1059 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 - $74,598 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. 

However, 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 mid 2020 now. I'll make an effort to speak with an Apple manager about my experience. The bottom line is, I would like to see Apple come to the party and replace my old MacBook Pro with a new machine ... indeed, I think I deserve it.

However, should I not get a satisfactory response from Apple, I will put the following post on the Apple Community forum:

I have a story I'd like to share with owners of a MacBook Pro 17". Have you had the problem of the video card failing? Read my story on my blog cabu dot info/a-rotten-apple dot aspx and contact me cb at cabu dot info ... maybe if a few of us get together, we'll have more leverage with Apple. 

Furthermore, I'll make a complaint to the ACCC ...

(Make a consumer complaint: There are three steps to follow when making a complaint, but the first step is always to contact the business to explain the problem and how you would like it fixed.)


This is a PDF of my  Apple history.


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

The problem I had was an unusual one: I could send emails from my computer, but not receive any. And I could receive emails on my iPhone, but not send any. Very frustrating … I tried to have the problem fixed at various times with calls to the service departments at Quadra Hosting as well as Apple, to no avail.


Then I had the most amazing experience on Monday 16 April 2018. I spent 2 hours in the morning trying once again to sort my email problem with my service provider. The outcome was that they confirmed the password was correctly entered where needed and all the settings were correct too. 


Then at midday, I called Apple. The first service attendant went away and did some reading of notes, without being able to resolve the issue over about an hour. I had to go away and attend to another task and then called Apple back. Following I spoke for an hour to (and shared the screen with) a very friendly female attendant (they are all very friendly), who gave up and connected me to her supervisor. We spent another hour … with no results; the next attendant also gave up and put me on to her (senior) supervisor, Niam in Brisbane. By then it was 4:00pm. 


After one hour he said “I have never seen a problem like this, this is amazing; great, I love problems."!!! We then worked on the issue until 7:52. For nearly four hours. He often went away to read up on stuff, and he went right through my computer; he moved files around; he removed files and apps (the virus protection I had was useless, he said, like most commercial virus protectors you can buy for $4.99 … it was just slowing my computer down); he then installed Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (it found 4 dodgy file, which we removed). 


It took him quite a while to find a version that was compatible with my old OS 10.9.5 (and to his credit, he never twisted my arm to upgrade my OS ... which is something nearly every support person at Apple want to do first of all; the point being that I have about half a dozen programs I would not be able to use with a new OS). 


When he had finished cleaning up my machine, suddenly everything worked (he also fixed the problem on the iPhone). He said he couldn’t be 100% sure what exactly had caused the problems, but most likely it was the corrupted key chain (whatever that is).


Frankly, I have had Apple computers for 30 years (I started in 1988 with a Mac SE). Over the years I spent more than $70k on Apple computers. I have often used support, I always buy Apple Care extended warranty. But this computer is 6 years old! I am blown away by the dedication and the commitment of this man. And I am sooo grateful I have a Mac. Thanks.