Failure/Defect Rate, How bad is it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by legobuff, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. legobuff macrumors newbie


    Feb 22, 2008
    papillion, ne
    About a month ago, my wife gave me the thumbs up to purchase a new laptop. I started to research and do comparisons between comparably spec'd laptops. Through all my geeky research I've come to the decision to get the 17" hi-res version of the Macbook Pro. I am one of the "lucky" ones though, and have the ability to wait for the refresh... so this is what I am doing along with everyone else.

    As this will be my first Mac, I have been reading through these forums daily (as well as others) to try and educate myself. One thing I have noticed several discussions around issues that the MBP can have (dead pixels, heat, latches, etc). Now I know it is human nature to complain when things go wrong and do not fault anyone that is trying to vent or get the word out, but here is my question. Is the failure/defect rate on the MBP as high as this forum is leading me to believe?

    I am starting to get the impression that purchasing a MBP will be a game of chance. I may be lucky and get a great machine or I may not. So seriously is really as bad as it seems?
  2. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    You're far more likely to see complaint threads, then threads about how great the computer is, so the "problem" threads are unfairly more numerous.

    As a Mac IT professional, I haven't had to send a single (15") MBP back yet out of the 40 or so we've purchased. Though I do think my MBP's screen backlighting is dying.
  3. tremendous macrumors 6502


    Jan 16, 2008
    UK? Yeah I'm OK. Stop asking.
    no, it isn't that bad. thousands and thousands of users have no issues and don't care to go on a website to tell people. this forum is a hardcore of mac users who want to discuss apple/their machines or, usually, complain about them.

    i'm not saying they don't have problems, and i'm not saying they have the best/worst rates of failiure - i'm just saying don't use a specialist forum as a gauge to problems.
  4. legobuff thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 22, 2008
    papillion, ne
    Huh, now I figured that asking a specialist forum would be the right way to go as you would give me the straight answer, rather than some "I heard x" one. but, point taken.
  5. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Nobody here has access to Apple's Production or QA numbers, so anything we'd say would be a SWAG. You could guesstimate looking at US sales figures and compare to the Refurb Store quantities (as a measure of returned/failed at the factory units) and extrapolate somewhat, but still likely be wildly off.

    Just as an idea, though, Apple shipped ~1.5 million Macs in their 2nd quarter. Assuming a 0.1% failure rate (one in a thousand), that's 1,500 bad Apples in a quarter. Also, remember that failed units will never be evenly distributed, they'll typically be clustered in various production runs for one reason or another.

    Another factor: What really qualifies as a "bad" unit? A single dead pixel? a smudge on the case? A slightly sticky key? Or is the unit realistically not functional near reasonable expectations given it's a commodity item.

    I hate to say that's it's a crap shoot, but it can be. I haven't had but a single component failure in 23 years of Apple hardware, but at the same time, we've got members that always seem to grab the short straw. I feel safe in saying that the vast majority have never had a single major casualty (anything beyond a minor glitch, promptly taken care of by Apple) during their years of ownership. I think you'll find most independent surveys being conducted (by the likes of Consumer Reports) are still finding Apple at the top of build quality, reliability, and customer service. Just remember, though, in life sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.
  6. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    I's recommend you buy the laptop when it gets updated, or just buy it now. Realistically, the defect rate will not be high enough for you to have a reasonable chance of getting a unit with a defect. One stuck our dead pixel, slightly off alignment key, etc is not anything to fret over. A yellow screen, bad audio, bum battery, machine that won't turn on, etc is something to worry about. You probably won't get any of those. Good luck and enjoy.
  7. legobuff thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 22, 2008
    papillion, ne
    thank you...

    I made the plunge and purchased a MBP 17" 2.5... and I am loving it! :D
  8. macenforcer macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2004
    Yes, the failure rate is very high. When I bought my wife's macbook we sat at the applestore opening them up and returning them until we got a good on. We went through 3 of them. We finally accepted the 3rd one and even that one has a funky trackpad. Bad screens a plenty along with keyboard problems etc. At least apple is good about taking them back for problems within the 14 days. Just DON"T buy it online at apple. They won't help you. They will repair it. Nightmare.
  9. ArcaneDevice macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2003
    outside the crazy house, NC
    The screen problems only affect you if you know what you are looking for. Most consumers have no idea what they are supposed to be looking at and for them all the displays look fine. Especially if they've been upgrading from a cheap 5 year old Windows box.

    If you are a bit of a videophile or gearhead then you'll see the problems that others wouldn't even think to notice.

    The question is how much of one are you?
  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Of the 3 computers I've gotten in the first 3 weeks. I've had defect rates of 2/3
  11. nicegoogly macrumors regular


    Jan 23, 2008
    My MacBook Pro's keyboard and trackpad failed when it was four months old. I called apple, two weeks to fix it. I asked to have them set up an appointment at the genius bar, 2 AM two days from now or a week and a half from now, which they would only send it out if they can't fix it. I had the Best Buy warranty, they said it would take less than a week, when I got home, the really tiny estimated date was over a month. I was enraged as it was the manager that made the promise to me directly. They replaced it with a new Penryn after much ass busting (plus, they had lost my unit for four days on top of it). I also had a sinking feeling when I handed it to them since it was in mint condition and they claim to bubble wrap it and treat it like my newborn daughter. In reality, they shrink wrap your power cord right on top of the unit with no bubble wrap. So beware when you drop it off. I have also heard some nightmare stories about the Apple technicians scratching the units up really bad when they repair them.

    On a positive note, the Time Machine migration tool worked flawlessly. I was afraid with the Multi-touch on the new one, but not on the old one, that accessing my backup would screw things up, but it did not. I was reading that some backups take 13 hours, mine was completed in less than an hour and it was as if my MacBook Pro never left my hands. The keyboard and trackpad issue is not a rampant problem, but common enough. I think it has to due with USB peripherals like the keyboard and mouse. That was only thing that I was doing different two or three weeks before they went out. I am now using the keyboard with my new Penryn MacBook Pro as I have not heard any issues with the keyboard and mouse.
  12. Sloanbone macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2008
    Last week I ordered a new MBP (2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) from Amazon. I have never owned or used a Mac before so I was really excited to see what it was all about. When I got it Monday I turned it on and used it for an hour, did all the updates and what have you and then shut it off and unplugged it.

    The next night I went to turn it on and it did nothing. No lights, no sounds... nothing. I called Apple and they had me do some things but still it wouldn't do anything. They told me to call Amazon and send it back for a new one.

    My new one should be here tomorrow and I can't wait (again). However, if there are any problems with this one, it is going back for a full refund (if it's during the 30 day return window) and I will be sticking with Windows. I really want this one to work fine..... I hate Vista.
  13. PhaserFuzz macrumors 6502

    Dec 12, 2007
    Unfortunately, thats one major flaw for Apple. The defect rate is outrageously high, whether die hard fans want to admit it or not. Not only with computers, but all the gadgets as well. However, they are very good at fixing any problems you might have. Once you get everything resolved, you'll have one sweet laptop. I do have to say though, with Apple's overpriced hardware, this should not be an issue! :mad:

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