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Summary:

If you’re having problems with your new 27-inch iMac, you’ll be interested to know that Apple released a fix via Software Update for the machines that’s said to resolve screen flicker issues. Now your expensive new purchase will only disappoint you in two or three other […]

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If you’re having problems with your new 27-inch iMac, you’ll be interested to know that Apple released a fix via Software Update for the machines that’s said to resolve screen flicker issues. Now your expensive new purchase will only disappoint you in two or three other ways.

Many users are also reporting issues with cracked screens and yellow tinting on the displays, with a gradient from cool to warm as you move from top to bottom down the monitor. I had the latter issue on two replacement iPhone 3GSes, too, so I can’t help but wonder if Apple’s increased ability to move product isn’t affecting quality control.

Apple’s also passing the buck in the description of what the new fix for the software-based flicker problem actually does. To wit:

The 27-inch iMac Graphics Firmware Update applies to the graphics firmware on ATI Radeon HD 4670 and 4850 graphics cards to address issues that may cause image corruption or the display to flicker.

Elsewhere, the company notes that the firmware update isn’t a cure-all:

If your screen remains black after applying the updater or if you continue to experience image corruption or display flickering after successfully completing this update, contact AppleCare or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

So not only does Cupertino seem to be blaming ATI for the issue, it’s not actually promising to necessarily fix anything with this update, either. Whether Apple goes with ATI or NVIDIA, it just can’t seem to avoid graphics card-related issues. At least this time around it didn’t take two or three years for Apple to acknowledge the problem. Still, sales of the 27-inch iMac have been halted, which probably isn’t making consumers or Apple very happy.

Let us know if you’ve tried out the update, and whether your problems have been resolved following its installation. I’ve heard from at least one or two people that they haven’t noticed any improvements. One thing’s for sure: Apple has to nip iMac-gate in the bud before further damaging its quality and reliability reputation.

  1. I don’t have the new 27″, but I have been wondering why my wife’s iPhone 3G has such a gloriously sharp screen (gorgeous contrast), while my newer 3GS seems…well…bland. Any takers? ch:

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    1. I noticed the same thing on 2 iPhones and then it dawned on me . . . one had a cheap screen protector that was dulling the screen. There are some good ones out there that are fine . . . but the budget one was making the screen anemic.

      I have a 27″ iMac and I ordered it the first day available . . . not a single problem . . . fingers crossed

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  2. I have the new 27″ iMac don’t seem to have the problem. However the screen of mine 15″ MacBook Pro (new) looks kinda bad next to the 27″. Not because of the size, but… With a upwards or downwards angle the screen of the MacBook Pro lacks clarity (this happens when right in front of the laptop when the clarity is just right and then move the screen about 5 to 10 degrees up or down). Probably normal with a laptop screen, but it’s still annoying.

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  3. My first 27-inch iMac (ordered 10/22/09) flickered more than a Keystone Cops silent movie, but my replacement 27″ iMac has been rock steady…if I don’t count the two brief times its screen DID flicker under intense activity and after having been run 24 hours nonstop.

    Since then I’ve done everything I can to induce the flickering and blackouts of its predecessor, but the screen remains solid. Note that until last night, iMac #2 did not have the firmware upgrade.

    After hearing about the cool-to-warm gradient issue, I did notice it on both 27″ iMacs. I fiddled with the monitor’s gamma calibration, and may have taken a bit of the yellow hue out of the screen. The gradient may not be an issue for me.

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  4. I had a flickering 27″; applied the patch … so far so good. I’m hopeful.

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  5. Man, I want a 27″ iMac in the worst way, but not until Apple gets these QC issues resolved. My most recent Mac is a late ’05 G5, for crying out loud.

    In response to Christopher, though, I must say that my original iPhone, which lasted 2.5 years, was nowhere near a good as my new 3GS. This puppy rocks, and the screen is sharp, bright, and perfectly responsive to touch. My old one developed a dead band eventually that was completely unresponsive… but I did, ahem, drop it a few times.

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  6. I do have to say that quality control has, err, slipped. Ive always loved Macs, my teacher at school has one of those iMacs with the little round base and then the screen pokes away on a metal rod…. an iMac G4 i think its called… He also had a PowerBook (the silver aluminium one)… Not a problem at all, and both these computers were running Panther *shudders*.

    But my MacBook Aluminium?? Has had every problem you could think of, Apple wont replace it, Apple cant seem to fix it, and really its just a piece of s**t that Apple cant be bothered with

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  7. I got my 27″ iMac last week and the only issue I had was a screen locked in the brightest setting. Our corp support tech applied some firmware updates and all is working well now.

    The only thing I don’t like, and never liked about my 24″ iMac, is the glossy screen. It’s just reflects too much of the windows behind me.

    Let’s face it, though, quality controls are not as good in China as they’re in the U.S. The only thing they can mass-produce is people and smug. Let’s just hope Apple doesn’t decide to have its products built and QC’d in India. :D

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  8. i have been using a 27″ i7 since they first shipped and i have had no issues, not a single one. applied the patch last night and i see no difference, same as before, no issues. finest computer i have ever had the pleasure of working on.

    i also run boot camp, that was a little bit of work to stabilize, but i got it working and now i can play PC games at 2400×1400 at med-high to high quality with no lag. this is how it should always have been, best of both worlds at massive resolutions.

    sorry for those that have had problems, but i have had none.

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  9. Have there been any issues with the 21.5″ that uses the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card?

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  10. Hey, I installed the update last week and was still seeing issues with screen flickering, and just complete outages for 10 seconds our so. I took the computer to the Apple store in which they ran a “stress test,” the results being that they couldn’t find anything. When I got the computer home it won’t STOP flickering now, perhaps worse than it ever was. I’m not sure what to do at this point, because I want to make sure I get a new machine. Any advice to those who have dealt with Apple Care and customer service?

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