Curse of the MacBook

While the title is a large departure from my previous praises, I now feel that they are warranted. I desperately want to love this machine, but it’s terribly difficult when I only have it 25% of the time.

I’d like to recap my experiences so far with the MacBook(s) and Apple to justify my…despair.

  1. MacBook 1: Purchased while on vacation at the beginning of the summer, it was my dream machine. It was among the first batches of MacBooks and therefore didn’t suffer from the strange problems of later revisions (like the “Mooing” fans and yellow discoloration). Unfortunately, a few weeks later, the screen’s backlight died and I was forced to send it in for repair. Due to testing problems and the unavailability of supplies, it was another few weeks before Apple gave up on repairing it and sent me in to pick up a replacement.
  1. MacBook 2: This one didn’t last much at all. After bringing it home from the local Apple Store, I noticed that things weren’t packaged right. The cables were strewn haphazardly atop the machine itself, the remote control was outside of its bag, and the machine itself was not wrapped in the cloth bag that I had found on my previous machine. After bringing it back to the Apple store, it was confirmed that the box had somehow been opened and resealed and I was issued another replacement.
  1. MacBook 3: While this machine did exhibit the “Mooing”, I was able to suffer through it by making sure I was never working anywhere too quiet. A few weeks into this machine’s use, I noticed something that every MacBook owner dreads: yellow discoloration.
    It wasn’t quite as drastic as some other users have experienced, but it was definitely there and was getting worse. I had heard that Apple was quietly replacing cases on affected machines, so I gave it a shot. While the Apple representative was very adamant about never seeing this type of discoloration (he attributed it to the case’s porous nature and…anti-bacterial soap), he did agree to replace it and I came home with a fresh case. I set the laptop on my desk to get back to work and found that one corner was at least a quarter of an inch above the other. I don’t really know how such a drastic misalignment could have gone unnoticed, but the problem remained and I was issued yet another replacement.
  2. MacBook 4: It seems like the fourth time’s the charm for me as I haven’t experienced any of the previous problems so far. I was able to prevent at least one problem (the discoloration) by using ShieldZone’s MacBook Shield. While the application process was a little difficult (expect to get into a fight with whoever helps you), the results are well worth it. Protecting the computer with this invisible shield has prevented the discoloration thus far for me and helps protect the computer from other scratches and dings.

With a MacBook, it’s the luck of the draw. Some people have gotten problem-free units right from the beginning, while others (like myself) have been forced through painful cycles of repair and replacement. One more problem and this thing is gone for good.

  1. Wow – what a sequence of events. I am sorry to hear that you have had so many problems.

    I purchased a Macbook Pro a little over a month ago and had one item on it defective (well flaky is more a description of it). The airport card kept causing it to kernel panic. After 7 days of troubleshooting, apple support calls and whatnot we reached that conclusion and they sent a call tag to pick it up and have it repaired. I now have it back and couldn’t be happier.

    I do have to say this, apple support was awesome. From the day it left me, got repaired, and then was returned it was 2 days! I was without my machine for only 2 days.

    I think you are more accurate than you know speaking of the luck of the draw. Unfortunately I think the intel part of apple has really started creating more un-anticipated problems than apple expected.

    Here’s to continued luck with yours!

    James Mitchell

    Jul 31, 06:26 AM #

  2. Thanks James,

    Yeah, it seems like I’ve experienced pretty much every possible problem. Luckily, my bad luck seems to have ended with my current machine (I hope I didn’t jinx anything :D).


    Aug 3, 07:35 AM #

  3. Ah, not really! You didn’t experience RDS which is Random Shut Downs which I do experience. You are working, and poof, it’s shut down. In a matter of second. Like you cut power.

    I do get it becoming yellow too. So, hope to get it fixed soon. (We don’t have AppleCare in Poland, so it is possibly not as quick as in other countries to have it replaced)

    Piotr Usewicz

    Aug 24, 12:09 PM #

  4. Piotr:
    Eek! I’ve heard about those. Luckily, no such reboots here…I think I’ve found a good one :D


    Aug 26, 09:43 PM #

  5. What? Your magsafe adapter hasn’t sparked out yet? Well, you’ve got that to look forward to! So far my macbook has stayed white though (knock on plastic).
    BTW I love your site design.

    Tai McQueen

    Mar 8, 01:09 PM #

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