Yellow iMac Problems Due to Shipping Damage to LED Diffuser?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Kavik, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. Kavik macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2007
    As a prospective 27" i7 iMac owner, I've been following the thread on the yellow tinge issues for awhile now. Hoping that Apple had addressed the issue, I finally took the plunge and ordered my system on 1/20 and just got my shipping notification yesterday.

    As I wait for it to arrive, I wanted to share some thoughts that came to mind after I read this review of a Samsung LED television a few days ago:

    Getting the LED white light to travel from the edges to behind the LCD panel requires an optical wave guide that twists the light 90 degrees. This is no easy feat to perfect and Samsung hasn’t managed to completely nail it: screen uniformity wasn’t perfect when viewing a full white screen test pattern. On rare occasions, when viewing content with white areas at the top or bottom edge or a blue sky, this non-uniformity gave the screen edge a schmutzy (dirty) appearance. ​

    If this is an issue for a large TV then it may also be a problem for the iMac's 27-inch display. This got me thinking about what a Gizmodo reader mentioned last week in this article:

    I now am fairly certain that the yellowing of the display is a manufacturing defect involving the distance between a layer of material used to diffuse the LED backlight and the LCD panel. To show a perfectly even color, this light scattering panel has to be absolutely flat and free of any warping, kinking, or thickness defects. It is this layer that I believe is at fault, and causes the color to drift and give the perception of yellow stripes, fields, and corners.

    This would be absolutely consistent with the reports of horizontal and vertical stripes (a vertical or horizontal kink) or corners (a bad tuck). I believe these defects may not appear in the factory. Rather, with the rough handling the monitors receive when shipped this layer gets knocked out of alignment.​

    Something to think about with the iMac is that it's shipping weight and bulk is a whole lot heavier than a typical monitor and the LCD panel is wedged between and fixed to metal, glass and the logic board and components behind it. Now I've seen how the FedEx and UPS guys handle packages coming to my house and office...factor in a trip all the way from Shanghai for a mega parcel and I'm sure there's a lot rough handling that the iMac has to endure. I think it's entirely possible that the backlight diffuser is getting warped in transit, perhaps at certain contact points like the lower corners. Heat from the system behind might make the problem appear worse over time as some users have commented.

    If this is the case, then it would explain why some folks are getting their 5th and 6th yellow-tinged iMacs whereas others are fine. Apple could do all the QA in the world on the factory floor but it wouldn't help if the problem occurs during shipment.

    Bottom line is that this would be a serious product design flaw which would take alot longer than a few weeks to fix and retool for. The only other solution would be for Apple to replace the LCD panels for those machines on which the diffuser was warped during shipment, which appears to be the direction they are heading.

    Anyway, here's hoping that the FedEx takes good care of my package! :D
  2. marco12345 macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2010
    That's some niccceee threading sir!

    Logic explanation.....makes lot's of sense

  3. appleslave macrumors member


    Jan 30, 2010
    Florida, USA
    Nice thread!!! keep up the good work!!! I am in the same boat, hoping mine would get here safe with no problems. I have been saving since october to buy it and now waiting for it is getting so unbearable and after all this if I see a bad iMac I will be really upset with Apple
  4. xokimwhiteox macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    That does make sense, UPS and Fed Ex aren't always careful with packages. When the guy from Fed Ex delivered my 32" Toshiba, he brought it up to the door, slammed it onto the ground, and rang the doorbell, I almost had a heart attack.:/ Luckily nothing was wrong with it.
  5. frenchie0101 macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2009
    why they dont have FRAGILE stickers plastered on the brown boxes is beyond obviously isnt then
  6. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    +1 for a great guess

    Superb possible explanation.

    Apple needs to ship these things with ShockWatch stickers in them:

    I have not seen how these monitors are packaged, but if it's the usual stiff foam, corrugated gussets or styrofoam, it may be conferring too much shock to the iMac. The wide/thin aspect ratio of the monitor may also allow more flexing under vibration or rough handling, too. More compliant and supportive packaging may be all that's needed to avoid these issues.

    I hope Apple is monitoring this thread; this may be a valuable clue. +1 to you, sir!
  7. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Never! Apple likes to go green and make their boxes as small as possible with the least amount of packaging materials.

    They like going around displaying that eCrap gold standard sticker on their computers like people actually care.
  8. toed macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2006
    What about the 4 bad ones I have gotten

    From a physical apple store?
    Surely they come packaged in "bulk" tightly wrapped to the apple stores? or maybe not...
  9. i7QuadCoreMania macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2009
    my i7 1st shipment early Dec 09 has very little yellowing if noticeable at all, the box it came in is cherry.

    So if there is a correlation with bad shipping causing the diffusers to warp, than that might be the reason why I have not seen the serious yellowing others have complained about.
  10. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    What an interesting thread. I would be interested to hear from other users here in Japan about their machines and if anyone's gotten any yellow-tinged ones. We're only a short hop from Shanghai, relatively speaking, and this is a country where the courier services take their jobs very seriously and handle fragile packages with kid gloves.

    The early reports of cracked glass panels on the 27-inch iMacs could definitely be connected to rough shipping.

    My first machine (i7, week 47) has no yellow tinge and excellent overall color uniformity.
  11. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    It wouldn't matter if you said the President's life was in the box, let alone a fragile sticker. Go on YouTube and search UPS or FedEx. They couldn't give a **** if they broke your iMac or anything else.
  12. gospel9 macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2008
    OP, in regards to the first part of your post, why are you completely ignoring the 21.5" iMacs having the exact same problem? I find it difficult to accept a size 21.5" monitor as "big". Even a 27" is a small size for a TV nowadays.

    In the apple support forums there was this guy who tested iMacs in one of Japan's Apple stores, the only iMac there with a significant yellow tinge was the only i5 on display. The rest being week 41 models. Not sure if it has anything to do with shipping but it's possible I guess.
  13. rfrankl macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2006
    UPS isn't called gorilla freight for nothing!! They throw everything!!
  14. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Well, I'm not certain that the theory is only that the 27-inch are mishandled because of their size but rather that UPS and FedEx mishandle/roughly handle packages of ALL sizes.

    Excellent! Thank you for this information. I am really starting to think there might be a connection. In this country we have Kuroneko Yamato Transport, Sagawa Kyubin, etc and they are all extremely meticulous in the handling of packages. They are delivered on time and with great care.
  15. Buzz Bumble Guest

    Oct 19, 2008
    New Zealand
    It's not only the humans, but you've also got rough handling by the machinery and the drug / explosive sniffing dogs jumping and clambering all over the parcels. Plus of course the way some of the courier drivers drive would have stuff sliding all over the back of the van. :(

    We used to get parcels from my Grandmother in England by both ordinary postal and courier services, and very often things like tins of biscuits (or "cookies") would be dented and the boxes on toys squashed. Luckily it was only ever the packaging that got damaged though.
  16. Yakuza macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2007
    Lisbon, Portugal
    As for my i5, i think it made the all journey since Shanghai...upside down.

    It came within a brown box, and when i did opened it (where there was the duct tape) instead of giving me access to the top of the iMac box (with the handle) it was the bottom of the it sure was a bad thing :rolleyes:
  17. knewsom macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2005
    I think this explanation for what is causing the problem is a good one - it happening in transit is a good explanation, even for the 21.5" displays - this is the first display of this particular type that Apple has put in a machine. It would even explain why Apple is taking so long to fix it, or come up with a reason WHY it's happening. The only piece that doesn't fit is the early IPS screens, none of which were yellow. Perhaps then this is a combination of factors - shipping roughing things up and misaligning the display, and a flawed display to begin with, in that it was not built well enough to withstand the rigors of shipping.

    FWIW, I worked for Apple, and I can tell you that they don't get pallets of computers all wrapped up together. The DHL guy comes and drops off a bunch of individual boxes. Back then they didn't even have the extra box around it, just a shipping label on the iMac box itself.
  18. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    I still think it's a problem with the flux capacitor.
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I believe this to be a good explanation of what is happening.

    Having said that, some thoughts in no particular direction:

    1. Could Apple be reaching "the limit" of what it can successfully build (in China) and then ship to the West, all the while maintaining its reputation for quality? In other words, could the design of the new iMacs be in and of itself "too fragile" to survive the process?

    2. If so, what alternatives might be available?

    3. Could we be seeing "the limit" of what's possible in an "all-in-one" design?
  20. Btom macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2009
    I had a very close look at a number of 55" screen, 1.25" flat Samsung LED TVs and all of them looked quite uniformly white to me.

    Tom B.
  21. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
  22. Stonefly macrumors regular


    Dec 26, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    I wonder how many of these computers that are having problem are the ones shipped with the free option. I had mine shipped expedited as I wanted it on route for as little time as possible and it's fine, the box didn't have a dent or scuff. Only took a few days and it was all airmail instead of ground shipping, just a thought.
  23. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    I hope you're right -- they upgraded the shipping on my replacement to the "2-3 day" shipping option.

    Finally, and explanation that sounds plausible. It's an easy fix to; they should just be able to reverse the polarity.
  24. Buzz Bumble Guest

    Oct 19, 2008
    New Zealand
    Nope, I'm almost positive that it's due to a faulty doohickey-whatsamacallit-thingammy-whosamawhatsit ... Apple probably got them from Microsoft. ;)
  25. TSX macrumors 68030


    Oct 1, 2008
    You do have a point there, but when the 3gS came out it had the yellow tinge on the bottom too. Your theory of the rough handling of the packages means that it could be the same cause of for the iPhone tinge too. My iPhone has a light amount of tinge to it too and I have dropped a couple of times and i haven't seen an increase of yellow at all.

    But I dont think its the rough handling at all (and I might be wrong), because the iMac uses LED technology while the iPhone doesn't. So what would cause the yellow tinge on the 3gS's if they dont have a LED diffuser?

Share This Page