Opinion: Apple mobile hardware's lousy fluid resistance
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Opinion: Apple mobile hardware's lousy fluid resistance

As a mindless Apple fan boy, I am quick to tout the coolness of Apple products but tend to wink at vulnerabilities.  Sorry about that, but the worst Apple product exceeds the garbage the competition puts out most of the time. 

Today's op-ed piece, however, will blast Apple in a way I never have before. In many respects Apple hardware exceeds the rest of the industry in quality and durability. Apple customer service is generally incredibly helpful and they go the extra mile for customers. Still, there are a couple of areas where improvement could be made.

I read with some degree of empathy about runners who sweated while caring their iPhones in their pockets. They took the moist iPhones back only to be rebuffed by Apple repair service, due to "fluid damage." While it is not a reasonable expectation to go scuba diving with an iPhone, it seems like greater humidity resistance could be achieved across the board. The reason laptops, iPhones and iPads are cool is because unlike desktop computers they can be taken on the road or, in some cases, on the run. The mobile aspect of computing is what has really been a paragon shift in the way we relate to our electronics.

We know the military is interested in iPhone and perhaps the iPad as they allow our forces to link up wirelessly to command and control. Military specifications are much tougher than consumer grade products. While US$15,000 laptops that work underwater might sell to the Army, we know consumers won't pay so much -- and don't need that level of robustness.  

But, some of the things that make hardware less vulnerable to water, shock and even electromagnetic pulses can be adapted from military specs to consumer grade products, without the high price tag. Part of Apple's environmental robustness strategy should be in thinking about it instead of punishing the consumer who has the right to expect a higher level of resistance to fluid damage.

Now the other shoe drops. Recently, my work horse MacBook Pro was examined and sent back to me with screen issues that have to be related to the graphics card, which failed testing in front of me. The genius hooked a box up with two USB cables to two USB ports on my MacBook Pro and ran a diagnostic test on my graphics card. It failed the test. I have one vertical line that went out on my laptop. Not a major problem since it is only in the display and not in the files I create.  But, that is normally repaired under a three-year extended warranty period due to a known issue with GeForce 8600M GT graphic cards.

Two and a half years ago I splashed coffee across the keyboard of my laptop. I wiped it off and turned the laptop upside down and removed the battery as quickly as I could. I waited three days and when I fired it up it was fine. However, the dark stains of the coffee remained on the surfaces of the hard drive cover and the cover of the superdrive.  

I went around and around with Apple and the final disposition of my case is that "since Apple has a policy of bringing repaired product up to 100%, they would have to replace the working hard drive and working SuperDrive in addition to replacing the faulty card." They insist that coffee stains on the exterior of the hard drive and superdrive make them "damaged." I offered to sign a waver that I would not hold Apple responsible for anything but the graphics card that they admit is faulty. They refused and -- unless I am willing to pay over $1,000 to replace a working hard drive, SuperDrive, keyboard, LCD and upper case -- they will not replace the bad graphics card (which is under warranty).

I suggested to the manager of my local Apple store that if a thin layer of plastic sheeting was placed between the key board and the guts of the computer had been installed when the computer was made, it would have reduced damage to the keyboard alone. He said that was a good idea. Well, gee, thanks.

So, at the end of the day they want as much as a new computer to fix my old one. I figure I am a year away from being ready to buy a new MacBook Pro, so I guess I will have to live with a display issue.

This is the first time in 20 years Apple has disappointed me with customer service. While I admit they have a point, it seems like it should be possible to fix what they know is wrong and allow me to sign a waver to not fix what still works. In retrospect I should have opened the laptop and gently washed the coffee off the interior parts. Had the spill been water, there most likely wouldn't be an issue since the amount of fluid was minor and won't leave stains like coffee did.  

How much does this repair policy have to do with insisting on 100% quality on Apple repairs and how much is this about an excuse to avoid warranty repairs if there is any excuse for refusing to help customers with a known issue?

-- Greg Mills

Greg Mills does faux wall art (http://www.gregmills.info/GregMills.info/Home.html) and runs Cottage Industry Solar Shops (http://www.cottageindustrysolar.com/cottageindustrysolar/Home.html).

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Ys Chronicles II (Games)
Ys Chronicles II 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: After a hard fight to recover the six sacred books in Ys Chronicles I, Adol is back for a sequel! | Read more »
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ (Games)
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $16.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: ==========●Special sale price for the FINAL FANTASY IX release! ●20% off from February 10 to February 21, 2016... | Read more »
Tennis Club Story (Games)
Tennis Club Story 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Aim for the ace position of tennis club prestige in this simulation! Your leadership decides if players make it to the big... | Read more »
Juggernaut Wars guide - How to use skill...
Juggernaut Warsis a brand new auto-RPG on iOS and Android that challenges you to build a team of heroes, send them out into various different missions to defeat waves of heroes, and level them up to increase their power. The actual combat itself... | Read more »
Check out the new Pirate Attack update i...
Love pirates and board games? Well, you'll love the new Pirate Attack themed update that just launched in Game of Dice. It adds a bunch of new content themed around pirates, like an all new event map based on a pirate ship which revamps the toll... | Read more »
Splash Cars guide - How to paint the tow...
Splash Cars is an arcade driving game that feels like a hybrid between Dawn of the Plow and Splatoon. In it, you'll need to drive a car around to repaint areas of a town that have lost all of their color. Check out these tips to help you perform... | Read more »
The best video player on mobile
We all know the stock video player on iOS is not particularly convenient, primarily because it asks us to hook a device up to iTunes to sync video in a world that has things like Netflix. [Read more] | Read more »
Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to... | Read more »
Space Grunts guide - How to survive
Space Grunts is a fast-paced roguelike from popular iOS developer, Orange Pixel. While it taps into many of the typical roguelike sensibilities, you might still find yourself caught out by a few things. We delved further to find you some helpful... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
BookBook For iPad Pro Coming Soon
The iPad Pro is a device unlike any other, and with Apple Pencil, it’s the ideal portable sketchpad: all that’s missing is the modern easel and portfolio to go. TwelveSouth’s BookBook for iPad Pro... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale for $1399 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more
iPads on sale at Target: $100 off iPad Air 2,...
Target has WiFi iPad Air 2s and iPad mini 4s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for... Read more
Target offers Apple Watch for $100 off MSRP
Target has Apple Watches on sale for $100 for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - Apple... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Macs available for up to $300 off MSRP, $20 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Watch Super Bowl 50 Live On Your iPad For Fre...
Watch Super Bowl 50 LIVE on the CBS Sports app for iPad and Apple TV. Get the app and then tune in Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:30 PM ET to catch every moment of the big game. The CBS Sports app is... Read more
Two-thirds Of All Smart Watches Shipped In 20...
Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipments according to Canalys market research analysts’ estimates. Samsung returned to... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H Photo has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $180 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1499 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.2GHz Silver... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* System Analyst - ATOS IT Services...
Apple System AnalystReference no.198783CountryUSARegionUS - CALIFORNIACityUS - CALIFORNIA - BURBANKPosition TypeProfessionalJob AreaIT SupportJob TypeFull Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Subject Matter Expert - Experis (Uni...
This position is for an Apple Subject Matter Expert to assist in developing the architecture, support and services for integration of Apple devices into the domain. Read more
*Apple* Macintosh OSX - Net2Source Inc. (Uni...
…: * Work Authorization : * Contact Number(Best time to reach you) : Skills : Apple Macintosh OSX Location : New York, New York. Duartion : 6+ Months The associate would Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.