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Apple investigating problems with MacBook Pro's glass trackpad

post #1 of 83
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A new buyer of Apple's uninbody notebooks emailed Steve Jobs about issues he was having with the unit's new glass trackpad and hinge, and reports getting a prompt reply via the telephone addressing his problems.

The main issue he reported was the new trackpad's failure to register every physical click, a problem AppleInsider noted in its in-depth review. The Apple representative that called back reported that the company is looking into the complaints, but has no immediate resolution.

The user also complained about the display hinge on the new model, which now has a more precise feel but less friction, allowing the lid to fall shut by gravity when held at an angle, such as when laying in bed. A video in our review of the new MacBook Pro highlights this new design change over previous 'Aluminum' PowerBook and MacBook Pro models.

The representative that called the user back reportedly described that the new hinge is functioning as designed, and that the display lid is intended to be less stiff.

The return call highlights Apple's efforts to retain its highly rated level of customer service. As the user reported, "So yeah. I emailed Steve Jobs and Apple called me back. The answer isnt exactly what I wanted to hear, but I think the delivery of the answer may in fact outweigh that disappointment."
post #2 of 83
is it just me, or does the display hing issue sound like a major bummer?

Also, who says, "they called me back and told me I was screwed, but since they were so nice to call, I'm cool with it"?
Not reasonable -- these are unfortunate issues, I don't think they are dealbreakers (at least not for me), but I would prefer if they weren't the case.
post #3 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

is it just me, or does the display hing issue sound like a major bummer?

Also, who says, "they called me back and told me I was screwed, but since they were so nice to call, I'm cool with it"?
Not reasonable -- these are unfortunate issues, I don't think they are dealbreakers (at least not for me), but I would prefer if they weren't the case.

I prefer the newer hinge then the older stiff ones. Do I lay in bed with the keyboard perpendicular to the floor and the display at full tilt? No. But I suppose some people do. I like that it requires much less effort to close the display but it is not "loose". It does hold its position. Maybe this individual taps his keyboard harder than most people causing the vibrations to slowly bring the lid down?

I'm really curious about the glass trackpad issue. On paper, it sounded like a really cool concept but since I never used it, I wonder what Apple will do about it. I think Apple really wants to stay on top of this and not drop the ball. So while the initial phone call did not help, the fact they are answering promptly and looking into it would get a good rating from me. Compare that to other companies that would most likely as you to post a forum message and cross your fingers.
post #4 of 83
The display hinge on my MacBook is fantastic. I really like the much greater angle that it can be bent back compared to the previous MacBook design.

However, I have been experiencing the trackpad issue of not registering every click. It's quite annoying and it's my only complaint of the new MacBook.
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post #5 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

is it just me, or does the display hing issue sound like a major bummer?...

It's only a bummer if you are slouching really low with the laptop up in the air on your knees. You gotta figure that the percentage of users that do that is small.
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post #6 of 83
So the lid closes and the mouse doesn't work but he's fine as they called back quite quick! Is it me or is this guy really easily satisfied?

Haven't seen the new MacBook yet so I don't know what angle you need to get to buy I guess that could be a bit of an issue, especially if it weakens over time. Not like having a stiff hinge was ever a problem.

Mouse click I can see being a huge thing if it is true. My mighty mouse really really annoys me every week when it stops recognizing right clicks, not to mention the ball now only recognising scrolling up.
post #7 of 83
My new MacBook is fine on both counts. However, since the MacBook has only a 13" screen, I could see that with larger screens the lid might not stay in place as well.
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post #8 of 83
I have experienced the clicking issue and it is very frustrating. There's a thread on the Apple forums about it.

My theory is that clicks with large surface area's are ignored by the software. If you try clicking with the palm of your hand it's always ignored 100% of the time. So fat thumbs laying on their side may have difficulty clicking at times because of their large surface area.
post #9 of 83
These two complaints are my only complaints about the new MacBook Pros.

1) The trackpad's button click does fail to register clicks... plain and simple... but I am not sure I can agree with the "freeze' after so many clicks behaviour reported as I find that if a click is not registered... a more assertive click will. In either case... the button is making the 'physical' clicking sound and is being depressed accordingly.

I have since gone away from the click to use that stupid (albeit not so bad) touch-to-click feature. One thing I did notice from the physical click issue... it really did put a strain on my thumb/hand... but it also could be that as a result of my hand being severely messed up from being broken to many times. It hurts all day anyway.... so I am sure its not a typical user experience to encounter the additional pain.

2) The issue with the lid is annoying... and yes.. I am a couch and bed sloucher at times. It is really a sad state of affairs. I am however willing to let the lid issue go due to the fact that the new mechanism is MUCH better then the previous generation.

otherwise... and I saw very loudly.... the new MacBook Pros are simply the BEST notebooks I have ever used... just FANTASTIC
post #10 of 83
I'm very happy with the display on my new MBP. I thought the glossy would be a big issue coming from a matte imac and it hasn't been an issued at all, I'm getting used to it and am liking it better - especially for Aperture. I can get the screen to flop down if I hold the mac at an extreme angle, but for desktop use, laptop use and laying back on a couch with the MBP's screen fully tilted back, I have't had any occurances of this affecting my use.

I use the track pad in 'tap to click' mode because the loud clicking and effort to click was bugging me. I've never had a click being missed problem though in either usage. I would recommend tap-to-click for anyone using the new MB/MBPs.
post #11 of 83
It seems the CEO shouldn't have been bothered for this issue. Report it and if you're not satisfied, take it up the chain a bit. However, after a minimal amount if communication at the lower level, it seems going straight to the top level is a bit unnecessary. Imagine if everyone tried this path: it would go away.
post #12 of 83
DeaPeajay: you are 100% correct. Very Interesting.. and Good observation. The length (and width) of my thumb spans across the trackpad when I click...

So this seems to be more of a software issue and could be fixed by providing a sensitivity control.
post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

So fat thumbs laying on their side may have difficulty clicking at times because of their large surface area.

I've identified that a major part of the problem as I'm so used to keeping my thumb angled on the trackpad button while I use my index and middle fingers to navigate, but I think the problem is more severe than just a sideways thumb as sometimes I'll click with a single finger straight down and it clicks but doesn't register. I don't think it's a HW issue, but trackpad software that isn't as smart as it should be for not having a separate button.

PS: I keep forgetting it's a glass trackpad. I'm glad by this change as I use my computers to a point that the trackpad wears quite a bit in 6-12 months. I hope the glass keeps the trackpad feel more consistent than the plastic ones.
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post #14 of 83
I am having the non-registering-clicks problem too.

The place it seems to show up the most for me is when I am trying to Apple Click (Oh gosh I'll show my Mac Age), er.... Command-Click a link in Safari to open a new tab. My personal opinion is that it's a software issue, with the algorithms that determine whether a click is intentional or not perhaps being a little too aggressive. As I've never ever clicked the pad on accident, while mousing around or otherwise, I'd hope they could just scale it town.

The glossy screen *IS* an issue for me, and I'm not happy with it . When I have control over lighting it's not bad, but when I have eye-strain from other sources (Like strong overhead lighting in the computer labs at school) the glossy screen seems to make things worse.
post #15 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post

So the lid closes and the mouse doesn't work but he's fine as they called back quite quick! Is it me or is this guy really easily satisfied?

Haven't seen the new MacBook yet so I don't know what angle you need to get to buy I guess that could be a bit of an issue, especially if it weakens over time. Not like having a stiff hinge was ever a problem.

Mouse click I can see being a huge thing if it is true. My mighty mouse really really annoys me every week when it stops recognizing right clicks, not to mention the ball now only recognising scrolling up.

You can easily clean that ball with a wet rag or by (as seen on YouTube) place a clean A4 sheet of paper onto a hard surface and press the ball firmly onto the paper whilst in random strokes moving the upside down mouse around for a minute or however long it takes.Use the corner of the sheet of paper to get any dirt out from around the track ball.
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post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

So fat thumbs laying on their side may have difficulty clicking at times because of their large surface area.

So Apple is discriminating against people with fat thumbs? I smell a lawsuit coming.
post #17 of 83
My 1st Generation 17-inch MacBook Pro has the same "display fall in your face" issue, so I'm used to it.
post #18 of 83
I don't like the "It was designed this way" response on the hinge issue. And the assumption that it is rare that users put their laptop on their lap is flawed. I bought my laptop at the Apple Store in 5th Ave. and took it home very happy, then that same night it happened to me, and the very same night I went back to the Apple Store to replace my "faulty" laptop. When I got to the store, I tried the other laptops on display, and they were all faulty!

Let me tell you, I have owned an iBook G4, then a MacBook 13", then a MacBook Pro 15", and now the Unibody MacBook Pro 15" and the hinge pisses me off. Both me and my wife frequently use our laptops in bed before we retire for the night, to read news, get some laughs on YouTube, etc. And my previous model MBP never did this thing with the hinge. So if it was designed this way, this is a flawed design decision. Laptops are not always used on a flat table, never mind when I'm on a boat and the boat is rocking from side to side and my screen closes!

And to some of you who say the extra angle is great: I never had trouble with the opening angle on my previous model MBP, and I was very happy that the screen was stiff. I never had problems closing the screen, and I can tell you it's probably very rare that anyone had any trouble closing their MBP's, ever (or else there would be a class action lawsuit). I say take back the extra degree of freedom and give me back my stiffy (pun intended).

To me, a weak hinge on a laptop means "poor quality". It's the kind of mistake you would expect from a cheap laptop maker with a bad mechanical/weight planning department. I want to see Jony Ive here on this Forum, telling me that he held this laptop on his lap while laying on a flat surface (for example a bed, a sofa or a lawn), having the screen close on his fingers, and I want to see him tell me: "Yah, that's just exactly the way I wanted it to happen!" ;-)

Also the trackpad is definitely problematic, but it does not affect me too much at this point as I use a mighty mouse, and rarely use the trackpad.
The trackpad's special features such as corner buttons are definitely far from perfect, and around 305 to 40% of my clicks were missed and I had to re-click.
post #19 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by schalliol View Post

It seems the CEO shouldn't have been bothered for this issue. Report it and if you're not satisfied, take it up the chain a bit. However, after a minimal amount if communication at the lower level, it seems going straight to the top level is a bit unnecessary.

I agree in one sense. Emailing the CEO should be a last resort.

But if it really is Jobs responding, well, that is his time to waste, there is no point in people like you telling other people not to email him if Jobs is basically encouraging those emails by responding. That said, I really don't see him doing the customer service stuff like that, it would seem that he has people managing that for him and ghost writing for him.
post #20 of 83
Sounds like the laptop version of the godawful 1st generation Mighty Mouse. It should be perfected in the next generation laptops.
post #21 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

So Apple is discriminating against people with fat thumbs? I smell a lawsuit coming.

Oiveigh... don't even joke about that!

And I 100% agree with you Schalliol, people should stop emailing Jobs, it's a great way to have that avenue closed.

Jimzip
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post #22 of 83
Sightly off topic: Is anyone else with a new MB/MBP having the Safari or Mail text get considerably larger or smaller when navigating the trackpad? This is caused by the two finger zoom technique but it happens when doing tasks that were fine on the previous machines and it isn't accurate when trying to correct it, which means I have to resort to Command+minus/plus to correct it. It only takes a second to fix, but it's annoying. Anyway to turn that off?
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post #23 of 83
I was having these problems as well, as well as aluminum residue all over the system... Apple asked for the machine back for Engineering analysis... anyone else have to send there computer back for a replacement? It was sent directly to the Engineers in Cupertino...
post #24 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viggin View Post

I am having the non-registering-clicks problem too.

The glossy screen *IS* an issue for me, and I'm not happy with it . When I have control over lighting it's not bad, but when I have eye-strain from other sources (Like strong overhead lighting in the computer labs at school) the glossy screen seems to make things worse.

I just got back from Apple store- they are way too glossy. I asked how do they look outdoors and the saleshelp could not even answer the question. They said the lighting was stonger indoors and it should not be an issue! I told the idiot to look outside - it was brighter out there.
post #25 of 83
I picked my new MBP the first day they were released. I must be lucky because I find the hinge to be firm and it has no play in it when I change positions. Yes, the track pad take a little getting used to and the glossy is quite different to the older matte displays of the Powerbook and previous MBP. I find it rather disturbing that Apple and Steve Jobs response to the hinge, glossy only and firewire connections has been so dismissive. On the positive side, someone actually responded to the customers email but it was not very receptive to the customers issues. Hell, they've stated that they really don't look at their own forums on their website... Although, someone must because the moderators edit out undesirable posts.
post #26 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

So fat thumbs laying on their side may have difficulty clicking at times because of their large surface area.

Fat thumbs on an Apple thin laptop - now that's gross.
I wonder if a type "A" will shatter the glass as well?
post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The display hinge on my MacBook is fantastic. I really like the much greater angle that it can be bent back compared to the previous MacBook design.

However, I have been experiencing the trackpad issue of not registering every click. It's quite annoying and it's my only complaint of the new MacBook.

I'm with you. I LOVE the new display hinge. It's dramatically better than on my old white MacBook. It always bothered me that it didn't bend back very far.

I'm also experiencing the trackpad clicking issues that everyone is describing. Hopefully we'll see a firmware fix soon because it's very annoying.
post #28 of 83
I think laptop lid hinges need to be relatively stiff, simply because they tend to loosen with time, and if it's just barely tight enough new, it'll be a lot sooner before it stops staying in place, even in the normal flat-on-a-table position.
post #29 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcw5002 View Post

I'm with you. I LOVE the new display hinge. It's dramatically better than on my old white MacBook. It always bothered me that it didn't bend back very far.
.

A great new hinge must be needed to constantly angle the over-glossy screen.
post #30 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The display hinge on my MacBook is fantastic. I really like the much greater angle that it can be bent back compared to the previous MacBook design.

However, I have been experiencing the trackpad issue of not registering every click. It's quite annoying and it's my only complaint of the new MacBook.

I have the same issue with the trackpad on my MacBook, hope they are investigating it across both models.
post #31 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I agree in one sense. Emailing the CEO should be a last resort.

But if it really is Jobs responding, well, that is his time to waste, there is no point in people like you telling other people not to email him if Jobs is basically encouraging those emails by responding. That said, I really don't see him doing the customer service stuff like that, it would seem that he has people managing that for him and ghost writing for him.

If it is Jobs responding, it is indeed his time to waste. I've always assumed, though (and
maybe I'm just an old cynic), that the whole "Steve@apple.com" thing was a hip marketing
thing, like "Oh it's so cool I can email the CEO about any little thing!", while in reality a
team of customer service drones reads them. I figure once in a while he answers one
to foster the hip concept and keep it alive, but I hardly think that every email to that
address is popping up in his own personal inbox and he's clicking through them between
meetings.

I could be wrong and he could read every one of them, in which case it is stupid to
bother him with every little complaint.

I've also wondered if there's a "real" email address that he really reads, and what
would it be?

TheRealSteve@apple.com?
AwesomeJobs@apple.com?
TheKing@apple.com?

The possibilities are endless.
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post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

A great new hinge must be needed to constantly angle the over-glossy screen.

YES!! This explains it all! Since users will be adjusting that glossy screen
every five freakin' minutes, it had to be easier to move and have a better
range of motion.

Missing link found. Works as designed. Move along now.
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post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafe View Post

YES!! This explains it all! Since users will be adjusting that glossy screen
every five freakin' minutes, it had to be easier to move and have a better
range of motion.

Missing link found. Works as designed. Move along now.

Glad its solved

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post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcw5002 View Post

I'm with you. I LOVE the new display hinge. It's dramatically better than on my old white MacBook. It always bothered me that it didn't bend back very far.

I'm also experiencing the trackpad clicking issues that everyone is describing. Hopefully we'll see a firmware fix soon because it's very annoying.

The issue seems to be with the MacBook PRO, not the macbook... if you sit the two side by side, the feel of the screen hinges are SIGNIFICANTLY different. The Macbook has a nice, very snug and stiff screen. It stays where you put it, no matter what angle the computer is at. The MBP on the other hand has a comparatively loose hinge, and the screen will slam shut if the computer is jarred, or the angle is raised past 45 degrees.
post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafe View Post

If it is Jobs responding, it is indeed his time to waste. I've always
I've also wondered if there's a "real" email address that he really reads, and what
would it be?

TheRealSteve@apple.com?
AwesomeJobs@apple.com?
TheKing@apple.com?

The possibilities are endless.

GOD@apple.com?
post #36 of 83
There is nothing worse than a guy with a limp lid.
post #37 of 83
intersting - my hinge is perfect. I just tested it at several angles. First, fully open and then I held the body vertical = no movement. Second, the display at a 90 degree angle with the body. I moved the body to a vertical position so that the display is parallel with the ground = no movement. Third, I reduced the angle a bit so that it is at about a 60 degree angle then held the body up again = no movement.

so- what's the deal?

Click pad problems? yep - but I use a bluetooth mouse most of the time, so not a problem for me :-)

p
post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachomius View Post


Click pad problems? yep - but I use a bluetooth mouse most of the time, so not a problem for me :-)

p

Is it a mighty mouse?
post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I just got back from Apple store- they are way too glossy. I asked how do they look outdoors and the saleshelp could not even answer the question. They said the lighting was stonger indoors and it should not be an issue! I told the idiot to look outside - it was brighter out there.



Yeah - I used to think this way. My buddy bought an HP about a year ago and I just winced when I saw the glossy screen. But now that I bought the new MacBook I've kinda grown used to it. I like it. Well - at lease I can say that I don't have a problem with it.

p
post #40 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post

So the lid closes and the mouse doesn't work but he's fine as they called back quite quick! Is it me or is this guy really easily satisfied?
.

Well, considering that the hinge issue seems to involve somewhat of a fringe use case, and the 'mouse click' issue has a work-around (use gestural clicking while the 'track-pad click' issue is investigated and resolved, I'd say that the response is pretty good.

I've worked in support organizations for way too long, and have found a basic truth.
Users will forgive a LOT as long as they feel they're being listened to.

If you don't have a fix, at least keep the user updated as to the status.

If its a life and death situation, then yeah... prompt resolution is more important than communication.
But neither of these issues sound life-critical, and I think the person reporting it sounds like a rational person who appreciates a prompt response.

It really does make a difference.
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