Friday, December 20, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Stops Staingate Repairs After 4 Years

Joe Rossignol:

Apple continues to authorize free display repairs for eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models with anti-reflective coating issues for up to four years after the affected notebook’s original purchase date, the company said in an internal memo distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week.

[…]

Over the years, the issues have led to an online petition with nearly 5,000 signatures, a Facebook group with over 17,000 members, and complaints across the Apple Support Communities, Reddit, and our own MacRumors forums. A so-called “Staingate” website was set up to share photos of affected MacBooks.

Macs should last much longer than 4 years. If larger numbers of them fail due to a design or manufacturing problem, Apple should recall them and replace them with a fixed version. Instead, they tried to keep the problem a secret and ran out the clock.

For the 2016 MacBook Pro keyboards, there is a public repair program, but it only lasts for 4 years. Yet they just replace one defective keyboard with another, so the problem is bound to recur after you’re no longer eligible. And, even within the 4-year window, some customers have been denied more than 2 repairs.

Previously:

5 Comments

Between the high initial prices, the difficulty of upgrades, and the recurring failures driven by design vanity and Apple-focused considerations, Apple products really seem to have become products for the wealthiest of us, not for the rest of us. At least with older Apple products, they usually were quite capable for much longer than four years, so the initial cost was mitigated by the longer expected usable life, especially with the possibility of consumer-installed RAM or drive upgrades. I really don't know where I'll go once my older MacBook Pros start to fail.

>I really don't know where I'll go once my older MacBook Pros start to fail.

A friend of mine has a MacBook Pro who just had both the screen fail, due to the short connector cable, *and* the keyboard fail, at the same time. Apple fixed both problems for free, which is great, but this MacBook is just going to fail again in a few years. She's a musician, and this laptop is the single most expensive thing she owns by far. Buying a device like this is a major financial investment for her. The fact that this device will inevitably die again in a few years and leave her without a computer is despicable behavior on Apple's part, and financially devastating for my friend.

In Europe, they start to refuse service, even paid service, after 5 years. Battery worn out? Buy a new computer.

> In Europe, they start to refuse service, even paid service, after 5 years.

This is loosely the case globally, with products aging into service statuses known as “vintage” and “obsolete”. Vintage is roughly 5 years after the product is discontinued, and obsolete a couple years later. In most of the US, vintage means Apple stops providing service parts. Local consumer law can sway this a bit—I recall California residents can get service parts until their product is obsolete. This policy has been in place for at least 15 years.

> Battery worn out? Buy a new computer.

In practice there are new old stock and refurbished parts from third parties to keep older machines running. As the first portables with glued-in batteries reach vintage status I’m wondering if reliable aftermarket parts will be available.

>As the first portables with glued-in batteries reach vintage status I’m wondering if reliable aftermarket parts will be available.

Also of note, when my MacBook Pro's internal battery started to bloat and I had to take it out, I figured out that the Mac would automaticaslly throttle its CPU when it detects that there's no battery, which makes the device borderline unusable. So even just removing the battery and keeping the device running like that isn't a great option.

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