Apple pretty consistently scores well with consumer groups when it comes to customer satisfaction — so much so that it makes a point of advertising that fact. Disagree with Apple’s diagnosis, as Aussie software developer Mitch Malone did, and the story can be markedly different.
Malone is a software developer based out of Sydney, and last August he purchased a Retina Macbook Pro with, from his description, all the trimmings for his development work. However, when he began to use it, he noticed some severe ghosting issues with the display. Checking around with other users didn’t resolve much, so he took the unit into an Apple store to have it tested. Here’s what happened:
I was greeted by a typical Apple store employ – someone cool and trendy with a moderate level of computer literacy. I described my problem and offered to show him the symptoms but he completely ignored me and proceed to insist we run an approved diagnostic (even though at the time my screen had my wallpaper pretty well burned into it after only a few minutes).
The diagnostic they run for this problem is pretty simple. They display a checkerboard of black and white for 3 minutes then fade to black. At this point the Apple Genius says to me, “can you see the grid?” My only reply was, “No.” I was then dismissed as the computer was not faulty and told to try the test again at home if I wished.
I was in a rush and not interested in making a scene, and also feeling kind of embarrassed so I left.
Being a web developer, and not that impressed with Apple’s test, he wrote his own test that went beyond monochrome testing — you can run it yourself from here if you’re interested — and the problem reasserted itself. Malone’s not in a position as a freelancer where he can afford to be without his development machine, and despite petitioning Apple’s Tim Cook, he’s been rebuffed by Apple, who claim the display isn’t faulty because it doesn’t fail on Apple’s own test.
Display retention issues with the Retina Macbook Pro are nothing new, with many highlighting LG display panels as the culprit. But when Apple’s own tests won’t accurately test the problem, what chance do consumers have?
I’ve asked Apple comment on the case; I can’t say that I’ve personally seen Malone’s Macbook Pro one way or the other, but I suspect that the Genius-level support staff may not have had authority to authorise anything but a standard repair according to the company guidelines — which of course leaves Malone stuck in a very difficult place. He’s currently using the Macbook Pro Retina with a lower resolution external display. Given the kind of price premium the retina Macbook Pro commands, that’s hardly an ideal fix.
Update: Apple Australia has responded to my query, although the response isn’t terribly detailed:
Apple decline to comment.
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