Apple: Genius Bar reps should have known

After what seemed like an eternity, I can now report back with answers directly from Apple concerning the discoloration issue select MacBook owners have endured for the past few weeks.

A few days back reports surfaced that Apple did indeed acknowledge that the discoloration on an isolated number of MacBook was due to a manufacturing defect. Upon discovering the news, I immediately phoned Apple with hopes that my once white MacBook would shine bright white as it once did. Naturally, with my luck, I ran into a series of AppleCare blocks with conversations summarized below:

  • Me: Hi, I was calling in today to inquire about Apple’s stance on the recent discoloration issues that have surfaced over the past few weeks.
  • Rep #1: I have not heard of any issues. Can you please explain the type of discoloration you are seeing?
  • Me: Sure. I’m seeing grey and yellow spots (discoloration) forming throughout the palm rest area. I have seen 4 year old iBooks in better condition. I don’t think my one month old MacBook should look like this.
  • Rep #1: Hold please, let me search the database… Ah ok, I’ve read about discoloration on the Black MacBooks sir.
  • Me: What? Are you saying that you have not heard of any discoloration issues on the white MacBooks? You’re saying that you’ve read about yellow discoloration on black MacBooks?
  • Rep #1: Yes sir. Is it possible that the clothing you’re wearing is transferring its color dye to your palm rests?
  • Me: I’m sorry, what’s your name? [writes down name on paper] Could I please speak to a product specialist?

Thankfully, a product specialist by the name of Manuel was more than helpful with providing a little background information on the issue along with the words “Apple will replace your top shell under warranty“.

Without going into specific details concerning the reason for an isolated case of discoloration on white MacBooks, I will close with the following:

  • Apple was aware of the discoloration issue approximately two weeks ago (June 17th +/- a few days). Genius Bar reps were advised to accept repairs under warranty.
  • Two weeks ago, that’s about the time I went into a few Apple Stores only to be told that the discoloration was probably caused by sweaty hands or oil.
  • Re-read point one. Stop. Let it marinate for a little bit and consider re-reading my experiences. Now return and re-read point one.

I hope and pray that this is the last issue I have concerning my MacBook until it dies a natural death. Apple, your employee network really needs to have better access to support related material. Here’s hoping that when I go into the local Apple Store on Monday – which Manuel confirmed to be a supported repair center – I will have a spank’n new palm rest by the time I leave. I have my case number in hand. Just for kicks, I think I’ll go in under the pretense that I am oblivious to the discoloration issue just to check if the Genius Bar reps have been updated by the mothership. Digg this.

Discuss - 28 Comments

  1. Ben says:

    Does anyone else think that Apple should be embarassed that the best source of information regarding this information is Derek’s website?

  2. Long Nguyen says:

    “the clothing you’re wearing is transferring its color dye to your palm rests”

    pffff hahaha That’s hilarious.

  3. Edwin says:

    Im glad Apple is fixing the defective part.

  4. fubar says:

    lol i’m glad i dont own an apple..

    they may look semi-decent but they run like hell. not to mention that rubbish os x.

    buy a dell and run linux on it or otherwise go f*ck yourself.

  5. Stephen says:

    I laugh at this because the uproar over discolouring only shows that Mac users care more about style and peer prestige than performance or function. All these people enraged over a change in colour – what will your friends think! Or IPods that scratch! How terrible! I can just here it now: “You Apple may be newer, but tisk’ tisk’ uncouthed mass – my doesn’t have some discolouration! How sad it must be to be you.”

    A lot of this is in cheeck, but the only news I seem to hear about Mac is all the owners that scream betrayal over cosmetic looks. Can prestige be only plastic deep?

  6. Mark says:

    I don’t get what the big deal is with Apple MacIntosh computers. they are just expensive versions of normal computers in gay colours.

    It makes sense if you’re gay to want gay colours but what about the rest of us?

    Is a discoloured hand rest really that important to ya?

  7. Dan says:

    Way to go D!

    Fighting back the MAN! Banned forum posts can’t stop the truth.

  8. DKWoods says:

    The point about the discoloration being caused by sweaty hands and/or oil is probably accurate. It’s the fact that the product *should* be able to withstand that is the problem. (So I still think it’s their fault and they should replace the parts.)

    I played trumped in high school, and needed to have a leather guard around the grip area of the trumpet — because the acidic oils in my hands were corroding and notching the silver plating on the trumpet! If body oils can be acidic enough to create pits in silver plating, I would not be surprised at all to hear of it discoloring plastic.

  9. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”4002″]I laugh at this because the uproar over discolouring only shows that Mac users care more about style and peer prestige than performance or function.[/quote]

    Noted. I will make sure to post about the day I am unhappy with OSX. Don’t hold your breath… Most OSX users won’t complain about functionality. Speaking of iPods, what else is there to complain about other than the appearance? The damn things don’t have much going on. The system on those is near rock solid and I have yet to encounter any issues which raise an alarm.

    [quote comment=”4003″]I don’t get what the big deal is with Apple MacIntosh computers. they are just expensive versions of normal computers in gay colours.

    It makes sense if you’re gay to want gay colours but what about the rest of us?

    Is a discoloured hand rest really that important to ya?[/quote]

    As my good friend Dan puts it, “As far as the color choices, there is either white or black – and your comment shows there really is a different thinking behind people who buy Apple hardware and those who buy the cheapest they can find”.

    You might want to reconsider your use of the word “gay”. Unless of course you meant: It makes sense if you’re happy to want happy colours […] Then yes, I like having a happy computer that isn’t discolored. Form and function go hand in hand. There is no room for mediocracy mediocrity concerning computers. I think most people will at one point agree. Unless of course, you’ve accepted the fact that the appearance of the computer in front of you does not necessarily need to reflect the computer you paid for.

  10. Mac Bandit says:

    For the premium prices that Mac enthusiasts are forced to endure, it seems to me that Apple could be supplying their MacBook users with a recall notification of some sort. A postcard, better yet, how about an e-mail?

    This kind of thing is what led me to choose a Hewlett Packard DV8000 running on a 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor over the Macbook with the same processor. Cost was substantially different between the two systems. I paid over a thousand dollars less for my machine than if I had gone with the Macbook Pro.. I’m sorry Apple but spending close to 2 grand on a laptop and still having to reside in the dredges of owning a Macbook but not a Macbook “Pro” is ridiculous. The 15″ Macbook is $2,500!!!???!! Apple’s pricing tiers are a joke.

    For less than $1,700 my HP has got the 17″ widescreen, number pad/full keyboard, dual layer dvd burner, gig of ram…. and the MOST important factor: I can play Battlefield 2.

    I use a Mac at work. They’re great, but they are just *SO* darn snobby.

    The computer itself is snobby (Look at me, I’m so neat, I just scream aestheticus maximus and there’s no way you could ever even be on the same level as me, I mean, come on, what would Jobs do? I come in white and black plastic. I’m really thin and that makes me hip, kind of like Scientology and Tom Cruise hip…and we all know that you and everyone else on this planet won’t ever be as “with it” as Mr. Cruise and the fun, fun party boat that is Scientology.)

    The operating system. Snobby. I’ll prove it to you. Boot up your Mac. At the login prompt enter in the wrong password. The flippin OSX shakes it’s little square box no at you. It SHAKES! Dumb. Makes me not even want to login. I’ll come back when you are feeling more cooperative little Mac. Even if I do know the password, I’m don’t have to put up with your condescending, “shake the little dialog box” attitude. Oh wait, I do have to put up with it…because the COMPUTER MANUFACTURER ALSO MAKES THE OPERATING SYSTEM. *WOW* Now who’s the monopoly, Apple? You are.

    Hopefully Apple will fix your computer swiftly, so the aesthetics can return to as they once were.

    In closing, the fact that the Applecare program promises “Award-Winning” technical support, I hope that you still have the name of the “Genius” who told you that the product defect is caused from the clothing you are wearing. They deserve the Apple “Genius of the Genius Bar” award. Genius Bar. Fired. All fired.

  11. Ben says:

    [quote comment=”4003″]I don’t get what the big deal is with Apple MacIntosh computers. they are just expensive versions of normal computers in gay colours.

    It makes sense if you’re gay to want gay colours but what about the rest of us?[/quote]

    Well…I don’t think colors have a sexual preference. But since you’re probably 12 and use “gay” to describe anything you don’t like, I have a question:

    Since when did white and black become “gay” colors? Apple’s old iMacs used to have cases that were different colors, but that was years and years ago.

    Check out Apple.com and tell me why a laptop that comes in black or white and starts at $1,099 and is designed as nicely as a Macbook isn’t better than any of the PC laptops out there today and I’ll be impressed. Oh, and Microsoft liked the look of OSX so much they stole some of the features for Windows Vista. Huh.

  12. If you can afford a MacBook, you can afford spell check. Try mediocrity (“There is no room for mediocracy concerning computers.”) and you might earn some respect from people who bother to read your blog after the Digg factor quiets down. Of course, seemingly, you’re already there (living in mediocrity), even if your MacBook runs perfectly.

  13. PIP says:

    I’m in college and for my course we were required to buy the ibooks and they are all white. There are 65 students in this program and we are all in close interaction, so I have a pretty good idea of what problems can arise with the ibooks. I’d say 1 in 5 ibooks has the dirty dark yellowish taint, after only short use of them. But overall there actually aren’t many problems. I know of perhaps two cases of keyboards loosing a key. Still I couldn’t be happier with my Mac and to have Windows out of my “system” for good.

  14. Don says:

    I have the same white MacBook, but have not experienced the discoloration issue because I use an external USB keyboard and mouse.

    What concerns me is my fear of experiencing it. Should I test the waters, use the keyboard and trackpad and see if I get any discoloration?

    I wonder if I have to go through the same ordeal as you and the others did.

    I am disappointed and you may even say frustrated that I have lost confidence in a product that I have always deemed to have superior quality and with a company that supposedly abides by strict and superior manufacturing codes and guidelines.

  15. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”4009″]If you can afford a MacBook, you can afford spell check.[/quote]

    Obviously you have nothing better to say than to critic spelling / grammEr on a dugg post. I would normally delete these error checks. Seeing as though I am not a Gournalist nor editEr, I could care less as my focus is on sharing experiences. Go take your “If you can afford a MacBook” shit and stuff it. It’s been too long for that type of pretentious bullshit retort. If you look at the Apple store, you’ll notice the price difference between consumer level computers is very much similar to PC counterparts.

    I really have no comment concerning the digg effect and readership thereafter. As far as I’m concerned, the trolls generally output the greatest effort when it comes to “feedback”. As far as this site is concerned, the figures generated by those types are negligible. That includes the page refreshes by spelling bee / grammer champs who point out silly errors on a casual blog.

    Granted, I have at least taken the time to investigate what I publish rather than posting something of little to no value. I guess that doesnt’ matter because of a grammatical mistake left in a comment?

    Now see I’ve taken this reply too seriously having gone through and added additional notes.

  16. Angel says:

    I’m sitting here laughing at the earlier comment that stated the the OS is SNOBBY because the login box shakes at you when you type in the wrong password. That and somehow managing to work in a Scientology and Tom Cruise comparison to the Macbook.

    I’ll never understand why so many PC users have such dislike and hate for an object. It’s borderline retarded.

    Anywhoo…I’m glad that you’re getting your Macbook fixed and that you had the determination to keep this going. I don’t have any discoloration, but it’s nice to know that if I do, I’ll be able to return it.

  17. Wicked post. Go get em!!

  18. Dave says:

    So I think that the reason this gets so much airtime (quality issues around Apple products) is due to thier excellent manufacturing history. Keep in mind this is relative to Dell, Gateway etc. Apple has had their run of problems but overall they always receive high marks for quality and design. In this area they are the market leader and like a pack of rabid dogs – the Apple haters will nip at their heels. You don’t hear that much about PC laptap manufacturers because its the norm for the things to break after 6-12 months of use.

  19. […] 5thirtyone.com5thirtyone has a nice little piece on a very typical telephone conversation with Applecare.  In my personal experience the first person you talk to on the phone when calling Applecare is generally useless.  When calling Applecare your goal should always be to talk to a “Product Specialist”. Who wouldnt want to be talking to someone who specializes in your product? […]

  20. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”4028″]Apple has had their run of problems but overall they always receive high marks for quality and design. […] You don’t hear that much about PC laptap manufacturers because its the norm for the things to break […].[/quote]

    Agreed. 😉