My life is a mess thanks to Apple's quality control

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Essenar, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    For the third time in a row, my babied, cared for, delicately handled 13" MacBook Pro has had the hard drive cable fail. I have an analytical chemistry report due by 12 midnight tonight and my MacBook is being shipped out for service. I have my iPad (useless) and my Nexus 4 smartphone (actually more useful for spreadsheets than the iPad, go figure) and a school campus of computers that are ALL equipped with Excel 2010.

    So I'm basically screwed.

    The first time it happened was in early February. I got a blinking folder icon. I immediately pulled my drive and hooked it up through USB to another computer. Drive worked, obviously the cable. Turned it in for service and got it back a whole week later. Second time it happened was one month later. Now, without failure, it happened a third time. It's almost consistent.

    I have to run around campus and either find someone with a Mac that can let me borrow it for 8 hours or I might just swipe a laptop to my student account and sell it for a $100 or maybe even $200 loss when I get my MacBook back.

    And before you hurl insults at me about how I should just sell my laptop and go back to Windows, try to be more considerate to my situation. I love my MacBook and I love OSX. The 13" Pro is perfect for me because I was able to upgrade it myself, it's not terribly expensive compared to the 15" Pro or Retina 13". It's light enough to carry around. But thanks to this issue, I'm effectively losing 3-5 days of healthy productivity as an engineering student.

    I'm taking very hard classes. Running around finding a computer to use because my Macbook is out for service is very detrimental to my schedule. And who cares if I can get a brand new laptop due to lemon clause? That still means potentially hours at an Apple store or on the phone with their technical support, playing the "I deserve this" tug of war. I don't have time for that and most managers know that you play the tug of war specifically so you can get people without time to give up. So I'm left with a few options and they're ALL terrible:
    Sell my MacBook at a loss (No one's going to pay me what I paid for it) and pay even even more substantial amount to 'upgrade' to a MacBook that doesn't have this issue (not confirmed) that will either offer more performance for a much heavier form factor (15" Non Retina Pro) or offer a much better screen but a lot less upgradeability and the loss of an optical drive (I rent DVD's from Red Box). So I lose money, lose money and lose either functionality or space convenience.

    Accept it. Accept that the 13" Pro is a great product with a really nasty quality control issue. I stock up on hard drive cables since I can do the repair myself. (They're not cheap. $20-25 per cable adds up if you have to replace it 5 times a year) Or try to get it replaced using the lemon clause (if that even exists). Even a new 13" Pro replacement might have the issue. You never know. Some of my friends have never had the issue, 3 of my friends have. It's literally a gamble.

    Go back to Windows.... :rolleyes:At the expense of losing the best operating system I have ever worked with, I gain the ability to be selective about which $1000-1200 laptop I buy to ensure it has the reliability and build quality I seek. (Linux is not an option. I'd rather use chalk on concrete for computing than use Linux. I don't have the time to deal with it.)

    Sigh, this is such a nightmare. And during midterms season too.
  2. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Um, you do know that you could have gone to the Genius Bar and get that replaced, right? I would think waiting around is worth the $1,000+ to be honest.

    I have a 2011 model, and it has gone through a LOT with absolutely no problems hardware wise.
  3. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    You are condemning an entire line of laptops based on your own experience. Fair enough but have you considered that you just got a lemon? I agree. Dump that thing if just for peace of mind. But considering how much you like OSX I wouldn't throw Apple under the bus just yet.

    My Early 2011 MBP13 merrily chugs along 12-14 hours a day. (And the one before that).
  4. Mr Kram macrumors 68020

    Mr Kram

    Oct 1, 2008
    probably shouldn't have waited until the last day to write the paper...
  5. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    As one who spent his entire academic career waiting for the last minute to do papers, etc. I feel for OP's situation. Maybe rubbing it in (as in your post) was a bit ill timed.;)

    OP...although you have my sympathy, I think assuming that the whole line of computers has (have?) lousy quality control might be a bit of an exaggeration. I've have an early 2011 MBP 15" and never experienced any problems that couldn't be solved by a call to Apple, or, at worst, a visit to the Apple Store.

    To suggesting all MBPs are perfect based on my experience, would be as fallacious as your condemnation of the QC based on your experience.

    I hope things work out for you!:D
  6. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Three or for faulty cables in a row is doubtful. I could see maybe one or two in the odd case, but three or four in a row? That tells me it could be something else, and not "obviously the cable".

    Can totally sympathize, though ... My life was like totally ruined once by a bad mouse ... like, totally. Right button stopped working. God, that was like a total nightmare. It still gives me chills. I had to use like keyboard shortcuts for lots of stuff.
  7. USC_Gamecock, Apr 30, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013

    USC_Gamecock macrumors 6502


    Sep 22, 2004
    If so many of your friends have MBP's -- then why not use their laptop to down-convert your Excel files to 2010, and then go use the campus PC's?
  8. abc123 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2004
    Does your school have computers available?

    Every university I have come across has 24 hour computer labs for students with a mix of mac and PC. I used to use them a lot even though I had my own computer because being in a room full of other students all working made me more productive than if I was at home with a TV and games to distract me.

    Converting your file to excel 2010 shouldn't be too difficult. Ask a friend to help you out :)
  9. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    If you could plug it into another computer and the drive worked fine, why the hell didn't you just place a copy on there and a flash drive and get it done on another computer?:confused:
  10. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    I would like to say I am sorry for your situation. Academic life is stressful enough trying to absorb the material and then situations like this add to it.

    Could you take your drive to a friends Mac. Boot it. Then clone it with carbon copy cloner to an external drive. Take it the external drive back to your Mac and boot your Mac with the external drive. Work from the external drive until drive and atleast finish your paper.

    Good luck.

    You could also pick up a cheep used macbook as a back up in the future.
  11. Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    Excel 2010 has a huge fault in that it doesn't allow you to create an XY scatter plot and set the x-axis to data in your column. You essentially set a trend line and solve by hand but you cannot force Excel to mark the x-intercept unless you mock it by creating fake x-axis labels. With analytical chemistry, I'm analyzing over ten data sets with up to five trials for each set.

    Excel 2011 is actually MUCH better than 2010 in the effect that you can manually adjust the x-axis with a simple right click and make your graphs appear correctly.

    Its also the version I'm used to. While using OSX is like riding a bike, Microsoft likes to change things around enormously with every Office version, in ways that make zero sense.

    The computers on campus use Excel 2010, which is atrocious.

    I have my files. That's not the problem. The problem is that if my computer worked properly, I wouldn't have to run from lounge to lounge HOPING that the ONE iMac they have in every lab isn't preoccupied. And no I didn't put my work off until the last minute but a lot of engineers do. I had most of my raw data done but I had to start plotting charts and solving for x intercepts.
  12. thecurryman macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2012
    I took analytical chemistry and it was a pain in the ass figuring out how to use excel because all the instructions available were for excel 2010.

    That being said, i feel your pain. My 13 inch MBP is also not working right and i have to use my brothers laptop till finals are over

    I also would not throw apple under the bus. This might be just one laptop issue going on here, i think you should get the laptop fixed, sell it, and then invest in either a refurbished one or a new one. Or use the lemon clause.
  13. Mr Kram macrumors 68020

    Mr Kram

    Oct 1, 2008
    honestly, i was a procrastinator myself all through my undergraduate years. with that being said, **** happens, and i would take full accountability for my ill fated outcomes. i just don't like the whole "cry me a river" attitude.
  14. gngan macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2009
    I have an early refurbish 2011 13'' MBP. Kenel panic every 15 mins and I requested an exchange. No issue after that. So I would consider telling Apple that it has the same problem and explain your situation to them.
  15. chrisperro macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2009
    go buy a new macbook,restore from backup,do your paper,return macbook.
  16. Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    I'm considering it. I managed to get it done by using my friend's MacBook to create the spreadsheet, save it with all my linear regression and solutions and then emailing the file to myself and using really crappy Windows computers just for the Word portion of my report.

    So now I'm going to sell my classic. It's heart breaking but I think I've outgrown it.

    My iPad Mini is now my classroom note taking accomplice. (Bluetooth keyboard plus folio case FTW + over 10 hours of battery life even with games and videos)

    So because I don't need the light weight or portability anymore, I'm going to upgrade myself to a 15". The 15" Pro doesn't suffer from the frail hard drive cable problem, has a better dedicated GPU and will serve me as a primary computer using Splashtop to access it remotely when I need to.

    I'll probably wait for the WWDC refresh and pick up a 2012 Retina 15" 16GB discounted or pick up a 2013 non-Retina. A 2013 15" Retina is a tall order (Probably $900 difference over what I get for my MacBook. I can't justify that amount)

    But it doesn't change how I feel about the issue. The 13" Pro hard drive cable is a serious design flaw and I've NEVER had that happen in 10 years of owning various MacBooks and Windows laptops. And I'm not the only person I've seen with the issue. Being a blind Apple loyalist isn't helpful. We need to hold Apple accountable or they won't fix issues like this. Yellow tint on screens, flimsy hard drive cables and other common issues will get swept under the rug because Apple has enough ignorant blind loyalists that will strawman any legitmate concern about Apple's quality control.
  17. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    As an engineer, you do know that quality control is not based upon the experiences on you and a couple of friends? I have about 8-9 friends who have 13" MBPs. Only 1 of them has had a hardware problem and she has abused her MBP since the day she got it. This includes being dropped multiple times (not just 2-3 times, more than that) and not charging the dead battery in weeks/months and about a good couple mm thick layer of grime on the screen. She has had 1 faulty HD cable. But that doesn't mean I will conclude that Apple's quality is good. It doesn't mean anything. Your experience is statistically insignificant in terms of overall quality control.

    You claim to be an engineer. Engineers find solutions to problems. They don't whine and complain. No problem has no solution. If you're truly an engineer, actually live up to it. There are people which fewer resources than you and have achieved so much more. What about students from 10 years ago? Excel 2010 didn't even exist yet. Much less 2011. Let's not forget engineers back in the days when computers weren't nearly as ubiquitous as today. Seriously...
  18. Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    What you say is only true if I'm in a position where the MacBook's quality assurance is my cross to bear. So every engineer should hold onto a crap product because he's more equipped than others to "solve" its problems?

    That's the stupidest principle I've ever heard of an engineer adopting. Which class did they teach that? If your car breaks down 10 times a week, you shouldn't complain because you're an engineer and you can fix it?

    I did find a solution and that's not even the point of this thread. Since when does being an engineer eliminate the privilege of complaint? The point is, my solution cost me time, resources and it's not a situation a person should have to go through when they BOUGHT a laptop. Running around scrounging for a computer lounge to finish a report is something someone does when they can't afford a laptop.

    When Apple writes my pay checks, I will take pride in finding solutions to their poorly designed hard drive cable. And when people like you quickly dismiss and chastise people for reporting their issues, that's when it becomes "only 1 of 10". But now with me, it's 2. So stop shutting people down when they have legitimate complaints. You're not doing Apple, the people with issues or even yourself any good by doing that.

    If you were an engineer, you'd know that bringing issues to the board is the first step toward finding solutions.
  19. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Sadly, this happens in many of the forum threads if anyone dares complain about Apple. For some odd reason people take it personally and launch with the insults and attacks.

    While it is true there will be hardware failures with any product, these drive cable failures are hard to defend. Even for an Apple enthusiast.
  20. SnowLeopard2008, May 1, 2013
    Last edited: May 1, 2013

    SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Crap product? There are countless people who did not have a faulty HD cable. You do realize this right? Apple sold around 4 million Macs last quarter. If we assume 500,000 of that 4 million are 13" MBPs (which is a VERY conservative number), you have had problems a couple of times? And let's count your 3 friends with the same problem. That's < 10 faulty HD cables in a sample size of half a million Macs sold in the last quarter. Let's not forget Apple doesn't stop selling Macs after 1 quarter. There are tens of millions of 13" MBPs in existence.

    The principle you call stupid is that a sample size of < 10 is not statistically significant and representative of a total sample size of millions. Your solution has problems, you refuse to find an ALTERNATIVE method to solve your problem. That is completely on you. You refuse to use a different OS (I'm sure Linux and Windows are not primitive to the point where it can't solve something like getting x intercepts from a scatter plot or whatever your specific workflow is), different program version, different method of using a relatively powerful program to solve a relatively primitive problem. When something doesn't work, try something DIFFERENT. Engineers embrace new ideas. Hell, everyone should. Learn new things. There are infinite ways to solve problems.

    I haven't dismissed your issue. I find problems with your reasoning and logic process. Is Apple perfect with quality control? Hell no. But is your conclusion correct? Hell no. Is your problem legitimate? Yes. But your method of solving your problem is not. Can Apple do better to help you with your problem? Sure. But are you being irrationally stubborn and dismissing alternative ways to achieve your goal? Yes. You got a lemon. That sucks. It causes problems for someone in school with deadlines and limited financial resources. I get it. I'm a college student too. I wouldn't be able to buy a new MacBook on the fly if my MBA had some problem so that I wouldn't be able to use it for a week. But that doesn't mean I'll take your stance on Linux with the whole "Linux is not an option. I'd rather use chalk on concrete for computing than use Linux. I don't have the time to deal with it".
  21. Essenar, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2013

    Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    And here we go-

    So now me and the other three people according to yours and my experience are the only ones that have experienced this issue out of 500000 MacBooks, that's quite a statistical assumption you've made.

    I'm sure Microsoft sympathizers are happy that people like you exist. Nothing but the same type of Yes Men that brought a swift end to champions like Mike Tyson and Blackberry. Nothing Apple does is ever wrong!
  22. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Not to nit pick or go OT (both of which I'm about to do:p) but WHO brought an end to Mike Tyson's career???:confused:

    I think Mike Tyson brought an end to Mike Tyson career...the little bit of cannibalism on Evander Holyfield's ear might have made a small contribution. Also the jail time for rape probably didm't do him any good. Finally, the good possibility that, for at least a period of time, he was, as we say in psych biz, pretty nuts.:rolleyes:
  23. SnowLeopard2008, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2013

    SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    No, it's just that you can only confirm the cases you experience or have direct knowledge about. You cannot logically conclude that entire line of product is universally flawed based SOLELY on your few encounters. There are people who did not have your problems. Do you know how many? No. So how can you conclude that you encountering a problem is justification enough that an entire line of product is universally flawed.

    Wait, I just clearly stated Apple could do better and they aren't perfect.

    I noticed how you skipped past the part of you refusing to try something new. You're clearly ignorant and think with flawed processes. Good luck.
  24. macman34, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2013

    macman34 macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2013
    While there are a lot of people in the mac community that super helpful and make it a great place to be in, and a great ecosystem to do your computing in, there's a vast number of said yes men (rampant in apple's own support forums) that are simply beyond frustrating. They'd rationalize anything in favour of apple to a maddening extent. What's worse even if apple is clearly at fault -that's what happens in apple's support forums- they 'll attack, be sarcastic towards, or mock the person who has a problem to no fault of their own in favour of apple. There are clear elements of a cult there at play.

    I am sorry you had a bad experience with apple. It's not typical of them though (although it's been getting worse and worse lately, esp. as ios has overtaken os x), and the grass isn't greener on the other side.
  25. a-m-k macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2009
    I had a mid-2009 for almost 5 years and in that time I only had 3 problems in the end. In fairness, that MBP was very good. At least this time I can control one of the problems. I feel your pain.

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