MBP: Good and Bad Apples

May 31st, 2006

This post is part of my MacBook Pro Complaints series. Instead of (or in addition to) linking directly to this post, consider linking to the series link, which includes a summary of all findings to date and direct links to the pertinent downloads that users may find useful. Thanks for reading!

Anybody who’s been following my MacBook Pro saga knows that I’ve had plenty to complain about over the past few months. Heck, I’m sick of hearing me complain. This entry is a compromise: I’ll both complain and rejoice about a few Apple employees I have had the pleasure and displeasure of working with over the past couple weeks.

Part 1: Good Apple

After the disappointment of sending my MBP in for repair, being without it for a week and a half, and then getting it back only to discover that nothing had been fixed, I was reluctant to send it in again. I ended up getting in touch with AppleCare again and ultimately being referred to Apple Customer Relations, which is a great service Apple provides for customers who “fall through the cracks” of ordinary customer care. Basically when you have a bad enough experience, they assign a customer relations person to keep an eye on your case and work with you through (hopefully) an ultimately positive resolution.

Apple Customer Relations is awesome! From the first call with my agent, she made it clear she was listening to me and understood my concerns. There were still very clear boundaries. No, Apple wasn’t going to send me a new computer. No, there are no loaners while the machine is in for repair. No, Steve Jobs will not take me to Disneyland. But within those boundaries she worked with me to try to find compromises that might make my life easier. She never questioned the legitimacy of my complaints (part of this is because they are not technically trained, but part of this is clearly because it’s bad business to tell your complaining customers that they are wrong).

I’m still so frustrated about the whole ordeal with my MacBook Pro, but the fact is, Apple is still talking to me. Apple is still trying to help. They are a big company and as such have secret support agendas, and have to avoid admitting when something is wrong even if they know it. Etc., etc., etc. But the are many, many companies where somebody with my number and severity of complaints would simply fall off the end of the support line. We’re sorry. Goodbye. I am at every step of the way afraid that I may be near the end of my support rope, but so far Apple has surprised me with their willingness to keep talking and acting. (While I’m handing out kudos, another company I’ve dealt with recently, TomTom, has excellent support on par with Apple’s).

When I spoke with my Customer Relations representative on May 23 (two days after my birthday!), I agreed to try bringing my computer into the local Apple Store. The idea was that instead of making me wait for the shipping to and from Texas for another round of repairs, I would bring it into the store where a capable technician could do most if not all of the part swapping that a specialist in Texas might do. I was skeptcial, but it was worth a shot. She comforted me by letting me know that she would be watching the progress and follow up with me about the results of the experience.

I wanted to avoid giving up my laptop for another week or more, so I went for it. I decided it was worth it to go along with this idea because it was virtually risk-free, and the time it would take to zip over to the Apple store was much less than the time it takes waiting for DHL to arrive, transit time, etc.

Part 2: Bad Apple

The worst part of any customer support ordeal is the stress of wondering whether you’ll make yourself clear. Whether they’ll respond politely to you. Whether they’ll understand what’s really going on. And whether they’ll actually agree with you that it needs to be fixed.

I took a deep breath on the afternoon of May 24, mentally prepared to make my case as convincingly as possible. The Apple store is the worst place in the world to complain about noise problems, because the blasting music makes every single machine in the store sound absolutely dead silent. (For any noise complaint, they take your machine into the back room where you can’t demonstrate to them how the noise varies or under what circumstances it most affects you). I knew I was up against a tough challenge, but I tried to be optimistic that I would get a Good Apple.

I checked in at the Genius Bar and waited with my buzzer. This was cool. It’s like waiting for a meal at Chevy’s or something. It went off in just a few minutes after I had arrived. So far, so good! Nice work, Apple Store. I met my “Genius,” who greeted me with a sort of contemptuous glare combined with a saccharine mumble of “What can we do for you today?” I explained that I had been sent by customer relations, that there were a few problems of varying priorities, and that the machine had already been sent in once for repair. I sort of waited for him to make the next move, expecting that he might want to glance at my record in his computer, since it showed a lot more information than I could reliably reiterate all at once. “Why don’t you just tell me what’s going on?” he said sort of impatiently.

OK, I plopped my MBP down on the counter and opened it up. I began explaining that I was most surprised that at least the brightness-related buzzing wasn’t fixed, because it’s pretty well-established that this is due to an inverter board problem. As I was talking he acted like I wasn’t there, and raised his black bic pen towards my computer. Using the ink-side tip of the pen, he reached into a corner of my screen’s display and flicked out a piece of dust or something. What are you doing to my computer, you freak?! I paused and when he was done sort of continued explaining. He seemed pretty bored. He finally said something along the lines of what did I expect for being on the “bleeding edge?” I put bleeding edge in quotes because it’s the only part I can guarantee was verbatim a quote from his mouth. He basically echoed that lame user sentiment that you “get what you pay for” when you choose to buy an early rev product. An Apple representative! Telling me that I was on his company’s bleeding edge!

I got a little bit emotional because, after working so many years at Apple, I hate seeing Apple store employees behave in a way that reflects poorly on the company. I explained to him (probably to his great boredom) that I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to classify me (and thousands of others) who made early, strong commitments to Apple’s new architecture as “bleeding edge.” Needless to say he didn’t see the error of his ways at all and insisted that you’ve got to expect a few things to be wrong in a first revision of a machine.

That was the beginning of a relationship that only went downhill. He finally agreed to take my MBP into the “back room” to listen to the noises for himself. He came back and announced that “there’s nothing wrong with the inverter and the CPU whine is within spec.” He handed me my MBP and sort of waited for me to leave, I suppose. I wanted more clarification. Nothing wrong with my inverter? Didn’t you hear the noise? He said that there was no inverter noise and what I was hearing was the CPU whine coming from different sides of the computer. Well, that’s totally inconsistent with my understanding of the inverter noise. Since it goes away and comes back with the brightness, I had to assume it’s inverter-related. In my pessimism I had more-or-less expected the CPU whine complaints to be dismissed, but the inverter noise! I know people who have had this one fixed! At least fix this, Apple. You know how, even!

Another minute or two of trying to get him to agree that we were talking about the same thing. I suggested that maybe I needed to let the machine warm up before the noise is loud enough. It’s difficult because, as I said I’m trying to get him to acknowledge unacceptable noises while Gwen Stefani is blaring on the stereo. He agrees that if I want to “hang out for 20 or 30 minutes” then he’ll listen again after it warms up.

Speaking of warming up, I thought I’d ask about the heat issue before I lost his attention, and that lasted all of about 15 seconds. “If the MBP gets too hot, it will shut down. If it’s not shutting down, there’s nothing wrong with it.” Well, that’s an interesting way of looking at it. Let’s say the maximum heat is 100C. By the Apple Store’s logic that means my computer can be at 99C all the time, while somebody else’s machine is at 60C all the time. We’re both “in spec,” but my hands are forming heat blisters.

So I hang out for 20 or 30 minutes, and then go back to the podium. While I’m waiting another MBP owner comes in, and starts chatting with another Genius. He’s complaining about the heat. The Genius he got is a lot more friendly and explains that unfortunately they can’t do any testing here in the store. They would have to send it away for testing, and that would take a week or two. The customer seemed somewhat satisfied by the response, thanked the Genius, and left the stoer.

I hang out for another 15 minutes or so while he refuses to acknowledge that I’m there. Finally, when another Apple Store employee asks if I’m being helped, I say that I’m “just waiting for him to have a free moment.” Five minutes later he is back in the “quiet room” (who knows how quiet even that room is) with my MBP.

He emerges. Hands me my MBP, and declares, “Both I and a coworker agree that the noise is within spec.” OK. You and a coworker. So this was a hint to me that the “spec” might be a subjective test. I tried to ask whether there was some mechanical test they perform, or whether it’s just based on their own personal hearing. He looked at me sternly and said “I can’t tell you, OK. I’m sorry.” He had a habit of saying “OK” habitually in that patronizing way, almost like the “mmkay” guy on South Park.

All this time I had been on my best behavior. I really tried to avoid calling him on his rudeness and refusal to listen carefully to my complaints. But now that the end was nigh I took the opportunity to give a little rant about how I didn’t think the machine as-is meets the criteria of a professional, $2500 machine. I complained that if Apple’s spec allows user problems to be dismissed so cavalierly, then it was a real shame for the company and its customers. At this point a quiet young woman who had been sitting at the Genius Bar for a few minutes turned to me and said empathetically, “I had six stuck pixels. They said the limit was 7.”

I commiserated with the woman for a minute and wished her luck. At least she has a number to be angry about. I just got an arrogant jerk who can’t even convince me that he understands what the problems with my machine are, let alone if or why they are “within spec.”

Part 3: Good Apple

My visit to the Apple Store almost ruined my day. I went to the store straight after picking up one of my best friends from San Francisco, who was in town for a few days. The last thing I wanted was to put a damper on his visit just because my crappy computer was never going to be repaired. He is a Mac fanatic and was just excited by the fact that we’d been in the Apple Store long enough that he’d authored a blog entry in the time he was waiting. “My first blog entry written in the Apple Store!” he said proudly as he shut his (quiet, cool, lovely) iBook G4 up and packed it in his bag.

I wasn’t looking forward to my next call with customer relations. As nice as she was, she had hinted that if the Apple Store decides there’s nothing wrong, then there might be nothing she could do. I had built myself up over the past few months to perhaps ultimately have to live with some flaws, but the screen buzzing was definitely not one of them. Pizza for dinner and watching episodes of The Office made things quite a bit better. I didn’t even take the MBP out of its case.

The next day, I got a voice mail on my cell phone while I was at the gym. It was my customer relations agent, and she sounded concerned. “I just wanted to check in because I’m looking at your case and I don’t see any repair ticket. I hope everything went OK at the store yesterday.” I called her back on Friday but got her machine. I said I was disappointed with just about every outcome of the store visit. Both the treatment from the “Genius” and the ultimate outcome. At this point I figured it might be the end of the road, so I said “I guess I might be out of luck, but call me back if you want to hear more about my experience at the store.”

Several days passed. It was Memorial Day weekend and all that. I was pretty sure I would hear from her again, but also slightly concerned that maybe that was it. Today she called and asked how I was doing. “I’m doing pretty good,” I said. I always say that because in reality, I am doing pretty good. The MBP can’t take that away from me! She asked me to tell her what happened at the store. So I basically told her everything that I’ve typed in this blog entry, minus the part about pizza and The Office.

To my great satisfaction, she agreed that the store employee had behaved inappropriately. I guess if nothing else, the fact that I got a turd for a Genius may have helped me gain some empathy from the relations agent. She offered to go back to “Plan B” which is me sending the machine back to Texas for another round of repairs. At this point I’m exhausted, don’t want to see another Genius for a long time, and would really like to have that buzzing fixed. If the whine doesn’t get fixed, I’ll just have to come to some compromise of running QuietMBP and losing battery life. But the buzzing, and if at all possible, the heat. Those fixed would be effing fantastic! As my frustration has risen over this whole affair, my expectations have plummeted accordingly.

She explained that she was going to transfer me to a “product specialist” who is a kind of hardcore customer service agent who works specifically with a particular kind of machine (I think). They want me to talk to him so he can get very specific concrete details into the problem report, and so he can trigger an “engineering seizure” of the machine if it sounds like it will be useful as a case study. She again assured me that she’ll be following the progress of the repair.

The product specialist was polite and empathetic. He also seemed to know what he was talking about, and didn’t pull that “I never heard of that before” crap that some agents do when hearing about any problem whatsoever. He was everything a good agent should be, which isn’t asking so much.

He asked me some very specific questions about the problems. Even took seriously the CPU whine complaint. I told him I was pessimistic about it getting fixed but I know that some people have MBPs that are “much quieter than mine.”

As usual, we’ll see how it goes.

Score for the past two weeks: Good Apples – 2; Bad Apples – 1. Stay tuned for more (but hopefully not too many more!) details.

37 Responses to “MBP: Good and Bad Apples”

  1. rtz Says:

    Hi there. First of all, you have all my sympathies. I know the frustration. Anyways, my MBP has had the CPU whine and the mooing. To me, the mooing has become much more of a nuisance to me because it wasn’t fixable. I’m using the past form because the last MBP firmware upgrade has done away with that entirely. It has also fixed my heat issue so that my MBP now runs constantly at about 57°C. The important thing is that I did not install the keyboard update, which made the CPU whine even louder and rendered all fixes except QuietMBP unusable.

    So maybe if you try out installing the latest firmware and remove the keyboard update, this might help you fix the whine and mooing. Aside from that, I hope they will fix your inverter noise. My MBP is really quiet now. One of the coolers is running all the time, but that’s really ok for me, because it’s a bearable sound that is easily masked by background noise, which the other noises weren’t.

    Good luck!

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Thanks rtz – I hate to be too optimistic, but it’s been a while since I’ve heard the mooing either. Gosh darnit, we might have something to celebrate!

    Unfortunately even after all the firmware upgrades my MBP (according to CoreDuoTemp) jumps easily up to around 85C after a very short provocation of CPU use. I’m worried that over the summer this is going to feel all the more oppressive.

  3. eBob Says:

    Gee, maybe my having a high frequency hearing loss could be an advantage. (Nah, I’d rather hear the bad AND the good.)

    When my iSight, properly installed on my laptop lid following Apple’s instructions for their mounting hardware, flopped over and scratched my screen (¼”, very noticeable), AppleCare sympathized but said tough luck, it wasn’t a manufacturing defect. But they referred me to an Apple Store and said the Genius had the authority to override AppleCare’s first judgement. I got a gem of a Genius! He smiled. He immediately agreed with me. Said the same thing happened to him. Maybe YOUR “genius” needs to walk a mile in your shoes, or at least switch back to his PCs.

    I hope you are watching the calendar for returning the beast (and buying a replacement MBP).

  4. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hey Bob – it’s unfortunately way too late to return it. I gave Apple the benefit of the doubt and waited in the hopes that a fix would come out sooner than it has. Then the other problems started popping up. :(

  5. AttackNo1 Says:

    Daniel, you must be a very patient and friendly person. I think, if i was treated like this in the Apple store a i probably have shouted at the jerk that i don’t want to hear another word from calling on him to get his line manager.

  6. Odysseus Says:

    Daniel, I’m really sorry about what has happened. I remember the hell that a friend of mine went through after purchasing a PowerBook just after the AlBooks were released: remember the white spots on the screen debacle? Remember that if your MacBook is repaired by Apple 4-5 times for the *same* repair, you can call Customer Relations and request a swap for a new computer.

    But here’s the thing: it has almost always proven *very risky* to buy the first version of *any* new Apple laptop (the MacBooks don’t really qualfiy, since they’re merely a revision of the MacBook Pro). I would really discourage anyone I knew from buying one.

  7. maverick808 Says:

    Good article. However, given that you were given a defective machine months ago and still haven’t had it fixed I would rate the outcome as…

    Good Apples – 0
    Bad Apples – 1

  8. Peter Says:

    Whatever you do, don’t stop telling us how this story unfolds. I’ve now invested so much time reading these posts that I need to know how this ends…

  9. Casey Fleser Says:

    My sympathies Daniel. My MBP came with a intermittent left shift key. My experience with the “Genius” was actually quite good though he wasn’t able to simply swap the machine out since it was a build to order. Left with the proposition of calling AppleCare I decided to see if it wasn’t possible to come up with a fix on my own. I just got this thing and I really didn’t want to immediately send it back. Fortunately I found a cure involving a bit of scotch tape (http://www.somegeekintn.com/2006/05/macbook_pro_keyboard_fix.html). We’ll see if it lasts.

    Anyway, I hope you get things sorted out. It’s a gotta be a pain I’m sure.

  10. Jon Hendry Says:

    “The Apple store is the worst place in the world to complain about noise problems, because the blasting music makes every single machine in the store sound absolutely dead silent. ”

    That would probably not be a problem at a non-Apple Store authorized service center. Also, you might not get the schmucky ‘genius’ types, because an independent is going to go out of business if they don’t offer good service. Also, unlike the geniuses, they don’t work for Apple so probably have little incentive to block customers from getting repairs.

    If you haven’t sent your machine away, you might ask your customer rep about it. You could take it in to the Computer Loft in Allston.

    http://www.computerloft.com/service.html

    I’m not pimping them, I haven’t even been there. Their website says “The new G5s are in!” which gives me pause, but it could just be a small shop. All I know is that another customer at Darwin’s thought highly of them. This was recently, so they’re probably still in business.

  11. Justin Williams Says:

    Sounds like you have the same luck with Apple Retail geniuses as I do. I have never once had a good encounter with a Genius at my local store in Indianapolis. The are all rude, pesimistic and definitely elitist. It makes me kind of glad that i am now three hours away from that store, so that I can have a valid excuse as to why I don’t want to take my troublesom MBP in there again.

    That said, I too spoke with Customer Relations last week about my MBP, and was transferred to a specialist who has a box on its way to me for my latest (and possibly final) round of repairs. Problem is that the box request was sent in on Thursday. It’s now Wednesday night and I have nothing to ship my Mac back in. Very annoying, especially since my MacBook won’t turn on 30% of the time and 60% of the time it turns on fine, but with no display. Luckily, I am typing this on a lucky 10% instance. I just have to make sure I don’t restart the machine or close the lid.

    If I talk about buying an Intel PowerMac at WWDC (assuming thats when they are released), I want you to slap me.

  12. Jon Hendry Says:

    I suppose lesson one is to always get your genius’ name.

    Ha – it might be funny to have your Mac Book record video of just what happens in the mysterious back room.

  13. teacozy Says:

    Have you seen the tweaked out emo-wanna-be idiots that work at the Apple stores, all 85 lbs soaking wet? None of these metrosexual idiot-man-childs can be classified as a “genius”.

    It is a miracle that they even found employment. The head-cases probably got fired over at Brookstones for stealing luggage tags and had to find a college work-study program, i.e. working at the Apple store.

    It is truly sad that there is such a lack of customer service and technical knowledge, or even just a willingness to entertain a customer’s concerns.

    It is too bad that Costco does not carry current model Mac Book Pro’s. If you had a problem with it, just keep returning them and get new ones until you get one that is not defective.

    Good luck Daniel.

  14. Dave Feldman Says:

    Daniel,
    As always, my sympathies. Customer service can be spotty with any company, but I think the variance is greater with Apple, particularly amongst the Geniuses, who seem to range from knowledgeable to hostile. After my most recent Genius experience I don’t know that I’ll be going back there, and it was at least as bad with my 2003 TiBook experience, during which I got caught in a lovely game of “the other Apple Store’s Geniuses are idiots” between two local Apple Stores. Ultimately, while I wasn’t as impressed with my Customer Relations expert in that case as you are here, she did manage to get me a replacement after several repairs and many many frustrating hours.

    As to my own MBP whine/heat case: I went into the local Micro Center yesterday and talked to the guy there. He claims that the new speed-bumped MBPs are much better about both the whine and the heat, and that in my shoes he’d be concerned about the problems. Apparently if I’d bought it there they’d do an exchange but his sentiments regarding getting one out of Apple were basically, “Yeah, good luck.” I’ll be calling them a little later today; it may yet be that I can get American Express to withold payment, which should provide a little leverage.

    As to “within spec” and all that: To be honest, if all Intel Mac laptops had these problems I suspect we’d all just suck it up and deal. A number of factors combine to fuel at least my frustration: (1) some MBPs don ‘t exhibit most or all of these problems, most notably many of the ones I’ve seen on showroom floors; (2) every Apple employee has a different response to them, leading most of us to feel they’re hiding something; (3) the Apple documentation is just silly with suggestions like “don’t put it on your lap”; and last but not least, (4) the new MacBooks have similar specs, are free from these problems, and cost half as much, which just feels like a slap in the face.

  15. Jesse Hogue Says:

    I am sorry to hear of your bad experience at the Apple Store and with the MBP. I worked in retail for about 2 years selling computers and electronics and the “Genius” that helped you needs to be fired. I have been to many Apple Stores and I test every person that comes up to me. Sadly the majority of the people do not know much. They are just there to make money. Every so often you come across someone who actually cares about their customers and knows what they are doing. Good luck in the future

  16. Jon Hendry Says:

    ” (3) the Apple documentation is just silly with suggestions like “don’t put it on your lap”; and last but not least,”

    To paraphrase the old SNL toy commercial’s warnings, “Do not taunt Mac Book Pro.”

  17. Non Stop Mac Says:

    MacBookPro flaws: good and bad Apples…

    Another lengthy entry at the Red Sweater Blog discusses hand-on experience with a fist batch MacBook Pro that has some big problems (noise, flickering screen, etc.) and tells the tale of an average Joe lost in the maze of……

  18. Jay Trainer Says:

    My battery life was suffering something like an hour plus. Now that I deleted QuietMBP my battery life continues to suffer. How do you fix this God-forsaken thing?

  19. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Jay: QuietMBP has no impact on your machine while it’s not running. If you’re continuing to observe battery life degradation, it’s possible your battery is defective.

  20. Jason Strobush Says:

    Daniel,

    A little tip that I learned over the years of dealing with Apple (… lemon iBook G3 that spent as much time in the Memphis repair facility as it did with its owner).. if you can get up to a Product Specialist (tier 2 support), and have them enter a Case number, you can (in my experience) take that case number to the Geniusi, and they *will*, by hook or by crook, do what the Specialist has requested.

    Of course, it could be that a little siren goes off anytime I gave Apple my phone number, but I digress.. ymmv?

  21. dave Says:

    Sorry about your experiences. I just had some problems with my new intel imac and the Apple store in Denver was really amazing. Although it took me 3 trips there it was resolved, between the 2nd and 3rd trip I called the store after I got it back and it wasnt fixed and spoke to a manager who told me when himself and their best genious would be in and to come down and I would leave there with it fixed or a new one.

    So long story short, they couldn’t find the problem so they said they would just give me a new one and went to the back to get it and came back out and said they had a problem because they arent stocking them anymore with the better video card and they would have to order one or they would upgrade me to a mbp fully loaded with applecare, which of course I took. Even if I would have taken the imac they were going to upgrade me to a 500gb hd as well.

    Personally i sucked because it broke but I am still in shock at how they took care of me, Dell certainly never did that 4 me.

  22. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Dave: Wow! That’s quite a story. Great news. Unfortunately, you’re now at risk of being in the “heat and whine” club :)

  23. dave Says:

    hopefully not! so far this thing is flat out SMOKIN!!! no noise but it does get a bit hot but no hotter than my powerbook got. Seems like those issues arent affecting the 2.16 chips.

    I’ll tell you what though, I’d gladly be in the “heat and whine club” over using windows any day!

  24. Torgeir Says:

    I saw one poster near the end of this thread claiming that there are new mobos out, which apparently fixes the whine issue. It still needs to be comfirmed though. Maybe you can call up apple and ask if they now supply whine free mobos? http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=461317

  25. hoberion Says:

    After sending it to repair twice (i had the whine, the heat and also the speakers were broken) the first time I send it in they did nothing but keep my macbook for 2 weeks gathering dust and after I complained they gave it back, so to my horror nothing was fixed… so I send it in again… they replaced the speakers and told me the heat was “within specs” (offcourse they wouldnt give me the specs” and the whine is still there…

    this was my first experience with a mac but after 20 years computer experience I can honestly say I have never had a more frustrating experience buying hardware over 1000$… usually I get my money back when something cant be fixed.

  26. stingerman Says:

    Always buy expensive items with an Amex Card, it’s the only leverage you have with any company. Though Apple provides the best service I have experienced in todays world, you never know that you may get a bad rep. But, always stay polite and and nice; not point getting angry with a front line rep; bump it up and if you still feel you are not being legitimately treated, call Amex and reverse the charges which will force a resolution.

  27. Jonathan Says:

    If it any consolidation to you mac-people, you are not the only ones. Just bought myself an Acer laptop, and i have the exact same CPU-sound when it’s idle.

    It too can be silenced with certain USB-devices, and it too gets into everything – including the headphones. Weirdest of all is how it is just as bad even when i use an external USB-soundcard, whenever wired with metal (using optical wireing between the USB-soundcard and the amplifier shuts it out).

    So. Well. Thank you Intel, I guess! :)

  28. John Jacobsen Says:

    I decided to switch to Apple and got a $2500 Macbook Pro online two months ago, which had both the CPU whine and a rattling fan on the right side. Sent it back to Apple for repairs and explicitly asked them to replace the right side fan. They replaced the motherboard and inverter assembly and did NOT replace the fan. Both noises still remained.

    I called Apple back and they said, “bring it to the store.” I did, and after waiting for two hours they took my machine back. You could hear the fan rattle in the crowded store on a Saturday afternoon. I again explicitly asked them to replace the fan. Instead, they blew away all my data (fortunately backed up) and replaced the hard drive.

    I am now extremely pissed off and waiting for yet another box to arrive so I can send it in again. I’ve wasted at least 15 hours of my time on this. It was obvious given the nature and frequency of the noise that the fan was bad, and they completely disregarded my input on the repair both times. Of course, they refused to simply replace the unit.

  29. Gabriel Says:

    I don’t know what to do, at this point. Last Friday, June 2, I bought a 2.16ghz MacBook Pro at the Apple Store in Austin. It was a week 22 build, and I thought the problems would have been worked out. I got it home, and brought it back within two hours for kernel panics. They replaced it with a week 18 build, and I brought the replacement back on Saturday for a greyish blob in the middle of the screen. They replaced that one with a week 16 build, and this one seems to be great, but for the CPU whine. It’s only when I’m on battery power, and it seems to go away when using the Mirror widget. It doesn’t sound like they would replace it for this, and even if they did, I’m afraid I’d end up with worse problems. I could also press for a refund without the restocking fee, but then I’d be without a laptop. Should I try to get any problems taken care of while I’m still in the return period, or just hope that they’ll eventually issue a fix? I should mention that the first two machines were whine-free, as far as I could tell in the limited time I spent with them. Should I just be glad that I have a relatively problem free machine and live with it, or will these other problems most likely crop up later? Thanks for any advice!

  30. dave Says:

    I don’t know why you all are having problems they did everything but roll out the red carpet for me when I went in and even offered to significantly upgrade me from an imac to a mpb for no charge. They were curtious and respectful and i never had to wait more than 5 minutes for help, the mananger even would come over every 10 minutes or so to make sure it was all going well and to reassure me that Apple would get me taken care of and they did. Sorry to say and not to be disrespectful but how you carry your attitude during this things can help determine the outcome.

    I hear these stories and I am sure they are true and it makes me grateful that I didnt have these problems and that my mbp doesnt have the problems you all are having.

    Are you guys speaking to the managers about your problems are just the geniouses?

  31. Damon Says:

    My quest to extend the range of my MBP’s wireless capability led me here… I’ve only noticed a couple “issues” with my MBP: it started when I installed some “intel” update from Apple and my laptop would just cut off in the midst of whatever…sort of like it just decided to go to sleep…usually, after moving my finger around on the trackpad and/or pushing buttons…it decides to re-awaeken. My second, more pressing, imho, issue is the “gray blob” as mentioned above in the center of the screen…it’s really only apparent when I’m watching a movie and the screen briefly darkens. Anyways, after reading the above, I’m not sure if switching it out is such a great idea….but thats exactly what I’m gonna do in the hopes of reconciliation :-)

  32. ash Says:

    I have a severely overheating macbookpro from the first batch. However, I bought my machine thru a large shopping retailer who is a reseller of mac products. After I started experiencing the heat problems, I rang the dept store from whom i bought the machine. They said I should take it to a mac repairs store to see if i could get it fixed. I said ok, thats fair enuff ! I did that and a week later I picked up my mac which was apparently cured of the heat prob. As I suspected, the mac repairer did NOTHIING ! I had the same problem start again immediately. I then contacted the dept store i bought the machine from. The great part was being a large retailer , they were much more sympathetic to my cause and as I was also a store card holder, i got even better treatment. They agreed to issue me with a new macbookpro !!! Being a large retailer , they had much more pull with mac than if i had bought my machine thru a normal mac store. The lesson: dont buy thru a normal mac store, but instead buy thru a large reseller who is powerful enuff for APPLE to give a hoot about. One phonecall from them to Apple should lead to very satisfactory results !!

  33. rm Says:

    why do you people keep buying macs again? i had severe problems with my old g4, and i finally said screw it. i have an acer now. you do have to be more vigilant with windows, but it’s nice not having to bring my godforsaken pos to the store every few weeks (and never get it fixed). if this were a car company, they would be hemorrhaging customers. i guess the cult of mac and the reality distortion field is true.

  34. Dave Feldman Says:

    I believe I can answer that. In my experience, Macs are actually very good products overall. They tend to last a long time, and in the case of laptops to take a beating and still work. No company makes 100% flawless products: Some individual units have problems, and occasionally an entire line will be defective.

    A good company will handle these cases well, doing what it takes to make things right for the customer. Apple is not a good company in this respect. They are, in fact, a real pain, and treat customers like dirt at times – and inconsistently a lot of the time. So, when you get a good Apple product you’re off to the races. When you get a problematic product you’re in trouble. When an entire line has issues (which I think is the case with the MBP) a lot of people are in trouble at once, as Apple denies the problem, puts users through ineffective repairs and defective replacements, and does ridiculous things like remove “lap” from all its marketing literature.

    All of which is to say, the choice to continue using Macs is not bad product vs. bad user experience but bad customer service vs. bad user experience. Or, to put it another way, good company and bad product vs. bad company and good product. So far, the pain of having to deal with Apple support for new products has not outweighed the unpleasant experience I have using Windows. That said, this time around is worse, and I certainly won’t suggest that Apple couldn’t screw up enough to put me off the platform entirely. They do seem to be trying.

  35. alex Says:

    You know, I have an MBP, and just discovered I got a dead pixel. You know what?, F$%K apple and their in with in speculations,
    I hate this bastards, is true this MBP is far better then any PC, but why the hell I get a dead pixel after one month in which I handled this stupid laptop so careful, we don’t ask for perfection, just a decent silent laptop, with NO bloody dead pixels, ah, I’m sick of it.
    Any way I hope I will catch the days when we pay this f$%kin huge amount of money and you get what you pay for it,
    Note,
    I was about to buy Pages and Keynote from Apple, after this dead pixel, no way, I will bloody crack all their programs.
    FOREVER

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