The Problems With The Rev A Unibody Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by OneBlueFire, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. OneBlueFire macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Manila, Philippines
    On October 20 of 2008, I purchased a Rev A 15" 2.53GHz Unibody MacBook Pro. The product I received came with a design flaw. It "teetered" since the bottom case/s were not aligned correctly with the top case. A replacement was granted by Mr. Kane Massey of Apple Australia by November of 2008 but was only received by me on NOVEMBER 17, 2008 (Approximately 1 Month Later).

    The new unit came with another design flaw. The keys on the the keyboard were askew, primarily along the function keys and the directional arrow keys, and less obviously on the QWERTY area. Again, a replacement unit was granted by Mr. Massey. The replacement took far much longer than the first one. I received it on JANUARY 31, 2009 (Approximately 2 (TWO) and a half months).

    The THIRD unit again came with other flaws. The unit had visible scratches and dents on the top case as if it had been previously used or mishandled during manufacturing. I immediately e-mailed Mr. Massey on the same day (01/31/09). I received my first reply 9 (Nine) days later on February 9, 2009 from Ms. Janine Beach. Apparently, my issue had been forwarded to his colleague.

    From February 12, 2009 onwards, Ms. Beach and I had been conversing about the issue via telephone and no longer via e-mail. Ms. Beach granted a replacement of the TOP CASE of the unit. On February 17, 2009, the replacement part had finally arrived. Since I had been assigned a vast number of projects to accomplish by the company I work for, I was unable to bring the unit till March 6, 2006 for repair which was a day I filed for absence to finally get my issue resolved.

    March 6, 2006 at 10AM, I arrived at the reseller. They informed me that moving the hardware to the new body would take approximately 2 to 3 hours. I complied happily and returned to their office at 3PM. They then showed me the completed unit. We tested the unit for problems and the following issues arose:

    1. When closing the notebook, it wouldn't go to "sleep" (indicator light would not pulse)
    2. Even with the notebook closed, the screen would not turn off (Apple logo was still glowing)
    3. The hard drive head didn't move to the "parked" position
    4. The LCD wasn't aligned with the top-case when the unit was closed by about 1mm on the left side (The technicians said that the misaligned LCD could not be fixed since the holes where the LCD is attached cannot be adjusted.)

    The technicians then began trouble-shooting the top case. After thorough analysis of the replacement part, they discovered that a magnet was missing from it. They took a magnet from the OLD case and moved it to the NEW case. The transfer did not solve the problem. That leads me to ask how it is possible that a replacement part be sent out of Apple's factories with a MISSING piece?

    The technicians then decided to reset the logic board thinking that would solve the problem. By 6PM of the same day, the problem had still not been solved. They decided to loan me one of their units (A 2006 2.0GHz Core Duo 15" MBP) so that I could continue to work my unit is being repaired. The technicians stated that the replacement top case might have faulty wiring and that they might have to reorder another piece. They said that the repair or replacement might take anywhere between 5 days to a few weeks.

    During all this "ball-throwing" from one court to the other, I have unsuccessfully been able to use the unit(s) to their full potential due to the efforts of calling daily to the reseller and making follow-ups with the Apple employees who have been handling my issue.

    Just to make things clear, I have been an Apple advocate since 2004. I have 7 iMacs at the office (4 G5s and 3 Intel Core 2 Duo Machines), 6 iBooks for some of my employees, 3 MacBooks, and 4 MacBook Pros (including the one that's had these onslaught of problems.). The units that I'm mentioning have NEVER had problems. They are all top-of-their-class, meaning I purchased the best that money could buy. All of those machines are for business use, EXCEPT for this Unibody that I decided to make as a personal investment. The first time I actually decided to buy something for myself, and it came with out-of-the-box problems. I've never experienced this before with any of the other units.

    An employee of the reseller actually said something logical to me today: She said "Sir, it's such a good thing that you're a die-hard Apple fanboy. Most other customers would've given up by now and would've requested a complete refund. You've been really unlucky with the Rev A Unibody MBP."

    In all honesty, I COULD go for Sony or IBM or Dell despite better specs at a similar price, but I consciously and affirmatively decide not to since, just as the employee had stated, I am a die-hard Apple Fanboy. I have a firm belief in Apple's Mission and Vision. I acknowledge that Apple is the leader in design and execution. I have so much faith in your products. A faith that is currently being shaken.

    During these entire 5 months of replacements and repairs, Apple has been able to release new and better products such as a new 17" MBP, Airport Extreme and Express, and now the new 2.66GHz 15" MBP. From what I've heard, the new products are flawless. I have numerous friends in New York who have the new 15 and 17" MBPs and they say their units have absolutely no problems. They even teased me by saying "That's what you get for not waiting till they (Apple) have made sure their manufacturing processes have been finalized by waiting for the next Revision." How can Apple release better products and yet pay little attention to the dedicated people like me who bought a "First Release" product not doubting the quality and attention to detail that Apple puts into them? My MacBook Pro has become obsolete during the entire duration of my issues. I haven't even begun to enjoy my unit over these past 5 months, and now it has become a thing of the past.

    I am completely torn and devastated. I bought the 15" Unibody as my FIRST PERSONAL (not for business) INVESTMENT. It's the first time I actually bought an Apple product using my personal money and not the corporation's. Money that I skipped meals and and nights out with friends just to save. If that doesn't make it a VERY personal investment, I don't know what can. That MacBook Pro represents time away from people I cherish and love. It represents a growling stomach during lunches and dinners. It represents a trip to Hong Kong with my younger sister that I decided not to take just to buy the unit. That Macbook Pro is a VERY personal investment for me.

    I am still loyal to Apple. That fact WILL NOT CHANGE. I just wish that Apple was just as loyal to me.

    What exactly am I supposed to do now???
  2. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2009
    Ouch. See if you can get a refund, then buy a new one outright.
  3. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    If you talk to a manager at the store I'm thinking that they can give you a new, top of the line one in exchange for your problem-prone one.
  4. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Manila, Philippines
    The problem lies in the fact that I'm in the Philippines and that, generally, I'm dealing with a Reseller who doesn't have the power to make decisions like a direct Apple Employee could at an Apple Store.

    All issues here in the Philippines have to be coursed to Apple Australia which then sends a go signal to Apple Singapore to ship a new unit.

    Apple Australia has been more than willing to replace the units. I've already been through 3 (Yes, three) of them. Each one with its own unique problem.

    They sent me a free 16GB iPod Touch "for all of my problems," but that doesn't solve anything. I would've rather received a PERFECT unit the first time around, than go through 3 (THREE) failed units and get an iPod touch to shut me up while they try to get everything resolved for me, if you know what I mean.


    I just want what I paid for... Who wouldn't with a US$2,500 purchase, right?
  5. flamebourne macrumors newbie


    Apr 27, 2008
    I'm also from the Philippines too, which reseller did you bring your unit to?
  6. OneBlueFire thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Manila, Philippines
    I purchased the unit from iStudio. Currently, it's being repaired by Senco.
  7. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

    Apr 29, 2003
    The new unibody products are not flawless, see:

    "Some New 17" MacBook Pros Plagued With Failing Graphics"

    And this was taken from the Nvidia Form 8-K for NVIDIA CORP addressing the 9xxx series:

    "There can be no assurance that we will not discover defects in other MCP or GPU products."
  8. Psychmike macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2008
    You have my symapthies. It sounds like you have been more than fair and patient and I would no doubt have been much more frustrated than you appear to be.

    It seems like you think that provision of a new generation Macbook would be fair. If that is how you feel, there is no harm in asking. Perhaps you've all (you, the reseller, the Apple rep) been banging your heads against the same wall for so long that no one has suggested stopping.

    With due respect, however, it seems like part of your problem is emotional. You call yourself a "die-hard Apple fanboy". Your signature says "I'm a Mac." Perhaps part of the problem is that you are investing a lot of your faith, energy, and self-esteem in something that is a tool, not an investment nor a reflection of your worth as an individual. Obsolescence is both a given and a falsehood. Yeah, Apple will almost certainly offer something newer and shinier in a few months but if your tool can still perform the function for which you purchased it I'm not quite sure it matters.

    With due respect, being "completely torn and devestated" may be a consequence of giving up a lot of your normal life (skipping meals, missing out on a trip) to save up for a product that shouldn't be expected to make you as happy as several meals with friends and time away from "people [you] cherish and love." You made the choice to value your relationship with Apple more than those relationships and now you want Apple to show you the same personal loyalty. I'm not sure that that is the way they see things.

    The fact that you state before resolution of the problem that your loyalty to Apple will not change suggests to me that you feel that Apple is the only active party in this process. But you are too. You can demand a refund. You can buy something else. You can decide that your life is much, much more than the things you own.

    I hope things work out for you.

    Best regards,

  9. MrCrowbar macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2006
    My black Macbook which I bought a few weeks after the initial announcment was away from me for cumulative 5 months.

    First I had the expaning heatpipe issue, where it expanded when warm and short-circuited some sensor cable right on top of it which led to a complete sudden power outage. After about a month it came back from reapairs with a new logic board, but as soon as I powered it on, I had the rainbow lines of doom (some display issue) and the unit wasn't well put together, the cases were misaligned and I couldn't plug anything in besides the magsafe. So I returned it to Apple. After a few week it came back with a constantly flickering display backlight and the expanding heatpipe was back. Also, 1 out of 2 times I plugged in headphones, there was a kernel panik. The Apple Genius was really intrigued by that issue. I held out like this for 2 months because I needed a computer at that time and my Macbook was my only computer. Then back to the shop for another month.

    When it came back it was kinda working, one of the RAM slot mechanism did not work anymore (I noticed because I always put in the original RAM and wiped hard drive before sending in for repairs) and the sleep LED was always off (actually just disconnected as I later found out). Then the battery swelled up by an inch and was seriously hot and I got a replacement (130 full battery cycles) after 2 weeks. They insisted that they had to keep the Macbook in for the 2 weeks to change the battery... Then it was ok for 2 months or so where my trackpad was failing to recognize anything but sideays gestures and the clicker button was dead. Replacement top case (4 days in the shop) had half of the keys not working at all. I successfully convinced the store people to let me keep the Macbook until the new part was there so I could use my Macbook with a USB keyboard.

    Then, a few months later, the LCD was seriously bright in the lower right corner, apparently because some part of the panel started dissolving. And the replacement battery was only holding 40% charge after 70 cycles, so I got it exchanged under the battery recall and got yet another display. A bit later, the thin cable coming out out of the power brick started burning green and blue (I guess green the colors come from the different metals and plastic isolations), Apple wouldn't replace it ("user error"...) and I had to buy a new one. That decision took Apple 3 weeks by the way... Oh and the Superdrive's eject mechanism failed, too.

    At some point I was having coffee while surfing at home and the neighbors banged open the door against the wall right behind me. The whole room rattled for a second, I guess the doorstop was torn off and the doorknob went right into the wall. I was so startled that half the coffee cup went right into the Macbook's keyboard. After draining, disassembling and cleaning the thing, it now works better as ever before. Only the top case (including the power button) was damaged and I got a replacement on eBay for 18 EUR.

    I was planning on getting a unibody Macbook (2.4GHz 13") but my fear of Revision A Macs and the reports of that wiggly headphone jacks on all unibody models are telling me to wait. I sure as hell don't want to go through all that again. I also have kind of bonded with my Macbook now. We've been through hell together, it survived the ultimate liquid damage (with sticky sugar) and had most of its parts replaced. The battery is new, the track pad is not all polished up (also new), no cracks on the bottom of the case yet... :eek:

    Out of curiosity I compiled a list of parts that have not yet been replaced:
    - Bottom plastic case
    - Outer display case (the part with the apple logo)
    - Speakers
    - metal frame
    - Apple Remote
    - Airport card
    - RAM and HDD (but I got my own upgrades in there now)

    Everything else has been replaced once or more. Now I do all my repairs myself. Replacing the thermal compound actually got the CPU 10-12°C cooler than it ever was.

    Hang in there, buddy! Macs are still great machines but with the rising market share and the few different models, it seems like the majority of Macs have major flaws because 20 people claim the same problem on a unibody Macbook. Usually, computers have numeric names with model numbers changing every few weeks making it hard to find the same model as you with the same issue.

    I think I'll wait until Snow Leopard and the Rev B unibody Macbooks which might just be around the same timeframe, I believer in late summer.

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