Cracked Macs rankle Apple customers

August 6, 2009

Apple isn’t going out of its way to publicize the problem, but the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that cracked Macbooks are troubling users. Underscoring that, a Flickr site carries pictures of more than 200 cracked Macs, posted by the owners, along with their commentary.

Apple spokesman Bill Evans invited users with problems to bring them to Apple.

“Any user who has an issue with their Macbook should contact AppleCare for support, even if it is out of warranty,” he said of the problem, which dates back to at least 2006 and is still angering consumers.

Apple won’t say if they have upgraded the plastic that cracks, how many Macs they have fixed or if they expect more troubles as the aging plastic splinters.  Although the problem is notorious in old machines, users say it has also appeared in machines that are less than a year old. A British website, The Inquirer, reported earlier this year that Apple will repair the problem for out-of-warranty Macs at no charge.  Users like this one on the Flickr site also said the machines were repaired at no charge.

At a Facebook site dedicated to the problem, a user reported getting his machine fixed only to have it crack again. Others on the Flickr site also reported recurring problems.

If Apple seems to be playing down the problem it’s understandable. People pay a hefty premium for Apple products compared to PCs, and the company prides itself on the sleekness of its design and the quality of its products.

Photo: An Apple launch event/Reuters.


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If you have any kind of problem with your Mac, you should call AppleCare first before you do anything else, regardless of warranty status. That is what AppleCare is for. Sometimes you may have a problem with an out-of-warranty Mac and call up and find out there is a recall for that model, or a special repair program due to some unusual kind of issue that affected that whole model. You can also go into an Apple Store with your Mac if that is more convenient. The only reason to go to something like this Flickr group is if Apple declines to fix your issue and you feel they were in the wrong about it. You probably won’t have to go that far.Over the years, I have been involved with probably 10 AppleCare incidents for a large fleet of Macs, but only 6 or 7 of them were under warranty, yet Apple paid for all of them. One case involved a 3rd party component that was failing much earlier than originally expected (although still after warranty was up) so they replaced the whole device with a refurbished one. In another case, the hinges failed on a notebook that was 3.5 years old and definitely out of warranty and they fixed that for no charge. I called them up once because one of the stick-on rubber feet on a Mac had gone missing and they sent me a little plastic bag with 4 additional matching feet for free. Not only that, but when I bought a new Mac later to replace that one, the rubber feet on it were now inside the case, peeking out through holes, so they could not fall off. They are very serious about their product quality.It’s worth noting that most of today’s Macs are made out of aluminum. Plastic is already on the way out. I think there is only one plastic model left in the lineup. In many cases, Macs are carved out of a single block of aluminum and feel practically indestructible, you cannot even flex them. They are really rugged. I’ve been carrying one everywhere for 6 months and it looks brand new.

Posted by Hamranhansenhansen | Report as abusive

I have had a MAC for 5 years now and I have only had one prblem that was software related. I took it to the Apple store and they spent 3 hours fixing it at no charge. The problem was fixed. Not only is their service excellent, one time I placedmy laptop bag on a counter and it toppled over onto the floor upside down. It made such a thunderous bang I thought for sure my MAC was broken. NOT, the only thing that happened to it was the bolt securing the handle to the laptop bag slightly dented the aluminum case on my MAC. I will NEVER go back to Windows machines, they are so clumsy compared to the MAC!!!!!

Posted by Peter Anastasiadis | Report as abusive

I recently priced a Mac Book and the total was $4800.00.I have and desktop I built for about $1800.00 with 6 Mb of RAM and an Intel i7 processor, crossfire graphics card, etc.Why anyone spends the money on a MAC is beyond me. It is a status symbol, not a computer. This just proves how cheap they really are.

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

Dennis,There is no such Mac Book. They cost $999. I suspect you are a plant for the dark side.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Wow, I am surprised you are able to load this webpage with your 6 Mb of RAM!!! Don’t ever buy a macbook! Mine only has 2 Gb of ram. I feel worthless compared to your awesome desktop.Btw, for $4800 you could get two fully loaded and optioned Macbook Pro laptops and then a little something extra. Don’t be ridiculous.

Posted by reader | Report as abusive

If your going to use a computer for anything quality, reliability and security related, like making music, doing graphics, or for personal or business security. Your going to want a Mac and OS X. Most all high production and deadline publications use Mac’s because they don’t go down when the going gets tough and malware is on the loose on the Windows machines.Mac’s last about 3x longer than your average PC, so the turnover rate is less and the yearly cost of ownership is less. Also once you buy software, it lasts so much longer because the computer lasts so much longer than a typical Windows PC. When you buy Adobe’s software, you’ll know what I mean.If you can’t afford one new, there are slightly used Mac’s on eBay and reseller sites. Resale value for Mac’s are excellent, not for PC’s.Mac’s don’t get malware uninvited, unless you install it yourself or get tricked via a trojan, which is the case for any computer. So you save money not having to pay people to reinstall your operating system or for anti-malware, unless you need to clean viruses off of Windows files of course. (ClamXav is free)Mac’s appear to cost more, until you compare specifications. Apple does not play in the “low margin” arena of under-featured, under-powered, and shoddy computers with a inferior operating system designed to create a whole support industry that costs you more money down the road.You buy a Mac for one reason, you want it to work and no aggravation like Microsoft and cheap hardware PC’s inflicts. It’s because Apple makes both the OS and the hardware that this makes a superior combination for reliability.If you like to tinker under the hood, then a PC box is for you. Because it’s going to force you to or you’ll have to hire someone who can.

Posted by Macheadtrip | Report as abusive

Hi,I can’t believe this is still a problem with the Macbook. My sister’s 2.5 year old Macbook cracked at the palm rest, was fixed, and she was told this was a once off. They refused to fix the cracking around the screen as it wasn’t identified as a problem. This was six months into ownership. I just looked at hers last night and was shocked with how the plastic around the screen is disintegrating and I can see the metal parts behind the bezel. The computer looks terrible, and in an Apple world looks are just as important as function. Her boyfriend wonders why she bought the thing.I love Macs but I would never buy the Macbook due to this problem.Hey, on the bright side, at least the Macbook doesn’t have the logic board problems that the iBooks had.

Posted by stephen | Report as abusive