Yellow iMac Problems Due to Shipping Damage to LED Diffuser?

Kavik

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 12, 2007
79
3
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
 

appleslave

macrumors member
Jan 30, 2010
62
0
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
 

xokimwhiteox

macrumors member
Feb 3, 2010
37
0
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.
 

frenchie0101

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2009
283
6
why they dont have FRAGILE stickers plastered on the brown boxes is beyond me......it obviously isnt then
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,058
395
+1 for a great guess

Superb possible explanation.

Apple needs to ship these things with ShockWatch stickers in them: http://www.shockwatch.com/

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!
 

TMRaven

macrumors 68020
Nov 5, 2009
2,099
1
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.
 

toed

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2006
57
0
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...
 

i7QuadCoreMania

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2009
282
0
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.
 

SaSaSushi

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2007
4,079
470
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.
 

cocky jeremy

macrumors 601
Jul 12, 2008
4,141
1,695
Columbus, OH
why they dont have FRAGILE stickers plastered on the brown boxes is beyond me......it obviously isnt then
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.
 

gospel9

macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2008
225
0
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.
 

SaSaSushi

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2007
4,079
470
Takamatsu, Japan
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.
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.

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.
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.
 

Buzz Bumble

Guest
Oct 19, 2008
802
2
New Zealand
UPS isn't called gorilla freight for nothing!! They throw everything!!
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.
 

Yakuza

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2007
625
0
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 box....so it sure was a bad thing :rolleyes:
 

knewsom

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2005
949
0
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.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,200
5,547
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?
 

Btom

macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2009
571
0
......

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:

......:D
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.
 

Stonefly

macrumors regular
Dec 26, 2009
127
3
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.
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,523
253
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.
I hope you're right -- they upgraded the shipping on my replacement to the "2-3 day" shipping option.


I still think it's a problem with the flux capacitor.
Finally, and explanation that sounds plausible. It's an easy fix to; they should just be able to reverse the polarity.
 

TSX

macrumors 68030
Oct 1, 2008
2,610
22
Texas
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?

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=728028&highlight=yellow+3gs