Apple’s Lemon

MacBook ProI recently became a recipient of an Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer thought indirect means (long story). After using the unit for about a month or two I’m astonished by the poor build quality of the product and the ongoing hardware failures I’ve experienced with it. In particular, I’ve had the following problems:

  1. Battery doesn’t sit firmly in place, it jiggles and knocks about while in transport and shifts while working;
  2. Magsafe power adapter does not connect easily or consistently, often losing connection and failing to charge without any movement or disruption (at this writing it took me a full five minutes to force it into place enough to charge a dead battery);
  3. Left “Shift” key fails consistently. It was reseated at NYC Soho genuis bar shortly after purchase but the problem persists;
  4. Latch consistently fails to release lid of laptop and I must often pry open the lid;
  5. Surface of the laptop’s body is coming apart from base (there’s 1 mm space at left end);
  6. The trackpad is consistently non-responsive for 1-2 seconds after using the keyboard;
  7. Video periodically fails, displaying “checkerboard” effect for 5-10 seconds (click to view photograph). Shortly thereafter the computer sleeps and will not wake again (the screen is visible, it seems like the backlight is just off) without a hard reboot using the power button.


Despite this collection of significant problems, Apple refuses to acknowledge that I’ve essentially received a lemon from them. This indicates one of two things to me:

  1. All MacBook Pros suck this bad, tough luck customers
  2. All MacBook Pros suck this bad and they’re trying to ignore the fact

It’s off to Apple Authorized Service Provider Mac Station in Vancouver for this MBP to see if they can work some magic and turn an expensive dud into a functioning product. There’s still an outside chance that the MacStation may be able to swing a replacement unit, but based on Apple’s attitude when I talked to them I have a sinking feeling I’ll be stuck with a perpetually failing machine from here on in.

Oh well, thanks goodness for AppleCare, I suppose.

I’m not the only person having problems with early versions of Apple’s MacBook Pros, however. The web is littered with tales of burning MagSafe power adapters, swelling batteries and split cases and problematic keyboards.

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