Apple Now Involved in Class Action Suit Regarding MagSafe Power Adapters

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Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 09:28
Category: Legal, MacBook

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A recently filed class action lawsuit has accused Apple Inc. of neglecting a flaw in its MagSafe power connector for MacBook notebooks that might not only cause a break but could trigger sparks, forcing customers to buy replacements and even creating a potential fire hazard.
According to AppleInsider, the suit, which was submitted late last week to a Northern District of California court in San Jose, the joint complaint from Tim Broad, Naotaka Kitagawa and Jesse Reisman claims that the MagSafe cable used for the MacBook and MacBook Pro will inevitably fray near one of its connecting ends. The claim contradicts Apple’s claims that the adapter is “durable.” The plaintiffs allege that day-to-day use, including winding the cable around the power adapter’s pop-out guides, ends up destroying the cable over time — and that Apple is aware of the problem but hasn’t fully addressed it with a safer design.
All three plaintiffs at varying points have had to buy replacement MagSafe adapters for their systems that, in two cases, have already either needed a replacement or are showing signs of needing one. The plastic sheath on the cable in each circumstance was often melted away and exposed the bare wiring. In the complaint, Broad noted the heat was enough that it might have caused fire damage to his home if he hadn’t been present to watch for the danger signs.
“It almost burned my hand when I brushed it accidentally,” he says in the 27-page filing.
The trio also points to numerous examples of similar patterns online, including Apple’s own online store, where the cables had frayed, melted or sparked and forced customers to get one or more replacements. Apple, meanwhile, only asks customers to visit a certified Apple service location if sparks occur anywhere other than at the power plug’s metal prongs; many of these visits, however, only result in the customers buying another US$80 adapter rather than receiving a free replacement.
As the problem is already known to affect “at least thousands” of users and may well include hundreds of thousands with the exact same issue, the plaintiffs want class action status to represent anyone who may have bought an affected MacBook and have charged Apple with violating California’s business codes as well as breaching the implied and explicit warranties attached to the computers.
Broad, Kitagawa and Reisman want Apple to not only refund any of the associated costs with the known defective products but to warn the public and, if successful, pay punitive damages alongside the expected compensation.
As always, Apple has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Apple Posts Job Listing for 3G Engineer for Mac Hardware Group, May Bring Additional Functionality to MacBook Line

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Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 09:45
Category: MacBook, Rumor

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Over the past couple years, 3G has become a common buzzword within the technology industry. The iPhone 3G has it right there in the name, some PC laptops have the functionality built in and Mac notebooks have access to it via third-party add-ons.
Computerworld has reported that Apple is now advertising a new “Communications QA Engineer” position in the Mac Hardware Group at the Cupertino campus.
The posting specifies the job’s description as : “Testing and reporting hardware, software, and device driver bugs for Communications technologies including AirPort (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth v2.0, gigabit Ethernet, and/or 3G Wireless WAN in a detailed, timely manner [emphasis added].”
While it’s not chiseled out in stone, there is the possibility that Apple could be adding 3G functionality to its MacBook notebook line. This could also be in reference to testing that encompasses third-party 3G modems to check for interference with the MacBooks’ other built-in wireless systems.
Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, but this could be interesting.

Rumor: Apple Allegedly Lowering Prices for MacBook Notebooks, iMacs

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Date: Friday, May 1st, 2009, 07:00
Category: iMac, MacBook, Rumor

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Apple may be in the process of restructuring its Mac offerings to include a variety of lower-priced models. According to AppleInsider, an anonymous source told the publication that this change could be in effect and that more affordable variations of the MacBook notebook and the best-selling iMac could be en route.
Though specific details weren’t to be found and Apple recently reported its best non-holiday quarter yet, Mac sales have taken a hit as the economic recession continues. Shipments for computers were down 3%, while iPhone and iPod sales contributed to an 8.6% gain in revenue.
According to the article, many analysts believe Apple’s lackluster performance in the PC segment can be explained by its higher ASPs. Although the structural collapse of selling prices has slashed revenues for many companies, the Mac-maker could be experiencing a drop in market share as customers flock to less-expensive systems. While Apple was shipping less Macs for the recent quarter, HP systems showed an 11% gain.
Acer has doubled its market share in the U.S. in recent quarters, this gain being attributed to the popularity of its netbook devices. User spending is also said to have contracted significantly in the first quarter of the year, and it remains unknown if the global PC market has reached its lowest point.
Although revised pricing information has yet to be fully disclosed, it is believed that the first products could arrive as early as this spring with a revamped MacBook line.

Apple Quietly Admits Hairline Crack Issue on White MacBook, Offers Repairs

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Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 07:44
Category: MacBook

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After months of contention, Apple has privately acknowledged an issue within some of its 13″ MacBook notebooks in which hairline cracks have arisen during normal usage patterns.
According to AppleInsider, Apple issued a bulletin to its authorized service providers in March that essentially reversed its stance on replacing the bottom casing of notebooks that may be experiencing these symptoms.
Initial reports surfaced in November that Apple was refusing to cover repairs for the bottom casing of the notebooks despite its willingness (on occasion) to address identical problems with the top portion of the casings containing the keyboard and palmrests.
The bulletin apparently identified four key areas prone to hairline cracking, including the case front below the palmrests and trackpad, the portions around the I/O ports, the back rear corners, and the back rear ventilation area.
Apple has also noted that other portions of the case could be affected by hairline cracking and has asked service providers to determine whether the cracks themselves were due to the owner’s negligence.
In the event that providers are unable to identify signs that the user is at fault for the cracks, they’re advise to escalate the notebook for coverage by Apple, regardless of whether its one-year limited warranty has expired.
The exception also applies to the black plastic 13-inch MacBook that was discontinued last year, but does not extend to any other member of the MacBook family, according to those familiar with the matter.

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MacBook LCD Mod Tutorial Goes Online

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Date: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, 08:17
Category: Hack, MacBook

It’s a matter of how comfortable you are taking your notebook apart and soldering new components into place, but for MacBook owners looking to make the Apple component of their LCD screen look like this:
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check out the tutorial created by Mac user Eddie Zarick.
The tutorial includes a full list of supplies and materials you’ll need, including a US$200 Century Plus One sub-monitor, but this should yield some fairly cool results.
If you’re about to take this on or have performed a similar mod, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Releases Battery Update 1.4 for 13″ MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009, 10:04
Category: MacBook

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Late Monday, Apple released its Battery Update 1.4 patch for its older 13″ polycarbonate (black or white) MacBook notebooks. The 210 kilobyte download improves the ability of MacBook batteries to maintain a charge when the system is shut down and not used for an extended period of time.
Users can determine whether their notebook requires this update by following these directions:
1. From the Apple menu, choose About this Mac.
2. Click More Info to start the System Profiler.
3. Locate the Hardware section and select Power.
4. Batteries with this information in the Battery Information section need this update:
1. A device name “ASMB016” or “ASMB013” in the serial number
2. A Pack Lot Code is 0002
3. A battery firmware version of 0110
The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 to install and run.
If you’ve tried the update and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Releases SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for 13″ MacBook

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Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 08:29
Category: MacBook

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Late Tuesday, Apple released its SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for the company’s 13″ polycarbonate (black and white non-unibody) MacBook notebooks released in early 2009. The update, a 557 kilobyte download, works to clear a performance issue wherein the notebook may slow down when booted while using battery power only. This SMC Update improves startup time when starting up from the battery.
The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Monoprice.com to Begin Selling Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter on March 15th

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Date: Thursday, February 12th, 2009, 13:39
Category: MacBook

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If you own a unibody MacBook or MacBook Pro with a Mini DisplayPort and want to export video to a TV or other HDMI device, hang on for just a bit longer.
According to AppleInsider, discount cable outlet Monoprice.com will begin sell Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapters for US$14.25 starting March 15th. Two other new adapters, offering to convert the Mini DisplayPort signal for either DVI or VGA, will also be available that same day. The vast majority of today’s HDTVs have HDMI inputs, but DisplayPort is a relatively new player on the connection standard scene and connectors between the two are rare, especially for Mac owners.
Some users have been able to work around the problem with a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter that in turn feeds a DVI to HDMI cable, though that method may be less than ideal, requires the purchase of two adapters and may not be aesthetically satisfying and may degrade the video to a certain extent.
Apple currently sells a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter for US$29 as well as DVI adapters for US$29 through the Apple Store, but nothing for the HDMI standard.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments or forums.

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Melting MacBook Documented via Picture Gallery

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2007, 08:00
Category: MacBook

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A forum post over to the German MacUser.de web site has documented an instance in which a German MacBook owner left his laptop unattended as it played a DVD of “Scary Movie” and returned to discover that the heat from the laptop had actually melted some of its plastic.
A full gallery has been posted over at AppleDefects.com and an article over there describes the unit’s heat buildup and lack of adequate cooling:
“MacBook’s are well documented to produce tremendous amounts of heat. Our AppleDefects MacBook easily reaches and sustains processor temperatures of 95 degrees celcius (203 farenheit) when running under load, with absolutely zero cooldown despite the tiny fan blasting. The super-heated air that is produced is then blown out the small back port. You‚Äôd never want to use our particular MacBook on your lap without a thick book or some other protective pad, the heat produced is scolding – but so far not hot enough to physically melt the machine itself. It should be noted Apple doesn’t recommend using laptops on your lap, as we have reported on in the past.”
While there may not be any guaranteed means of preventing heat buildup on your MacBook (I love mine, but it does get toasty), several temperature monitoring programs such as CoolBook are available.
If you’ve seen anything similar in your own experience or discovered a better setup for letting the laptop function with better circulation, let us know.

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Analyst: Apple may use flash memory for notebooks

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2007, 23:53
Category: MacBook

Apple Inc. may sell zippy notebook computers later this year that use the same type of fast memory as music players and digital cameras, driving down prices of hard-disk drives, an analyst said on Thursday.

The maker of the popular iPod music player and Macintosh computers hopes to introduce so-called flash memory in small computers known as subnotebooks in the second half of 2007, Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research who has a “buy” rating on Apple shares and does not own any stock, said in investor notes on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tech&Sci : Technology : Reuters.com

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