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Quality control issues with new PowerBooks...particularly the 15"? - Page 2

post #41 of 590
Well, here's my 15" AlBook experience:

Wanted to buy in person as I do with any rev. A purchase. Unitek offered $100 off for a cash purchase and 1 GB of RAM for $165, so I headed there. Got the machine home (should have checked it there) and the latch was completely broken. Couldn't get the lid to stayed closed even once. To make matters worse the RAM they sold me was bad and I was getting KPs every five minutes.

Took it back next day, and made them give me a new PB with new RAM. I insisted on being in their repair room the whole time to watch them take a new Powerbook and new RAM out of their sealed containers. Unitek can be pretty slimy, and they did NOT want me watching the replacement process. Good thing I did.

Anyway, second machine is perfect. No problems of any kind. Noticeably faster than my 1 GHz TiBook, especially in DVD authoring and Warcraft III. Internal bluetooth to my 3650 rocks also. Build quality is outstanding and in my opinion makes the TiBook sitting next to it look suddenly cheap and plastic.

If anyone in the LA area wants to pick up my loaded, mint TiBook with unregistered AppleCare, send me a PM.
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post #42 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by pscates
See? I'm sorry, but there's DEFINITELY something up with the new PowerBooks. No, not every one. But do you all recall an Apple product launch (since the second Jobs era) that has seemed to sprout so many little issues? ....

How about the earlier Ti PBs that batteries falling out, CDs and DVDs that couldn't eject or that were scratched on the way in and out? How about the notorious chipping paint on Ti? How about the hinge problems on the Ti? How about heat issues with the 12" PB? How about airport reception on the Ti PB?

Overall this has been a very clean launch of a new product. The problems found are not pleasant for the purchaser but Apple seems to be quickly replacing those units. More important, these little problems are fixable unlike the Ti airport reception issue and the Ti battery issue.

I've already ordered a 15" Al PB. It should ship next week. When it arrives I'll check the latch and the display and if there is a problem I'll send it back but I am confident that I will eventually get a good one and I'll be quite happy with that.
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post #43 of 590
Got the new PB 15 on Tuesday(with the superdrive), I asked for 1 Gig of memory instead of the 512. The new memory completely locked up the system. The guy from the store who installed the memory thought it was strange that as soon as he put new memory in the PB wouldn't boot up at all the first time. Well I got another new memory and it hasn't locked up since.......BUT

When I went back to store to put in the new memory, a new PB 15 was sitting on the counter, I guess when Apple shipped the PB it was missing the screw by the right speaker. This PB came from the same shipment as mine came with. HMMMMM conspiracy theory

The only other complaint was that in a month I could have saved another $100 bucks by having Panther installed or at least a coupon the get for free. When they release hardware so close to a update, it should be automatic. But I am a statisfied switcher and the forum really helped on my buying my first mac!
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post #44 of 590
One thing I did notice was someone mentioned that the screws on the top face of their Powerbook were philips-type (the screws above the speakers, perhaps on the bottom corners of the LCD housing also?). They were a little unhappy with those. Well, I'd be unhappy too, especially as my PowerBook has torx screws.

Anyone else have philips screws there?
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1.25GHz 15" SD PowerBook, etc. etc.
15G 3rd Gen iPod

Well i've said it now, nothing's changed
people are burnin for pocket change
and creative minds are lazy
and the big three killed my baby
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post #45 of 590
Don't forget, with the original PBG4's, there was a beautiful automatic shutoff feature. It was so easy it couldn't be missed! You just had to pick it up!

No wonder Apple was telling everyone they should shut down their laptop before they moved it.

As a matter of fact, my DVD drive had a problem, I had to get my battery replaced due to the auto-shutoff problem listed above, and my HD went during the keynote at MWNY 2001!

So I'm psyched that my new PB hasn't exhibited any of the issues described by other less-than-satisfied owners.
post #46 of 590
Ok I kinda don't have a latch problem anymore. If I close it with a small amount of force (not hard at all, just not babying it) it seems to work fine. The only other problem I have is that when I close it the screen doesn't lay flush with the base of the PowerBook. I know there is a supposed to be a gap but it is an uneven gap. Is this how everyone's powerbook is or should I return it because of it?


Also on an unrelated note, not hardware but don't really want to start a new thread, when I try to launch some apps...I guess it has only really happened with StarryNight and DVDBackup so far, but they don't launch. The icons in the dock start to spread out like it is opening but then instantly go back and nothing happens. What can I do about this?
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post #47 of 590
ast3r3x,

The first thing I did when I got my PowerBook was to reinstall all of the software. I did this because when I got my last PowerBook, it would randomly crash after a couple hours of use. Once I reinstalled the OS, these random crashes went away.

Not the best answer I know, and it reminds me of the 6-month Windows reinstall, but it's the only answer I have for you at the moment. At least you don't have to reinstall because you bone-headedly wiped you /usr/bin directory through promiscuous use of the "rm -rf *" command !
post #48 of 590
Got my 1.25 today. Love it...and NO DEAD PIXELS. I have one or two of the VERY slight white anomalies, but I barely notice them, if they even exist (it could just be my paranoia) Anyway, great product Apple...two thumbs way up.
post #49 of 590
I've been thinking about getting the new Al 15", but I've been concerned about two things. Any helpful input would be appreciated.

First, I'm concerned with the issues mentioned here including latch, battery life, etc.

Someone said they were getting battery life of around two hours. Is this a common problem? What kind of battery life are others getting?

Regarding the latch, today I went to the Apple Store in Columbus at the Easton Shopping Mall and the 15" powerbook display model would not latch. I asked the sales rep about this and he said this is the only 15" unit they have on display and that he hadn't heard about this being a common issue with the 15". I tried several times to close the lid and regardless how I tried, it would not close.

OT: I'm continually disappointed by the lack of passion, confidence and product knowlege of most of the sales reps at the Apple Stores. For what it's worth, I've also met some really good sales reps at the stores as well.

Secondly, I'm concerned with performance of Virtual PC with Windows 98.

I had a friend who purchased a 12" 867 Al powerbook about a month ago. He has 256 MB Ram and ran VPC w/win 98. I was really disappointed with the performance. I have another friend who purchased a 1 Mhz eMac with 640 MB Ram and ran VPC - again with Win 98. Both machines were set to run VPC with 128 MB ram assigned to windows 98. The eMac literally blew the doors off the 12" powerbook in terms of running VPC. I can't believe the additional RAM would make that big a difference in performance. Is the architecture between the two machines that different? I think they both have a 133 Mhz system bus. One thing I forgot to mention, both machines were running VPC version 5, but the eMac was running System 9 and the powerbook was running 10.2.8.

Anyway, back to my concern: I definitely need a new powerbook, but I'd like to be sure it runs VPC at least as fast as my friend's eMac. Does anyone have ideas on this? Also, VPC is not loaded on any of the machines at the Apple Store anymore. At least not the powerbooks, ibooks, emacs or imacs. The sales rep says they're not allowed to install it. So I couldn't try it out on their demo machine. Hmmm.....Maybe, I could go back to the store with my own copy of VPC and try it on the Powerbook. Wonder if they'd let me do that?

Any thoughts on these issues would be helpful. Regardless, I may wait a few weeks while they work out the bugs on the assembly line.\
post #50 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by MacRealtor
I've been thinking about getting the new Al 15", but I've been concerned about two things. Any helpful input would be appreciated.

I personally wouldn't buy a Rev. A product. That would especially apply to the portable lineup. Portables are expensive to fix, and while Apple will take care of you for the first year ... it's really the years after warrantee that count - unless you can afford the Applecare.

Obviously, these are sexy machines, and most lust worthy. However if you are concerned about the above issues - just wait and save your money.
post #51 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by the cool gut
I personally wouldn't buy a Rev. A product. That would especially apply to the portable lineup. Portables are expensive to fix, and while Apple will take care of you for the first year ... it's really the years after warrantee that count - unless you can afford the Applecare.

Obviously, these are sexy machines, and most lust worthy. However if you are concerned about the above issues - just wait and save your money.

Aren't they really Rev. B? I really don't think that the latch and white spots are BIG problems. I think it was an early batch that was having some problems. I think just the early adopters and people who got them right away got some bad ones. Mine is great besides the latch. But it isn't really a problem, it closes fine as long as I don't close it with a babies touch.
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post #52 of 590
MacRealtor,

OS X alone needs about 256MB RAM to run without paging. Throw VPC on top of that and you're talking pageout to virtual memory city.

So, to keep things short, it's the RAM that makes all the difference. You'd want at the very MINIMUM 512MB RAM to run VPC and probably 768 or more. RAM is quite cheap these days.
post #53 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by MacRealtor
I've been thinking about getting the new Al 15", but I've been concerned about two things. Any helpful input would be appreciated.


Any thoughts on these issues would be helpful. Regardless, I may wait a few weeks while they work out the bugs on the assembly line.\

My business partner and I have a new AL 17 inch and new AL 15 inch 1.25. Both machines are silky smooth hardware wise.

No latch problem.
No dead pixels.
No white spots.
Battery can run about 3.5 hours on the 17 and 3 on the 15 with wifi and bluetooth off.

On the software side, however, we have a problem that none of you guys would need to worry about and that is with MS Office Chinese version. MS did not complete the localization of the Office. They only converted Word to Chinese enabled but for years have not worked on getting PP and Excel to Chinese enabled. Local rumours have it that Dell, HP etc have pressured MS not to do it as they won't be able to sell any machines if people were able to use the Macs in Chinese!
post #54 of 590
Another good news post. (times two)

I ordered his and hers 15" SD AlBooks the evening of Paris Expo and we got to play with them on Monday the 22nd. We love them. Bright, quick, sturdy; everything I expected when I ordered from MacConnection.

Both are upgraded to 1 GB of memory with two 512 modules. Airport was instantly connected via Rendezvous search to a Belkin Router which is downstairs. Star Wars Episode II DVD rocks. The backlit keyboard is elegant. I have Altec Lansing speakers connected and playing my iTunes music.

I installed VPC 6.1 running Windows 98. I able able to run a Windows stock charts program called TC2000. It's not going to win many races, but the scans and the chart flipping draws are usable(if the CDROM is spun up and the whole program is in memory.) I set the windows PC memory to 512 (possible with 1024 Mbs). iTunes also invariably is running in the background!

My wife's experience mirrors my own. She is absolutely ecstatic with her purchase.

Hope this helps!

Tom
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post #55 of 590
Thread Starter 
I don't mind being a later purchaser (another month or so). I don't think that this is "how it's going to be". I think these things will be addressed and the line with smooth into a really sharp, reliable thing. I believe it's just more an issue of "an early batch has some gremlins" than anything else.

By the time I get mine (Halloween, give or take), I'd expect these types of stories to have died down. I'm sure Apple is aware and are going to correct them. They have in the past, right?
post #56 of 590
Well in a month or so I want to see someone who got a new AlBook and see if it looks likes mine. If theirs doesn't have a gap then I an returning mine.

Can someone else check their backlit keyboard to see if your top row of F-keys and arrow keys light up as well as the other keys, as mine do not.

And although I guess I knew that it would be white I would have loved the blue backlit keyboard that was on the 17"
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post #57 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by BJer

On the software side, however, we have a problem that none of you guys would need to worry about and that is with MS Office Chinese version. MS did not complete the localization of the Office. They only converted Word to Chinese enabled but for years have not worked on getting PP and Excel to Chinese enabled. Local rumours have it that Dell, HP etc have pressured MS not to do it as they won't be able to sell any machines if people were able to use the Macs in Chinese!

All I can say is when is Apple going to update AppleWorks along the lines of keynote. I want to never buy another MS product again!!!
post #58 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by ast3r3x
Well in a month or so I want to see someone who got a new AlBook and see if it looks likes mine. If theirs doesn't have a gap then I an returning mine.

Can someone else check their backlit keyboard to see if your top row of F-keys and arrow keys light up as well as the other keys, as mine do not.

And although I guess I knew that it would be white I would have loved the blue backlit keyboard that was on the 17"

ast3r3x,

My F-key row doesn't light up as well as the rest of the keys, if that's any consolation to you. Also, I have a gap between the screen and the body of my PB, but if that takes care of the keyboard marks on the screen, I'm all for it.

If you think about it, that's probably the added .1 inch. Also, the new 15" PBs I've seen on display at both Westfarms and Chestnut Hill had this gap. I think it may have to do with the "springiness" of the screen. Notice when you unlatch the screen, it springs up a bit, making it easy to open it? I think the gap is related to that.
post #59 of 590
Got my PB15 1.25 SD on Thursday, 9/25. It's perfect! No problems, no blemishes, no dead pixels. Just simply the way it should be. Screen looks great, even backlight illumination, just wonderful. Didn't notice much heat right off. I sure did when I pushed it. Set ES processor to Highest, plug in to recharge, run X-Plane 7.10 and watch the temp shoot up to 145°. I'm using Temperature Monitor for the reading and you can get it here.

I love so many things about this new PB. The keys feel really nice but take just a bit of getting used to as with any new KB. The speaker system is quite good for a PB and the 3-way speakers sound much better than I expected. The trackpad and mouse button feel just right. The hinge glides very smoothly back and forth.

AirPort performance seems excellent. Of course, APX has a shorter range than standard AP but as range increases, speed decreases to standard anyway so it works as expected.

The screws above the speakers are hex while below the hinge on the bottom are philips. I ordered this PB with the faster 5400 rpm drive (Hitachi) and one 512MB DIMM so I can add another 3rd party 512 for $107 from 18004MEMORY. I haven't installed it yet because I don't have a small enough philips.

BTW, the fan only kicks in at temps above 140°. I found a way to get the temp lower while charging and running a demanding app. Instead of Processor Perf set to Automatic, setting to Reduced lowers the temp quite a bit while maintaining decent performance.

About the best I can do when it comes to battery life is about 2.5 hrs. I wish it were a bit better but it's OK.
post #60 of 590
When I read through most of these posts, battery life seems far less than what Apple posts (actually most of the time seemingly just about 60-65%). Has anyone, I mean anyone, even got more than 4 hours out his / hers PB battery?

Not that I really need 4.5 hours, but it seems seriously misleading to state you can get double battery life with an Apple PB while actually you end up having about as much as a PC laptop, not?

Sure like to know what you guys think of this...
post #61 of 590
seems like I have the loose latch problem. I ordered my 15" Albook with 5400rpm HD from the AppleStore online. The problem is very intermittant - not staying shut if I close it with my left hand , or if it stays shut and you pick it up it usually springs open again. It generally feels really delicate.

Can I return it to the Apple store here in Manhattan and have it swapped out on the spot, or do I have to ship it?
post #62 of 590
You'll probably have to ship it, unless you want to give up the 5400RPM drive.
post #63 of 590
hmm, not good enough

Do I just get a refund, then buy another?
post #64 of 590
I don't believe Apple offers refunds on BTOs. You should contact them instead of hoping someone here gives you the answer you're looking for.
post #65 of 590
I think you're right.

Does anyone know if this latch problem gets any better with use? I'd really rather not send the thing back and then wait however many weeks it is to get another
post #66 of 590
have you tried the latch fix?
post #67 of 590
I've done three things...

1) I've tried the latch fix and that seemed to help
2) I've taped the latch open for several hours as to hopefully loosen the spring as I thought the problem was that the spring was just to strong that the magnet couldn't hold it down
3) Don't be afraid to baby it. Close it like you aren't afraid of it breaking


I have no problem now as long as I close it with a SLIGHT amount of speed.
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post #68 of 590
Thread Starter 
Something about having to rig up some potentially half-ass "fix" for a $2600 product you just sprung for seems WRONG to me.



How about APPLE fix it, and fix it right and me not run the risk of poking and prodding and otherwise further ****ing up my hard-earned purchase.

post #69 of 590
Shipping time is at 5-7 days for the 15-inch SD. Either they are selling so well that they are having trouble keeping up, or they have stopped production ever so temporarily to make a fix in the production run that corrects some of the "glitches" new 15 owners have been experiencing.
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post #70 of 590
Latch and display problems aside, it's the inexcusable battery life that will keep me away from the new AlBooks until Apple does something about it.

Only 2.5 hours of battery life (with real but reasonable usage) on a good day is completely ridiculous. If you want to just sit there and stare at a dim screen with WiFi turned off, then I guess the 3 hours will make you happy.

Then you'll have those that will say 'just buy two batteries and swap them on the fly'. Well, that's not good enough and I don't always have a quarter on me to release the battery from the bottom (another brilliant design). Furthermore, are the 15" AlBook's batteries hot swappable? The coin-release seems to indicate that it's not.

I for one use a notebook AS my portable computer always running off batteries using WiFi. They should have made the 15" a bit heavier and put a larger battery in there (or dare I say offer it as an option - a word Apple does not understand).
post #71 of 590
Defiantly would be awesome if battery life would be better. Has anyone done comparisons between 10.2.7 and 10.3? I haven't had enough balls to install a dev preview on my new PBook.
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post #72 of 590
What I don't get is why Apple chose to use a 46 watt/hour battery in the new 15-inch. Technically, even the 12-inch has a better battery even though it has a much smaller screen.

According to Apple's Powerbook specs page:

12-inch battery: 47 watt hour li-ion battery
15-inch battery: 46 watt hour li-ion battery
17-inch battery: 58 watt hour li-ion battery
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post #73 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by DHagan4755
What I don't get is why Apple chose to use a 46 watt/hour battery in the new 15-inch. Technically, even the 12-inch has a better battery even though it has a much smaller screen.

According to Apple's Powerbook specs page:

12-inch battery: 47 watt hour li-ion battery
15-inch battery: 46 watt hour li-ion battery
17-inch battery: 58 watt hour li-ion battery

For whatever the reason, they needed the space. Capacity is directly proportional to volume, unless you want to re-engineer the battery pile itself (which someone --- OWC I think, right?) did, or found someone to do it.
1.25GHz 15" SD PowerBook, etc. etc.
15G 3rd Gen iPod

Well i've said it now, nothing's changed
people are burnin for pocket change
and creative minds are lazy
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1.25GHz 15" SD PowerBook, etc. etc.
15G 3rd Gen iPod

Well i've said it now, nothing's changed
people are burnin for pocket change
and creative minds are lazy
and the big three killed my baby
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post #74 of 590
I have also bought the super drive 15" and I must say I really really like this powerbook. It feels more solid then the Ti, the screen is as bright or even brighter than my 20" Apple Cinema Display (though I've noticed it DOES have a very slight reddish tint), and the backlit keyboard is fantastic. (Someone asked if the F keys were not as bright as the rest and this is true.)

The first thing I tested at the Apple store was latch problems and LCD. LCD looked okay and the latch problem seemed non-existant..... until I got home. It would just spring open every once in a while randomly. So, I did what any logical person would do given such a minor irritation: I fixed it. I believe the problem is that the hook just doesn't extend far enough to maintain its hold. All you have to do is grab the hook and bend it slightly (it's more of an adjustment then a bend) towards the screen and you're all set.

I have the stock 512 and I want more, but I'm gonna wait until the gig chips are less expensive. Doesn't make sense to buy 512 chips when there's only two slots available and prices will go down in a few months.

Oh, one more thing: I have owned (and still own for the most part) the Pismo lap top, the clamshell iBook, and the TiBook, and I've used every single Apple portable they have released since Wallstreet. Never have I heard laptop speakers sound as good as they do on this laptop. The sound is amazing.

Oh, and I was able to play Unreal Tournament 2k3 at its highest settings (the settings that make the game cry out "Holy shit!" .... I love that, by the way, very classy. lol) and for the first few levels, I was getting incredible framerates. It was only when I was playing full settings with about ten or more bots on a huge level did I start getting drops in framerates. Call me very impressed. Oh, and this was running on battery.




Quote:
Originally posted by Patchouli
Latch and display problems aside, it's the inexcusable battery life that will keep me away from the new AlBooks until Apple does something about it.

Only 2.5 hours of battery life (with real but reasonable usage) on a good day is completely ridiculous. If you want to just sit there and stare at a dim screen with WiFi turned off, then I guess the 3 hours will make you happy.

Then you'll have those that will say 'just buy two batteries and swap them on the fly'. Well, that's not good enough and I don't always have a quarter on me to release the battery from the bottom (another brilliant design). Furthermore, are the 15" AlBook's batteries hot swappable? The coin-release seems to indicate that it's not.

I for one use a notebook AS my portable computer always running off batteries using WiFi. They should have made the 15" a bit heavier and put a larger battery in there (or dare I say offer it as an option - a word Apple does not understand).
post #75 of 590
AlBook 15" 1GHz 80GB - my summary:

* Latch hook only catches if you close it just right (bring lid through full range of motion and don't be shy), but stays closed once closed. In my visit to the Chestnut hill Apple store today, one of their ~5 display model 15" AlBooks had my latch problem. The others worked fine. So there's your seat of the pants stat: you have roughly a 1 in 5 chance of getting a bum latch

* Lid gap is uniform but big enough that there is about 1mm of play even when closed. All 15" AlBooks in the Apple store had this problem.

* One always-on red sub-pixel near the bottom of the screen: hard to see unless the screen is all black in that area. Par for LCDs.

* One ever-so-slightly crooked up-arrow key-cap (okay, now I'm being picky... ;-)

* 80GB 4,200 RPM drive is a Hitachi IC25N080ATMR04-0 which has an 8MB buffer according to the specs. Yay.

* Apple tells me that "repair" is my only option, but I think I'm going to just keep it for now since I don't see how any of the problems can actually be "repaired."
post #76 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by pscates
I don't mind being a later purchaser (another month or so). I don't think that this is "how it's going to be". I think these things will be addressed and the line with smooth into a really sharp, reliable thing. I believe it's just more an issue of "an early batch has some gremlins" than anything else.

By the time I get mine (Halloween, give or take), I'd expect these types of stories to have died down. I'm sure Apple is aware and are going to correct them. They have in the past, right?

I believe that Apple will jump on these problems. There won't be an announcement or obvious model change. Things will just get better. Basically good but makes it hard to know when it happens for an outsider.
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post #77 of 590
Just a note about my new 17" PowerBook.

My book was fine with the exception of the gap problem. My PowerBook had a slightly bigger gap on one side than the other.

While irksome, i can't do without the portable for now so i put it out of my mind.

Today, the problem seems to have corrected itself. maybe a few heat ups, and a few trips here and there evened things out? i don't know, but the gap is even on both sides now and seems smaller also.

Shrug.

MSKR
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post #78 of 590
Quote:
Originally posted by pscates
Just taking a casual cruise through the AI, macnn, arstechnica and Macworld message boards...

Is it me or does there seem to be an inordinate amount of problems and issues with these new PowerBooks, particuarly the 15" model?

White spots on the display, lines on the display, dead pixels, squeaking, misbehaving latches, etc. (most complaints seem to be display-oriented).

Am I just reading more sites than I used to or does it seem that this new batch of 15" PowerBooks has some things that need to be ironed out?

I was just curious...

Also, the usual round of noise and "shit, it's HOT!" complaints, but those are more of a subjective thing and don't concern me as much as the stuff listed above.

Take a quick spin through the PowerBook forum at macnn.com, the Mac section at arstechnica.com and the Mac Portables forum at Macworld.com for examples.

Is this higher than usual OR, since I'm getting one, am I just noticing every little thing and all new products from Apple have these gremlins (for the record, I don't recall such talk about the iMac DV and the G4 iMacs...).


My 15" 1.25 PowerBook is fine. No visible defects, or at least none that I have found out to date. There is that gap between the screen and the chassis, but the latch works well. The screen is as close to perfect as it gets, I think.
post #79 of 590
Thread Starter 
Cool. That's good. I know there are THOUSANDS more good/glitch-free PowerBooks out there. I want to stress that I don't believe it's every one. That would be insane.



But just seems to be a batch, right off the bat, sharing some similar issues, that's all.

I'm quite certain 90% are totally fine and I'm sure Apple will deal with the others and fix what needs to be fixed.

I'm still getting one, and that hasn't changed. I'm drooling over them more now than I was before!
post #80 of 590
I ordered mine and I should see it around the seventh of the month. I will keep you posted on any issues.
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AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Quality control issues with new PowerBooks...particularly the 15"?