Potential ibook consumers


I just read a disturbing article. This is in regards to Apple's customer service and product support. I am currently looking for a portable graphic design platform and Apple's new IBook seems like the most likely choice for me (style, functionality, graphical prowess). I have also been using the IMac desktop for sometime now. Although, I usually keep an open mind when I read reviews and comments in forums, the one topic that keeps surfacing is Apple's "my way or the highway" approach to customer service/support. I am not talking about your typical buyer's remorse issues either (god knows I've heard them all). Particularly disturbing (especially being in design) is the screen pixel issue with the IBooks. Example: You receive your brand new IBook, turn it on and you notice a tiny discoloration on the screen - bad pixel. You call Apple thinking that this system will be replaced or at least repaired and they tell you that this is an acceptable mistake and will not assist you other than to offer a number to an Authorized Service Provider (at your expense). Has anyone else heard of this problem?! How about other service issues? I want to purchase the new IBook, but will have to go to a local reseller instead of purchasing from Apple online or online retailer so that I can make sure the screen and other parts are working correctly. I don't want to believe this as I am a fan of Apple, but when considering shelling out $1300.00, I want to make sure I have a working product with great service to back it up.
Look -- a dead pixel on a LCD screen is not "mistake" -- it is an acceptable flaw in the product -- no manufacturing process is perfect, and there are going to be flaws in any product. The flaw is not even Apple's flaw, it is the flaw of the LCD manufacturer and their standards state that a single dead pixel is acceptable.

Don't you have better things to do than b*tch that 1 pixel is bad on an lcd that contains hundreds of thousands of pixels? Is your standard of perfection so high that 1 pixel is going to drive you to distraction?

This is not an example of a my way or the highway attitude toward customer service -- it is an example of nitpicky freaks refusing to accept that some flaws in a product are unavoidable.
Geez, what do you work for some LCD manufacturer? Or did you misinterpret the post as "frightweb's mother has a dead pixel?" I would have to agree with chin943 - I don't consider a dead pixel an acceptable flaw either, especially if it's out of the box. Dead pixels are probably an acceptable flaw on Windows laptops, since they are overshadowed by the thousands of "acceptable" flaws in Windows. We expect more; that's why we use Macs.

Where was this article, by the way?
I think it's inexcusable on *any* product unless that product has some sort of fine print that says :a few dead pixels may appear on the screen" or "results may vary".

When you pay for something you expect it to work except if it is sold "as is" which I dont see many computers mac, pc, or unix clone being sold "as is" to consumers by the companies.

Nope - not an employee of an LCD manufacturer -- a former Apple employee. I worked for Apple at the manufacturing plant in Fountain, Colorado that built most Powerbooks through the 5300 series. I can tell you that in most cases dead pixels are only visible through a jewellers loupe, and yes a dead pixel is an acceptable flaw in a screen -- in fact 3 dead pixels were acceptable on Mac laptops from the Powerbook 140s through the Powerbook 5300s -- the products manufactured during my stint at Apple. I no longer work for Apple so I have no way of knowing, but I imagine that the standards are not much different today.

I posted because users buy a perfectly acceptable and usable machine discover a minor, unavoidable flaw, and run screaming to these boards screaming about buying an inferior product. They are simply wrong.

Oh yeah, my mother may have a dead pixel or two, but I love her anyway!

Thanks for the feedback! As for the article(s)/comments, they are located in ZDNet's talkback section regarding the new IBook. Like I said, still an Apple fan and will most likely be purchasing an IBook, but will continue to research into warranty, coverage and service from Apple. Just don't want to get a bad apple (couldn't resist).
1) It is VERY discouraging to get a new TFT display with a dead pixel or two. In fact, after shelling out $1299 or even $3499... you want the best... that is why you bought a Mac right?

2) The world isn't perfect, and considering the process of making a TFT display, there is in the industry an "acceptable" amount of dead pixels that a new laptop can have.

I had a Apple PB 3400 with one dead pixel... and sometimes it bothered me and sometimes it didn't... probably depending upon the colors around it. But, I lived with it... knowing that a Macintosh in and of itself isn't perfect (although we like to think it is) and decided not to make a fuss about it.

Buy your LAPTOP from a local shop or reputable mail-order company and open it up, turn it on... look at your pixels, if there is a bad one... put it back into the box and return it. Then go buy one from another place, until you find one you like.

A dead pixel would be worse in some cases than in others. I imagine that with chin943's original plan to use an iBook for graphic design, the problem would be considerably more disturbing than if it were used for HTML editing. Some situations aren't dependent on a perfect screen, but it would bug me either way.
I used to have a Sony VIAO and Sony allows up to, I think, 5 dead pixels before they consider a screen defective. Mine had 3 dead pixels and they would not do anything. Eventually a whole 100 pixel or so area of the screen went dead and at that point they finally replaced the screen. The replacement screen had 2 dead pixels but what can you do?

By the way, if you should avoid any company because of bad assembly quality or bad customer support, it's Sony. Normal wait time on the phone is about 30-45 minutes and sometimes it's up to an hour. Also you have to drill down 5 menu levels to even get to customer support and if there are more than an hour's worth of people backed up at that point you get a busy signal and have to start over again! Apple customer support the two times I've called them never made me wait for more than a minute and were much more helpful and courteous than Sony.

In the year and a half I had my Viao before selling it to buy an iMac DV-SE 500 I think I sent in for service 6 times for a total of over 2 months out of my hand. The clincher was when the screen hinge broke out-of-warranty and Sony wanted $500 to fix it! Finally got a new screen off Ebay for $100 but geez!

So anyway, IMHO not isn't Apple worse than their competitors customer support-wise, in my opinion they are light years ahead.
Good Evening,

<B>Following up on AlanBDahl 5 pixel limit.</B><BR>
A while back I recieved a "Late Night with MacHack book". It stated for PowerBooks with Active Matrix Screens, Apple allows up to 5 shot pixels before it will replace the PowerBook free of charge.
Hope that helps,
Jeff N.
A dead pixel would be the least of my concerns. How can you edit graphics on a display with only 8MB of video memory, a maximum of 1024x768. The iBook is a laptop for the "everyday" person. If you want to do graphic editing, get something with more video memory. I am not dissing Apple at all, but don't complain about a dead pixel, when there are more valid things to grippe about and are addressible things.

So if they accept up to 5... what's the best way to sabatoge the extra needed to get my free screen? =)
More of an inquiry than a gripe. I wanted to see if anyone had experienced these problems with their notebooks or had feedback on Apple's service.

I know that there are programs are availible exa. <I>PowerBook Pixels</I> which allow you to check for dead pixels. You might want to try and check to see if you missed some bum pixels before you get some not so legal ideas ;)
Jeff N.
Well, I paid $4000 for my pbg4/500 and with that price I expect it to be PERFECT! That´s why I bought a Mac anyway!

I was lucky, not one dead pixel, but the screen-lock leaves the screen with about a 2 milimeters gap between the screen and the bottom of the book, doesnt really close tight,.. but anyway, I dont care much about this...

Everything else IS perfect so I cant complain!

Thumbs up for Apple!
As I remember it there used to be an system extension that you could put in your Extensions folder and make invisible. It would make the display appear to have more than 6 voided pixels, just enough to get your screen replaced. Of course dealers caught on, and I would consider it standard practice for a dealer to boot the machine from the MTPRO cd to eliminate any mistake. Also iBooks are a facilitation repair to Apple anyway, so it will eventually an Apple proper person who makes the final determination.

I personally think that there should be NO voided pixels in a display. regardless of what anyone says, it is a defect caused in the manufacture process that is easily caught before the product leaves the factory.

I'm sure the number of cases is relatively low, it seems this could be something Apple could make right for those few users who got stuck with it without going with a full blown "Warranty Extension Program" (an Apple euphamisim for Recall)
I, too, remember an extension of some sort to 'help' you get over the dead pixel limit (i thought it was three, but maybe it is six?). As stated, this was quickly discovered...

I also remember reading somewhere that it was possible to 'massage' your dead pixels back into life. Seems one simply used a semi-soft, blunt instrument (maybe a pencil eraser?) and gently rubbed the bad area of the screen. this often fixed the problem. I never had the problem so I cannot say if it is true or not and if it is, how often it really worked; but I read it often enough ( I think there was a thread on macfixit?? re: this) that I'd give it a shot. Nothin' to lose.

On the other hand, I think there is another way to make more dead pixels that is not software related. If the 'massage' method doesn't work and you feel like gambling to get your machine replaced, maybe use a not-so-semi-soft-blunt object on your display?? As stated above, one dead pixel shouldn't be a big problem. But, if it is for you, maybe this would be a last resort? I personally wouldn't do it...

Lastly, I would try to make several calls to Apple in an attempt to get someone to take pity on you. While I have never had the dead pixel problem, an old girlfriend did get a 520 (I think it was) with a couple dead pixels back in college (this, before I had heard of the 'massage' method). We tried the BU Bookstore where we bought it - no joy. Called Apple. The first time, same story. But, when she called back, her call was escalated and they sent out a return box and replaced the display. It took all of 5 days if I remember correctly.

Hope this helps. One question. If one purchased the AppleCare plan, would even one dead pixel lead to replacement? Or would the acceptable dead pixel limit still apply?