Apple investigating problems with MacBook Pro's glass trackpad

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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 isn?t exactly what I wanted to hear, but I think the delivery of the answer may in fact outweigh that disappointment."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 82
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 82
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 82
    ipilyaipilya Posts: 190member
    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
  • Reply 9 of 82
    gmacgmac Posts: 75member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 82
    ipilyaipilya Posts: 190member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 82
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 82
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    My 1st Generation 17-inch MacBook Pro has the same "display fall in your face" issue, so I'm used to it.
  • Reply 17 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 82
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 82
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Sounds like the laptop version of the godawful 1st generation Mighty Mouse. It should be perfected in the next generation laptops.
  • Reply 20 of 82
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    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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