The L&L Blog  /  Rants and Miscellanea

Apple "Repair"...

Well, after much moaning to AppleCare, they finally agreed to take my MacBook in and replace the top-casing, which has suffered from the infamous "discolouration" issue - it seems that Apple are finally starting to take this seriously. And I have to say that the AppleCare service was quite amazing. They agreed to take my machine in for repair on the Friday. A box arrived with TNT the following Tuesday, and TNT took it away there and then. Apple repaired the machine on the Wednesday and I received it back on the Thursday (today) - fantastic. Except...

Except that the "repair" seems a bit of a botch-job to me. I don't think it's being too fussy or anal to expect a near-perfect machine from the get-go for nearly £1,000. It looks like Apple may disagree, though... They have indeed replaced my top-casing with a lovely new, pristine white one. However, they have only replaced the plastic around the keyboard. I naively assumed that they would also replace the plastic around the screen while they were at it, given that they are made of the identical material. But no such luck. The plastic right around the iSight camera is starting to discolour where my thumb lifts up the lid. It's not very noticable as of yet, but then my thumb only comes into contact with it several times a day, whereas my palms were in contact with the palm-rests for several hours. It doesn't take a genius (or a Genius) to work out that within a couple of months the plastic around the screen is going to look pretty shabby, too.

On top of that, the top-casing doesn't even seem fitted properly to me. It's certainly not flush against the polycarbonate case as it used to be. There is a millimetre gap between the top-casing and the polycarbonate in front of the left palm-rest and the trackpad. I can fit a thumbnail under there. All it will take is to catch it on something, and the plastic is going to get damaged - not to mention that dust is going to get under there.

And on top of that, the Apple engineers who replaced the top-casing obviously weren't too careful. There is now a small nick in the polycarbonate on the left of the keyboard, right next to the top-casing - obviously where they have used a screwdriver or something to prise off the old top-casing.

And if all that wasn't enough to weep into my bank statement, when I booted up my machine I found that everything was gone. It turns out that they replaced my hard-drive, too, as when they did lots of diagnostic tests before returning the machine to me, they found the original hard-drive was dodgy. Great! So now I have to reinstall everything, and I am really annoyed because there was one picture of Thurston that I used for my user account picture that I forgot to back up. Grrr.

Obviously, I called AppleCare about all of these issues about ten minutes after checking out the returned machine. Again I spoke to someone very helpful, although he told me that because the repair centres check over the machines very carefully before returning them to customers to try to ensure that they won't need to be returned for repair for anything else anytime soon, the fact that my machine had been returned to me probably meant that all the problems I have are considered "within spec" (which to me sounds horribly close to "it'll do"). He said he only knew of problems with discolouration of the top-casing on MacBooks, and not with the area around the iSight, and he wasn't aware that they are made of the same plastic (which seemed odd to me, given that he was the laptops expert - hey, he said "laptop", surely he must have meant "notebook"; these things are too hot to be "laptops"! It made me wonder if he had ever actually seen a MacBook, as it only takes one glance to see that the area around the screen is made of the same plastic as the top-casing...). Anyway, like I say, he was very friendly and helpful, and asked me to send him some photos of all my issues so that he could discuss them with engineering. He promised to get back to me next week, so I will just have to wait and see what happens.

To be honest, I could probably live with all these minor imperfections - the machine works, I can use it to develop and then use Scrivener quite happily. But why should I just "live with" a brand-new machine? After all the discolouration fuss, I think I'm entitled to a little perfection.

Rant Ends.


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