Warning to those buying new Apple laptops

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Cattywampus_, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. Cattywampus_ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    #1
    I am writing this as a sincere advisory warning to anyone who is considering buying a new Apple laptop. My experience is based on a late 2013 retina Macbook Pro 15-inch.

    3 months after my 12 month Applecare warranty expired, the trackpad on my MBP stopped working.

    Not a problem I thought. Since its out of warranty, I will try and pick up a new or refurbished trackpad and make do the repairs myself. Should cost no more tan £50. How wrong I was.

    Upon opening the MBP, I soon realised that the batteries are glued to the chassis, totally blocking access to the trackpad. A bit of Googling confirms that the batteries are pretty much impossible to remove without the risk of causing damage to them.

    So I contact some Apple repair centres to get some quotes to get it fixed by Apple certified technicians, assuming they will have some method of replacing the trackpad safely. I'm thinking it may be £150 tops for the part and labour.

    Of the 8 quotes I have received so, 7 of them are wanting over £440, some as high as £490 to fix the trackpad.

    The reason that is given?

    The trackpad is part of the top chassis case and so to repair the trackpad, the entire top chassis has to be replaced; this includes the keyboard, trackpad and batteries... as well as the chassis.

    My 15 month old computer that is in perfect condition and that has less than 100 cycles on its batteries now requires a high chunk of it to be replace to fix one component that no doubt costs Apple less than $50.

    I am yet to have the work carried out as I am going to take the MBP to an Apple store and see if they can offer a better price, but I will be going ahead with the work even if it costs me £440. Lets face it, I have no choice.

    I find it incomprehensible that Apple think this to be an acceptable practice. Yes I could have extended my Apple warranty, but I didn't. I wouldn't have a problem if I was paying for a logic board as that can be replaced on its own. What I have major issues with is that I am forced to replace 3 other perfectly working parts to fix one other part, the part that is probably the most inexpensive component out of the top chassis.

    I have always championed Apple laptops as they are really nice machines. I have had many laptops and their fail rate has been low in my experience. In the past I have taken out the extended Applecare but decided not to as I never needed to use it in the past. I have been caught out this time.
     
  2. Mnowell69 macrumors regular

    Mnowell69

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    Jul 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bedford, UK
    #2
    All part of Apple's land-fill policy. Will they send the old top-case back to the factory to be refurbished? or will it end up in the ground in a third world country? In my opinion Apple are very wrong to be producing computers that have to be replaced almost in their entirety rather than replace the little part that isn't working.
     
  3. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    So So So true. I can kind of understand computers like the Air and the Macbook Retina being glued together as their aim is thinness, but the iMac, Mac Mini, Macbook Pro I am a bit more concerned about.

    My 2012 Non Retina Pro had to be replaced under warranty recently, and I had the choice of a Retina Pro or Non retina pro, so I went with the non retina pro again, so I could upgrade HD and Ram + do repairs eventually.

    We live in a world where protecting the environment is becoming more and more of an issue, yet Apple is marching in the other direction at a fast pace. Macbook Airs with 4GB of ram soldered are almost obsolete at purchase.
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #4
    This is actually pretty much common sense for anyone who's buying a retina MB, or a MacBook Air/rMBP. It's been this way since 2012 for the rMBPs, and way earlier for the MBAs. Caveat emptor applies.

    You should also have purchased AppleCare - there's a reason why this thing exists. It's also pretty much common sense that these Macs are not meant to be repaired by the user - just send it back to Apple.
     
  5. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    Australia
    #5
    The solution shouldn't be buy Applecare - for one these things should last longer. I get so many people asking me if their couple of year old air can get a ram upgrade from the useless 2 or 4 gb that Apple solders in. Many people are not aware of it.

    Its a shame Apple can't be super innovative and can't find some way to make Retina Pros more repairable, e.g. not gluing the batteries down.
     
  6. dav1dd macrumors regular

    dav1dd

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    Oct 25, 2013
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    Oz
    #6
    So true. At Keynotes, as soon as they mention anything about how environmentally friendly their devices are, it's laughable.
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #7
    I took a minor in EE and hate mechanical contacts. Not only are they expensive and take space but they also are failure points. If you can put all the electronics on a single board and solder or glue all components in place the system is much more reliable. I'll take reliability over expandability any day - you just order what you think you'll need, and if you find out you are wrong later just sell the computer and buy a new one.
     
  8. Samuelsan2001, Jul 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015

    Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    Actually it's a much greener policy apple keeps complete control of all components and can recycle them in a much more efficient and cost effective and greener way than you'll ever be able to do. Whether they do or not is another matter but as a green policy it makes perfect sense.
     
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #9
    You said it yourself you were caught out, you don't need to warn anyone, apple make it perfectly clear how their laptops are put together and the issues you'll have if you want to change anything or don't have a warranty or insurance (by the way your home contents insurance will probably cover this).
     
  10. abta1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    Paris, France
    #10
    I understand the OP's frustration and I sympathise. However, IMO, the OP is in the minority of Apple owners when it comes to wanting to or even being capable of any sort of DIY electronic repair. I believe the majority of Apple device owners lack the knowledge, time, or inclination to want to conduct a repair or replacement themselves. And as such Applecare, for the cost of $0.23 a day is the perfect solution.
     
  11. Dead0k macrumors regular

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    Apr 23, 2015
    Location:
    Poland
    #11
    it is not about the innovation. it is about earning money in there own way.
    New device = fresh money. New tech solution = opportunity to stay floating on a market and for stable income. New update = money replenishment

    That is why, there are a lot of cables out there, additional adapters and so on. They somehow have to earn money. That is why they have a good service and those applecare plans.(insurance so to say). Not every person needs it, but when the insurance situation happens it helps them a lot.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    I think it bothers many folks (as well it should) at apple's design/manufacturing process for the MBPs. I don't get why the batteries have to be glued, or the display panel is laminated to the top cover, etc.

    Yet are they completely different then other PC makers with thin laptops?
     
  13. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #13
    I know, but Apple blabs on about environmental innovation, yet it goes ahead and glues computers together and removes user replaceable components in desktop computers.....

    I'm personally not interested in how much Apple makes, rather I'm interested in keeping the earth a habitable place.

    Other manufacturers do the same, so I don't agree with them either, however perhaps apple could think different.
     
  14. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I'd like to see actual data about this. I'd say a fair number of people would like to be able to affordably repair their laptops if needed.

    ummm...... I don't think so. Its a policy that means that dumping the whole computer becomes more economically efficient than repairing. The greenest thing would be if their machines could be repaired easily and individual parts could be easily replaced rather than large amounts of the machine.
     
  15. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #15
    I'd take the environmental friendly option anyway. Ram contacts don't fail all that often- I've never had it happen on any Mac I've owned or serviced, however I've had multiple ram modules fail. Selling and re-buying works great for cashed up people, but not for everyone. The only reason numerous people I know are on 2008-2010 era macs is because they can upgrade.
     
  16. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #16
    "Green" and tech go very poorly together when it comes to consumer electronics. Apple's plan is probably the optimal solution for a poor situation, since it allows complete control of disposed devices.

    I'm very much in favor of user-serviceable designs, but there is no question that for several years the market and the manufacturers have been going in the opposite direction, and not just Apple. There are a lot of benefits, just as there are detriments. (Shrug)
     
  17. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 24, 2012
    #17
    The case is made of aluminium, one of the most extensively recycled metals on the earth.

    It will not under any circumstances end up in a landfill.

    This is almost as funny as the guy who thought that the case being machined out of a block of aluminium was wasteful because he assumed all the swarf that is milled out was just thrown away. Still didn't stop him commenting on Apple's clearly "wasteful" assembly process.
     
  18. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Recycling uses energy which has an environmental impact, so just replacing the part that needs replacement is going to be less harmful, in addition to less energy that needs to be used to actually create the replacement part in the first part.
     
  19. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    It's done this way because that's what makes the machine solid and reliable. It also allows them to hit design criteria that people are looking for - higher battery life, for example, since you can fit a bigger battery if you glue it in rather than having to design a cradle to hold it. Letting it "free float" inside the case doesn't work.

    Similarly, fusing the glass to the display assembly reduces weight, improves strength and reliability and reduces production costs. For the utterly minuscule number of people who would ever replace the display themselves in pieces (rather than just swapping the whole assembly) this is obviously less useful that the old design, but the benefits in doing it that way enormously outweigh the compromises, especially since replacing it is something they can do relatively easily. The old panel can then be recycled - the glass and aluminium will be recovered and reused. It's more cost effective than repairing it.
     
  20. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #20
    I don't see a ton of posts on here from people saying they're throwing away their Retina MacBook Pro because they can't DIY replace a trackpad themselves.

    I'd imagine that most let Apple service their machine, and after seeing the lengths Apple goes through to remain rated as the greenest electronics manufacturer (producing the greenest machines), I'd be highly surprised that Apple doesn't break down the individual parts and recycles/reuses whatever still can be used.

    If Apple made their products so that all parts could easily be accessed/replaced by owners, design changes would have pretty much ended 10 years ago, and everyone would be schlepping PowerBook-sized monstrosities around (on the off chance that something might break and the owner might want to make the repair themselves, which I think is rare and rarer).
     
  21. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Recycling aluminium is considerably cheaper than making new aluminium - it's why it is so aggressively recycled and why it is such a good material to make consumer products out of. It has good material properties and is very attractive to recycle.

    The tooling line that makes the top case is an order of magnitude more environmentally friendly than two separate lines that make a top case and a trackpad that then have to be mated together and maintain the same robustness as the original single unit (you know, so that they don't fail as often and require more replacements and environmental impact).
     
  22. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #22
    The fact is that recycling and manufacturing a larger number of parts is more detrimental to the environment then manufacturing and recycling a smaller number of parts, as recycling and manufacturing use a lot of energy. (Especially batteries).
     
  23. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    So where are your numbers on that?

    I'm assuming you are just using the "well it sounds like common sense" logic without actually looking at it from the position of a mass market consumer product manufactured in the millions.

    A laptop that is made of many parts put together separately is going to have many more failures as a percentage of the population than one made from many fewer parts.

    Certainly in the event of a failure it means that a larger portion of the device needs to be replaced, but given that it is extremely recyclable this is better overall.

    Reduced part count improves reliability, improves environmental impact in both construction and recycling and reduces costs.
     
  24. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #24
    The trackpad is still a seperate entity, the problem is that the battery's are glued down to the top case, blocking access to the trackpad meaning the whole thing needs to be replaced. Eg the trackpad is still made sepearly.
     
  25. oldmacs macrumors 68040

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    #25
    I could be wrong with the user upgrade thing, but the number of computer parts resellers exist would tell me that a lot of people do upgrade their machines, or they get their local tech people (myself) to do it for them.

    And your numbers on the failures thing?

    Apple's laptops are still made up of many many separate parts, just now they're put together in ways that make it harder to replace and upgrade (like gluing down batteries). I guess your argument would have validity with soldered on Ram, but then you face problems of Ram dying (Like what happened to the soldered in ram on one of my iBooks) and also that limits the life of the machine. The longer the lifecycle of the machine, the better for the environment, because as I said recycling a computer and manufacturing a new one has a negative environmental impact.
     

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