about how he couldn't get his PowerBook repaired under AppleCare as it was determined to be a 'cosmetic' issue. US$369 in the toilet.

If the case above the slot drive buckles from pressure on the palm rest, that to me speaks loudly as a design flaw. Reason the iBooks and most PC laptops do not have this problem is because the drives are located away from the palm rests.

And to make things worse I just recently forked over US$200 for a brand new aftermarket superdrive with dual layer burning capability. It took until 10.4.3 for Apple to finally acknowledge its existence without resorting to hacking. Of course I annihilated my AppleCare coverage by upgrading the burner and HDD. Then for the cherry topping dual-booting OS X and (K)ubuntu.

Then again, I doubt that AppleCare would have done anything anyway. At least the $369 paid for itself when I had to have my display replaced three times.

This is ridiculous on so many levels. I did not pay $2000 to beta test this machine. I did not buy this rev A PowerBook because I wanted to be as cool as the other window licking fanboys who wanted Apple's latest. I needed a replacement right then and there. I just wanted an Apple notebook that worked. Was that asking for too much? I mean we're talking about Apple's flagship notebook here!

It seems that all I have done in the three years of owning this laptop is pay for Apple's sloppy QA, just like the current MBP owners are doing now.

I am so done with Apple now. They can keep their beige box OS and their 2% marketshare for all I care.

This is the final straw.


Alphasubzero949 is the secret code name of a molecular biologist who also administers beige and other boxes in a research lab.

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