MacBook Air Acting Up, Just in Time for Holidays

The launch of Apple’s new unibody aluminum Macs hasn’t been the smoothest ride, for both the company and its loyal customers. There was disappointment over what didn’t (Firewire) and what did (HDCP) make it into the new machines. The innovative new trackpad design nearly underwhelmed thanks to a glitch that resulted in it failing to recognize clicks every so often. Finally, two graphics-related issues began cropping up in MacBooks and MacBook Pros, problems which Apple is currently investigating.

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Apparently, the MacBook Air was tired of its bulkier cousins getting all the negative attention. Recent reports from users indicated Apple’s ultra-portable is also experiencing problems associated with graphics output. Machines are being returned to Apple because of “laid” displays, a problem in which faint, horizontal or slightly angled gray lines appear, spanning the entire width of the notebook’s screen. Luckily (or maybe unluckily, depending on your perspective), the lines are said to appear immediately after booting, so you’ll know right away if your machine’s affected. The photo to the right shows what to look for if you’re unsure about your own Air.

TidBITS estimates the spread of the issue to be significant, based on the number of views and posts on the subject at the Apple Support forums. Apple still hasn’t officially acknowledged the problem, although given its similarity to the issues found in the new unibody MacBooks, expect an official investigation announcement soon.

When you consider the common element of the introduction on Nvidia chips in all Apple notebooks, reports of video problems begin to take on ominous connotations. Nvidia chips, after all, are behind video problems on older model MacBook Pros, a problem which was acknowledged to be the fault of the chip maker shortly before the release of Apple’s new machines. It may be that a firmware fix will solve everything, as many hope, but the spectre of a persistent hardware problem and massive recalls could soon sour the growing Apple-Nvidia relationship.

Are you experiencing problems? Let us know and/or post images for comparison below.