Apple’s Quality Control Under Fire

Earlier this year Apple’s MacBook Pro created a stir with customers. While many were excited about the MacBook Pro’s new features as well as its dual-core Intel processor, a good number of Apple’s customers were beginning to grow more impatient with both the problems that they were experiencing as well as Apple’s lack of response to user documented reports. In most cases, problems were reproducible.

One user in particular reported that his MacBook Pro’s power connector actually caught on fire. In fact, the situation was so bad that the incident left the side of his MacBook Pro charred and the MagSafe connector burned and unusable. The MacBook Pros have been known to operate much on the hot side and this incident was no exception. Many users have reported temperatures exceeding 80C at the processor core level. Since release, the MacBook Pros have not been able to give temperature feedback to users, but kernel extensions have been developed by some users to show core CPU temperature, although not in its final states and have caused problems for some users. When trying to figure out what my own MacBook Pro was running at, the SpeedIt extension said my CPU was running at a blistering 90C.

Although the flaming MagSafe connector was a onetime incident, it seems that another recent incident involving the MagSafe connector has surfaced. According to a report on Gizmodo, a user had the cable portion of his MagSafe connector burst into flames, pealing back the outer shield and leaving the inside metal wires bare. Several users on forums, including Apple’s discussion boards have stated that they too have had problems with the MagSafe connector.

Several weeks ago, Global Tech News reported that one user’s iBook bursted into flames after he left it running on the carpet unattended. While no one was hurt, the laptop was entrenched in flames and consequently was damaged beyond repair. In recent news, there was a report of a Dell laptop running hot and catching on fire too. Although it’s uncertain if it was an internal short circuit that caused the blaze, quality control has become a problem — especially for Apple products.

It’s evident that Apple’s MacBook Pros are running at higher than average temperatures, and in ranges usually deemed to be dangerous by most PC users. Considering how compact the laptop is, cooling is an issue too, and Apple has focused more on silent operation than high efficiency cooling. Even Apple’s latest MacBook family has been under criticism for discoloration, paint flaking as well as high operating temperatures. Some users even have a thin piece of plastic left over from the factory covering the vents at the back of the units.

What exactly is happening over at Apple is uncertain. However, it is becoming evident that its products are receiving an increased number of customer complaints. Most of the problems have not been solved and Apple has not offered any explanation to its customers except to say that its products are “operating within specification.”