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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Tales of the Genius Bar: 12-inch MacBook display etching issue

Tales of the Genius Bar: 12-inch MacBook display etching issue
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MacNN Staff
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Sep 1, 2015, 08:56 AM
Every now and then, even we have to make a trip to the Apple Genius Bar. For those new to the Apple family, the Genius Bar is embedded deep in an Apple retail store, and its the prime destination for Apple tech support for consumers, regardless if hardware or software related. As my 12-inch MacBook is covered under warranty, I recently took it in for inspection at the Genius Bar for an issue where it appears that the trackpad has made contact with the display surface and left permanent marks.

Making an appointment to see someone at the Genius Bar used to be a relatively straightforward online booking experience. However, recently, Apple changed the process so that there are more self-service and troubleshooting options available to you to stave off any issues that might unnecessarily take up the time of its Genius Bar staff. You can also make an appointment by going in store and speaking with a concierge, but this may not even be for the same day you walk in.

Publication date of this story is September 1. Note that there is no September 1 availability at this store- there were in other nearby stores, though.
Publication date of this story is September 1. Note that there is no September 1 availability at this store- there were in other nearby stores, though.

Sometimes they can fit you in as a "walk-in" appointment, if you're lucky -- but don't count on it. To make an appointment online, which we recommend, visit Apple's service portal.

Thankfully, as an Apple owner, Genius Bar appointments are a relatively infrequent occurrence. It can be one of the best things about owning an Apple product and why Apple engenders such a loyal following from its customer base. It can also go terribly, terribly wrong.

I love my space gray 12-inch MacBook. As I highlighted in our review, it is just about the perfect ultraportable notebook for me, with a great balance between usability, portability and fantastic design. One of its hallmark features is its gorgeous Retina display, which offers a sumptuous viewing experience. It was somewhat disconcerting then, to notice that it had picked up some marks in the display that we could not simply wipe off.

It appears that the display panel has been in regular contact with the outer edges of the trackpad recess. I also noticed, that despite a thin rubber banding designed to keep the display from the trackpad surface, that it was making contact with the trackpad surface as well, leaving finger oil from the trackpad on the display between where the marks had become embedded in the display surface.

I only noticed this issue with the display off, but open, and from an angle. So, it will be of interest to see whether this is part of a more widespread issue, or simply isolated to our 12-inch MacBook. The Apple Genius gave the display a thorough wipe down, but could not remove the marks from the surface of the display. As the marks are not noticeable when the display is on, it is something that we could live with. Given that it shouldn't have occurred, and may get worse with time, we felt that it was bringing to Apple's attention.

As expected, the Apple Genius had no trouble putting through our 12-inch MacBook for a warranty repair, which will be getting done this week. It was interesting to note that the replacement part was AU$569 ($400), which is what it would cost us to replace the display part had any damage to it had been our fault. The Apple Genius told us that it would take about 3 working days to have the repair completed. I'm considering keeping a (very thin!) cloth between the display and the trackpad in the future, just to ensure there is no repeat occurrence of the issue.

The Apple Genius Bar and overall customer service and support are generally second to none. While I am disappointed with what has happened to my 12-inch MacBook, I am delighted this time with Apple's customer-first response to the issue and for bringing it to a swift resolution this time.

However, this has not always been the case with staffers, or in our forums. We've launched this periodic column not as an exposé, or as part of the Apple machine, but to point out the good and the bad of Apple service. In this case, our service was excellent. In William's experience with his Apple Watch, also excellent. While Mike, our Managing Editor, didn't write about his issues, he had a less than stellar initial experience with the Genius Bar denizens at his local Apple Store. After involving Apple corporate (and not mentioning his status here at MacNN), he ultimately got the problem resolved, but not through an Apple store's service center.

We want your stories of joy and horror at the hands of Apple Genius Bars. You can either email them to us, or leave them in a comment here. Please don't leave names of people who helped or "helped" you.

- Sanjiv Sathiah
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Sep 1, 2015 at 04:32 PM. )
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 1, 2015, 09:05 AM
Keep it on topic. This is for a discussion of the Genius Bar, not the merits of the new MacBook.
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Sep 1, 2015, 09:15 AM
As a certified technician and an IT manager I used to have bad experiences at the genius bar years ago and hadn't gone in a long time. My iPhone recently started to experience an issue of intermittently not responding to touch. I dreaded going to Apple thinking that they would just say there is no problem. I went to the the Genius Bar, told them the problem, and of course it wasn't happening then, and the Genius guy just said okay and they got me a brand new phone. They never questioned me or even asked me what steps I took to resolve the issue, just replaced the phone. That was by far the best customer service experience I have ever had. Kudos to the Apple Store for that and now I will not dread going there again, but I hope I never have to.
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Sep 1, 2015, 12:45 PM
What the hell did I just read?
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Sep 1, 2015, 03:43 PM
You may want to point out that the Genius Bars are actually located inside of Apple Stores, located within some major city shopping malls.
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Sep 1, 2015, 07:43 PM
"Thankfully, as an Apple owner, Genius Bar appointments are a relatively infrequent occurrence."

Owning Apple stock minimizes the number of problems that you have with Apple products?
Sanjiv Sathiah
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Sep 1, 2015, 08:17 PM
I certainly don't own any Apple stock. Would have loved to have bought in when they were $40 as I wanted to, but didn't have the money at the time. The horse has well and truly bolted on that front, sadly.

I've used plenty of tech products over the years, from Apple and other companies. In my experience, things don't often go wrong with Apple products, but when they do, the Genius Bar really helps to set Apple apart from the crowd for the most part as you get to deal with someone face to face and show them what might be going wrong.

This beats the heck out of contacting someone over the phone in some remote call center and going through the pain of that, followed by posting off your piece of tech, and hoping that it gets back to you in good time, problem fixed.

Apple is not perfect, of course. Its rapid expansion since the 2007 launch of the iPhone has put pressure on its support systems, and quality control.

But overall, there is no other tech company that quite comes close to Apple for engineering, design, reliability, and most importantly, customer service, when something goes wrong.
Electronista Staff
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