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Apple’s 2018 MacBook Pros Attempt to Solve Flexgate, Without Admitting It Exists (ifixit.org)
202 points by barryvan on Mar 5, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 175 comments

A bigger problem imo is the $700 display replacement. I have a similar problem with my wife’s broken MacBook, where replacing the display costs almost as much as the computer itself.

The problem with the MacBook is that the display is bonded to the glass and the aluminum back so that you have to replace the entire top assembly to fix the display.

It’s even more depressing to know that the ribbon connecting the display is also soldered on.

Apple (and Ives in particular) talks a lot about recycling, sustainability, and product lifecycle, but that seems like complete bullshit once you actually open up or try to repair one of their products.

Yep, Louis rossman, a popular apple repair guy on YouTube talks similiar about this a lot. The overwhelming majority of problems are fixable for 10 minutes or less and less than a dollar in components. But apple will just tell you to buy a new board and purposefully makes it harder for repair. The whole 'sustainability' is a marketing act.

There was a hyped report where they said they recovered over 2204 lbs of gold from their hardware, this number quoted in every news story: https://www.geek.com/apple/apples-recycling-program-recovere...

2204 lbs is 1000kg converted to lbs, rounded down. If that's not a marketing number I don't know what is

They probably recovered less if there was less hardware to replace. You can't recover much gold from only a ribbon cable versus an entire display assembly.

And much, if not most if it will not be from Apple hardware IIRC. Apple is obliged to recycle old electronics, not just its own.

Actually I’m in NYC and the $600 quote I got for replacing the display is from Louis himself.

It was designed to be thrown out.

It makes you wonder how much of the privacy features are a marketing act too.

Not really. With recent articles talking about their push more deeply into health, privacy is a core feature and basis of trust. Very different than the marketing speak we get from other gigantic companies that are fundamentally ad brokers: privacy is at odds with their core business. Privacy is not at odds with where Apple is or is going, so there isn’t the business incentive there for them to violate it.

Their core business is propagating vendor lockin to tastefully designed highly-priced hardware of middling competence (but very good inter-operability). Privacy is something of a sauce. It's there, some people like it, but if you took it away I'm not convinced it wouldn't still sell. Their core audience by and large doesn't care about it at all.

I can assure you the message is consistent internally with action. It’s not just marketing.

Disclosure: I work for Apple.

Why is Apple so resistant to making repairable products? What is the obsessiveness with making ever thinner products?

I remember starting a job 2014 and choosing a macbook 2012, because of the macbook 2012 being more repairable. It seems to have served me well. Still using it, might consider upgrading to macbook 2015. But won't go beyond that before I hear from others that the current hardware issues have been resolved or the macbook turn more repairable.

Apple has definitely lost some of my trust.

I also wonder why Apple stick with their butterfly keyboard despite it having all of these issues. I would really appreciate any insight into this from you or any other Apple employee.

EDIT: To me having products that are not repairable goes quite counter to the narrative of doing your best for sustainability.

> What is the obsessiveness with making ever thinner products?

Comparing a thicker and thinner version of the same product, the thicker ones always seem more old-fashioned. I still own my Titanium PowerBook, and when it was new it was so sleek I couldn’t believe it was real, and now it feels so thick and old I can barely believe how I used to feel about it.

Well, that’s because consumers have grown to associate thickness to age, precisely because vendors have put a lot of effort in reducing it.

> Why is Apple so resistant to making repairable products? What is the obsessiveness with making ever thinner products?

I think the two are not connected. I think that they don't really care that much about repairable products, despite what they say, even internally, because as Upton Sinclair said:

> “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

Regarding the thinness angle, I used to think the same way. But their focus on thin (and also small) does drive the industry forward.

Random example from the present day: smartphones are becoming thinner and thinner. As a result, now we can almost have a pocketable flexible device. Besides the AMOLED tech needing to be invented, the device would be no use if each half of the flexible display would be 20mm thick. You couldn't realistically carry around a 4cm thick device (proof: we don't really carry books in our pockets). Well you could, if you were an NBA player wearing cargo pants. But everyone else couldn't, realistically.

Making devices smaller makes them more portable and users don't really care about marginal computing power gains as they do about marginal portability increases. VR/AR tech needs more computing power and better software but it also desperately needs a portability boost.

Random example from the present day: smartphones are becoming thinner and thinner.

Yeah, and in order to do that they ditched the universally used 3.5mm jack.

This is a killer argument for me never to buy an iPhone. At least not one of their recent models.

> Why is Apple so resistant to making repairable products?

I think it's a rhetorical question and we all know the answer to it.

How could you possibly know this? Every company I've every worked at is compartmentalized, and my experience is that Apple is especially compartmentalized, with secrecy and measures similar to governmental security clearance around various projects.

Because I experience it with the requirements on my own work, hear it internally in discussions, and see it addressed in upcoming work.

Seconding this. I also work at Apple but I don’t want to associate myself with my day job here.

Do you have an example of that action? Environmental problems start overwhelmingly at consumerism. Apple is releasing new devices every two years. These devices purposefully made to not be repaired, and apple certainly spends a lot of money into advertising.

That's no different from other companies, but apple is lying about it.

The person you're responding is only commenting on their privacy stance.

Not sure what repairing of devices has to do with that.

Ah Yep, I got mixed up. Hn doesn't thread well in large chats visually It seems.

And I can assure you once people lose trust, they started to question everything. And sadly there are increasingly lots of area where people find Tim Cook's Apple are very inconsistent.

Why then has iOS tracked our frequently visited locations by default for years?


According to Apple, “in order to provide useful location-related information in Maps, Calendar, Photos, and more. Significant Locations are encrypted and cannot be read by Apple”.

> The overwhelming majority of problems are fixable for 10 minutes or less and less than a dollar in components

By a skilled person having experience with electronics, who would be bored as hell to work as a simple employee in a repair shop, and conveniently ignoring what hiring such a person would would cost, and what it would take to do this reliably/QA.

In a small shop like Rossmans, this is relatively easy - but that does not scale at all.

And Louis has several Apple store stories in his videos where the idea is "This display replacement is so expensive, just get a new Apple laptop". So it seems Apple strategy is to no longer repair but push people into buying new stuff - I guess this looks much better in their P&L and KPIs (new sales vs. repairs). But my accounting knowledge is limited.

To be fair, I do know a few (mid-size) companies who tend to replace the entire system, then send the faulty piece back to a centralized repair facility which repairs the boards, and then they're used to repair another faulty piece. Don't know whether the large companies do this though.

The repairs at the central facility would be much more efficient if the repairable unit was a cable instead of half the machine.

Can't argue with that, but these repair houses have special tools which make the entire process almost as efficient as repairing a bulkier and modular device. At the end of the day, we can call it a user hostile measure and it needs to be tackled with government policies.

The repairs at central facility have fixed costs (shipping the device, tracking, paperwork), the not-repairs at customer center have fixed costs too. Carrying out simple repairs on site would be much more more efficient if they could be done on site. There is (albeit not trivially measurable) opportunity cost associated with customer inability to drop device for few hours and have it repaired.

Of course there is a delicate balance between various costs (design, manufacturing, repair, lost product upgrade sales, lost overall sales) and increased repairability may mean decreased profits, but I am arguing the main point.

Apple do this and call it "remanufacturing".

That's a pretty good gig for them, charge you $700 for a display replacement and then take your old display and remanufacture it for $10 to reuse somewhere else

There are many examples of Apple never admitting design issues!

Beside what they are doing with their reputation and customers loyalty, I’m wondering how is it going to affect their engineering culture within the company itself.

They are very biased with their strategies in everything and they hardly change them. Same situation Microsoft was in some years ago.

I don't know about others, but I don't dare to buy Apple products anymore. My 2012 MacBook Pro is still going strong, but newer MacBooks don't have anywhere near the same build quality and durability.

When you have an issue, and complain about it or even ask advice what to do, I've often encountered toxic behavior from Apple fans. Denying the problem's existence and such.

The problem is of course what to heck to buy. MacBooks do have nice features, like fast wakeup and an excellent touchpad, that I still haven't seen matched in the "Windows" laptop camp.

The thing is I have the "hellishly flawed MBP 2016", I carry it daily into my messenger bag over bike/train/feet (often running to catch train) in a separate pocket but without other protection. It fell on the floor once from table height with lid open and ended up with a very small scratch on the corner but totally ok otherwise (and it was totally my fault).

Everything is perfectible but to say it's not a good and resilient design as compared to other laptops is just non-sense. Nothing is 100% fail-proof we must be realistic.

I had issues with apple products, but nothing so bad that a visit at a genius bar couldn't solve in a reasonable manner. Yet I will loose trust the day they let me down in an intolerable way, but surely not based on hearsay's from the web.

I've got a couple of friends who are Apple fans - iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, full loadout. Once the time came to upgrade their MacBook Airs the question was whether to go with a Windows laptop to avoid keyboard issues, or risk it. Both decided to risk it, being Apple fans. And cause we don't know how big of a percentage of people are affected by the keyboard issues. I advised them to go with Apple. They got a 13" 2017 MBP and a 15" 2018 MBP. Now the 2017 MBP had only one keyboard failure which was fixed free of charge. The 2018 on the other hand had two keyboard failures (broken key and several keys permanently pressed), and shortly after the second keyboard failure the laptop stopped turning on.

My point is, when buying those laptops, you do take a risk on whether your use case and your individual unit is going to experience issues. This was all hypothetical to me as well, until my friends paid their money to find out whether it was real or not.

Except that if it's a 2018 model they didn't actually paid money, it was take free of charge under one year worldwide guarantee even without an AppleCare Plan. And unless they very recently changed policy after the second failure on a recent machine you can usually bargain an instant switch with a refurbished anew unit.

> I don't know about others, but I don't dare to buy Apple products anymore. My 2012 MacBook Pro is still going strong, but newer MacBooks don't have anywhere near the same build quality and durability.

Apple's history of design issues and ignoring them goes all the way back to the Powerbook G3 and G4 Cube. This isn't some sudden drop in quality. People just have short memories.

I got a Dell XPS 13 last year and the touchpad is great. I use it both on Windows and Ubuntu.

I also remember having a Toshiba something-or-other 10 years ago and hating the touchpad in comparison to a Mac. So, just saying, I've seen how bad it can be. The XPS has given me no issues aside from having to make sure I change the click behavior (tap to click really annoys me).

Does tap-to-click really get in the way if you turn it on but don't want to use it? Are you 'tapping' as your finger comes down onto the trackpad to move? That action should be detected and ignored, IMO. I'm only saying this as a tap-to-click user. I can't stand using someone's keyboard if they've turned it off — there I am, tapping away, looking like an idiot ...

I find that I graze the touchpad with my thumb or palm while I'm typing. I always turn it off on my laptops.

This is another reason I don't want to leave Apple - they are far and away the best at detecting mis-taps.

I just got a precision 5530, an xps 15 clone. The touchpad is pretty good, but it takes some getting used to coming from a MacBook pro 15.

Wise choice. I bought a 2018 MBA with a “fixed butterfly keyboard”. Keyboard was useless after two weeks so it went back.

Back on the thinkpad now.

Same issue, keyboard on 2018 had issues. Key broke and Apple deemed it "accidental damage" because of my efforts to clean the key following their support article.

Assholes. I would have just chargebacked the damn thing if they pulled that shit on me.

Edit: this sort of denialism makes me feel dirty owning an iphone.

I too was wondering how to "replace" my MacBook Pro, (I have one from work, but I want one machine to do my work on it). I've gone with Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13 inch) and I must say, if you can live with Windows, this is a good alternative:

The touchpad is nice (except from right clicking with 2 fingers, but I think you can change it with software), the hardware is beautifully made, battery lasts 12 hours (maybe around 8-10 with normal usage) and you get in a windows tablet too.

My only problem was the pricetag, 2.6k is kinda a lot, for the specs that aren't the best you can get, but it's good for development work, I can also play some games on it and use photo editing tools.

This was the only windows laptop that I really liked, (my previous was a thinkpad from 8 years ago).

the dell xps machines are quite nice and higher spec'ed than the surface stuff

Razor makes nice high end PC laptops -- I like mine, anyway. Plus, they actually ship with nice zippy internal graphics cards

On the flipside, Apple has a lot more data on what components fail than we do. They can detect issues before they become a "-gate" and I imagine slight improvements like this one happen fairly often. Which, I'd say, is a good engineering practice and culture.

Or they could just use standard parts and make their machines more repairable.

I recently upgraded my MacMini Server 2012 with max ram and SSDs. My Air is still going strong, so this may be the last time I get a Mac. Which is too bad. Their older machines were really really nice. The new ones are kinda shit.

Had they just kept releasing the same models with upgraded specs and none of the crazy price increases and improvements we’d all be upgrading. I don’t even mind the soldered in stuff if the machine was reliable. I use and Air. Now their keyboards don’t even work.

What exactly is a "standard" part in high-end portable computer manufacturing?

An M.2 SSD, like a Samsung 970 Pro. Or a SODIMM RAM stick. Or an M.2 Wi-Fi adapter.

While you're at it you can also screw the battery in instead of gluing it in place. Or screw the keyboard in instead of riveting it in place.

All of this is a reality in my Dell XPS 15. Keyboard is screwed in with 20-something tiny screws, it's firmly in place and it makes keyboard replacement a $20 affair that you can even do yourself should a bad day happen when you bump your drink onto it. The battery can be freshened up as well should you keep your laptop for more than a couple of years while using it daily, and it costs $80. Should your laptop fail completely you can salvage the data from it just by plugging the drive into another laptop or desktop (Apple removed a "lifeboat" connector from their 2018 MBP for example, not much was occupying its space though), you can upgrade the RAM fad down the line if your use case changer or OS becomes more demanding. Etc.

This is already possible and is happening right now, so Apple doing the Apple thing is not excusable by their laptops being thin or light, or portable or whatever.

If Apple cared enough about detecting issues before a "-gate" happens, then "-gate"s would hardly ever happen.

"We'll fix it in a later iteration, possibly" isn't a credible attitude from a company whose prices are already wildly inflated and hard to justify.

I don't mind the "-gates" : issues are bound to arise. The only way to avoid "-gates" is to stop producing and selling anything at all. Modifying a manufacturing process to correct a flaw is not always easy and can take some time, so I understand the "We'll fix it in a later iteration" stance.

I think the real issue here is the failure of Apple to acknowledge the technical flaw. That, and the the poor customer service. If it's a design issue, it should be covered in the warranty : it would be costly on a short term perspective, but in this specific case I think it would be worth it, as it would keep customers happy with the brand.

They will have the Data when it was actually repaired by their Store. Notice How most of the Street Laptop Repair Store advertise with Apple repair? There is a whole Apple 2nd Hand, Repair economy out there. If they have an 3% repair rate on Apple Store, you can bet it is at least double that amount on total repair outside of Apple.

Which is one of the Key Point of Genius Bar, these front line Genius were suppose to Report back all sort of problems with their Product so the design team would know. Steve make sure this so they can services their customer better. Look at the Genius Bar now.

improvements like shimming known weak BGA solder joint with a piece of shoe rubber https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaGHcBZjmWA

also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUaJ8pDlxi8

I have owned 3 Macbooks so far. And all 3 have had one of the speakers break. Am I just that unlucky?

Oh and yeah, what a diarrhea of a keyboard in the 2016 edition.

Still clinging onto my late 2013 MBP for dear life in hopes that Apple will eventually release a laptop with a reliable keyboard again.

I hate hate hate the newer Mac keyboard. Diarrhea is absolutely the perfect word to describe my feelings toward it.

I love the newer Mac keyboard. It is hands-down the best laptop keyboard I've ever used. Literally my only complaint is the design of the arrow keys.

I'm not an Apple fan boy by any stretch but years ago I discovered that the Apple 104 key keyboard suited me down to the ground. Despite using it mostly on Ubuntu and Windows. I've put up with strange key mappings just to use that keyboard.

The MacBook Pro I've just gotten at work is a nightmare. I assumed this was just getting used to it until this weekend when I finally setup my desktop at home with the old 104 key keyboard. The difference is night and day.

For what it's worth, I hate laptop keyboards in general. The MBP keyboard being the best laptop keyboard I've ever used is, quite frankly, an extremely low bar.

My older generation MBP keyboard (2015?) Is really good, best laptop keyboard I've touched. The newer one is just painful. I don't even know what I don't like about it, it just feels terrible, maybe because of how short the travel is. The key bottoms out immediately and it feels like I'm just tapping my fingers on a solid surface.

Been there.

Wait several months.

When the MacBook Pro were presented with this new keyboard I bought the older model in prevision of the 5+ years keyboard winter. Very happy of this decision so far.

I got a nice used 2015 model. Absolutely love it. Great keyboard, MagSafe, SD card slot, hdmi. Physical keys instead of a touchbar.

The other day I walked through the cord while it was charging on the table and my laptop did not get destroyed.

how could Apple f that up so badly is beyond me.

Yes, the various ports were also a big selling point. By the time USB-C will be democratized we will have (I hope) a total revision that will solve the current issues.

I hope USB-C (the connector at least) never becomes the standard. I have a MBP with these god awful ports and it's really frustrating how bad the connector is.

There are DJs for whom the macbook pro is required equipment for their performances. They're performing in front of 10s and sometimes >100 thousand people. Their midi controllers, and their SOUND CARDS (really a DJ mixer, most likely) are connected by: USB A.

USB-C doesn't have the sort of retention that USB A does, at least the ports on my super expensive laptop don't. At this point, they cable would likely just fall out if I tipped the laptop sideways.

Thing is: there are LOTS of things for which this type of thing is true. I've done lighting shows where this MBP was running a large lighting element on a large stage, and it was all dependent on that crappy USB-C connector, and a chain of dongles (!!!). Same thing is going to be true for interactive art installations, (some) large lighting shows. All sorts of stuff. So annoying.

If you currently use your mac for audio and are about to upgrade, be warned; there seems to be endemic audio issues with the newer 2018 models: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19196354

Like other posters I've had USB-A ports go "sloppy" and loose in a number of laptops and other devices.

I have exactly the opposite experience. I find that USB-A connectors tend to become loose over time, and eventually a mild bump is enough that the device disconnects (even though it looks like it's still 100% plugged in). No such issues with USB-C yet.

I have never seen a USB-A connector become loose. It's been over 20 years. The USB-C connector on my 2016 touchbar was loose within months.

It's much more evident with USB 3.0. I can almost never use USB 3 drives on my laptop because they won't connect. Maybe 1/10 times it'll connect fully, but any touching the cable will disconnect it.

Are you talking about the USB-A connector, or the "micro b superspeed" connector https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/USB_3.0_...?

USB-A is this part of the cable: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/USB_Type...

GGP here - I was talking about the USB-A connector. I think the issue is the physical size of the connector - it catches on things, and when I use it in non-desk locations (couch, mostly), the larger protrusion from the main chassis of the laptop makes it more likely to move around. Over time, it makes the socket looser and looser.

Likewise, very happy to still be using my 2015 MBP. I don't feel any envy for users of the newer models.

Yes, MagSafe is still awesome, I'm blown away that they took it away for something else.

As far as I understand there has been plenty of iteration of the butterfly keyboard since it was first launch to the degree of ~4 different types (?). The newest macbooks should be a lot more stable

I wonder about that too. My experience with Macbooks has been solid (vs. other laptops). I even spilled water (a full cup) on one of them and it only needed a Wifi card change.

Well my ThinkPad actually has drainage channels and holes to protect it against liquid spillage. It's also far more repairable and modular. With Apple's obsession with thinness and the corresponding sales, I actually fear for the future of all function-over-form laptops.

My last macbook pro lasted for 6 years and still can do many jobs. I love the thin form factor because it makes it easy to take.

I don't know if I was lucky or these are just some extreme cases but: Except for the water spilling (which costed a bit), I never had any hardware issue with any Apple product I bought.

And the late-2018 model with the third revision of that keyboard is still broken (I have keys that are starting to go after just two months of use).

Man.. your jaw would drop seeing mine...

I’ve owned 5 or so and have never had that happened. Is there something magnetized in your workstation or bag that comes into contact with the speaker grill/ side of the laptop?

The one thing that caught my attention is that "they keep deleting the issue we post". That is an evil thing to do.

Question: do they delete any other posts, or just ones alleging design flaws? Do they give any reason for deletion?

Apple as official policy once warned iOS developers not to talk shit about their arbitrary app rejections to the press so I'd say they've been pretty consistent trying to suppress negative opinions.

     "If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."

Accidental Tech Podcast dealt with this recently: Apple's support and bug tracking is really low-standard, by all accounts. Apparently, they frequently mass-close bugs (e.g. after a new release) with a comment to the effect of "if this is still a bug, please reopen it". You can understand the circumstances that might've led them to do this ... but it doesn't sound great.

As someone who files an extremely high volume of Apple bug reports, that's not actually true. They occasionally close a bug with "please try again and let us know if it's still happening", but that's extremely rare. And to be fair, the last time I saw that happen, the bug in question had actually been fixed at some point in the past. I'm pretty sure in that instance some engineer said "hey wait, that sounds familiar, I think we fixed that already, but I can't find the original bug report".

Nice knowing that, in addition of three failing keys (u, i and o) and one failed speaker, I can also expect the display flex cable to fail. 2017 MBP that's been plagued with problems from the very beginning.

Ugh - I have one that also has a left failed speaker, which had previously crackled before giving out. A quick search on Reddit will find similar reports. Apple refuses to acknowledge the issue entirely.

I’ve got u, i, o, and p failing!! And it’s funny because I use an external keyboard most of the time.

My 2018 MacBook Pro arrived last week £2.6k and I turned it on to find the right speaker crackling. I now have to make a trip to Apple to get it fixed.

Lemon Laws. Learn them. Use them. They are your friend!

Sheer curiosity - why do you still use it?

The weirdest part of all of this is the recurrent problems of Apple products in peoples tech-life-time, and the same people, while annoyed, embrace it... and I just don't get it.

If products fail on you consistently, why you keep buying them?

It's 2019, there's a lot of great products out there, with way more quality than some Apple products.

If the problem is the "ecosystem" you bought into, well maybe it was a mistake to begin with because it seems it's not much of a balanced ecosystem - so maybe you should consider jumping out of it.

I know I'm biased because I've been a windows user all my life, and I'm not from USA where Apple reigns supreme and people communicate with each other via Apple products/apps... but damn, is it really worth it? Because you're being part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Let's be clear about this: we have no idea how often this issue is occuring. From what we're seeing it could be 0.0001% of Apple Laptops failing within 3 years. This just tends to get a lot of attention. If you buy an Acer laptop it'll probably be 10x more likely to break in 3 years, but no one cares because the Acer brand is crap.

This isn't surprising, the likelihood of breakdown is just 1 aspect of choosing to buy a laptop.

There might be 'great' products out there, but my experience is that Windows is a total turd and so even if you could find hardware as good as Apple's your still torturing yourself everyday. There's loads of reasons to make the choice and a tiny % chance of your laptop breaking isn't going to completely convince people not to buy.

Well in the past years some of Apple products have had serious issues - like engineering flaws that made their products prone to issues.

So it's not just this issue.

About Acer, you'll have to back it up with something, because you know, Acer has laptops that range from 300€ to 1500€+.

But you're right, just because it's Apple these problems have a different reach in media, but on the other hand, Apple doesn't own their problems. And to top it off their practices when it comes to support some of the issues is just ridiculous.

To say windows is a total turd makes you look like you're just trying to hurt it's feelings, because you know, and I know, and everyone knows Windows serves it's purpose for plenty of people. Just like Android does.

If only the problems were in Apple laptops... the problems is in other product lines, and in the way Apple designs their products. Decisions like pinning down a laptop keyboard with rivets, poor choice of materials, poor thermals, the list goes on.

But hey, rejoice on it.

As far as I can tell (I haven't owned Apple kit since an iPod with a spinning disk), OS X is a hell of a drug.

Apple's is bad, but the alternatives are not much better. I mean just trying to shop for a laptop on Lenovo or Dell's website is a horrible experience.

Hmm but you aren't limited to buy it on manufacturers website, or are there models limit to their websites?

A classic Apple move. Then a year later, they will offer to "fix" the affected model with "reasonable price", and people still have no choice but to go along with it.

just like their generous $30 battery replacements on iPhones after they were caught slowing down the iphones.

> they were caught slowing down the iphones

This is a mischaracterization of the issue. They communicated battery throttling poorly; they weren't "caught slowing down" iPhones.

They never acknowledged the issue even though the issue has been there for quite sometime[1].

[1] https://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/09/03/study-sugges...

In all honesty, a battery is a wear and tear item. At some point it simply cannot provide enough power - it has been this way ever since rechargeable batteries was invented.

What Apple did was the only thing they could do to keep the phone working reasonably, but they should have communicated it clearly, and offered battery replacement for a reasonable price (30$ for iPhone 6 battery replacement was cheap).

Other manufactures have this issue too, and some phones like the Nexus 6p was extreme. In the old days the battery was user replaceable, and it was well known that you'd have to buy a new one at some point.

No. I don't buy this. The correct action would have been to overprovision the battery such that it is capable of advertised performance for the expected lifetime of the product instead of making the product 1 mm thinner.

Weight is important for a handheld device. 1mm thicker would add a significant chunk of weight.

The issue wasn't as much capacity, as it was peak power draw. While somewhat related to capacity, 10-20% larger battery would not have made much of a difference. They could have crippled the performance and lowering the peak power draw, but that was what they did when it was necessary.

Spikes in Google searches and personal anecdotes are not proof an issue. What has been shown was that Apple throttled iPhones with dying batteries (which they communicated they would do in the update notes for iOS 10, albeit in a really poor way). There's really nothing else to this unless someone has found another thing to this effect.

I also never see much talk about the sharp edges of Macbook. It was a struggle for me when I got mine. But just yesterday I checked the 2018 model of a colleague. And the sharpness was even worse. More importantly the vents on the side and on the around the hinge were really bad. My skin was scrapped painfully if my hand dragged across it. I don't know how one can use this safely without scratching one's skin :(. I like a lot about the Macbook itself while I also hate some of their choices. But this package they put everything is in sharp, slippery, zero grip is simply beyond absurd for me. That's not even talking about the repairability or making it so thin than it's harder to grip.

They have solved a lot of the tough problem of quality manufacturing and set a price for themselves to allow it profitability. That's the big thing. The problems Macbook has I feel are not about lack of engineering skill. It's completely about designer ego and fleecing the customers.

I regret not buying a stash of 2012 Macbook Pros and hoarding them for my own use.

Edit: And iPhone SEs as well

Mid-2015 rMBP is the peak, I believe.

I think the issue with all models after 2012 was the lack of being able to replace the parts since everything was soldered on -- I could be wrong about the year though.

I know that on the 2015 rMPB the SSD is replaceable. You can even get a recent Samsung SSD and install it (provided you have the right adapter)


I ended up doing this last year. I bought a Sintech adapter and a Toshiba XG4 SSD for my 2015 15” rMBP. It works just fine but the battery life ended up being terrible compared to the stock SSD. I was getting around 60% of the battery life of the stock SSD with the XG4 + adapter combo.

Shame about the glued-in battery

Careful on the mid-2012 MBPs... as much as I love that machine, they also have their own flexgate [1]. The internal SATA flex cables bend across the Superdrive and rub against the slightly abrasive back plate, so they have a high failure rate if you actually use your device as a laptop (eg travel with it, keep it in an backpack). Apple seems to have had a problem with flex cables for nearly a decade now.

My MBP 2012 has had 6 SATA flex cable replacements by Apple in 3.5 years (I bought mine in 2015). The last few repairs have all been ~3 months apart. It's easily the most unreliable laptop I've ever owned. Thankfully Apple did all the SATA cable replacements free as required by law in Australia.

That said, you should be able to find mid-2012s for about $450 - $650 US refurbished from mom & pop Mac repair stores. [2]

[1] https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/sata-cable-problem-in-m...

[2] https://www.macofalltrades.com/apple-macbook-pro-13-inch-glo...

I'm still on a late 2011 13". I hit the SATA cable issue once, and called in a lot of favors to get an official replacement (the quote was absurdly high).

The second time it happened, I ordered a couple more cables through ebay. That was 2 years ago, and the second one is still sitting in my drawer...

Okay real talk do people just not take care of their machines or have my friends and I been insanely lucky?

I use my computer daily and travel with it in a backpack all the time and have never once had anything on 5 Mac's I have owned (3 different work computers, 2 personal) break up until this year with the keyboard on the 2016/2017 MBP which in indeed a mess/huge fuckup. I still own both my personal Mac's and besides being pretty slow the 2012 can still run great in a pinch.

Many of my friends also own Mac's and not one has had issues with flex cables, screens, speakers, ports, you name it, until the butterfly keyboard issues. I can't help but wonder if it's a matter of treatment and defining what "regular" use is.

I mostly agree - I have a Pismo G3, 2006 Black MacBook & 2007 Black MacBook that are still in working order. The 2006 had one minor repair but has been fine ever since. I've been that guy who evangelized Mac reliability & AppleCare service to others.

I've been scratching my head trying to work out what I might be doing differently with my 2012 that others don't. The only thing I can think of (besides the backpack) is that I still make use of the internal DVD drive, and that I still have a spinning disk rather than an SSD (I need storage more than I need I/O speed). Perhaps the vibration from those devices causes some of the abrasion on the flex cables.

My wife's mid-2012 MBP's SATA cable failed last week, and it made me wonder if Apple deliberately started soldering hard drives down to avoid these sorts of issues.

Only the 13" has the cable fail issue.

I've had my 15" 2012 for three years, and hope it lasts for a long, long, long time.

Same here, have an early 2011 and this thing breaks usually after 1 year. I am only using the bay where the SuperDrive was these days because it broke once again a couple of weeks ago.

I bought the first touchbar MacBook Pro. Promptly returned it and bought the last high end non-touchbar pro. Best decision I ever made. This thing works just like it should. I don’t expect anything more from it. Yet Apple keeps thinking I do.

Bought first Macbook Pro retina in 2012 with a hefty $2500 price tag. It's been seven years and it still just works fine. Not looking to upgrade

But, important thing to say, I hold on to my Macbook Pro 2013 because of the bad quality of the new versions, not because I’m happy keeping my 2013. The money is still available and I would happily throw €3000 at Apple. It’s just that, they don’t want it, as if I’m not in their target audience. I don’t write enough emojis to benefit from an emoji bar.

Yeah, there's a ton of money just sitting there for whoever makes a viable replacement for the 2012-2015 rMBP. Anything with windows on it is disqualified, and I don't have the inclination these days to deal with driver issues from running Linux on something unsupported.

The closest I've seen are the Dell XPS 13/15 and Thinkpad X1 Carbon/X1 Extreme, but I'm not a fan of the Dell build quality, and the linux support on the Lenovos isn't quite good enough yet (Nvidia Optimus driver issues mostly, and issues with battery life relating to it).

The other potential option is System76, but their laptop hardware just isn't up to par - their POP!_OS seems pretty good though, despite the horrible name, so they are part of the way there.

Anything with windows is disqualified? To me is the other way around, anything with mac os x is disqualified, immediatelly with no mercy :)

Same boat. I rationalized to myself when I bought it that this would be the laptop I stuck with for a decade. I didn't realize the reason I'd be doing that is because the current generations are just so bad. (Keyboard, touchbar, aggressive port diet, etc.)

If someone were to steal this, I'd probably get a Thinkpad at this point. At least their keyboards don't suck, and I can get by with the half-decent touchpad. Maybe even convert to the red little nib...

The little red nib is great once you get used to it. I was a Mac user for many years but I've become a convert to Thinkpads (running Linux, not Windows).

That's the impression I get. I have a company-issued Thinkpad (X270, love it) and I use it about 95% of the time on a dock with external screens and keyboard.

But whenever I use the builtin keyboard, I force myself to ignore the touchpad and use only the trackpoint. It's still weird and clumsy, but I am getting better at it.

iPhone SEs (refurbished) are still available for the hoarding! I bought two earlier this year, and it made me sad realizing that buying two of them was still cheaper than buying one of their newer models.

I have a refurbished from January 2017 that is still performing flawlessly, currently at 88% max battery capacity.

I should get my hands on another 2015-era macbook pro retina though...

I did that for Iphone 6s, the last iphone with an audio jack!

iPhone SEs show up from time to time in the clearance store for $249.

Bad news: Apple takes us for fools, again. this sucks.

Good news: many businesses and influencers (iFixit, Louis Rossman, Linus Tech Tips ...) are talking about it. This is bad press for Apple. The more noise we make about these issues, the better the chances are that Apple improves on its flaws.

I'm not overly optimistic about it: spreading the word about Apple's bad habits might be useless. But trying and failing is in my opinion better than not trying at all : at best, Apple makes better product ; At worst, they just keep on doing what they're doing.

Still waiting for Apple to make anything anywhere as good as the Pismo was. I've had hardware issues of one kind or another with every single laptop from them since then.


One problem with the Pismo (and probably other laptops at the time) was that the backlight would become very dim.

You could buy replacement backlights, but installing them was really difficult. Even if you managed to not break the very thin glass tube, aligning it in a way not to cast any shadows was tricky.

I think that the newer, LED-backlit displays actually have a much longer lifetime (apart from "Flexgate").

Anecdotal experience, but never had any issues with the Pismo, which I used well past the mid-2000s. I did have screen problems with the first titanium PowerBook G4, flickering, glitching, and then after a few months the thing just died and had to be replaced. That was after the hard disk failed as well in the first month of use. And it's been one thing or another ever since then. Being an Apple customer of several decades, I sincerely do not understand this myth of fantastic quality they have. I have had IBM and Lenovo fail much less, and HP... Actually never.

Edit : Just checked dates, and yes, I used the Pismo for 8 years. The PowerBook G4 barely 3 years and couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

I think you might be thinking of the Wallstreet, not the Pismo.

This might be more a matter of luck and fond memory. The Pismo is a rickety plastic crate compared to any unibody MacBook.

Maybe it's just me, but I never did like the change to metal all that much. I have both plastic and metal laptops now and still dislike metal. Typing on a plasticky HP right now with certainly a better keyboard than the MacBook, but let's not get started with that...

Edit : I was using for a while both the PowerBook G3 and the PowerBook G4, and much as I tried, I hated the latter as much as I loved the former, and the G3 outlived the G4 by a couple of years.

The display in my MacBook Pro 2017 just died recently. It was flickering for a week and then went all black (almost), except for a small line of pixels.

Together with the double-insert problem when hitting the space key, it’s really total garbage.

Environmental certifications should include repairability.

The 2018 keyboard is much more robust than the earilier ones. In 8 months I haven’t had to replace it at all (though I am close). I actually don’t mind the feel, just want it to work.

And the Touch Bar...if I could just disable the hypersensitive virtual escape key (I use caps lock for that) it would be perfect...all else can be disabled but not that botch, for some reason.

I guess I still use it because I find the alternatives even worse. Could be Apple Stockholm syndrome.

So, it's a 'win' when you don't have to replace your keyboard in 8 months...? Some people are still using 2012 Macbook Pros...

You can easily disable the escape key on the TouchBar using the free Karabiner-Elements https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/

This is my setup: https://d.pr/i/sP4OMX

Hmm, that still doesn't disable the Touch Bar escape on my 2018 MBP. Any advice?

Thanks, I’ll give it a try

8 months?! I've been using a usb thinkpad compact kybpard for 9 years.

Is there any signal that they are going to introduce a better keyboard?

I just can't grow to like the current ones.

They got a patent for putting key switches under a touchscreen, so my guess is that it's just going to get worse.

Oh wow, that's messed up.

That's the company that removed strain relievers from all their cabling with the very intention of making them break easier.

What did you people expect?

Looking around my desk, I see a MagSafe power supply, with strain relief on both ends, a Thunderbolt cable, with strain relief, an HDMI adapter, with strain relief, a Lightning cable, with strain relief...what are you even talking about?

What strain relief, the crappy flex neck that stiffens over time becoming itself a strain point making the cables fray on their discontinuity? (Note how normally strain releifs are graduated... but let’s not get function to prevail of form!)

I haven’t had an Apple laptop without the darn thing breaking after a couple years... it’s a tax, as well as guaranteed landfill material.

Just google “apple power supply cable fray”

And I haven't had a power supply break yet. I still do not understand how people manage to ruin these things, unless they're yanking them from the cord itself or twisting it around. It seems like they stay together if you put just a bit of care into keeping them intact?

I'm guessing you don't use your laptop in your lap. It is impossible to avoid some strain on the cable while the computer is on your lap, because it must hang unsupported.

Use it this way for a while and I guarantee that no matter how much you care, the plastic will splinter exposing the inner cables and eventually shorting them.

I do use my computer in my lap; the strain is minimal and has no real effect on durability. That's like a couple of ounces of weight–there's no no way that will permanently damage the cable.

There should be no way, but as plenty of people can attest to... it happens. Really, why would so many people be complaining if it wasn't true?

I'm still using my late 2011 machine as a daily driver, day in and day out. I think you can agree I don't generally mistreat my stuff (or the thing would be destroyed already). I'm telling you I've been careful with the charger cables, and still got 3 of them to fry this way.

You may or may not believe me, but at least you should understand that my opinion (and many others') is that those cable strains are unfit for their purpose.

The cables absolutely do fray but the flex neck you are referencing clearly is a strain reliever, just one that was designed with a lot more focus on aesthetics than function. I do sympathize with hating the cables because I used to go though one myself about every 18 months or so until my work laptop was replaced with one that charges over USB-C. However, I still feel like the original basis for this thread is a hyperbolic claim and I think it's pretty fair to respond by pointing that out.

What do you buy instead?

Judging by the number of failed magsafe cables I've seen, I suspect the strain relief was more decoration.

They didn't remove strain-relievers, they just moved to ones that look better but don't work as well. That they didn't remove the strain relievers entirely is plainly clear by just looking at their cables. The lower durability from the change was a side-effect that they accepted (well ok, that Steve Jobs rammed through) for the aesthetic benefit, not the goal.

Last years there are many fuckups with pro models.

Interesting. This stage light effect also affects my 2007 mbpro which is two generous old. It did take about seven years to develop, but it seems that it's been an issue possibly on past models also that has just gotten worse with the latest thin design.

I paid for AppleCare and Apple fixed my keyboard twice and replaced my display for free. No questions asked.

The counter-argument is that such an expensive machine should not fail.

Hardware suffers from wear-and-tear. My upfront investment for AppleCare more than paid for itself.

Eventually Apple will make a disposable $3000 Mac and everyone will love it ...

Tired of this kind of lazy trolling on every article even vaguely critical about Apple.

Is that the current MBP? If nothing else fails, you’ll have the glued-in battery to deal with...

I always wondered why the battery isn't part of the bottom cover - it seems making a once piece bottom/battery would save space and allow for a bigger battery. I guess it's so that its deliberately difficult to replace.

Every laptop is disposable. You can't drop in a new motherboard from Fry's.

It will still only have a 128GB SSD.

If not, then they will increase the price to $3300, or more, I guess.

Cook is a supply chain guy.

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