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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Design Fault in Apple’s iBook G4

A ground-breaking decision by the Consumer Complaints Board in Denmark may have global consequences for the Apple computer company.

Users of the iBook G4 have found that shortly after the one-year guarantee runs out, the computer goes dead and the screen goes blank. But when they apply to the manufacturer to have the machine repaired or for a replacement, Apple responds that there is no question of a design fault, and anyway the 12 month guarantee date has passed.

Some users found that they could get the iBook G4 working again by clamping one side,iBook G4 while others managed to reboot the machine by loosening the cover and inserting cardboard shims.

The Danish Consumer Complaints Board discovered that a solder joint between two components was weakened a little every time the computer was turned on. Eventually the joint broke and the iBook G4 would no longer function properly. Apple Computer International has already settled some cases in Denmark on the basis of the report.

The question now is if Apple will admit that there is a design fault in their computer and settle the complaints of their many customers in the world at large.

25 Responses to “Design Fault in Apple’s iBook G4”

  1. Iain Rowan says:

    A whole batch of G3 ibooks had a design fault, which meant that the logic boards went phut on a regular basis. Apple denied at first that there was a problem, and then when the volume of disgruntled consumers grew too great to deal with by putting their corporate hands over their eyes and shouting “lalalacan’thearyou”, they instituted a repair programme for iBooks that fell within the affected serial numbers.

    When mine had been in for the third time for this repair, I wrote grumpy letters and moaned at them a lot, and they agreed to replace the G3 with a brand new G4 iBook, which (fingers crossed), has worked perfectly ever since. A nice gesture of customer service, but they do seem to have a track record of:

    – rubbish QA
    – denial
    – grudging acceptance
    – dealing with the problem, but much later than they should have done.

  2. Dean says:

    I don’t like Macs. They’re not really necessary. Although it’s always good to have some competition.

    jb says: I also used a Mac for a couple of years. Nice boxes, but these days they can’t do any more for me than a pc.

  3. Sounds like there’s potential income for someone with a soldering iron. Iain’s four complaints about Apple could just as easily apply to Microsoft, btw. I’m not upgrading to Windows Vista until the bugs are out.

    jb says: Hi Ann, it is of course true that Microsoft run a monopoly in the industry, and the way they’ve played it up to now, they intend to keep it that way. However, we seem to live in a world that favours bullies. I love that central irony of capitalism; that entrepreneurs forever laud the virtue of competition and not one of them really believes it but goes out whole-heartedly to eliminate every other trader in the market.

  4. John Paul says:

    Mine died after a year apple tech support took the mickey by saying it was a broken motherboard caused by me, as opposed to their appalling build quality. If your handy with an allen key and screwdriver go to follow the instructions and it will work again, mine has for 8 month so far.

    jb says: I know nothing about apples. And I take no responsibility for this or any other ‘fix’ working on your machine. Also, you must know that by opening up your ibook you void any warranty you may have on it and chance causing even more damage. That said, you might still want to have some fun.

  5. Edward Christy says:

    I had a problem with my ibook G4 not starting, and I found a solution in which I put a piece of rubber in the interior of the machine in order to bring the defective metal pieces together. You can find this solution on Google: ibook G4 logic board fix.

  6. Wayne says:

    I’ve added an entry on my blog about how to fix this via soldering it up, and all the affected models.

  7. Will says:

    I have followed Waynes example on his blog and confirm that my ibook is going fine now. A previous owner had padded out the graphics chip with some rubber feet, but that solution had clearly had its day. I have a good feeling about the solder method. (and my fingers crossed of course)

  8. Design Inspiration says:

    I really don’t like Macs very much either, it’s only good for design pretty much. Although that is a good thing for a computer to be good for, but I do more things than just design. I gotta have some power to play some massive games. 😛 Currently running Ubuntu.

  9. marc says:

    Thats some really cool piece of information. This is cetianly a big blow for apple.

  10. what is money says:

    nice trick
    i always had a bunch of clients who are constantly complaining of one fault or another in their macs.

    at least one fault will be reduced

    thanks for the trick and letting me know the correct sol.
    it worked perfectly for one customer, haven’t’ tried it on another ( btw i did read your novel, and it was an interesting read definitely)

  11. Gaurav says:

    Good Finding, apple’s flaws.Newer version of ibook are now quite better. I just brought 13 inch ibook. 3 months over till now i don’t have any problem with it and no blank screen yet. I’m still waiting for my warranty period to over hope nothing happens after that.

  12. Rachel Clarkson says:

    I love mac and this article really shocked me. I was going to get an ibook g4 but this discouraged me. Thanks

  13. James says:

    I have to say, I have had APPLE computer for 12 years now and have loved it. Just like everything, there are always problems, but in general apple products are great.

  14. kate says:

    This is why I just stick to my PC. Apple’s are so expensive the last Apple I had was an Apple IIe if anyone can even remember that historic computer… That thing was great though for its time 🙂

  15. Torrents says:

    Thanks for the Information very useful thanks again

  16. Matt says:

    Big blow for Apple. They care only for design so these things don’t surpise me anymore.

  17. Jay Zuck says:

    Reading through the comments I thought it was kind of fascinating that at first there was a piling on of mac haters then a few fervent voices of mac lovers and finally a kind of evening out. Personally, I love my mac, but I’m always open to good information.

  18. CanvasRoad says:

    A lot of people say that Macs are good for the “art” stuff. Well… i think its safer to stick to the old school method! A brush and some canvas!

  19. My ibook went dead at exactly 13 monthes after the purchase, and of course apple says it’s out of warranty and I will have to pay for the repairment. I ended up paying $200 for a half an hour’s work – in the paper work went back with my computer there was the time they received the computer and the time it was packaged and sent back, in 30 minutes. duh!

  20. ivonne says:

    I am having the same issues with my Apple G4 Ibook. I live in the USA, what are my options? I had this computer for a long time now> Is Apple trying to repair these problems for people for free or is there a class action suite?

  21. natalie farrell says:

    i myself have a Mac iBook G4. Iv’e had it for a while now and i was just listening to music yesterday when it shut off. I tried to turn it back on (with the charger plugged in) and it beeped, lite up, then shut down. I tried again to turn it on and all it did for one hour was have the fan on. The fan continued to run until i got fed up and took out the battery. please help!

    jb says: I don’t do apple. I’m the straight guy in the pc ad.

  22. Ontario says:

    It happened to a lot of companies, having to admit a faulty design, I don’t think this will make much of a difference to Apple. They’ll survive OK.

  23. Computer Repair says:

    It just shows that in the 2 years since this happened that Apple have gone from strength to strength. Albeit that they are focusing mainly on the entertainment market now.

  24. john baker says:

    Comments are now closed for this entry.