PowerBook white spots

November 19, 2003

I've started to see the infamous "white spots" on my new PowerBook. I'm not amused. There has been a lot of buzz about this on the Net, but I figured I was immune as I hadn't noticed any spots. A couple of days ago I was using Exposé to clear the screen and the 'glowing' spots just kind of jumped out at me. I tried to strike it up to fingerprints or something and attempted to 'wipe' them off — joke's on me. The spots on my screen are incredibly faint (nothing like Joseph's), but they are there nonetheless and will only get worse over time. If you know me personally, you know that I'm a tad bit anal-retentive when it comes to my "gadgets," and, umm, this is my favorite gadget. I've signed the online petition and Apple has officially acknowleged the problem:

The new 15-inch PowerBook has been a big hit with customers since its introduction last month. However, some customers are reporting the appearance of faint white spots on their displays after using the system for a short period of time, and Apple is investigating these reports right now. Any customers experiencing this problem should contact AppleCare.

The problem is apparently from "spacers" that are placed between the screen and the aluminum casing. The spacers are to prevent the casing from bending; they're putting pressure on the screen and causing the white spots, which seem to be in the same general area on all the screens. MacFixIt has put up a picture that outlines where the spots are appearing. I have spots at positions two and three.

From what I can gather, Apple is fixing the screens without much hassle (100% free while under warranty — anything else would obviously be unacceptable). The screens are permanently scarred and so Apple is replacing the entire top portion of the notebook. I bring this up because I currently have no dead pixels — who knows if I'll have any when they replace the LCD. I'm also apprehensive about the fact that some people have reported that their "fixed" screens have spots as well.

I'm going to wait until after my law midterms to get it replaced (perhaps some of the inconsistencies with the repairs will have been worked out by then). I'm headed back to Florida around Christmas and so I thought I would do it then. I called a few Apple stores around here to try and get a consensus as to whether or not Apple could send a repaired computer to an address other than the one the computer is "registered to." I got conflicting answers from the retail stores and so I called AppleCare, who claim that it will be no problem. We'll see.

I understand that no product is impervious to design flaws (yes, even Apple products are susceptible!), but it still infuriates me that something I paid so much for has such a glowing (pardon the pun) defect. At lease Apple is doing the right thing and replacing the screens free-of-charge and without too much fuss. Be that as it may, I'll be singing an entirely different tune if my returned, and presumably 'fixed' screen, starts to show Orion's belt again.

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