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Summary:

As the issue of discoloring white MacBooks circulates the internet, and as a would-be buyer of the MacBook, my eyes are peeled to the screen to see how the issue plays out. I know by the volume of page views and comments to these threads, that […]


As the issue of discoloring white MacBooks circulates the internet, and as a would-be buyer of the MacBook, my eyes are peeled to the screen to see how the issue plays out. I know by the volume of page views and comments to these threads, that I’m not the only one. But it’s got me thinking about a potentially larger issue.

A few months back there was a blog posted about a bad experience with PriceRitePhoto. The power of the internets combined and mob rule broke the business down as they saw fit. Then slightly more recently, a lady lost her camera while on vacation. A family contacted her that they’d found it, but had given it to her son and wouldn’t return it. Readers of her blog repeatedly asked for information to be able to take out their mob justice on the ethically-challeneged family.

The internet is a big place yet a single person’s voice can be very clearly heard. A ‘damsel in distress’ is something that people flock to with the intent of righting all the wrongs brought on them in the past. Whatever, put all that aside for a moment. Let’s focus on something less philisophical and more on-topic with this site – Apple’s MacBook.

There’s a seriously long thread about the discoloration of the white MacBooks over at Apple’s Support site. I haven’t taken the time to tally the folks who’ve actually responded with the discoloration issue, so this isn’t a fact-based, hard target search sort of deal, but the actual number of affected notebooks seems sort of small. This is in NO WAY lessening the issue these consumers have experienced. But, everything being relative – in this case, the size of the internet compared to the discolored’s responses – is the MacBook Discoloration an epidemic that all consumers need worry about, or merely a matter of the vast internet bringing the handful of unfortunate incidents together in one thread?

Of course the many blogs only serve to perpetuate the issue, making it seem that much worse by plastering it everywhere (for a day or so it seemed to be every 5th title in my RSS feeds). But that’s what we’re all here for, isn’t it? Have an experience, write about it, discuss it until it’s been beaten to death several times, rinse, repeat.

On the topic that prompted this diatribe, I sincerely hope it’s nothing more than a few isolated discolorations by unlucky consumers. It hasn’t deterred me from planning my own white MacBook purchase. (Though I have pre-emptively ordered the MacBook Invisible Shield from Shield Zone.) But whatever the nature of the issue, be mindful of the power of the collective internet. Use these red flags in a way that best suit your needs and measure them accordingly. Be informed. Be smart.

By Nick Santilli

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  1. I’ve been watching this issue like a hawk also. The same goes for the heat issue. While both issues certainly raise problems for the MacBook, I’m still going to get one. I hope I don’t experience these issues, but if I do, I think I’ll still love my MacBook. Next Thursday I’m taking the trek to the closest Apple store, so wish me luck on my purchase.

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  2. While I have no intent of buying a MacBook, I too have been watching this issue very very closely. My brother just bought a MacBook and it would make me very upset that his first Mac would be troubled with such a problem. I do hope that the issue is limited to a small number of MacBooks, and not as widespread as the thread would have you to believe. Fingers crossed!

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  3. Many people have reported that their MacBooks are getting so hot that the system freezes. That is the worst part of the complaints for me. It’s definately not OK for it to lose it’s color but you can get over. Now, a system freezing because of the heat? What about the guy who had his pen melted down because he left it on the top of his MacBook?
    I have more than one friend who were getting them a MacBook but now are thinking about other options because they wan’t something that can just turnout to be expensive and of no use.
    Apple needs to come out and speak about it.

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  4. There are a lot of problems going with Apple first generation products lately, I’m just gonna wait for the second genaration MacBook and take black as it its color will not be damaged. I hope )

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  5. I’ve been admiring Apple products for years, although I haven’t managed to buy a Mac yet (I have an iPod and was/am intending to get a MacBook), and I must say I’m impressed by all these problems.

    Apple products supposedly focus on design, quality and ease-of-use. But the problems they have affect both. Whether it’s screen scratches on iPods or MacBook stains, it seems that the quality of the products have not been taken care of seriously enough. And I wouldn’t mind if my dull laptop had stains on it, but one of the reasons for buying an MacBook is its looks, too.

    Of course it all depends on the extent of the problems. A dozen defective MacBooks is not enough reason to say “MacBooks suck!”. (The iPod nano on the other hand, is so perfect until you dare drop it in your pocket naked). But the internet notifies the users of all the possible problems they may have, and ends up being a little terrifying.

    The company has another chance though to deal with the issue. Customer care, replacement of defective products and preventing further problems is the key for satisfaction of all parts.

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  6. It’s funny how the problems with the Mac seem to be cosmetic in nature. The battery expansion is one that is a bit of both. New Apple owners complain about the finish of their product more than any other computer manufacturer. The last four or five big brou haha’s have all been about cosmetic things. Cube plastic defects. Ipod nano scratches, MacBook glossy screen, Discolouration of Macbooks, (I heard Magic Eraser does the trick). For one I don’t think that it’s Apple not taking things seriously enough but Apple just having Version 1.0 problems. Most PC users don’t care about the look of their machines. Most don’t care about their machines at work at all , It’s IT’s department mentality at work.

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  7. Yeah well.
    One of the arguments for buying a Mac is the design, imagine showing your work to a client on a Mac book that looks like the one in the picture.

    “For one I don’t think that it’s Apple not taking things seriously enough but Apple just having Version 1.0 problems.” – That’s why companies usually test products before shipping. Although I do think that it’s in such a small scale that they could have missed it.

    “Of course it all depends on the extent of the problems. A dozen defective Mac Books is not enough reason to say “Mac Books suck!”.” – That is the question, is it just a dozen, or a lot more that are not reporting it in blogs?

    In any case, because looks are so important on a Mac and because it’s a design flaw and does not come (if you believe the people reporting it) from abnormal use, it should be covered in the guarantee.
    And by the way I don’t think that a Mac Book Invisible Shield would stop the problem, it looks a lot like a heat thing. If you leave a white piece of plastic near a heat source you get exactly this kind of discoloration.

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  8. Those two issues – discoloration and heat, really don’t plus me since I’ve been seriously looking into getting one of these as my first notebook and Mac. I know most people aren’t do-it-yourself types, but with a little know-how I’m sure these problems don’t raise too many eyebrows to the trained eye.

    If You are worried about discoloration or scratches, get a shield – it only makes sense.

    As far as heat, I’ve seen several people that have reapplied their thermal paste and don’t have that problem even at full load. Of course, there have also been reports of people not removing the clear plastic film from the vents that also may contribute to the overwhelming heat issue.

    I guess it depends on the type of person you are whether those kinds of problems bother you enough to shy away from a product. For me personally, it isn’t enough to keep me away from an otherwise excellet machine.

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  9. I frequent the Apple boards and wouldn’t let some of this complaints deter me from buying a Macbook. I’ve actually read posts on the forum where people have asked whether they should be worried because there WASN’T any whining or mooing. A lot of the people are complete newbies to Apple and seem like they exaggerate somewhat. The extremely long thread on the board isn’t filled with non-stop complaints about the discoloration. I have a white Macbook and have had it for a number of weeks and I don’t have any discoloration. As far as the heat, I use a lap pad so it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t really seem that much hotter than my husband’s PC laptop.

    @Mantiz – If the discoloration is actually a machine flaw and not just the result of someone who is sweaty and doesn’t clean their machine, I don’t think it’s heat-related considering that area doesn’t get warm at all. The heat is concentrated at the upper left hand corner of the notebook.

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  10. Angel, thanks for the info, I haven’t got a Mac book but from the picture here it just looked a lot like a heat thing. And since people were complaining about both…

    Wash your hands, buy a black macbook or wait until you hear from apple about the matter then?

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