A rotten Apple

Apple's been my brand for all things tech, since 1998. But the shine has worn off.

I ran into a major problem with Apple, I bought a 17" MacBook Pro. In fact two. 

B i i i i i i i g  mistake.

This issue goes back to the beginning of 2019, in fact to 2018, and as I reminisce about the past year, this story comes up like a bit of vomit with a large burp ... Apple, you've done me wrong, and while our incident is not in the forefront of my mind daily, it does come up ... and it's not a pleasant taste. This is the story:


In November 2018 my MacBook Pro 17” broke down for the fourth time. At the Apple Genius bar in Sydney I was told that the machine could not be repaired anymore, it was now considered a ‘vintage’ machine and spare parts were no longer produced for the computer, the serial number is C02GX02JDW48; I think the Apple case number is 100684876951.

Over the cause of my career - since 1988 - I have used many computers - AUD$76,693 worth - always Apple. As a professional photographer I generally made sure I had two units for my commercial location work, first 12” Powerbook G4, then 15” MacBook Pro, finally I had two MacBook Pro 17” machines. 

The older 17” machine - sn: W89280LT91T - started malfunctioning in early 2018. I still used it throughout the year; but to start it up I had to initiate start-up approx. a dozen times … it produced an audible ‘click’ and shut down again before finally responding. At Apple I was told the machine was too old to repair.

In principle I have no problem with that outcome … computers, like everything else, have a certain lifespan and they either can be fixed or not; so I have long ago accepted that my 2009 Apple MacBook Pro 17” was dead by 2018 (mind you, my much older 12" Powerbook G4 from 2002 and 2006 both still work to this day).

However, the situation is totally different with my 2012 MacBook Pro 17”. It went down repeatedly with the same fault: The video card gave up. I learnt that to deal with the break-down the motherboard needed replacing. I was astonished when that occurred twice during the extended warranty period. And then it happened again, one year out of warranty … but to my relief Apple repaired the computer again, no questions asked. 

When it happened for the fourth time the news was very bad ... apparently the computer was now vintage and repair was not possible anymore. Apple then refunded me the cost of a motherboard.

So far this is one half of the story … the other half goes like this: 

I employed a freelance computer technician to remove the hard drive from my computer. He had been an Apple employee, working in the Genius Bar in Sydney. When I told him this story he said …

“Oh, that was a known issue at Apple, the video card couldn’t be fixed on the 17” and we just replaced the motherboard. In the end the 17” machine was discontinued ... for that very reason.”

Frankly, this information was a bomb-shell and - to this day - it left a very, very bad taste in my mouth. I feel short-changed by Apple. I requested Apple provide a replacement MacBook Pro for me, a request that was declined.

I had been hoping to have a MacBook Pro into my retirement, but I find myself with a little re-conditioned MacBook 12” that I bought as a stop-gap until I would get another Pro machine … however, to my dismay I found out the MacBook does not allow for the use of Thunderbolt accessories, so I have a 20tb LaCie 5big RAID unit where I cannot access my data. This is a big problem for me. 

I have to say, I am not a happy customer. I am reluctant to threaten "I'll never buy a Mac again”,  in fact in mid- 2019 I bought another machine - for my wife - however, I request Apple to re-consider, and provide me with a replacement MacBook Pro.

Thank you, C.B.


So that was the story throughout 2019. I repeatedly emailed a contact I had at Apple (John, who had given me Apple case No. 100804440767) and provided the above story, but Apple never responded or picked my case up again.


It's August 2020 now and over the past month I did communicate with the manager of the Sydney Apple store. He listened intensely and was very sympathetic, he said he is really interested in my case and will take it up with his superiors. Alas, it didn't amount to anything other than 'Apple policy' constraints, nothing further can be done, they are really sorry, they understand that I am upset, etc. etc.


Which means so far I did not get a satisfactory response from Apple, and I have put the following post on the Apple Community forum:

Have you had the problem of the video card in your MacBook Pro 17" failing? I have a story I'd like to share with you on my blog www.cabu.info/a-rotten-apple.aspx and contact me cb@cabu.info

But the post was removed ... because it contains advertising! Yeah, right. 

I have since found out that Apple actually has a policy of replacing a product once it has broken down three times with the same fault. In hindsight I feel doubly cheated; it seems Apple should've offered to replace the computer in the first place, on their own behalf, rather than simply offering the refund of the cost of a motherboard.

So, I went to make a complaint to the ACCC ... but that turned out problematic too; I was told to make a complaint against the supplier, not the manufacturer, since I didn't buy the machine directly from Apple. But I decided not to put the boot into my supplier, because they always had done the right thing by me. 

I really believe this is an issue for Apple. Big company (worth $2t); small customer; minute problem (for them); negligible; insignificant; not worth their consideration.


Finally now I did buy a Pro 15", second hand, just so I can get to my RAID drive.


This is a PDF of my complete  Apple history.

So, you might ask, why do I persevere with Macs? This is why: Apple.