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back to article Apple updates MacBooks

If you - like many other owners of Apple's new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air - have experienced random flakiness from your pricey new toy, Apple is offering some help. You can now download SMC and EFI firmware patches for the three offending 'Books from Apple's support center. Apple claims that the SMC updates improve " …

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I've run all the updates

I was having the trackpad issue before the trackpad update a few weeks ago, and haven't had any trackpad problems since then.

I also had the won't-stay-asleep problem and the freeze-on-wake, but they were so intermittent that it'll be a while before I know if the fix actually fixed them.

I haven't had the 'black screen of death' problem at all before or after the update (even during intense gaming sessions both using Crossover and BootCamp).

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Pretty good for me so far.

Only power-related weirdness I experienced was a couple of times when the light didn't turn on when plugging it in (but it worked as expected) – though having used a lot of laptops in my time, pretty much every one gets confused now and then. Not easy to know if this has fixed such an intermittent issue, really.

I had the trackpad problem, but the fix was released within a week of my purchase. I sometimes think I get a double-tap registering when I've only tapped once, but I do suffer from Fat Finger Syndrome so it could easily just be me.

Not had any of the graphics issues, so either I don't push it enough (played some Battlefield 2042, which certainly sounded like I was hammering it) – or I was fortunate enough to get one of nVidia's few good chips. Either way, it is the Usain Bolt to Intel's Barry Chuckle of graphical offerings.

It's quieter, cooler, astoundingly faster and much sexier than my white MacBook. Recommended!

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Jobs Halo

nice update

awesome. feels like i've got a rev 2 machine now!! woo hooo

no probs with crashing so far at all.

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Again?

Does it seem like every new laptop that Apple releases has an eventual firmware fix a couple months later? Either the fan doesn't run enough and the thing over heats, the battery life is deteriorated, or something along those lines. For such nice hardware, it seems like Apple just doesn't test these things enough before they're released to the general population. I mean it should be pretty easy to notice that 30% of your products overheat during normal use, and fix the firmware before they hit the streets.

Then again, maybe there is some reason for it that I can't grasp, because it sure seems to be a trend for nearly all of their laptops since they switched to Intel. Ah for the good old days of a 12 inch iBook G4... The only issues it had was that tendency to turn urine-yellow after a year or so.

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@nexox enigma

"Then again, maybe there is some reason for it that I can't grasp..." To be honest, I think the reason is that other notebook manufacturers simply don't fix such problems. They don't sell enough of individual models for there to be a loud noise about any issues, and Windows gets the blame for any strange behaviour.

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Paris Hilton

I did have a touchpad gotcha..

The two-finger gesture (no, not a euphemism) scrolling wasn't working on my new MBP. I watched the video to check I wasn't being a spacky UNIX goon who didn't understand how to lasciviously caress a Mac, but I was doing it right.

However, still no dice. I tried two fingers from opposite hands. I tried staggering when I put my fingers on it. I ever tried making my fingers into a tiny dancing M.C. Hammer, and intoning "Stop! Hammer Time!" to no avail.

Eventually, I found the answer. It all worked fine in a new user account- but not the one migrated from my old G4 Powerbook. There were some prefs for the old touchpad which were fouling stuff up. After popping open a shell, and a magical plist-nuking invocation, all was fine with my normal account.

So now the funny gestures work just fine. They've taken some getting used to, but actually, they really are a smooth and effortless way to manipulate the gui.

- The Invisible Opera Company

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Anonymous Coward

@Andy 11:06

Agree with you that no other supplier will ever sell as much per model as Apple, but that is the main difference between PCs where the consumer has choice of what they want vs Apple where the consumer gets what Apple gives them. However, some products' manufacturing have been noted as problematic in the PC world too, such as Sony's famous exploding batteries!

I would also say that the flip side of your argument is that with Apple controlling both software and hardware in a tightly integrated package, I would expect problems like this to be cleaned up and fixed before product release! This is especially true for a premium product with that premium price tag on it - a £400 PC can be a bit sub-par as it is so cheap, but a £1000 Mac I'd expect to ooze quality as much as a £1000 PC...

Of course, the other reason may be that since PCs have to be tested against so many variations of software and possible hardware to plug in with the world of choice out there, maybe PC vendors do test their kit more and catch these possible problems. It's a bit like evolution and the advantages of genetic variation that allowed some organisms to thrive when less adaptable creatures became extinct...

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Vertical integration?

I always thought the argument for Apple maintaining the closed wall of it's own hardware tied to it's own software was to remove the sort of woes Microsoft has to overcome supporting myriad different platforms?

Perhaps the counter argument, that a closed monopoly (in the hardware provision) breeds complacency, might have more truth?

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Happy

missing

am i missing something in these comments or something?

Closed hardware etc??? but you can run os x , windows and linux on macs too? same as pc's except the are not allowed to run os x.

so the consumer has the choice to do all they can on a mac that they can do on a pc?? and i wrong here?

or maybe you referred to the config options when you buy? well to-date 99% of all people i know with laptops have ever only updated the ram, sometimes the HD, but mainly dont touch it.

" a closed monopoly (in the hardware provision)" -- dont ALL manufacturers have a monopoly over how they produce their own hardware? I cant order a Sony laptop and tell them to put in a PPC chipset.

anyway, fuck Apple for releasing a Firmware update, the bastards. They should have not bothered and let us the way we were. We'd all be happier.

All of us here on the forum have SO much experience in running a large Multinational and we all know that its possible to release every product with 100% perfection. Its easy to predict and test all possible combinations of what each user will do with a laptop. OR... maybe we are all muppet employees at a desk job without the balls to go out and take a risk and try it ourselves...

hmmm, thank god its friday, i think the pills are wearing off.

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Quality control & development.

" I mean it should be pretty easy to notice that 30% of your products overheat during normal use, and fix the firmware before they hit the streets."

Apple -- like many others -- perform development and testing on prototypes built in-house or built in small batches by their chosen partners. It's hard to tell if a problem is due to a statistical QA issue in the production process or simply because someone forgot to solder a wire properly at this stage.

In *theory*, the full production line, once up and running, will be cranking out machines of identical quality, but if one of your own key suppliers -- in this case, NVidia -- isn't being open and honest with you about their own QA, there's not much you can do. Apple aren't the only ones to have been caught up in NVidia's recent shenanigans.

Similarly, Apple tend to add new technologies to their new models every so often. In such cases, there are often teething troubles when the production line is first started up; problems that affect only 30% of the units coming off the line wouldn't necessarily show up in prototyping. (Especially if those problems are caused by bad batches of components getting through the system.)

QA is an *ongoing process*, not something you do once, prior to production. The more complex the product, the more likely it is that problems will be discovered in production. Even the likes of Ford and Volvo have had to recall products. It's not just laptops.

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Flame

RE: missing

I know trolls shouldn't be fed but...

Closed hardware - the user gets what the almighty Jobs and his disciples decree what the user shall have. The choice you have is between a handful of machines, whereas the personal computer makers create various permutations of sizes and specification at various price points to suit a wide range of uses. I can go to Sony and choose from 11.1, 13.3, 14, 15.4, 16.2, 17 and 18.4 inch sizes with every permutation of drive, processor, RAM, optical drive type, GPX card, etc. plus some manufacturers will let you choose if you want the AMD or Intel model. Asus quite literally seem to want to build every possible variation of machine known to man especially...

Closed Choice - yes, the consumer can use the Mac as a PC or Linux machine if they so choose. But they don't get the reciprocal arrangement from Apple not letting us geeks use their software on anything but their proprietary works of art. This lack of choice annoys us as we believe in user choice, especially for $1000+! Of course, when someone attempts to use a bit or Apple branded hard or software for a non-intended role, out come the lawyers and the litigation begins until the little guy/schoolboy/grandma is broke and suicidal...

I think if Apple uses perfection as its main advertising campaign where it "just works" then they are fair game for some stick, especially at their inflated prices!

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@Seanie Ryan

Schizophrenia dosen't count.

As for the rest.... every new piece of hardware that comes out always has 1 or 2 glitches... thats a fact.

There are these little updates.. called driver updates...

OR BIOS for that matter

Duh!

Stop sinking into the pit of Stockholm syndrome and try being rational for once!

I own a MBP.... and its doing just fine and dandy.

I fix computers for a living.... don't be making stupid comments about things you don't know or understand. Windows Laptops are nightmares to repair.... at least the Mac ones make sense... provided the user is smart enough not to drop im or spill something on them..etc..etc..

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Alien

RE:I know trolls shouldn't be fed but...

lets see how all the config options offered by Sony etc pan out over the next year or so, shall we.

Already the phone makers have realised that they have too many offerings making the choice confusing, in light of Apples single offering.

Same will apply to PC's in the current economy... the logistics of all the offerings and the stock costs and multiple production line configs etc become a noose around your neck.

and relating to OSx on non-macs, even though i would love to see it, i fully understand Apples stance.its their product, they decide where to sell it and on what device.. their decision. I'd prob do the same in their position... profitable company with big cash pile.. seems to be working. And yes, i am capitalist, not a tree hugging hippy. ;-)

anyway, my original point was that you can run everything on a mac that you can on a pc, so the Mac is not a closed hardware...

lets face it... bmw's, ferraris, audis cost more than skodas, fords, volkswagens. People pay for brand, image and also (percieved) quality. Apple take advantage of that. fair play to them.

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@AC 12:11

Yes, a Windows lappy certainly does ooze summat.

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Jobs Halo

V 1.0

You should remember, this is the first version. The reconditioned first or next version will have all the bugs ironed out -thanks to those that bought into the first version. If I do decide to get a new laptop to run Autodesk inventor and overweight, bloated AutoCAD, I'll get a reconditioned MBP -hey I'm cheap and ...thanks for testing!

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Seanie Ryan

"profitable company with big cash pile.. seems to be working... my original point was that you can run everything on a mac that you can on a pc, so the Mac is not a closed hardware..."

My two arguments here are:

1. "seems to be working" - you've pointed out the advantages of fewer production lines and one company controlling it all, which I would think highlights the fact that it should be easier to release products to market without faults compared to a highly diversified product portfolio each with differing tolerances and testing, which is the point of the article itself.

2. "not a closed hardware" - mac can run anything a pc can (no one start naming games or software that doesn't work please as I'm generalizing here!) but a pc can't run much of mac software. Therefore a mac is the universal recipient and the pc is the universal donor. Consider this (from wiki): "Under Perens' definition, open source describes a broad general type of software license that makes source code available to the general public with relaxed or non-existent copyright restrictions." Forgetting the specific mention of source code, the mere portability of software from pc to mac and lack of return portability from mac to pc shows the mac to be a closed system! The mac taketh, but the mac don't giveth back... this, combined with the hardware control, is why they produce such sweet running systems that just work, somewhat analogous to the whole gaming console vs gaming pc argument that rages here every now and again.

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Paris Hilton

@ Seanie Ryan

You, sir, are in grave danger of making too much sense! ^_^ But really, good post and well said. Now, just watch out for Webster Phreaky stalking you...

Paris, because, well... stalking... and... such.

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Happy

@ AC with 2 arguments

your post confused me as a cant make out if you were agreeing or not, but anyway :

Re point 1. I wasnt relating fewer production lines to getting the product right. I was only pointing out that fewer lines can be better. You still have to go through the same process of getting the product right no matter how many lines you have.

Re point 2. you are mixing producing hardware that runs any os, with open source software. Not sure how you made that leap. And who said they have to give their software back? their choice. My original point that its not closed hardware stands. You can run any os on it that you are allowed.

@Kiminao : many thanks!! but maybe it was me stalking webster for the last few months.. ;-)

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re: AC 15.35

"This lack of choice annoys us as we believe in user choice, especially for $1000+!"

Well use your user choice and buy something else, then. Sheesh...

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Seanie Ryan

Errr... I think I got confused halfway through!

Point 2: you can argue that any hardware can run any os so the whole hardware argument kinda is irrelevant! I see what you mean, but I can get an EFI chip and run OSX on any Intel platform now, apart from the company asking the consumer to not do that, so I guess it is subjective that I think that they are more restrictive than other companies. who are into letting any kind of software running on their kit as long as it is able to (or not if it's "Vista Ready"). I apologize as I never knew Mac ran Windows natively - I'd always assumed you needed Boot Camp or Parallels, but in that case you can argue that Windows is more "open" than OSX if it can load on EFI as well as BIOS... ;o)

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