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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Macbook Defects Ever Resolved?

Macbook Defects Ever Resolved?
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lowbuzz
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Nov 28, 2007, 11:56 PM
 
Hi - I was wondering if anyone had one of the latest revision MacBooks and might be able to report on whether Apple has resolved any of the myriad of problems with their intel-based MacBooks (not the Pros)?

I'm a loyal Mac user - but I'm worried that Apple is neglecting their laptops in favor of the iPhones and iPods. Even the wildest "fanboys" have to be a bit disappointed with Leopard. Seriously, it's like they're focusing most of their energy on the new gadgets. It's like "Here's another MacBook - it's a little faster." But WAIT 'til you see what we've got in store for you on the ALL NEW APPLE HDSUPERMEGAMUSIC TV! What's up with that?

Anyway, from what I've read, Apple has stated that the MacBook is not a "laptop" - basically recusing themselves from the issues of the machines being too hot? And I'm definitely one of those people who do a lot of work from the comfort of their couch So if it ain't a laptop, it ain't for me.

So has Apple fixed anything, or did they just roll out the same machine, the same flawed design with a faster (and you'd suspect, even hotter) processor?

I'd really like to get a new MacBook for the holidays - but I'm seriously spooked by all of the horror stories I've read.

The best I can afford is the lowest end model, I definitely can't afford AppleCare - and I'd prefer not to end up with a portable "desktop".

I don't know whether I'm running into stories from "haters" or what's up - but this is definitely the first time I've literally been SCARED to buy a new Mac because it might end up being a total piece of junk.

I still have a 7600/132 I cranked up the other day - good old reliable Apple. I even have an Apple /// that still works.

But I seriously don't know whether I can trust Apple these days -

So any advice would be greatly appreciated.

And my apologies if I upset any zealots with possibly disparaging remarks about Apple - but man... I wish they'd turn their attention back to computers for a couple of days.
     
chabig
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Nov 29, 2007, 02:54 AM
 
I'm having difficulty taking your post seriously.

There are no "myriad" of problems with the MacBooks. The machines are not flawed. Leopard is not a disappointment.

If you would really like to get a MacBook, get one. I've purchased four so far and they are the best Macs I've ever owned.

Chris
     
lowbuzz  (op)
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Nov 29, 2007, 01:30 PM
 
MacBook - Appledefects

There also seem to be quite a few posts in the apple forums.

Are you very wealthy that you've already purchased four? I can only afford one - and I was the victim of the "stinky ibook" issue that's well documented in the Apple forums, where the keyboard for some odd reason just started smelling like B.O. It was no big deal, as I found a replacement on eBay and the issue hasn't resurfaced.

The point being - Apple, like any other company, releases defective products.

And the site listed above, along with the complaints on Apple's forums, seriously frighten me.

As for Leopard, I shouldn't have gone off on that tangent - it's just we waited a long time for it, expecting something revolutionary given the delays. I'm sure Leopard is fine - just the delay built up a great deal of anticipation on my part. I'd just expected Leopard to be the last nail in the coffin for Bill Gates - like this wildly revolutionary OS that hadn't been released because they didn't want Windows stealing everything (as usual)... then it just kinda landed with a bit of a "thud" for me. Nothing to jones about really?

The only reason I brought it up is that I suppose Apple has somewhat limited resources - and it seems all of their energy lately has been focused on everything but their computers.

Given you have four, and I would suspect the finances to go out and buy a new one if you like - I suppose I was more hoping for feedback from folks who've bought the latest revision MacBook and use it as their primary machine?

Thanks for your input.
( Last edited by lowbuzz; Nov 29, 2007 at 01:42 PM. )
     
lowbuzz  (op)
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Nov 29, 2007, 02:11 PM
 
Quick update - scanning these forums, there seems to be significant fear and reporting of MacBook issues.

My G4 iBook is the bomb - it runs great, has nice sharp video, and has only once failed (due to a bad hard drive). Other than that, I can darn well pick the thing up, flip open the lid, and get my work done. It's my primary machine and it's a sweet little workhorse.

So back to the topic - have the issues been resolved, or do we just need to wait until Steve has his team refocus their efforts on computers for a bit?

I can't afford to buy a piece of junk - quite seriously.
     
Big Mac
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Nov 29, 2007, 02:16 PM
 
In all fairness to the MacBook, Apple let the thoroughly defective iceBook G3 go through its entire lifecycle without fixing the problem(s) that caused logic board damage. I don't think MacBooks are anywhere near that level of defective design.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
lowbuzz  (op)
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Nov 29, 2007, 02:31 PM
 
Hi Big Mac,

I have one of those also. They replaced my logic board - then the keyboard started smelling like B.O. (as mentioned above). My fiancee still uses it every day, though - and it overall performed very well for me.

But it didn't hum or crack or have a grainy display - the type of stuff I'm hearing about the MacBook makes it sound like some substandard POS straight from some Chinese forced labor camp.

When I buy Apple, I'm buying (at least) a BMW. I'm paying a premium and I expect the machine to be top rate.

My only guess here is that, given the success of the iPod, Apple found some cheap outsourcing outfit to mass produce the little gizmos - then some corporate schmuck said "Hey, let's have them handle the laptops, too."

Again, I've never been so freaked out researching a new purchase.

I'm just hoping chabig, given he/she's so rich to own 4 of them, might just be nice and send a poor brother one that's just lying around.

If I'm not laying down a grand of my own hard earned money, then hey - chill with me if it's a substandard POS.

Otherwise, I don't want my daily workhorse making stupid noises, cracking, cutting my wrists, basically running like a Yugo.

I want my Beemer - Apple engineering and innovation at its finest.

And it was my idiocy to buy that first generation G3 iBook (I had chabig's kinda money back then) - obviously that's always a stupid move. You don't buy first generation anything unless you're looking for a headache.

So again, thanks for the input - but back to the topic: Given this is round 3 or 4, did they FIX the machines yet or no?

If not, fine - I'll wait 'til they get past the whole iPhone drive and get back to making decent laptops.
( Last edited by lowbuzz; Nov 29, 2007 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Too many smilies - but this is laden with a bit of sarcasm)
     
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Nov 29, 2007, 02:47 PM
 
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lowbuzz  (op)
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Nov 29, 2007, 03:00 PM
 
I am NOT a troll - I just have a sense of humor and was satirizing the problem.

If Apple can't be depended on to make a decent laptop, then (quite seriously) why not buy another brand and make it run OS X?

Apple has a monopoly on the finest, most dependable OS (I LOVE MY IBOOK) - but that doesn't necessarily mean their machines are any good anymore.

Maybe if it were possible to do that, Apple would stop making junk.

I fully EXPECT other PC makers to put out cheap junk - because it is cheap junk and it's priced as cheap junk.

I don't mind paying the premium for Apple as long as I'm getting a premium product to go with my premium OS.

But if they're gonna churn out junk and not even bother to fix the junk in later revisions - then it'd be nice to put some pressure on them.

I may be a jokester - but not a troll.
     
lowbuzz  (op)
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Nov 29, 2007, 03:05 PM
 
Addendum:

But I did live under a bridge one night in Brooklyn. I was in an apartment, though. It's no wonder trolls are angry, though - bridges are VERY noisy. Put me in a foul mood the one night I was there. Not foul enough to eat little boys and girls, though.

So no, I don't think I'm a troll.

I have to get some work done now - so I won't be able to repond until this evening, should anyone else call me nasty names.
( Last edited by lowbuzz; Nov 29, 2007 at 03:17 PM. )
     
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Nov 29, 2007, 04:17 PM
 
The only major problem with MacBooks is the Airport issue when going on battery, this is affecting some MacBook Pros.

The heat is from the MB being so small. It happens, would you like a 800 MHz C7 CPU instead?
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Person Man
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Nov 29, 2007, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by lowbuzz View Post
MacBook - Appledefects

There also seem to be quite a few posts in the apple forums.
Things really aren't as bad as all the noise on the 'net makes it out to be. You have to realize that, for the most part, only people with problems are going to post them online. Apple makes hundreds of thousands of MacBooks, and out of those hundreds of thousands, only a small percentage has major problems. But it seems like all of them are broken, because you only hear about the bad ones. And most of those people will post to multiple forums about those problems.

Apple has a procedure they follow when someone reports a problem with their computers. A "defect" has to hit a certain "threshold" before Apple declares it to be a systematic flaw. Until it reaches that threshold, they handle the problems on a case-by-case basis. Yes, there may be others with the same problem. That doesn't make the problem a "design flaw."

These days anyone can start a website about a problem. 200 people post that they have the same problem, and then the person who started the website thinks it's a design flaw. What he doesn't know is that there are 99,800 people out there that DON'T have the problem. How is 200/100,000 a "design flaw??"

My brother owns a MacBook and has had no problems with it whatsoever. I own a MacBook Pro and have no problems either.

Just because you read about problems online doesn't mean you'll have them either.

So buy one and see what happens. I assure you, there are hundreds of thousands of happy MacBook owners out there but you won't hear about many of them because people without problems rarely post online about their lack of problems.
     
frdmfghtr
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Nov 29, 2007, 04:55 PM
 
First off, when a website's name is AppleDefects, don't be surprised when defects are talked about there...it's in the name after all.

Second, Apple is like any manufacturer--there is always going to be a certain percentage of units that have problems. You are also going to have disappointed users. Nothing is perfect for everybody, and we all buy something at some point that doesn't live up to expectations. Users with these bad units or unmet expectations are going to be more vocal than the rest of us who have solid performers. The "solid performers" group tends to be quieter because good performance is expected; it's nothing to be shouted from the mountains.

If something was "defective by design" then many, many, MANY more units would have problems, and Apple's service depots and support lines would be overwhelmed. It's really in a company's best interest not to produce junk, since in the long run, junk costs more in terms of repairs and reputation (I just made that up, but it seems logical).

I've had a MacBook since January 2007 as my ONLY computer, and I have been very satisfied with it. I use it every day, for web surfing, email, World of Warcraft, thesis writing, video encoding, and MATLAB data analysis, to name a few tasks. I had good battery life under Tiger; under Leopard, it seems to have gotten somewhat BETTER (but that might also be caused by a more power-efficient hard drive I installed), occasionally hitting six hours runtime.

The only real issue I have had with it was a series of kernel panics last spring that occurred on a very predictable basis, until Airport 2007-002 update came out, and I have not had any problems since then.

Some talk about connectivity issues with Bluetooth mice--none here that didn't turn out to be the mouse itself (they don't work well with loose battery clips). Temperature has never been an issue either; it only gets hot running WoW or during video encoding.

It's not perfect but overall, it's a solid performer.
     
mduell
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Nov 29, 2007, 06:40 PM
 
There are a lot of random defects, but few defects are systemic and as far as I know all the systemic defects have been resolved (random shutdowns, staining plastics, blocked vent, and mooing come to mind)v. Being hot/not a 'laptop' is pretty much the standard these days unless you're intentionally buying something low powered (like the Eee).

Many if not most of the items listed on AppleDefects are things the company will fix when you bring it to their attention. Apple uses the same ODMs that the rest of the industry uses (and has, for quite some time now), so I don't think you can expect more or less random defects from other major brands.
     
Big Mac
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Nov 29, 2007, 07:27 PM
 
Incidentally, I tried to register at AppleDefects to let people know one post contained incorrect information, but I never got posting authorization. Perhaps it's because I registered using my .Mac account.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Nov 29, 2007, 07:53 PM
 
The only problem I have, so far, on my one day old MacBook, is the keyboard and trackpad randomly fail. A more serious problem is my delete key only works about every 5 times I push it. There seem to be quite a few people both here and at the Apple forums with similar keyboard problems, and I see that keyboard problems are listed on that AppleDefects website as well.
     
vtboyarc
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Nov 29, 2007, 09:27 PM
 
I am a college computer science major, I got a macbook, 2.16Ghz, 2gb of ram, I love it, never had any problems what so ever. Its way better than windows machines
     
analogika
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Nov 30, 2007, 11:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
There are a lot of random defects, but few defects are systemic and as far as I know all the systemic defects have been resolved (random shutdowns, staining plastics, blocked vent, and mooing come to mind)v. Being hot/not a 'laptop' is pretty much the standard these days unless you're intentionally buying something low powered (like the Eee).

Many if not most of the items listed on AppleDefects are things the company will fix when you bring it to their attention. Apple uses the same ODMs that the rest of the industry uses (and has, for quite some time now), so I don't think you can expect more or less random defects from other major brands.
Worth repeating.

Most of the stuff on that page is, well, machines breaking.
If I blow a tire on my car and go on the internet and set up an article on GoodyearDefects.com, you'd argue that Goodyear tires have "defects"?


Very few of them are "issues".

In fact, I'm only aware of the Sudden Shutdown problem, the palmrest discoloration, and unrecognized batteries as affecting whole batches of MacBooks.

All of which have since been resolved and are/were covered under warranty or extended repair/replacement programs.


Sell ten million of anything, some them are going to break and get documented on the internet. Just for scale: Even 2 percent of ten million is 200,000 machines.
     
lowbuzz  (op)
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Nov 30, 2007, 11:15 PM
 
Thanks much for all the helpful info -

I try not to be influenced by a vocal minority, but I guess Macs have just gotten more popular - so there's more "noise" out there than normal.

But given the ad I just saw from Intel about their new chip and the rumor mill on the "memory" drives - I think I'll just hold off for another few months and see what churns up.

At some point, I figger Apple has to return their focus to their computers and lay off the gizmos for a bit. I'm hoping we'll see that in January.
     
tycheung
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Nov 30, 2007, 11:56 PM
 
i'm on my second macbook - I have to say, I think the build quality is definitely better than the old generation iBooks, at least from the polycarbonate and keyboard standpoint.

I'm on my second one. The 1st one was the earliest generation Macbook, bought in May - the main issues it had were likely heat related (random shut down syndrome) and a HD that died. the heat thing was replaced by an Apple logic board replacement under Applecare, and the HD - I just used the excuse to upgrade to a bigger one Otherwise, it's ran essentially flawlessly. On Tiger/OS 10.4, at least

My new one - I bought after the Crestline ones came out and the LCD screen was a bit crooked. Replaced at the Apple Store with a new machine and so far it's been flawless.

Leopard....yeah it seems like there hasn't been quite the thinking-thru process for certain aspects of it - most the interface where I think maybe they thought a little...tooo hard. But I've had none of the issues other people reported, it's been pretty solid for me. The kernel and other low level changes apparently are pretty solid and huge step up from before. And it's not crippleware like the Vista multimedia subsystems.

With the major releases of panther, jaguar, tiger - there always were issues and I'm not really convinced leopard was more buggy than those released at their .0 releases....

with the hardware aspects - I'm sure there has been a degree of loss of control of the QA process inherent to outsourcing - you have to make your specs a certain level but I think the whole outsourcing process adds that much more steps to the complexity and things fall through...it' be interesting to see the reliability of other laptops - from what I hear, the IBM's used to be pretty solid, at least before lenovo, but everone else pretty much had their share of problems.
     
brettcamp
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Dec 2, 2007, 03:07 AM
 
My understanding is that most of the MacBook problems afflicted the very first generation of machines, and most were fixed in the first or second revision. (It was a more extreme example of an unfortunately rather common Apple first-gen curse. I've always bought later-generation Macs so I don't know firsthand, but this is what's commonly reported.) I wish I could afford to buy one to find out for sure, but my 2005 PowerBook is still doing everything I need it to. But everything I've read makes me confident that the newer models are reliable. I'd still get AppleCare though.
     
ankurcd
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Dec 2, 2007, 06:27 AM
 
Hi lowbuzz,

I myself am planning to shift to a Macbook soon... being a hassled Windows user till now - I did not have an issue being won over by OS X Leopard... that was the easy part...

But, I was also overwhelmed by the hardware reports of discoloration, overheating, random shut downs, grainy display and poor graphics... believe me...

Since then, I have technically crossed checked all of these and have found that the real issues have been addressed and others are actually individual piece defects rather than a generic issue.

I would like to declare that I have been positively reassured about the Macbook "issues"...

BUT, I still have the following "could-be better" points:

i) DVD Writer is absent in the base model Macbook.
ii) 2 GB RAM is not standard.
iii) Worldwide distribution is poor.
iv) Prices in the rest of the world (other than the US) is on an average $350 to $450 more...

So after my research I have 3 choices...
i) ask someone in the US to get me one
ii) buy the darned machine with the international premium price!
iii) Wait for MWSF 2008 for something nicer... I will have to survive with my Thinkpad till then...

I have taken option iii) - Since it is already December, I am going to wait another month and a half and then go and buy a Macbook - irrespective of Steve introducing any upgrades or not!!!

Believe me - Apple has taught me a lot of patience - it is a virtue but it has its limits!!!!
Regards, Ankur
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switching from windows (via a Macbook) right after Steve's keynote on MWSF Jan 15 '08...!!!
     
mduell
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Dec 2, 2007, 02:15 PM
 
There won't be a MacBook upgrade at MWSF. Maybe a MacBook Pro announcement, but nothing for the MacBook.
     
ankurcd
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Dec 2, 2007, 07:06 PM
 
well mduell...I have got a month and a half more of waiting and nothing to lose... even if it won't be a brand new Macbook... they may have a nice upgrade like doing away with the combo drive (on thebase model) or having an alum casing.... or maybe upping the RAM...

as I said ... hoping against hope... sigh!
Regards, Ankur
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jsyoung82
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Dec 4, 2007, 03:11 PM
 
I switched from PCs to Macs in 2004, and all things considered, I've never been happier with my computer experience. I first purchased a Powerbook G4 while overseas, and then upon returning home, purchased a PowerMac G5. Both of these machines ran Tiger, and they both ran perfectly and neither of them crashed/froze even a single time, with very minimum maintenance required on my part. Both of these machine's fit and finish were perfect, and I absolutely loved both of them.

About six months ago, I sold both of these computers, and purchased a new MacBook for myself, and a new MBP for my wife. While obviously a step-up in computing power, in comparison (most directly) with the Powerbook, both the new MacBook and MBP are left lacking, in both of our opinions.

On a personal preference basis, having the MacBook, I far prefer the MBP keyboard. I made this trade-off knowingly for the smaller overall size, so I'm not angry about this, but they are two things which don't have to be mutually exclusive. Ergonomically, the edges around the bottom of my MacBook are far too sharp. I have large hands, so my wrists tend to rest right on the edge of the machine while typing and using the trackpad, and these edges have made doing so quite uncomfortable, to the point that I bought a bluetooth keyboard. Beyond the uncomfortable quality, the light-gray keyboard tray and the white external case just don't fit together. This goes for the edging around the display as well. Finally, since the day I took my MacBook out of the box, there have been spots on the screen that look just like if you had spilled soda on it and never wiped it off. (Mine is the glossy screen.) My unit was not a refurb, and as stated, these things were on the screen the first time I opened the unit--and no matter what I've tried, they absolutely will not come off. My local Apple Store and the customer service line will not service/replace this as a defect, since they say that this must have happened from something I had done. Needless to say, this is quite annoying.

My wife's MBP has issues of its own, but as this is about MacBooks, I won't go into them. I also have problems with Leopard--constantly crashing/freezing, programs that are supposed to be compatible not being, etc.--problems that I never had with Tiger--and I upgraded to Tiger from Panther within the same basic timeframe as I did from Tiger to Leopard. They have gotten so annoying, I'm currently backing up my system, then I'm going to start over with a fresh archive and install (did an upgrade initially). All in all, I am truly disappointed with both my MacBook, and my wife is disappointed with her MBP. They still both far outpace any non-Mac options, especially in the OS part of the equation, but they are both well below the quality that Apple very recently obtained, and thus what I was expecting. As the OP put it, if I pay for a BMW, I expect to get a BMW--not something masquerading as one.

Just my two cents...
     
tycheung
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Dec 4, 2007, 04:03 PM
 
did you install leopard on top of an existing tiger install or did you do "archive and install"?

honestly, I feel they should just eliminate the 1st option and offer only archive-and-install or a clean install...
     
jsyoung82
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Dec 4, 2007, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by tycheung View Post
did you install leopard on top of an existing tiger install or did you do "archive and install"?

honestly, I feel they should just eliminate the 1st option and offer only archive-and-install or a clean install...
I initially did the upgrade and installed Leopard over the Tiger install. As I'm typing, my MacBook is in the middle of an archive and install...so we'll see how that goes for me.
     
   
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