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back to article Stock dips as fanbois complain of dodgy Wi-Fi on MacBook Air

Apple is investigating claims that new Macbook Air notebooks are suffering from crippling Wi-Fi connection problems. Cupertino's latest creation, the Macbook Air, boasts an epic battery life, but customers are reporting terrible Wi-Fi problems. Apple has reportedly confirmed the problems, in a briefing note to shop staff seen …

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Anonymous Coward

not the first time

we run a guest wireless network in the lab where I work mainly for visiting scientists and students etc, The top troublesome laptops we have issues with connecting to our AP's (All cisco WAP 200/2000's) Apple's, so this is nothing new

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Re: not the first time

Yep, my MBA (late 2011) is always the first to drop/last to connect, and most persistent in trying to attach to the wrong access point (no matter how many times I try and stop it, delete that point in settings etc etc) out of quite a variety of hardware.

Maybe I'm holding it wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: not the first time

Rule of thumb buying Apple products, Give them 4-6 weeks so these kinds of problems are detected by others. Then buy if seems ok/fixed. Apple very rarely offer discount as the models grow older and the refresh becomes imminent so no point waiting. Although always amazes me how many of the Apple faithful pay full price for a device that's almost EOL (e.g. the current MBP models).

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You need to buy refurbished

That can normally get you a good 20% off if you wait for the right moment. Still comes with warranty.

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Meh

Apple seems to have had a history on this.

I've never really understood why so many Apple devices have WiFi troubles. There seems to have been a history of it on a multitude of devices (mostly iOS).

That said, I got my 13-inch Air last week and have had no problems at all. The battery life is indeed awesome, as is the 8-second bootup time and general performance. I'm not saying there's not a problem, just that it must affect a percentage of machines. Expect a Mac OS X update very shortly......

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Trollface

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

No problem, just plug in the Ethernet cable!

Oh wait...

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Holmes

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Yup, so many MacBook Air owners I know use an ethernet adaptor! a missing ethernet port is understandable though, the computer is not deep enough for it! but including an adaptor in the box would have been nice...

the glaring omission is a kensington lock!!!! create a thin lightweight laptop that is very practical BUT don't provide a way to secure it? how DUMB are people at apple? I am sure they must live in glass towers where no one would think to nick a laptop....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

>a missing ethernet port is understandable though, the computer is not deep enough for it!

It's understandable when your design rationale is all about making things thin, rather than say, utility.

>the glaring omission is a kensington lock!!!! .. how DUMB are people at apple?

Dumb is spending money on a Kensington license and extra tooling for something which ultimately loses you money - each MacBook Air theft prevented is the sale of a replacement device lost.

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Thumb Up

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

@MrXavia;

Seriously? No Kensington lock?

I spend half my life in different countries giving seminars, so would have ended up in the US next week faced with a very unpleasant surprise (having to unplug my brand new laptop from the podium and take it with me every coffee break).

If true you've just saved me from making a huge mistake. I was planning to go to the Apple store this afternoon to buy an MBA to replace my MacBook, would never even have thought to ask if it had a Kensington slot. For my particular use case no Kensington slot is an absolute deal breaker, and I always thought it was like an airbag on a car; it's simply expected.

Thank you sir.

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Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Apple probably suffers from complaints because of their aluminium fetish. Putting a computer into a metal case might be a good excuse to slap a premium onto the retail price but it can't be very beneficial for wifi reception. They're not the only manufacturers to suffer this issue (e.g. Asus Transformer Prime had serious wifi issues), but given their high profile they're certainly the ones who get the most attention when it happens.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Well it's often been down to antenna problems in the past. Having grounded aluminium is like putting an antenna inside a faraday cage.

Of course with full signal this isn't the issue here, more likely that the protocol and standard is a little two bleeding edge for some routers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Kensington locks only stop the extremely casual thief.

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Meh

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Re: metal cases

My experience with Apple WiFi (and all Apple networking) is that it is usually a driver issue rather than a hardware issue. They exhibit connectivity problems when 3-4 feet away from an AP.

Apple tend to be very aggressive on power saving which causes problems with older WiFi units - usually a firmware update on the Wifi makes them more tolerant of Apple devices, but they never seem to work as reliably as their competitors if you have multiple Wifi AP's and anything requiring RADIUS authentication (i.e. enterprise level...).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Kensington locks only stop the extremely casual thief.

So all they need to is wear a suit? Sjeez.

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Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Putting a computer into a metal case might be a good excuse to slap a premium onto the retail price but it can't be very beneficial for wifi reception.

No, but it does allow you to keep using your unbelievably shit cooling methods that don't put any unsightly vents into the body - just dump heat into the casing! ;-)

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/01/30

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Meh

Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

"Expect a Mac OS X update very shortly......"

Which will break my Wi-Fi. Again.

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Re: the glaring omission is a kensington lock

Kensington will sell you a SafeDock for £99 that also angles the keyboard more ergonomically. But it makes the thin shiny rather thick.

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Re: Apple seems to have had a history on this.

Then run the cd rom drivers as supplied? Lol

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Unhappy

So...

The MacBooks are now just as crap to connecting to wifi as their iDevice stable-mates...

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Re: So...

You're implying there was a time when macbooks didn't have inferior wifi, in my experience their wifi has always been substandard.

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At last, something epic

The great host of Geniuses were gathered together silently to hear their masters order them to capture the MacBook Airs.

They were the elite frontline troops. And now they would have to use their tremendous minds and outstanding hunting skills against an unwieldy foe.

It was an awesome endeavour, for the MacBook Airs were known to hide in the most inaccessible places, and given their thinness, would be fiendishly difficult to find. They were also fearsome beasts, due to the sharpness of their elongated beaks that could inflict serious injuries in anyone bold enough to seek them out in their lairs.

But that was to reckon without the great minds of these Geniuses, who had been drilled for years and kept in reserve precisely for such an emergency. Now word had gone out that the MacBook Airs needed to be captured, and captured they would be, regardless of the cost.

The Chronicles of the Silver Apple, Chapter 802 verse 11 a/b/g/n

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FAIL

Re: At last, something epic

and there was me just expecting them to be chasing them around with a net!

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@ JoshOvki

Sir, I know you not. You may most likely be a genius, but if so, with a small 'g'. These are certified Geniuses with a big 'G'. Trust them to know what to do and do not put yourself at risk. Capturing the MacBook Air is a dangerous task, best left to professionals.

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Joke

Re: @ JoshOvki

Nice to know I'm not the only one who had that mental image.

Just picture the scared and wounded MacBook surrounded and in a corner, snarling at the circling Geniuses and trying to avoid their nets and pointy sticks.

Then it's bagged, crated and rushed off to a hidden warehouse somewhere where its very existence can be plausibly denied.

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Re: @ JoshOvki

Yes and then, being Geniuses, they can then invoke Heisenberg's uncertainty principle to help ward off any investigations by the disconsolate owner into the whereabouts of the captured MacBook Air.

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Thumb Up

Re: At last, something epic

Imagine the pathos when read in Benny Hill chase theme music.

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Pint

Re: At last, something epic

@stanimir - you sir owe me the remainder of todays work that I'm now not going to be able to concentrate on with that mental image and soundtrack in my head :) So all in all about 3 cents worth ;)

*wanders off humming Yakety Sax*

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: @ JoshOvki

"MacBook Air is a dangerous task, best left to professionals."

your kidding right?

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Re: At last, something epic

I still don't understand why the camera operators don't intervene and stop the poor MBAs from being captured.

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Re: At last, something epic

Apple Geniuses - Only They have the skills to pick the box from the cupboard and ring it through the point of sale. Only They know how to up sell you a warranty which you are statutorily entitled to under EU law anyway. Only They know which form to fill and which padded bag to use when submitting a device for servicing. Only They have a Secret Room with the tools for swapping out batteries or other trivial onsite repairs. Only They are the elite of the retail and sales sector shopping experience

Prostrate yourself before the Geniuses. And dare ye not compare them to the Knowhow paeons who work for the false god PC World.

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Headmaster

Re: your kidding

No... his kidding

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Joke

There is no problem

People are just holding it wrong.

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Facepalm

Re: There is no problem

They opened the lid/screen at the wrong angle.

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Devil

"People are just holding it wrong."

Surely Apple can fix this with a software update.

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Big Brother

Re: There is no problem

Saint Jobs wanted you to spend more time creating documents with the fabulous iWork office suite and less time wasting your life on the google-webs.

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Trollface

Re: There is no problem

That's why He invented iCloud.

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Anonymous Coward

There's something magical when a product...just works. Except when it doesn't.

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Meh

Ah well

Just as well Timmy took a performance related pay-stock-money thingy then.

Still, half of absolutely-fecking-loadsa-money is still fecking-loadsa-money so he'll be laughing all the way to Belize the bank regardless.

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Headmaster

I have always found "BigCorp's" paranoia when dealing with customer complaints very.......

..............strange and Apple Corp are no exception, indeed it can be argued that they are amongst the worst with this kind of attitude.

"The Register has not been able to verify the existence of this note, as Apple's UK tentacle is being tight-lipped about the situation, but the wording suggests the fruity firm is taking the problem seriously."

You have a problem: Identify, assess, reassure and rectify. Customer relations 101. They do have a problem - that much is clear. Why is it that a company which has a very considerable reputation for their marketing skills does not seem to see that admitting immediately that the problem exists and reassuring customers that they are "on the case" would earn them far more kudos than their usual behaviour which appears to be an attempt to "out-Kremlin" the Kremlin when it comes to being unwilling to communicate?

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Re: I have always found "BigCorp's" paranoia when dealing with customer complaints very.......

@Arctic fox

Yes, but if you believe you are the Rolls Royce of the computer industry how could your ego ever let you be wrong, have a design fault, let alone admit it.

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Re: I have always found "BigCorp's" paranoia when dealing with customer complaints very.......

Rolls Royce or a Fiat X19?

More attention to Form than Function.

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Re: I have always found "BigCorp's" paranoia when dealing with customer complaints very.......

Because it doesn't work as you say.

Case in point: "AntennaGate" and Jobs response. The company maintained secrecy and admitted to nothing, and when Jobs finally came out to say something, he was assertive and direct, and told everybody how it was all blown out of proportion, and that it was a common problem to all mobile phones.

Do you recall what happened next? The problem went away. It was no longer in the news and only the hard-core anti-Appleist continued to talk about it. The public relations imbroglio was diffused, and the conversation changed to the next Internet meme.

Most of the time, Apple never responds to those issues publicly, and eventually they go away just the same.

Contrast this against the "iOS Map Incident" and Cook's response. Cook came out with his tail between his legs, crying mea culpa at the media and the masses, admitting the error of their ways while begging profusely for forgiveness, and promising to make it all better.

And what was the result of that? To this day, whenever Apple is in the headlines of any newspaper or online publication--especially if it's due to a problem--they seldom fail to mention the "recent problems with the release of their mapping application," and proceed to make a comparison. The conversation changed to focus on Apple being in a precarious position of weakness, and their serious problems at product releases.

Right or wrong, "AntennaGate" went out of the public sphere of discussion, while "MapGate," being a self-admitted public defeat, remains a point of attack forever.

You should go back to Customer Relations 101, and review your notes. Then offer some pointers to Cook as well.

-dZ.

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Mushroom

Re: I have always found "BigCorp's" paranoia when dealing with customer complaints very.......

Meh, don't forget the "iScratch Nano" fiasco.

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Re: I have always found "BigCorp's" paranoia when dealing with customer complaints very.......

I think you're confusing customer relations with media relations here. Yes, Apple have figured out that bare-faced arrogance works wonders on the media narrative, as the media, for some reason, are obsessed with U-turns and blame rather than how effectively problems are fixed. But this doesn't work on individual customers. Funnily enough, an iPhone-owning colleague of mine mentioned just the other day that his phone still loses reception if he touches the wrong spot and laughed about how ludicrous Apple's response had been (a software update to fix a hardware fault? Really?) And screwing your customers does have an effect on customer loyalty, obviously. Yes, there appear to be legions of die-hard Apple fanatics who always go with the firm's preferred media narrative no matter what evidence to the contrary, but Apple have become successful by selling to everyone else, not just the obsessives.

I for one used to buy Apple and no longer do, and the main reason is the utter contempt the company has for its customers. I base this judgement on how they actually treat people, not on how often the media use the word "fiasco" about them.

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Headmaster

Re:I think you're confusing customer relations with media relations here.............

No, Squander Two I wasn't - I was quite specifically thinking and writing about Apple's relationship with its customers and how it manages that relationship. Other than that reservation, I entirely agree with the rest of your post. :)

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Re: Re:I think you're confusing customer relations with media relations here.............

Sorry, I was replying to DZ-Jay. I entirely agreed with your post, Mr Fox.

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Happy

Re: Re:I think you're confusing customer relations with media relations here.............

No problem - I've gotten my wires crossed in that fashion a few times myself!

:)

AF.

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Anonymous Coward

Fruity fruity fruity

"...the fruity firm is taking the problem seriously.

The fruity firm's.."

Come ON Reg. Think of something new, or at least not use this crappy description of Apple twice in every story.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fruity fruity fruity

Nah. We need more fruit.

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Re: Fruity fruity fruity

I always liked 'the Foxconn rebadging firm'

Although there's a lot that could be described the same way!

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