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Apple plans second fix for flickering 27-inch iMacs - reports

post #1 of 32
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Soon after Apple delayed shipments of its big screen 27-inch iMac, various users have begun to report from AppleCare technicians that a second fix for screen flickering affecting the hardware is due within 3 weeks.

In a thread on the Apple Discussions forums that spans nearly 250 pages, users have begun to report conversations with AppleCare representatives who claim a new update is forthcoming. A month ago, Apple released a software fix for the flickering issue on the 27-inch iMac, but since then users have said it did not address the problem.

One user, Dennis Murphy, said he was told that AppleCare technicians were issued a bulletin on Saturday that stated a fix would be released in about three weeks. The Apple employee was allegedly instructed to collect customer contact information so they can be reached when the fix is released.

"This would clearly explain the extended shipping times we're seeing," Murphy wrote on the forums.

Last week, Apple delayed shipment of new direct-order 27-inch iMacs by three weeks. Supply issues have persisted for months, with Apple in December apologizing for the delays.

Another poster, GuiltyVerdict, wrote Saturday that an Apple representative told them a combination software and driver patch is due in roughly three weeks.

"This will reportedly resolve the issue of the screen flickering (it is not hardware causing the issue)," the user wrote.

The three weeks allegedly cited by AppleCare technicians would coincide with the existing three-week wait time for direct orders of 27-inch iMacs.

However, when contacted by AppleInsider Monday, an Apple representative said the three-week delay was not related to any hardware issues. Instead, they said the company has had trouble meeting up with demand for the new system, as some components are in limited availability.

Still others have indicated system's internal graphics card cable could be the culprit. User ferris666 said they spoke with a technician who said the problem with the cable could not be fixed with a firmware update, though the "simple fix" has been implemented in newly produced machines.

While most of the reports are tied to the 27-inch model, there are also users who have experienced the same symptoms with the 21.5-inch model. When it debuted in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop in the U.S. for the month. Various issues were reported quickly, though the screen flickering has remained for some time.
post #2 of 32
has anyone seen this issue in an Apple store? strange that no one noticed a yellow tinge there
post #3 of 32
I wonder what this means for me? My brand new 27inch is at the Apple store right now getting repaired with either a new 4850 or new logic board as the technician ordered both. I dropped it off on the 21st and haven't heard anything yet. Im gonna call today.. I want it back but not in 3 weeks.
post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

has anyone seen this issue in an Apple store? strange that no one noticed a yellow tinge there

I have seen it on a screen displayed in a John Lewis store. The screen looked pretty much like a disco-light
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post #5 of 32
I'm kind of glad I held off on purchasing one of these (thanks to the i7 shipping delay )... I think I'll wait for next gen to be sure the problems are gone.
post #6 of 32
I await the fix with bated breath. We have 2 Core i7 27' iMacs at work here, and both have the flickering/screen corruption issue. No yellow tinge luckily.
post #7 of 32
When you buy a brand new product to the line up there always can be issues that pop up. Especially with Apple, since it tries to innovate. I always wait for at least the second generation until I pull the trigger. Even then I wait a month or two into the product release.

I, however, am happy others are testing the waters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikef View Post

I'm kind of glad I held off on purchasing one of these (thanks to the i7 shipping delay )... I think I'll wait for next gen to be sure the problems are gone.
post #8 of 32
I've got the 21.5" iMac and have no problems.
Great machine!
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

When you buy a brand new product to the line up there always can be issues that pop up. Especially with Apple, since it tries to innovate. I always wait for at least the second generation until I pull the trigger. Even then I wait a month or two into the product release.

Would you really consider the new iMacs to be a first generation product though? Sure, they're the first 27' ones I guess.
post #10 of 32
Glad I've had no problems with my i7. Been working great since I bought it 3 weeks ago.
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

When you buy a brand new product to the line up there always can be issues that pop up. Especially with Apple, since it tries to innovate. I always wait for at least the second generation until I pull the trigger. Even then I wait a month or two into the product release.

I, however, am happy others are testing the waters.

I never considered this to be a new product..If i waited for the 2nd or 3rd revision, hell it might have a 30inch screen by then. I am not to bothered by my problems with my new iMac. Apple is doing everything to fix it, free of cost...i just luckily live near a Apple store so its not a big deal. Just miss it
post #12 of 32
I returned my quad imac and got a new one. The last one would pixelate and freeze. I would have to do a hard restart. Nothing Apple online did would fix it. So far so good with the new one. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by writing this!
post #13 of 32
I don't have the screen flickering on my 27, but since the 'fix' whenever the 'waiting' circle appears (not the beach ball), it is in a square patch that looks like TV noise in the background. Very odd. Maybe Applecare will be a good investment on this one... or maybe Apple will extend the warranty if there are issues they can't patch... Everything else is AOK.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Still others have indicated the culprit is the system's internal graphics card cable could be the culprit.

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by alectheking View Post

I wonder what this means for me? My brand new 27inch is at the Apple store right now getting repaired with either a new 4850 or new logic board as the technician ordered both. I dropped it off on the 21st and haven't heard anything yet. Im gonna call today.. I want it back but not in 3 weeks.


Listen, I had something like this happen to me before.

Just keep sending it back or until Apple give you your money back or works a trade for a different reliable version of a Mac.

The reason I say this is a hardware design flaw is a design flaw, patches in software just mask the problem enough that it gets by.

Later you will have issues, if not from the flaw itself, but from all the fingers messing with your well thought out, highly engineered, assembled with robots, factory state of machine.


I had the first issue PowerMac G5 duallie and the processors made this horrible beeping sound, Apple ignored the issue because they couldn't fix it. They did provide a "turn off nap mode" System preference or something for developers that did fix the issue, but shortened the lifetime of the processors because they wouldn't rest (or nap). This of course made the fans rev at a higher speed and distract you, so another software was used to set the fans at a higher but steady consistent clip so they wouldn't rev. What a frigging pain in the ass! Not only that, I had to install a devices on my power and audio lines to prevent the beeping and the ground noise messing with my audio channels. Apple caught all sorts of hell from every direction on that machine.

My advice is never buy a first issue product unless your willing to handle the early adopter issues that arise. If it's defective in any way, get your money back and get a device that's reliable. Your going to be using it for many many years, and a product with known defects is going to affect the resale price.


Oh, I would like to add that the iMac isn't a open machine, where if you want a larger hard drive, better graphics card or your monitor flakes out you can't simply install a new one like you can with a Mac Pro. Also the performance is better on a Mac Pro even though they might share the same powerful processor.

I got quoted a whopping $600 from a reseller to upgrade a MBP with a substandard 5400 RPM Seagate drive. I opted to do it myself with a $100 higher quality, 7,200 RPM Hitachi drive.
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post #16 of 32
I ordered an i7 from apple which was delayed until early Feb. I cancelled that and bought an i5 on thursday of last week from Amazon which arrived on Friday. It's been flawless....except for the stupid magic mouse which decided it didn't want to be 'magic' anymore. Time to reset pram.

No yellow, no flickering, seems great. Screen is fabulous. Serial number says its from last week of 2009.
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post #17 of 32
One technician says it's repairable with a patch and another says the opposite? That sounds about par for the course the way these rumors go lately.
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post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motlee View Post

One technician says it's repairable with a patch and another says the opposite? That sounds about par for the course the way these rumors go lately.

I believe that the word "technician" is being applied rather loosely to AppleCare phone representatives.
They can only spew what they have been told or what is in their manuals or what they can guess at.
post #19 of 32
The worst possible outcome for Apple is for to be a hardware problem. They will go to every extent possible to attempt this can be fixed in software. Ultimately, if it's a driver issue, great. Simple fix, otherwise it's time for a recall...
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

I believe that the word "technician" is being applied rather loosely to AppleCare phone representatives.
They can only spew what they have been told or what is in their manuals or what they can guess at.

Either way. Recently it seems to be about 12-24 hours before a new rumor debunks/contradicts an old rumor.
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post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motlee View Post

One technician says it's repairable with a patch and another says the opposite? That sounds about par for the course the way these rumors go lately.

that's part of why I don't buy this talk.

Yes Apple is likely working on solving the problem. Yes they are probably requiring all returns to go to a Genius Bar (unless the person is in an area without any Apple Stores) so they can test and get info to speed up the development of said problem.

What I don't buy is that anyone would tell a customer that yes it's a hardware problem or it's just a driver issue or anything AND then say that a fix is coming in X time. That's not Apple's style. They don't say anything until they feel they know exactly what it is and how they are going to act and/or the software is ready. And it's too pat that this reply says 3 weeks just like the shipping on the web site (although I picked up an i5 for work on Friday no problem at my local store).

Plus this isn't coming via an announcement from Apple. It's a user on some board. Someone we don't know from Jack. How do we know exactly what was said and what is assumption based on other rumors floating around. We don't. So I for one am not marking my calendar for anything
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post

Would you really consider the new iMacs to be a first generation product though? Sure, they're the first 27' ones I guess.

What is similar to the older models besides the design of the case? It most definitely is a first generation product.
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post #23 of 32
I am sure we may never know. But I'd like to see what actual percentage of the iMacs are having this issue. Some of the reports and rumors about it use words like "majority" and "high percentage" yet their source is usually the amount of posts on the apple discussion forum, which, IMO is the worst kind of source.

Apple has sold millions of the new iMacs. So if the issue is with say 10k, yes it is unfortunate for those owners, but does that constitute all of the attention it's been getting? Or is it simply because it's apple and something to talk about?
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post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

What is similar to the older models besides the design of the case? It most definitely is a first generation product.

The use of desktop-grade CPUs and GPUs, the display size, resolution and aspect ratio size, the case alterations. With Apple and many other tech companies each revision, even if the case/display dimensions stay the same there are many parts that can be considered first-generation. Even its mostly just a speed bump the logic board was likely tweaked and different vendor components used for various reasons which means there is always a risk to be had.

Still, despite these rampant problems I wouldnt not recommend a 27 iMac. Id say go into the Apple Store to buy it and have them pull it out and test it there before taking home just to make sure you didnt get a dud. I did that with my 13 MBP to make sure I got a particular display panel type as Apple were(are) using two different types with varying quality. I got lucky with the first one.
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post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Still, despite these rampant problems I wouldnt not recommend a 27 iMac. Id say go into the Apple Store to buy it and have them pull it out and test it there before taking home just to make sure you didnt get a dud. I did that with my 13 MBP to make sure I got a particular display panel type as Apple were(are) using two different types with varying quality. I got lucky with the first one.

That seems like pretty sensible advice.
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post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Still, despite these rampant problems I wouldn’t not recommend a 27” iMac. I’d say go into the Apple Store to buy it and have them pull it out and test it there before taking home just to make sure you didn’t get a dud. I did that with my 13’ MBP to make sure I got a particular display panel type as Apple were(are) using two different types with varying quality. I got lucky with the first one.

Really? What are the 2 types?
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

I ordered an i7 from apple which was delayed until early Feb. I cancelled that and bought an i5 on thursday of last week from Amazon which arrived on Friday. It's been flawless....except for the stupid magic mouse which decided it didn't want to be 'magic' anymore. Time to reset pram.

No yellow, no flickering, seems great. Screen is fabulous. Serial number says its from last week of 2009.

Alas, my i5 was made in december also. No issues for 2 days, then the screen would start flickering and eventually black out at times. It started instantly on bootup in front of the Genius who claimed I was the first iMac the stores seen and that it isnt a widespread issue. He went as far as to tell me that the internet is lying and that maybe a few displays were bad but not alot, but he "mine as well order more video cards" since i may be the first of many. I want to ask him now, since this 2nd fix is in the works, if he still thinks its not widespread.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Still, despite these rampant problems I wouldnt not recommend a 27 iMac. Id say go into the Apple Store to buy it and have them pull it out and test it there before taking home just to make sure you didnt get a dud. I did that with my 13 MBP to make sure I got a particular display panel type as Apple were(are) using two different types with varying quality. I got lucky with the first one.

A fine idea, but with both of the 27' iMacs we have that show the issue, it doesn't start happening until you've been using the machine for at least 30 mins (which would suggest a heat issue to me).
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post

A fine idea, but with both of the 27' iMacs we have that show the issue, it doesn't start happening until you've been using the machine for at least 30 mins (which would suggest a heat issue to me).

I say do it general just to make you sure don’t get a dud as CE can will have issues, but it certainly isn’t prudent to sit around for a half hour.

This AnandTech article was interesting. They have a $1000 27” monitor that apparently uses the same IPS panel in the iMac but the LED backlight quality varies between the two. I have to wonder, besides some GPU driver issues if there isn’t also a problem with the backlight itself.

http://www.anandtech.com/displays/showdoc.aspx?i=3725
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post #30 of 32
To me this seems like a power supply issue. When you add the i5/i7 with the 4850 video card, it's going to require a better power supply than what's in the other model iMacs. I'm not sure if the 27in i5/i7 iMacs use the same watt power supply as the other offering, but if it does then I'm willing to bet it is the problem.
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


hahahaha.

seriously though, what else did ferris666 report? Any dates on the apocalypse?
post #32 of 32
I bought my 27" C2D on the first day of availibility, no issues. Best computer I've ever owned. I've sold 6 27" C2D's and one i7 model, and no issues so far. I'm guessing this doesn't affect all machines then? Sad for those affected... Keep sending it back. I had pixelated and freeze, but only in windows, on my first intel iMac.
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