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Edited by Host, Flawed by Design

Apple are blackholing complaints about what some claim is deliberately flagging manufacturing quality.

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CUPERTINO (Rixstep) -- The Apple forum nannies who officially no longer exist are back in action. Yet again. This time it's flagging displays on one year old MacBooks. As more and more people joined the thread to say they'd had the same bad luck the company that believes in 'Think Different' closed the topic. In less than one day.

Now if anyone wants to know the extent of the flaw they'll have to go elsewhere. This is by design.

Lines on Display

Only yesterday 'kp1980' reported his precious Apple computer was suddenly acting up.

I have five 1 pixel lines on my display for a about two weeks. It started as 1 blue line now its 5 lines, 3 blue, yellow and pink. Tried switching off, changing resolutions and colours, nothing worked. Warranty ran out the week before this happened.

What was surprising was that so many others experienced the same issue - and all at the one year mark. Were Apple cutting costs and quality again? 'Clint Smith' added his own story.

It started out a 1 pink line, then about 2 weeks later another 2 lines appeared. Every now and then when I start up they are gone but seem to fade in after about 5 minutes. Hope the screen is not at the end of its life as mine too is just out of waranty.

'kp1980' returned with more information.

I went to an Apple store and had one of the guys take a look at it. We hooked up a second monitor and that one showed perfectly. He seems to think it is the display itself, repair cost $780!!!!! This problem started 3 days after my warranty ran out! When I queried if this was a problem he saw before he said yes, seems like there a quite a few of these machines out there with this same problem.

3 days out of warranty man that's lame.

'kp1980' seems to have had other words of endearment for the BMW of computers for at that point in his post it says the following.

Message was edited by: Host

Scratching the Surface

Naturally this is unacceptable for a company telling everyone what high quality products they make - when the exact opposite seems to be true more and more. But it's only scratching the surface. 'TR' tells a story about an MBP he was given at work.

I have the new LED backlit model. I was excited about LED until this piece of crap arrived. LEDs are always too bright to look at, so no big deal, I can turn the brightness down. The real problem though is that they did not opt to use the more expensive white LEDs but are using cheap LEDs with a bluish tint.

Rather than fix it in hardware by putting in white LEDs some frigtard in their brain trust decided 'hey we have ColorSync, why not just create a color profile that will add some yellow back in to balance the color and save all that money?'

All the decision makers heard was save money, so they rubber-stamped it.

On the surface it may sound like a fine idea, but let me explain why this was the dumbest idea of 2007. The screens on these new machines are either glossy or matte, except the matte are not real matte, they apparently are the glossy with a sprayed on coat of something that adds some diffraction to make them seem matte. Either way there is no true matte finish to diffract the light in different directions. This means the light waves seem to be coming more directly out of the screen.

Do the math. This equates to a tighter viewing angle of the light waves. If you are off of perpendicular by even 1 degree on the X or Y plane you are no longer getting the direct effect of the blue-tinted light waves. Which means what you see no longer balances out with the yellow tint they added in ColorSync.

So believe me: if you ever try to show anyone something on your screen and work together in the same air space, you will get tired of being asked why things look yellow.

Do they test this stuff? They can't have. At least not in a real life or work setting. Or maybe they assumed everyone would just use iChat's new screen sharing and no one would ever sit side by side to collaborate again.

How BMW Do It

'TR' continues.

The keyswitches in the keyboard are terrible. I've been using this machine for 3 months now and I still have to go back and closely proof read everything I type because the keys are stiff and require enough action that I end up missing a lot of letters along the way. In contrast, the keyswitches in the 12" PowerBook were so perfect that I spent weeks online looking for ways to take one of those keyboards and make a USB keyboard out of it. Why did they change this?

The build quality sucks. The screen casing is slightly warped, so with the screen closed there is about 1/32" gap on the right corner and at least 1/16" gap on the left. The rubber bumpers do not touch the bottom casing at all unless you squeeze it together. The bottom casing is slightly warped and sags in the front middle just ever so slightly. Most people may not even notice but those of us with mild Aspberger's can see nothing but that all day every day. The plastic trim around the bottom casing has gaps all over the place and fits flush in fewer places than not. The battery compartment is not well designed and my battery gets stuck, requiring significant effort and fingernail work to try and get the battery out after releasing both latches.

I can't prove it but I could swear that Apple used some of the Core 2 Duos that had the math bug in the machine code and have never bothered to try and apply Intel's patches. I get occasional erratic behavior, yes from day 1 and on both Tiger and Leopard, that would normally indicate possible bad RAM. I have reseated the RAM and done RAM checks, though, and it checks out fine.

I was excited about the backlit keyboard until I tried to use it. Who designed this crap? Let me just say that Apple's 'helpful' ambient light sensors have always struck me to be as helpful as a golf coach is to a quadriplegic. I type with a mix between real typing and chicken-peck so I can keep my wrists at a comfortable angle to avoid carpal-tunnel flare-ups. This means my hands are always hovering over the ambient light sensors since they put them in such a brain-dead place - right next to the edges of the keyboard in the speaker grills. Watching the brightness of the screen and keyboard constantly fluctuate is about as fun as getting seasick. Or maybe they are the same thing. Suffice to say that ambient light sensing is the first thing I turned off for the screen. In their infinite wisdom, though, the geniuses at Apple deemed that we were too stupid to know how bright our keyboard backlights should be and they removed the ability to control it manually. It is off or on with all its fluctuating glory. Yes, there are brightness adjusters on the keyboard at F9 and F10, but... you guessed it... using them does NOT turn off the ambient sensors and give you manual control, rather it changes the maximum brightness level. I couldn't deal with it so I turned it off. So much for that feature.

The Hitachi Dual Layer Superdrive is a piece of crap. A friend burned a CD on his iBook for me. The MacBook Pro could not read it. So I got out the 12" PowerBook, popped in the CD, connected to the MacBook Pro over wireless, copied everything over, then ejected the CD and shut the PowerBook back down. Now that's progress my friends. Often, when I put a disc in, something gets out of align and the drive will make an awful racket before giving up and ejecting. It is worse when I put in a blank CD or DVD, start the burn, and only then hear the noise kick in and wait for the shiny new coaster that will come out when the Finder finally realizes the burn process has failed.

So you must be thinking 'why don't you just call Apple and get a replacement?' The reason is twofold.

First: this is my work machine. I can't afford days and days of downtime. Second: these are the type of build quality issues that I expect to be present in the replacement machine as well, so why waste the time? The last models of iBooks, MacBooks, and previous model iMacs are proof that build quality has taken a major downturn at Apple, so I have no faith in them to be able to give me another LED based MacBook Pro that will be any better.

Several of my complaints are present by design, so those at least will be present in a replacement model. Why bother? I've been telling people for years that if they bought a Mac they'd pay a little more but get much better hardware quality that would last them longer. Boy are they going to be ticked at me over the next 6 months to a year as their machines start having issues.

See Also
Apple Discussions: Lines on Display
BMW automobiles - website of the BMW AG

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