Apple Finally Fixed My MacBook Problems

This week we pick up where I left off about two weeks ago regarding my MacBook lemon situation. I took it to the Apple store in Houston (during my spring break) where they claimed they would be able to do the following in-house without the need to ship it off: replace the discolored case (2nd discoloring), replace the backlight inverter that kept failing as well as the LCD bezel which kept falling out, in addition to the keyboard housing which had a hairline crack all throughout. Notice: this is a long, mostly meaningless post - scroll down to the bottom for a summary.

Near the end of my spring break, I got a call from the Apple store telling me they would not be able to repair it in-house as they lacked the parts, which they told me they had ordered the day I dropped it off. Regardless, I didn't have much of a choice left but to let them ship it off to their repair depot, leaving me without a laptop for the flight home and the entire next week. When I dropped it off for repair initially I had mentioned how the first time my MacBook was sent to a repair depot, the new case housing they had replaced was horribly fitted. The Apple store genius agreed with me without hesitation saying the repair depot quality of work wasn't exactly top-notch, and there I was later that week telling them it was okay to send it off to the repair depot.

Yesterday the MacBook arrived in my inbox at school and I went to pick it up after my visual design class, expecting a pristine and functional MacBook. Upon opening it I was greeted with a massive 3-inch long, 1/2-inch wide scratch right in front of the Apple logo on the display lid. In addition, there were the remnants of a torn off sticker.. like when you remove a non-vinyl sticker and the paper junk stays behind - yeah, all over a 4-inch diameter region of the laptop. They didn't even put effort into taking the sticker off, half of it was still there. I flipped it over to find another equally massive scratch extending from the battery to the case.

I didn't even turn it on before I was on my way to the Apple store, with a smile on my face. I knew that this was my third incident. Apple has a company rule that (not sure if it's a "written" rule though) that they will replace your Mac on the third problem where the previous solutions were repairs and not replacements. However, I think there might be some restrictions to this rule and that your problems must be substantial, etc etc.

Unfortunately, the store was crowded and I had to tolerate signing up for a Genius bar appointment that wasn't for another three hours. Luckily, I was able to pull an employee aside and ask them to point out the manager to me. The manager was ultra cool and after I started to say "third inci.." he was pretty much in a "say no more" stance and set everything up for replacement.

I spent my time waiting in the Apple store by helping other customers:

  • informing a guy that iPods can't crossfade music and that crossfade is limited to iTunes software at the moment
  • convincing another guy to wait a few weeks for CS3 to come out and correcting the Apple store employee who stated that the CS3 Web Premium Bundle costs 999 when in really costs 1599
  • telling an interested Apple TV onlooker that the little media device could be hacked to do pretty much anything
  • informing another Apple employee making friendly discourse with a customer that the iPhone will not sport 3G WWAN in its June release but will in the next revision
  • sharing the joys of WebKit nightlies with a MacBook Pro tinkerer who was checking his Facebook account
And if you read this blog, you've probably done the same at one time or another whether you've enlightened Best Buy customers about NewEgg or fiddled with regedit on demo PCs at CompUSA.

After another hour or so, they had filed all the paper work and given me the RAM I upgraded from my old MacBook. They didn't even care that I still had the original 2x256MB RAM sticks somewhere at home. Also, by some other fluke the MacBook they gave me came with a gigabyte of RAM. Before leaving I asked them what they did with the old MacBook as I still had a few entries in Keychain that I wasn't sure I had wiped clean. They said they don't become refurb machines and that the hard drive gets wiped before sent out.

The replacement machine sitting in front of me is a newer, less-egg-cooking Core 2 Duo model. The Core 2 Duo MacBooks are supposed to run considerably cooler than the Core Duo MacBooks - a claim I'll have to test on my own.

MacBook Replacement

Or, if you would like this entire post in under 140 characters:

MacBook Replacement message on Twitter

Moral of the story: either avoid first generation products in general or take advantage of Apple's rule of three. Over the entire life of my LemonBook, Apple has had it at their repair depot for about 6-7 weeks. I can't even begin to imagine what that would have been like, had the MacBook been my only computer. Hopefully this will be the last post you'll ever read about my MacBook.