back to article Stage fright or Stage light? Depends how far you dare to open your MacBook Pro's lid

Apple's Macbook Pro has yet another "fatal flaw" in the form of a flex cable fingered as being the root of a host of display problems. Screwdriver botherers iFixit had already stripped Apple's flagship, Touch Bar-enabled MacBook Pro and observed flex ribbon cables connecting the display to a controller beneath the Touch Bar. …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    FAIL

    "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

    You "cut out the fat" with a chainsaw & extreme prejudice, you rip out all the important bits & expect us to use dongles to put their functionality back, all while charging exponentially more for the "priveledge" of owning a machine that'll drop dead femptoseconds after the warranty expires.

    Fuck that & fuck you. We shouldn't have to carry a port replicator dock or a zillion dongles in a bag in order to get back the functions you hacked out like a butcher on a murder spree, ESPECIALLY NOT if you then charge us for said dongles, port replication docks, & devices to restore said functionality.

    "Hey! We included TWO USB Type C ports, one for charging & the other for the dock, so what are you bitching about?"

    How about the loss of the headphone jack, the wired LAN port, the full sized DP/HDMI ports, full sized USB Type A ports, & a battery with enough oomph to last more than the time it takes to board the train to get to work? You know, USEFUL stuff we need to Get Shit Done?

    Yes I know a T&L device is not for me, that I'm not the target market, but I shouldn't have to pay extra to GET those ports via a "desktop replacement" or "mobile workstation" grade machine either. T&L is no longer the version you have to look for, it's everything ELSE you have to shove them aside to find at all. And THAT is true bullshit.

    Dear Manufacturers, some folks actually need a machine that has fans & the thermal exhaust capabilities to allow the internals to run at or near full speed without getting throttled into oblivion; we need the ports to connect the things we use the laptop for in order to Get Shit Done, & a port replicator or docking station isn't the answer; and we need it to be repairable so when (not if) stuff breaks we can actually, y'know, get the broken bits replaced. Gluing it into a single slab is the exact OPPOSITE of that desire. Stop churning out T&L pieces of shit & get back to producing actual, useable, useful, REAL laptops that let us Get Shit Done!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

      Not this drivel again. At a desk, single cable gets all the ports you could want + power + multiple external displays. Away from desk, you won’t be plugging lots of crap into your machine. The sooner all systems go USB-C the better. Hopefully the likes of Dell and HP etc. Will also take note and follow Apple in having USB-C in both sides so I can plug in on the side appropriate to the desk.

      Ever taken a look in the bag of an IT worker? You’ll find singles galore, and always have done. This is nothing new.

      Additionally the headphone jack is still there on MacBooks.

      1. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

        Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

        "Ever taken a look in the bag of an IT worker? You’ll find singles galore, and always have done."

        I dont carry singles around with my laptop in my laptop bag. They are too fragile. I leave them at home and rip them to MP3's

        :p

      2. overunder

        Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

        "The sooner all systems go USB-C the better."

        As a person who actually uses Type-C, it's worth pointing out that Male 2 Female adaptation is _NOT_ part of the spec as usual. Apparently it was decided that all Type-C cables longer than 3ft. should be problematic. If you desire one longer than 3ft., better strip an old IBM parallel cable and start soldering, as the Chinese ones on ebay/amazon/etc. are shit. So, good luck jumping out in the field with a Type-C only laptop and Type-C only camera and still having confidence in the connection. This problem has been overlooked nearly 100% to push the agenda of Type-C, nobody is really paying attention to this.

    2. cmrayer

      Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

      My XPS13 has the power, USB and headphone ports, a realistic 8 hour battery life, yet is thin and light. Also 3 years old, used every day and display works fine. Perhaps Apple should ask Dell how to make hardware that just works ;-)

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

        "Perhaps Apple should ask Dell how to make hardware that just works"

        Me Apple user - across road Dell user. Problems with 4-y-o-iMac none. Dell – constant problems always having support person in. Windows is made for support, Apple devices made to remove support so that it is automated and built into system and end users can do what the need to do.

        Yes a particular piece of anecdotal evidence, but it seems more general.

        1. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

          Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

          "Problems with 4-y-o-iMac none"

          You must be very lucky and also quite unusual among mac users considering you are running on a machine that the manufacturer will refer, to your face in the store in front of the public, as being vintage. Not being an Apple user I see my 1994 RISC PC as vintage and my 2012 Lenovo T420 as simply "broken in".

          When Dell stop supporting that machine across from you, the user wouldnt really have much trouble getting inside it to blow dust off the fan and upgrade the ram or network card, perhaps even slotting in another M.2 (or mpcie) SSD. Replacing the battery would just be an issue of sourcing a decent replacement them slapping it in.

          How easy does your vintange machine make that?

    3. Ian Joyner

      Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

      "Dear Manufacturers, some folks actually need a machine that has fans & the thermal exhaust capabilities"

      No you don't. You are making exactly the same mistake that you are accusing the manufacturers of, confusing a particular implementation with a general requirement.

      "allow the internals to run at or near full speed without getting throttled into oblivion"

      Now that IS what you want. If you can get that without fans, there is no problem.

      "USEFUL stuff we need to Get Shit Done?"

      I recommend staying in the bathroom seated on appropriate device.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

        >>"Dear Manufacturers, some folks actually need a machine that has fans & the thermal exhaust capabilities"

        >.No you don't. You are making exactly the same mistake that you are accusing the manufacturers of, confusing a particular implementation with a general requirement.

        Hence his use of the word "some"

        1. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

          Can you explain why any user would need "fans & the thermal exhaust capabilities"?

          Did you actually read his comment, if a laptop can run at full speed and low temperature without fans then why would a user need them?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

            Did you?

            The original post said "Dear Manufacturers, some folks actually need a machine that has fans & the thermal exhaust capabilities to allow the internals to run at or near full speed without getting throttled into oblivion;"

            The reply said "if you can achieve that without fans, then fans aren't needed", which is about as useful and relevant as saying "stop moaning about the screen light, if you can see the screen perfectly without it, it's not needed", or "stop moaning about the bad keyboard. If the computer can read your typing requirements telepathically, you don't need it"

            1. JimboSmith Silver badge

              Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

              The reply said "if you can achieve that without fans, then fans aren't needed", which is about as useful and relevant as saying "stop moaning about the screen light, if you can see the screen perfectly without it, it's not needed", or "stop moaning about the bad keyboard. If the computer can read your typing requirements telepathically, you don't need it"

              Precisely the point just because you don't need it doesn't mean someone won't. I was in a department store that rhymes with Ron Fewis, a few years ago. I asked if they had any portable radios with short wave and medium wave capabilities. The sales assistant told me that I didn't want those and DAB was what I needed. He then pointed me to several DAB/FM models. I said that wasn't the case I did need those bands and did they have anything? Again he tells me that all the stations are on DAB now "even abroad" so having those bands isn't necessary.

              I explained that I wanted a portable because I planned to use it as a travel radio and in the USA and other places they don't use DAB. As that's where I intended to use the radio on my trips over there, having DAB was totally useless. Boy was that a surprise to him. No they didn't have anything and probably wouldn't again. He had no idea that anything still broadcast on SW (I listen to international broadcasters and the Atlantic HF air traffic control, to help get to sleep) and wanted to know what I listened to on MW. I said 1010 WINS and the Red Sox Radio Network. The latter is also broadcast on FM but not in the areas I visit.

            2. Spazturtle Silver badge

              Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

              There are plenty of CPUs that can run at full speed without needing fans and exhaust vents though.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

                Indeed there are! But he says his isn't one of them!

    4. casinowilhelm

      Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

      Have a look at clevo laptops. You can access everything with just a small screwdriver. Well you can on the big one I've got anyway. However it's most definitely not thin and light. The power brick alone weighs more than a surface tablet.

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At casinowilhelm, re: Clevo.

        Thank you for the tip. I shall go give them a browse. Go enjoy a pint with my gratitude, just don't order a (thin &) light beer. =-)p

    5. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

      Re: "Thin&Light" means Piece Of Shit.

      "How about the loss of the headphone jack, the wired LAN port, the full sized DP/HDMI ports, full sized USB Type A ports"

      Dont forget a DVD drive. I WANT AN OPTICAL DRIVE IN MY MACHINE! Its neater than a USB one dangling off the side of a table.

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At DuncanLarge, re: optical drive.

        That would be nice, yes. I have a USB external that works rather well, but it requires *two* full sized USB Type A ports to work (one for data, one for power) which means I'm even MORE hard pressed to find ways of attaching everything. I found laptops that included an optical drive, but they were even older than the machine I have now which made them not the upgrade I was seeking. *Sigh*

        And I want a full sized mechanical keyboard with separate number pad, arrow keys, & "six pack", a separate row of Function Keys, and no garish RGB lighting to contend with; I want a Tb of RAM per core; I want a Shepherds Pie; I want a drink served by the Saint Pauli Girl; I want a mint green Armored Personnel Carrier; and I want... *COUGH*

  2. Garymrrsn

    Rinse and repeat

    It appears the age old struggle between the engineers and the accountants is alive and well. As usual, the accountants won.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Rinse and repeat

      I don't think accountants would have thought of displays with embedded, unreplaceable flex cables or phones with $450 backs. They don't have the creativity.

      Frankly, this looks like C-suite malevolence. "No bonus till we get an iFixit score of zero".

      1. JimBob42

        Re: Rinse and repeat

        No. Sleep. 'Til Broken!

        1. Is It Me

          Re: Rinse and repeat

          needs more "o"s in Broken

      2. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Rinse and repeat

        I believe the accountants know the game and to be frank, are playing it brilliantly.

        Through a couple of decades, hardware advances themselves justified a new shiny every couple of years. Experientially faster, better screens, new gimmicks. But for most consumer workloads, tell me what a 2014 spec'd i7 couldn't do if you swapped out its HDD and put an SSD in when compared to a modern machine at a similar price point? There's only so much compute power needed to run office 365. This literally freaks out these companies (no need to single out Apple) as their business model relies on repeat customers. It is an existential threat to their profitability. Of course, if you can engineer the parts so that they'll definitely last 3 years, but after 5 it needs to be facing west when you power it on, they can strut out someone to say "that old thing, wow, haven't seen that model in ages*, you need a new shiny, I'm afraid warranty blah blah" without destroying their reputation. It is no accident that more and more components are glued in place.

        *at least a three days ago

      3. Wade Burchette

        Re: Rinse and repeat

        I think it is hubris. Apple laptops have a history of being garbage. Apple knows that if it breaks in a short time, most people who paid too much for the Apple product will gladly pay too much again for another poorly designed Apple product. I think it is hubris, because Apple knows that no matter how sorry the engineering, it won't matter to their hardcore base.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Rinse and repeat

      Engineers vs a tag team of accountants, marketing, and designers (Jony Ive).

      Accountants, marketing, and designers (Jony Ive) win every time. Flawless victory.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: Rinse and repeat

        No, that is a silly and incorrect assessment.

        Originally computers were designed by electronics engineers. Then Bob Barton said they should be designed by the people who program them. He taught Alan Kay who went to Xerox PARC, then Apple. Apple said computers should be made for the end user (whether they know what they want or not).

        Apple is full of very talented designers and software people. Engineers have always had to do what the designers wanted, not be constrained by the technology of the day. And yes that led to clashes between Jobs and engineers.

        Many people just accepted (and still accept) the "that can't be done" of engineers. Apple and Jobs say – "well go away and work out how it can be done".

        That is actually a very risky path.

        1. VikiAi Bronze badge
          Happy

          Re: Rinse and repeat

          They said that it could not be done.

          He laughed, and said he knew it.

          And when he tried that thing that couldn't be done,

          he found he couldn't do it!

          ....

          On the one hand, yes there are plenty of cases where "can't be done" is just conservative* laziness. On the other hand, sometimes it is genuinely not possible. The key skill is pushing hard enough to get past the first, but not digging in to ruin yourself against the second!

          *Warning: this word is not being used in a political context. I shouldn't have to point that out but suspect I need to!

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: Rinse and repeat

            No, I don't think so at all. Some of the time "can't be done" is indeed just reluctance to venture into uncomfortable territory, but most of the time (when it isn't an actual hard and fast "it's physically impossible") it's rather a "well it can actually be done, except you'll be sacrificing or risking this, this, this AND this" which is why people say "can't be done" when they mean "you really don't want to do that"...

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Rinse and repeat

            "On the one hand, yes there are plenty of cases where "can't be done" is just conservative* laziness. On the other hand, sometimes it is genuinely not possible. "

            There's also "can't be done economically", although that bar is significantly lower for Apple considering the prices they charge.

            1. VikiAi Bronze badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Rinse and repeat

              Good points, John and Dropbear.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Rinse and repeat

          Apple said computers should be made for the end user (whether they know what they want or not).

          I think since 2012, Apple computers are made for Apple. They look nice to pull in the punters (designers, marketing) but are unexpandable so it requires replacement and unrepairable without a load of cash (accountants).

          And yes that led to clashes between Jobs and engineers.

          I think even Jobs knew when to stop, especially since he got fired over making the original Mac unexpandable and black and white, until it became antiquated compared to other computers of the time.

          Many people just accepted (and still accept) the "that can't be done" of engineers. Apple and Jobs say – "well go away and work out how it can be done".

          But in Apple's case, they don't actually do it very well.

          So there you go. A plague on everyone's houses down at Apple.

          1. Spamfast
            Meh

            Re: Rinse and repeat

            Have to agree, from what I've been reading.

            I'm writing this on a late 2008 MacBook. I upgraded the RAM from 2GB to 4GB using a COTS SODIMM as soon as I got it. I've had to replace the battery with an after-market one and the HDD with an SSD. Maybe £200 for the two items which isn't bad over ten years. It's been updated to El Capitan which is as far as it'll go but so far nothing I install has had a problem with that.

            Other than the slot-load optical drive getting a bit temperamental and a little bit of cosmetic cracking of the plastic on the display hinge it's still running fine - reasonably fast boot, quick wake up, perfect display & keyboard and fast application launch & operation.

            I am not looking forward to the day when something irreplaceable goes. Given what I've read about the reliability of modern Apple laptops and also how they are now even more overpriced than they were back in 2008 I don't think I want to risk buying one but I also really dislike the retrograde changes in Windows 10's ghastly Metro UI and its intrusive/uncontrollable maintenance/snooping policy. And while Cygwin is great it's not as good as having a real POSIX OS under the hood.

            I use Linux all the time server-side and for things like Jupyter on VMs on my lappy but with the best will in the world even Ubuntu is not as slickly integrated onto laptop hardware as OS X or Windows. In particular, graphics performance always seems to be poorer than the hardware should be able to achieve. (The fault of the GPU manufacturers not publishing the hardware info or writing decent binary dirvers I know, not of Linux itself.)

            Living on borrowed time. Oh well. I'll have to burn that bridge when I get to it, I suppose.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rinse and repeat

          "Engineers have always had to do what the designers wanted, not be constrained by the technology of the day."

          Unless you don't mind going bust very quickly, you are always constrained by the technology of the day.

          The issue is how you use it. The evidence is that Apple have an internal scoring system that gives no marks to economic repair and very high marks to component reduction. That is evidence of an engineering decision being made by non-engineers at C-suite level.

          If Ives was told he could have his design in easy repair or impossible repair, I doubt he would go for impossible repair. But the "economic" side - the CFO, CMO and COO - will go for impossible repair if it is cheaper and leads to more repeat sales. The CSO will be conflicted - as he probably is at the moment over the price he's expected to get. But Cook is supply chain and will side with the COO.

          This kind of armchair board level stuff is just part of what they teach you in MBAs. It is neither rocket science nor controversial.

        4. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge
          Holmes

          Actually, not ALWAYS

          There were 2 Apple Macintoshes which were "the Engineers' machines". That is, the engineers got an unfettered run at them, and fixed all the marketing-inserted irritations which plagued the previous machines.

          The SE/30 is the famous one. Just clean as a whistle -- lovely little machine.

          The other was what was originally intended to be the last Dual-CPU G4. Again, clean as a whistle, peculiarly faster than subsequent higher-spec machines for quite a while.

          (

          Apple unfortunately muddled your ability to identify it nowadays, since they later brought out a another DualG4. Which was savagely crippled despite being apparently identically specced (you have to go hunting in the bowels of the tech.specs for 1 or 2 key clues).

          Now, Apple had loudly announced that they were never touching G4s again after that last final beauty, so what happened? The market happened: sales exploded for the clean engineer's-own piece, and marketing rushed out a bodged imitation version later to try to recapture those sales (because god knows, they couldn't face the ignominy of simply reissuing the popular model, now could they?)

          )

  3. Lee D Silver badge

    My laptop:

    - has been used almost 24/7 for the last... five years? Maybe more. Work, home, entertainment, abroad, on a plane, etc.

    - is robust. It's taken any number of tumbles off the sofa and survived intact, not to mention being packed into a boot / car / plane.

    - is powerful. It does literally everything I need and still out-specs some laptops that people still buy today.

    - is full of connectivity - HDMI, VGA, USB, Ethernet, Wireless, Bluetooth, SATA, eSATA, SD card reader,...

    - has a huge, bright 17" display.

    - has industry-standard OS support, including full virtualisation, for Linux and Windows (ironically, it can virtualise MacOS faster while under Windows than a real Mac can run it with the same resources - and I can assign it what a Macbook comes with with just a slider and still have a ton of power left over for the real OS)

    - has a full Numpad and full set of keys on the keyboard.

    - has power adaptor, dual-drives and battery that can - and have after many year's service - be replaced and/or upgraded.

    - can be taken apart with a single standard screwdriver, down to the individual components (which comes in handy when the fans / keyboard need cleaning).

    - has parts that I can buy online by Googling the model number and part name from all kinds of sellers. A replacement keyboard cost me £5. A replacement screen is barely £50 (but never needed one).

    - has a "real" graphics card and can play 1000+ Steam games.

    - has dual-SATA3 drives.

    - has an optical drive still, but I may rip that out and put a (slow) SATA drive in there.

    - has audio you can hear in a crowded room.

    - has unusual little features like a particular USB port that charges devices even when the laptop is turned off (great for charging gadgets while travelling)

    - came with Windows 7, also included a free upgrade to Windows 8 Pro (redeemed inside a VM), and both gave me a free upgrade to Windows 10.

    - I upgraded the miniPCI wifi card to 802.11ac for about £20.

    - I upgraded the drives to 1Tb Samsung 850 EVOs.

    - the total cost, including all upgrades is still half the price of any top-line MacBook available even when brand-new, and they don't really match it.

    I didn't even TRY and get a top-of-the-line one. It wipes the floor with any modern Mac in terms of raw performance, usability, features, repairability or robustness. About the only thing the MacBook would win on is "higher resolution", somewhat cancelled out by their pathetic 13"/15" screens. It fits in a little-rucksack case that I bought for £10.

    I honestly don't understand one jot why people think a MacBook is anything special at all, in any way, whatsoever. It's literally "looks thin and shiny". That's it. You might as well just carry a bit of tin foil with you, for all they're worth, if that's what you want.

    Even the Apple "support"... hilariously, Apple are the only company in the world that I've had an employer go from singing their praises to REFUSING to do business with them because they have zero support whatsoever outside of granny taking her stupidly expensive thing back for the young man to press buttons and just give her another one. Literally, zero interest, in £100,000's of business basically handed to them and them alone, to the point where they are on a permanent blacklist for not even bothering to acknowledge or respond to the simplest of complaints (not to mention all the staff I have who have taken their personal devices to Apple "because they'll just fix it for me" only to admit months later that they just bought a new one because they couldn't get any joy because of... whatever reason... too old, stupendously expensive repairs, etc.).

    If you bought a Mac, I have zero sympathy. I've removed them all from the company I work for (and that was with me *defending* and trying to make best of their huge investment in Apple for as long as I could). Nobody misses them. I literally now just say "Apple? Sorry, you're on your own" when the usual "Can you have a look?" question comes up now.

    One iMac we needed a hard drive upgrade in. Apple wouldn't do it - they had no option or facility to do so. The only third-party who could do it told us why - he has to smash the screen to pieces, remove all traces of the glass, replace the drive while the computer is open, then re-fit a new screen with special glue and pressure-equipment. It was literally the only way to change the drive, if it failed or needed upgrade. It cost more to do that one upgrade than it would have to buy an equivalent PC - but nobody else could even pretend to do it cheaper.

    Take it back to the Apple Store. Those are the only people who care a jot about your purchase. Guess why people get disillusioned with Apple support when they try that? Just look at that guy's tweet. They have no interest, and will just charge you for their own faulty work.

    They have declared, in a court of law, that Apple devices are only designed to last one year. It was their declaration to get out of providing the mandatory 2-year manufacturer's warranty, as required by law. It failed in court as an excuse, but they declared that point-blank.

    Buy your Apple junk. Make Apple fix it. Don't subject your IT guy to it. You're on your own. When it stops working, talk to Apple. Pay Apple what Apple says it will cost to repair. I washed my hands with them, and gave them MORE than enough opportunities to show me where they shine, and so many benefit-of-the-doubts on behalf of my employer, they assumed I was an Apple fan. In truth, I've never owned, seriously used or recommended any of their products in my life. I just managed hundreds of them. That was more than enough.

    1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge
      Alert

      What IS it??

      Never mind all that!!

      > My laptop:

      What IS it!?

      I want one.

    2. Andy Taylor

      "One iMac we needed a hard drive upgrade in. Apple wouldn't do it - they had no option or facility to do so. The only third-party who could do it told us why - he has to smash the screen to pieces, remove all traces of the glass, replace the drive while the computer is open, then re-fit a new screen with special glue and pressure-equipment."

      Which model was that? I'm trained to repair Macs and I don't recall any model that required the screen to be damaged to replace the hard drive. The current iMacs require cutting of the special tape that holds the display to the rear housing and the tape needs to be replaced to stick the screen back on again, but there's no need to break anything.

  4. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    There are laws to cover this - what used to be (in the UK) the Sale of Goods and Services Act which has (IIRC) been replaced with something very unmemorable. TL;DR version, any item sold must be "reasonably durable" and the fault described does not meet that definition. As it's a widespread problem, then it's clearly a designed in defect - so no problem demonstrating that it was present when bought.

    There is no time scale in law - so since this is supposed to be a quality product, there's no excuse for it not to last a good few years. The main limitation is that under civil law, there is a limit of 6 years from when the breach occurred (which would be the date of sale, when they sold you the faulty goods) in which to start legal action.

    So simple course of action - take it back to where bought and insist on repair or replacement without charge. If it was from a dealer then I pity the dealers who are going to have to swallow the costs and then argue with Apple. From teh sound of things they've only gone downhill since I dealt with them (as an independent dealer) many years ago - and they weren't exactly good then !

    Different countries will have different consumer protection laws, but under EU directive, all are obliged to impose a minimum 2 year warranty - Apple were found guilty in court in Italy over this. So 18 months old, no problem, it's Apple's cost to fix. After 2 years, depends where you are.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      So simple course of action - take it back to where bought and insist on repair or replacement without charge.

      You're right in everything you say, but taking an out of warranty laptop back to a dealer may still result in a point blank refusal.

      For anybody whose Macbook dies with this problem, you have to ask the retailer to fix it before your next options, and if they refuse you need to write a formal letter before any legal action giving them a last chance. The first and easiest next option would not be legal action, but a section 75 CCA claim against the credit card company (you DID pay on credit card for this very reason, didn't you?). If you're clear on what you want and know your rights that can be easy and quick, but there's a risk they too will stonewall.

      If you can't do that, or get stonewalled, then go down the small claims court route - and if you paid by credit card, make sure they and the retailer are jointly named on the documentation. Speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau if you're uncertain of your rights. All of the small claim court action can nowadays be done online, but RTFM on the relevant government web sites. Note that a small claim needs an exact value, so you need either a firm written estimate of the cost of the repair, or to pay for the repair and claim that cost back.

  5. Ian Joyner

    Delete 'fanboys' from the dictionary.

    "what fanbois have dubbed "Stage Light""

    The word you are looking for is customers. Those who have an expectation with their supplier.

    There is no need to keep using this boring pejorative. It is getting to be bad journalism.

    George Orwell decries lazy writing in Politics and the English Language:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language

    I bought it in the bookshop at the Barbican last year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Delete 'fanboys' from the dictionary.

      "The word you are looking for is customers. "

      "The word you are looking for is idiots. "

      FTFY

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    At Apple prices customers should be able to take good build quality for granted.

    1. VikiAi Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      My general experience with the entirety of the IT/CE market is that price is not a good indication of quality.

      I've had expensive quality

      I've had expensive rubbish

      I've had cheap quality

      I've had cheap rubbish

      Only the second of the above bothers me, but it is probably the most common.

  7. Bluto Nash
    FAIL

    Another victim of the form factor "diet"

    Has been the ability to drive a signal any appreciable distance. I have old(er) machines that will drive a 35-50' HDMI cable All. Day. Long. Forever. The bevy of new Ulltrabooks now have a hard time doing 10' on a good day with a following wind without external amps, sometimes failing to even put out enough oomph to drive a wireless HDMI adapter that's connected through a measly 3" cable to a level that the receiver won't just give up on after a few seconds of trying to link.

    Give me a few MORE mm/grams and give the damn chassis some more battery, a half a volt more output on the video and a wireless card that isn't anemic and I'll be quite happy to support it. Too many things run on the edge of "working" at this point, just to get the willy-wagging rights.

    1. quxinot
      Joke

      Re: Another victim of the form factor "diet"

      > Too many things run on the edge of "working" at this point, just to get the willy-wagging rights.

      You wonder exactly why computing and electronics are so weird sometime.

      If I had the smallest, thinnest, lightest willy--I wouldn't be bragging.

      Just sayin'.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Another victim of the form factor "diet"

        "If I had the smallest, thinnest, lightest willy--I wouldn't be bragging."

        But suppose your extremely thin and light supermodel girlfriend has an extremely small...ah...connector socket?

        You're not thinking through the entire Apple universe.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Another victim of the form factor "diet"

      Just like the tablet I'm using now (Huawei) - virtually impossible to hold because of the screen going right to the edge, causing accidental finger presses.

      So much so, i still spend more time on my 2 year old 40 quid tablet with a nice screen border, and more comfortable curved case (this thing is so thin, the sides aren't as curvy.)

      Lovely screen, poweful as hell, but with the comfortability of a literal slate tile.

  8. Giles Jones Gold badge

    So already the keyboards have failed and are difficult to replace and now this?

    These computers are throw away machines at professional prices. This is how a company fails, when it's product isn't worth the money.

    They already hit peak sales in 2015 of the iPhone and any price hike since has been about maintaining revenue rather than sales. There won't be many more years of Apple if they carry on like this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This is how a company fails, when it's product isn't worth the money."

      Got news for you, they were never worth the money!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least you don;t have EU meddling

    Apple users here in the UK don't get the opportunity to moan like you do, because they are more than covered under the sales of goods act.

    We all like a good moan. The sooner we leave the EU and allow corps to screw us like Americans the better!

  10. cambsukguy

    The perfect opportunity...

    ...to express disappointment at new laptops generally.

    My second lad needed a new laptop, having done fairly well with an old Thinkpad (Edge, the cheaper one) which is now showing signs of thermal shutdown and refuses to be fixed with new thermal paste despite my best effort.

    So, trawling the web for while made it clear that <£500 quid (which bought me an HP Touchscreen Envy 15 several years ago) would only buy a similar laptop without a touchscreen now (say an HP with 1TB disk or 256 SSD, 8GB RAM and a Core i5 Gen 7/8). Furthermore, no keyboard backlight or fingerprint sensor - both of which I find useful.

    I asked him what he preferred and we decided that (despite being almost 5yrs old), he preferred the same laptop I bought for mew and his brother - both of which still work just fine, converted to Win 10 from the Original Win 7.

    So, £250 quid bought another and I upgraded the Win 10 and the BIOS and he is very pleased, especially as the touchscreen really helps in his usage patterns.

    Oh yeah, and the old laptop has a dedicated nVidia GeForce graphics card to rub it in - also much desired because he actually plays games occasionally (I don't).

    Give me a solid unit with decent cooling any day - though so since I saw someone showing off their brand new MacBook Air to me and it Black-screened after 10 seconds as thermal shutdown cacked one of the cores.

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