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Heat, Whine, and Now Yellow MacBooks 411

unPlugged-2.0 writes "It appears that Apple's woes with the new MacBook line continue as there have been reports on the forum that the finish on the new MacBook is flaking off or turning yellow. An article on Daily Tech summarizes this report saying: 'Some users have reported the palm rest area, touchpad and mousepad of their new white MacBooks has begun to discolor.' It goes on to say that 'some users on the Apple support forums are reporting moderate to severe discoloration near the palm rest and other locations of their new white MacBooks. At least one user has posted images of the problem to Flickr.' Is this a case of just dirty hands or could it be another problem in Apple's new Intel saga?"
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Heat, Whine, and Now Yellow MacBooks

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  • by Silver Sloth ( 770927 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:50AM (#15547601)
    who cares what it looks like?
    • by BigNumber ( 457893 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:55AM (#15547622)
      Everytime someone says 'who cares what it looks like' Steve Jobs dies a little bit.

      Seriously, though, this is a company that has made it's living on how things look. When they tried to put out standard PC-looking beige boxes, their sales went into the toilet. If it isn't pretty, it can't be an Apple product.
    • And if your brand new car starts to discolor after a couple of weeks? Still gets you from A to B, right?
      • Actually, I'd be more worried about a new car's paint flaking off because of the danger of rust. After all, if the function of the surface is partly to protect the underlying metal, and that functionality is lost due to the paint breaking off faster than it should, then you can't really say that the car is still working properly.

        Could you make the same claim about the Macs in the article?
      • If you were drinking coffee/eating lunch, having a cig, not washing your hands, and then rubbing your hands over a 6" wide portion of your "brand new" car, btw, that cost you about $1000, instead of the average $15000, for several weeks, i'm sure it would have discoloration as well.
      • Well actually I used my 2 week old estate (station wagon in the USA) to take horse manure from the local stables to my back garden so yes, exactly, a car is a car, and a PC is PC, both are topols and the aesthetics come a long way second, but then I don't own an Apple.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Which is the philosophy of most IBM PC users. If it works, it doesn't need to be pretty.

      However most Mac users are, by definition, more concerned about appearance than their PC counterparts. Apple products are supposed to be shiney. If the Mac in question is as aesthetically shoddy as most clone PCs, then why would you drop the extra money on it?

      Of course, stingy PC-using heathen that I am, I don't see why you'd pay extra for a pretty interface and decorative casing in the first place, but that's beside
      • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:35AM (#15547813)
        Which is the philosophy of most IBM PC users. If it works, it doesn't need to be pretty.

        Oh I dunno. What about the popularity of windows? Does that fit the description of something that "works, but isn't pretty"?

        Assuming you have two otherwise equal PC products and one has a more attractive interface, better marketing/branding, or is otherwise "prettier" than the other, which one wins in the market? Actually, I wouldn't even say that it has to be a question of equally functional products - appearance can triumph over functionality. Companies ranging from microsoft to AOL are proof of this.

        I agree with most of your post, but your average PC user really isn't that different from your average mac user in this regard. It's just us hardcore geeks who care more about utility than appearance.
        • Oh I dunno. What about the popularity of windows? Does that fit the description of something that "works, but isn't pretty"?

          (1) Is it popular, or is it the only choice for most buyers?

          (2) Does it really work (well)? Over the years, I've seen my colleagues on the PC side throw up their hands and reformat/reinstall some Windows version much more often than I've had to resort to the (non-destructive) "archive and install," or earlier "clean install" processes. (I'm a Mac user, and I'd probably be a lifelong

        • What about the popularity of windows? Does that fit the description of something that "works, but isn't pretty"?

          Works? Your Windows works? Mine just lies around the house all day watching TV and eating potato chips. It never washes the dishes -- and laundry? Sheesh! socks and underwear are piled up to here!

          As for pretty, well, it should either shave or grow a proper beard. This "grunge" thing is just awful!"

    • by tciny ( 783938 )
      Writing this from my not-discolored MacBook I can tell you that these are obviously idividual cases.
    • by vwjeff ( 709903 )
      who cares what it looks like?

      I for one care what my NEW Macbook looks like. I paid a premium for my Mac due to OSX and physical appearance. I understand normal wear but this is not normal wear. If this was due to unclean hands, one would think that the discoloration could be removed with cleaning products. IMO this appears to be a chemical reaction with the MacBook's plastic. Yet another reason to not buy a first generation Mac.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:52AM (#15547610) Journal
    "get your filthy hands off my machine!"

    we now return your to your regularly scheduled discussion

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:53AM (#15547613)
    It was always going to happen.
  • One question... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iteachgeeks ( 915101 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:53AM (#15547615)
    do these people smoke? Nicotine will stain white appliances.
    • "News just in, Apple have reported that their products discolour when exposed to sperm. Since the news release every one of the complaints have been mysteriously dropped."
    • by kieran ( 20691 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:47AM (#15548710)
      My instincts say the culrpit is Cheetos.
    • RTFA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fistfullast33l ( 819270 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @11:11AM (#15548916) Homepage Journal

      Way for you and your moderators to not read the article or the link to the flikr images. Quote: [flickr.com]

      The spots don't wash off, I've only had the MacBook for two weeks. Genius at Apple Store told me to call Apple about it, as he's never seen anything like it. My iBook didn't discolor in the 3 years I had it -- can't be my hands. I don't smoke, don't use latex, etc. And for those who worry about my hygiene habits, thanks. I wash my hands.

      What's amazing is that you have about 10 responses jumping to the same conclusion. Oh well, I guess that's what we've come to expect on Slashdot.

  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:54AM (#15547618) Homepage Journal
    An Apple product whose novel, groovy and stylish exterior wasn't designed with longevity as a prerequisite?

    I'm shocked, shocked.
    • Well they can't all be built as good as a Terminator.
    • Re:What? (Score:3, Funny)

      by oudzeeman ( 684485 )
      *looks down at white apple keyboard*


      Note to self: stop eating lunch at desk

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:54AM (#15548780)
      The thing is, the Macbook *was* designed with longevity as a prerequisite. The polycarbonate exterior is there because its durable, doesn't dent under normal use, and hides scratches better than aluminum. The case entirely lacks all the moving parts, flaps, nubbins, etc that inevitibly get lost or break off on many portable devices. The hinge for the LCD is very thick and securely attached. The new keyboard is designed to make it easy to clean out the crap that gets between keyboard keys. The keyboard surface and palm rests are free of grooves and are rubberized, to make it easy to clean just by wiping it off.

      If the keyboard discoloration is a real issue, as opposed to a localized problem (mine doesn't show any signs, though I've only had it for a little while), then its an oversight in the design, not a sign that it was designed without regards to durability.
  • Seriously... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ryane67 ( 768994 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:55AM (#15547623)
    Just wash your freakin hands, people!
    • Re:Seriously... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:06AM (#15547662)
      It's not dirty hands per se. It's the sweat that some people have.

      I've heard people say that sweat can be acidic, or that the oils are different for some people. Maybe that's true, maybe not, but I do know that I have to change the plastic watch strap I wear every year or so because it becomes brittle and cracks (other people can get away with the same strap for many years). I've even tried swapping to a silicone strap that is supposed to last a lifetime, and it is already hardening after 18 months.

      I also own an iBook, and I can verify that when it hit summer and I was doing a lot of coding, the places where I rested my palms got discoloured very quickly - and it wasn't that my hands were dirty (I wash my hands about 15 times or more a day. Before and after eating, etc.).

      These palm rest points get hot, and with some people's sweat and hand oil it just leads to discolouration on the notebook. It comes off with an eraser or the Mr. Clean eraser products, so it isn't damage to the plastic. It's just something that has been transferred to the surface.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        ...all that meth and your sweat won't be full of corrosive chemicals.
      • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:48AM (#15548274) Homepage Journal
        (Apple and PC guy in a men's urinal)
        PC Guy: Hi! I'm a PC!
        Apple Guy: Hi! I'm an Apple!
        (They finish up and the Apple guy goes to wash his hands, the PC guy heads right out)
        Apple Guy: (Smugly) Over at Apple they teach us to wash our hands!
        PC Guy: Over in PC land they teach us not to piss on our hands!
      • by DancesWithBlowTorch ( 809750 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @12:04PM (#15549324)
        I'm sitting in front of my white 2004 iBook G4 right now and I just tried your eraser proposal. You're right, the faint dark spots on the palm rests of my machine can indeed be brushed away with a rubber eraser.

        But I have another problem: Over the course of the past two years, the keyboard has slowly lost its imprints. First on the "s" (where my ring finger rests during touch-typing), then on the "e", "a" and "c" keys (for the first two, it's probably the frequency with which they're hit, for the "c" it might be because of the angle at which my index finger hits it: with the nail). It doesn't seem to be a common problem, but Apple won't replace the keyboard (despite my AppleCare contract), because it is a standard usage effect, they claim. Granted, I don't need to see the keys during typing, but it sure looks ugly. Let's see how this problem turns out with the new machines.
  • by pebs ( 654334 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:59AM (#15547639) Homepage
    Three computer users, one Windows, one Apple, one Linux go to the restroom. After being done, the Apple user washes his hands and uses a lot of paper towels to dry them. He says: "Apple users are very thorough."

    The Windows user washes his hands, takes only one paper towel and uses even the last little bit. He says: "Windows users are not only thorough, but very economical."

    Then they look at the Linux user who just walks out of the door, looks back and says: "Linux users don't piss on our hands."
  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:01AM (#15547645) Journal
    Are they sure it is isn't the coating from cheddar cheese snacks that they've been munching on?

    If there's a bit of orange then it's probably just the Cheetos.
  • it's not a new issue (Score:5, Informative)

    by cultrhetor ( 961872 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:03AM (#15547655) Journal
    I have an iBook G4 - within 2 weeks, the palm rests were discolored. The oils in the hands - dirty or clean - will rub into any white surface and discolor it. A chemist friend of mine tells me that the same will happen with a sheet of typing paper, given several hours a day in contact with human skin. It's the reason that white shirts turn yellowish as well - until bleached (but don't try to bleach your computer). The oil from human hands is corrosive as hell - if you visit a national park with caverns, they inform you that touching the formations with your hand will STOP growth for something like six thousand years. My advice? Deal with it - I stopped caring about the marks when I realized that I still had a damn good machine.
    • I used an iBook G4 almost daily for two years, and its surfaces stayed the colours they started off as being. Okay, some of the letters on the keys wore off and the track-pad got a bit shiny, but otherwise things stayed unchanged.

      Tip? Wash hands occasionally. :-)

      • iBook != MacBook.

        The plastics are different - they look different, they feel different. I owned an iBook G4 and used it for years, with no discoloration. I've had my MacBook for 3 weeks, and it's developing faint yellowish "stains" on the palm rest that won't wash off. I'm a very clean person, a non-smoker, I wash my hands frequently, and this isn't dirt or tar from cigarette smoking (as a few people on the discussion forums have erroneously concluded). It's some kind of chemical reaction with the natural o
    • by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:14AM (#15547698)
      Well I have a white guitar that is coming on 15 years old, and it certainly isn't yellowing. The secret? Lacquer. The underlying paint is probably titantium dioxide based, which stays brilliant white practically forever (as in artist's oil paint, titanium white permanence = 5). Lacquered objects, like my guitar, can take a beating and just be cleaned in any of the usual ways. There are lots of other ways to coat things these days, like powder-coatings (baked on) and anodizing/plating, especially if you're coating metal (a wooden guitar is harder). Sounds to me like Apple either just didn't bother to put a decent coating on, or used a white pigment (maybe like zinc dioxide?) that yellows with exposure.
    • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:45AM (#15547865) Homepage Journal
      Having worked at Apple, let me give you the solution. non-acetone nail polish remover will clean that crap up really good, maybe not perfect but damned close. If you use Acetone, enjoy watching your plastic case melt.
    • Human chemistry must vary person-to-person - my iBook is 5 months old and has no discoloration near the trackpad.
    • I'm on my ibook close to 15 hours a day.


      Hasn't happened here.

    • While your post is mostly spot-on, just wanted to clear this up:

      "It's the reason that white shirts turn yellowish as well - until bleached (but don't try to bleach your computer)."

      White shirts that turn yellowish do so for a couple reasons, and human sweat is only a small portion of it. Yellow spots under the pits? That's due more to the aluminum (aluminium to those who prefer) salts in your antiperspirant than to body oils -- though people who do not use antiperspirant will notice browning from oil
    • The oils in the hands - dirty or clean - will rub into any white surface and discolor it.

      I've used plenty of white / cream keyboards for years and they get mucky but any discolouration is as easy to remove as scratching it with a nail or rubbing it down with a wet wipe. If Apple laptops are getting permenantly stained, perhaps people should be getting angry with Apple for producing crap laptops that can't even last a few weeks without getting marked.

      Apple proponents harp on about the "quality" of their

  • I got my Macbook the day they were released and use it daily, and it still looks new. I think these people complaining just have grimy hands.
  • non-acetone nail polish remover //works on white iBook //Not tested on Powerbook
  • by vjmurphy ( 190266 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:09AM (#15547678) Homepage
    So, I guess that extra $150 for the black version seems like a good deal now.
  • Not surprised (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nick Fury ( 624480 )
    I bought one of the first gen 15.4 Macbook Pros and I have the damn whining noise (no it's not Jobs, myself or anyone else in the room... I've checked). Apple needs to do better testing with these machines before shipping. The problem is that they are to secretive about their designs and won't allow intensive testing. Good luck to those affected and getting Apple to admit they fucked up. They sure won't do it for me. My suggestion is to avoid the so called 'genius bar' at their retail stores. Some of
  • by thallgren ( 122316 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:10AM (#15547683)
    For the iPod carrying running persons there's the fresh white MacBook.

    For the cool designers there's the black MacBook.

    For the party-party people there's now the new Nicotine-yellow colored MacBook. :)
  • by dmjones500 ( 781144 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:11AM (#15547687) Homepage
    I've had these problems for years on my PC. Sticky keyboards, strange streaks across the monitor, bad odours eminating from my dvd drive...

    I just put it down to loneliness...
  • Great news! (Score:5, Funny)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:13AM (#15547692) Homepage Journal
    This new development means that, finally, it's possible to run Mac OS X legally on a Beige-box PC.
  • by Jerk City Troll ( 661616 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:14AM (#15547694) Homepage

    Among the remedies tried has been the popular iKlean line of products, Windex and even the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser all with different degrees of success.

    Come on, we all know that would never work.

  • So...? (Score:2, Interesting)

    My friend has had a Dell laptop for a little over a year now and the hand rests have gone from a dark grey to a light grey. Why aren't we complaining to Dell about that?

    News flash, when you use something there's this phenomena that we call "wear and tear". Nothing will stay new forever, get over it.
    • wear and tear should not occur in the not so distant future after purchase. I have had an HP laptop for 2 years and have no discoloration on any of the plastic pieces, because the color goes all the way through the plastic, making wear and tear not so relavant on it. But if I just purchased a laptop a few months prior, damn straight I would Complaint about it.
      • The article is somewhat vague as to the extent of the problem. I mean is absolutely everyone experiencing this or just a small few? If it's just a small few then it could be a lot of things, from cleanliness, body chemistry, possibly heat, or even how and how frequently they use their macbooks. Somehow I doubt everyone is experiencing this problem but I could be wrong. If it is just a small subset of the owners then I don't think blaming apple is all that intelligent.

        As a side note my friend's laptop disco
  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by thelonestranger ( 915343 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:16AM (#15547705)
    I guess these Apple users REALLY love their new machines, they should probably wipe them off afterwards if they want to avoid any unsightly embarassing stains, that or use a tissue in the first place.
  • From my experience with the Ibooks and Powerbooks, they all seem to have discoloration issues usually a few months after purchase. Personally this would annoy me to no end. I would bring it back and demand a new plastic piece be installed on the computer. I love apple, but it seems their plastic parts are kinda cheesey. But I would do this with anything that I buy, even as an above commentator mentioned, if this happened on a car, it would still get me from point to to point B, but I would be seriously
    • Its not all - it depends on the user. I have a 12" powerbook and I've used it daily (I nearly run my whole business off of it during the day) for 3 years and there is no discoloration at all. I also periodically clean it to avoid those nasty problems. Go into any office and you'll always see a few people whose keyboards look like they've been through hell and back, while others who have the same exact keyboard and it look almost new. Its all about personal hygiene folks - some people are sweaty and/or s
  • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:21AM (#15547733) Journal
    I have a Dell laptop that I have owned now for about 18 months. The grey finish has been darker where it was worn away leaving a dark grey appearance. The problem also has translated to some of my keys, though I have not begun to lose letters off the keyboard as I have some desktop keyboards in the past. You can see this very clearly on my spacebar since i tend to rest my left thumb on the button at all times. This leads to a space about 1" or so wide that looks shiny/unfinished compared to the rest of the spacebar.

    I know the reason for my having this problem is somewhat related to genetics and possibly diet. My family (on my dad's side) has a history of what I can only term high sebum production. These oils (possibly combined with sweat) make for a fairly damaging mix on devices, especially plastics which just seem to absorb them. It is a problem I have experienced with many devices, including a desktop keyboard that began to lose the letters from constant use and an old Intellimouse explorer that is much darker near the area where my palm rests.

    This could be the problem in this case, since Sebum tends to be yellow-to-orange in color, it does make up part of ear wax to give you an idea. Of course, the easy way to test if this truly is a problem with the design or simply the ill effects of the human bodies natural excretions would be to use the MacBook with external keyboards and mice only and see if one discolors anyway. I really think you are going to have a hard time convincing anyone, especially if you decide to attempt a suit (which always seems like a common threat).
  • by gboss ( 968444 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:24AM (#15547747)
    From the summary: "Is this a case of just dirty hands or could it be another problem in Apple's new Intel saga?" Other than the computers in question having "Intel Inside," how does this relate to Intel? Then again, aren't Intel processors known for causing case discoloration? Apple should've known and used AMD instead. . .
  • Not so sure (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zaphod2016 ( 971897 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:26AM (#15547760) Homepage
    I just got one of these, so did my fiance. Mine has yellow stains around the mouse area, hers still looks brand new. Did I get a defective unit? I don't think so.

    I use my laptop 18 hours a day, and smoke more often than I should (nicotine rules/sucks). She washes her hands every 15 minutes and uses her laptop about an hour a day. I am no detective, but I'm pretty sure you don't have to be to figure out what's going on here.

    The whine? Over heating? Not enough RAM? check check and check. Turning yellow? WASH YOUR HANDS, then complain. Stop being distracting- Apple has *real* issues to fix.
  • I've owned an ibook g4 for a long time (~3 years now). It has the same kind of discoloration. Before that, I owned an ibook g3. Same 'problem'. The problem stems from dirty-handed programmers -- I would spend 12-hour coding sessions on my ibooks, eating, drinking, etc all the while. I managed to 'wash' my g3 with dish soap and a rough dish washing pad (be careful). It scratched up the area around the palm wrests a little bit, but made them look white again, at least. Jury is still out on whether it w
  • You can't keep your dirty hands off your MacBook Pro, you make your laptop blush.

    Think Dirty - *blush*
  • KISS Solution... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by celotil ( 972236 )

    I'm surprised that no-one's suggested the most obvious solution - clear film.

    Just buy some Contact or some other sort of plastic clear film, cut it to shape - wrist area, trackpad, trackpad button, maybe even the keys too if you like - and thoroughly clean the surface where you're going to apply it, then stick the clear film there.

    What's Contact cost these days? $2 a roll?

    That should stop the oil and sweat screwing with the finish, and if you apply it to the keys too, it'll stop that fading that may happ

    • That should stop the oil and sweat screwing with the finish, and if you apply it to the keys too, it'll stop that fading that may happen to the letters as well - like my keyboard at the moment with missing A, S, D, E, and other letters faded visibly.
      Don't you mean A, S, D, W? That at least is the combo that says the most to me.
  • This explains why every other (ie. Wintel) laptop in the world is BLACK or SILVER. It's because WE HAVE DIRTY HANDS! Apparently computer makers know that we rest our dirty hands on the machine when we use it and so they make the cases black so we can't see the dirt build up. Should we be surprised that something WHITE shows dirt? Didn't we learn this in kindergarten when our white t-shirt looked so much dirtier than our black t-shirt? I can't say I'm surprised.

  • Apple on the outside ... bannana computer on the inside. The Intel Mac is showing it's true colors ;-)

  • I just assumed it was from resting my hands in the same place over and over and over again. Some dirt is bound to rub off on the light grey plastic. Is it not normal?
  • This reminds me of an old SNL sketch with Dan Aykroyd. He was talking about a new phenomenon called "Spot Bleeding Syndrome", and how was suffering from it, and that nobody is doing anything about it. Then somebody (Jane Curtain?) asks him "Is that a new shirt?" and he replies "yes." As it turns out, he wasn't removing the pins from his shirts :-D

    Anyways, it's common sense people. If you're going to use a computer after you eat, WASH YOUR HANDS--ESPECIALLY IF IT'S CHEETOS!!!
  • Colored (Score:3, Funny)

    by dargaud ( 518470 ) <slashdot2@gdargaud.MOSCOWnet minus city> on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:48AM (#15547876) Homepage
    white discoloring to yellow ?!? Shouldn't it be coloring ?
  • by rabalde ( 86868 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:54AM (#15547908) Homepage
    In lifehacjker.com [slashdot.org] you can find a cleaning solution [lifehacker.com] that works: Non-acetone nail polish remover. Also, someone mentions that Mr Clean Magic Eraser also works.
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:06AM (#15547996) Homepage
    Seriously, maybe white wasn't the best choice of colors? I guess it's better than the translucent "Look at all the dust I keep in there!" cases from the first generation iMac era, but Apple really ought to consider going back to the drawing board. Maybe some fashion-conscious people would scoff at the idea of a shit-brown MacBook, but you wouldn't have this problem any longer.

    "Hey, Johnson, it looks like someone smeared poo all over your laptop."

    "It's not a laptop, it's a MacBook. It's supposed to be brown."

    "Ooooh, nice then. Keep up the great work!"
  • Simple Green (Score:4, Informative)

    by nuxx ( 10153 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:10AM (#15548029) Homepage
    One of the best cleaning products I've found for removing hand oils (and other gunk) from electronics parts is plain old Simple Green [simplegreen.com]. Just mix one part Simple Green to two parts hot water, dip a cloth in (terry cloth works great), and have a go. This works great for keyboards, mice, wrist wrests, desk edges, etc.

    Sometimes for a bit more built up areas (around the edges of large keys and such) it helps to dab the icky spot to dampenen it, then rub back over it a few minutes later.

    Just be sure not to get any drops down in between the keys... That has the potential for badness.
  • not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:35AM (#15548181) Homepage Journal
    I repair macs where I work. I see on average 5 ibooks per week, and just as many powerbooks. I have yet to see one of the macbooks in for service. (though I have fixed a couple pros) It's not uncommon to find an ibook with discoloration below the two palms, I see it on probably 1 in 15 ibooks. This number may be low because people clean up their computer before bringing it in.

    The previous case top of the ibook was a fairly (but not completely) smooth surface and was a slightly off shade of white. It was also a very hard plastic and I suspect very chemically inert. When I do have to clean them, they are not terribly difficult to get the grime off from, though it does require some force and use of alcohol. On the ibooks its also somewhat common to see a circular area in the central region of the trackpad, colored slightly lighter than the surrounding area of the trackpad. That's caused by the less used area of the trackpad getting more grimey. Those can be a little more difficult to clean due to the texture of the trackpad. It's also possible to chip the trackpad's sensor surface if you are rough with it.

    I also find that I have to clean the palm areas of my powerbook from time to time, usually about once a month as grime starts to build up under my palms and around the trackpad.

    These stories about yellowing of the macbooks is somewhat of a surprise, but not really. This is not caused by heat. It's a combination of grime from the user's hands, possibly combined with a chemestry problem between the user's body oils and the plastic of the top case.

    I would personally consider this a defect, since it's fairly clear that inadequate research was done by Apple to determine if there was going to be such an issue with their new case design. Also as others have pointed out, Apple makes quite a name for itself as a good looking computer, and issues like this do a lot more harm to the Apple brand than they would to say, Dell. The Apple users tend to be more demanding as to the cosmetic appearance of their computer, and react much more strongly when an issue develops.

    This is not the first time a case design has been a problem. Owners of "titanium" powerbook G4s will remember the "tibook paint" issue, where the outer border of the case, a carbon fiber, had problems with the paint easily chipping off and sometimes cracking and flaking off under the user's wrists. There were also issues with watches worn on the wrist causing almost immediate removal of the paint from the CF border. To my knowledge Apple fixed their manufacturing process (new paint or primer?) but did not recall those units despite a lot of upset owners' complaints. With the tibook, the top case was the frame of the computer, onto which everything was assembled. To replace the top case of the tibook was extremely labor intensive. With the ibook, the top case is somewhat easier to replace. Not sure on the macbook. This will factor into Apple's willingness to issue a recall.

    I am a former owner of such a tibook, but for me I care much less about appearance and more about performance, so it didn't bother me that much. I took a hard plastic blade and finished the job so the computer at least looked more balanced rather than have two isolated wear spots. My current computer, an "aluminum" powerbook, has to be cleaned periodically to keep the grime off the palmrests.

    If the discoloration can be cleaned off with alcohol, it's probably just a grime issue. That discoloration is not the color I am used to seeing though - usually grime is very dark in color, but this appears to be a cream or light yellow. I would tend to suspect a chemical change is occurring in the plastic based on a combination of oils from the user's hands, accellerated by the heat produced by the computer. (this could not be removed with alcohol) Apple may have to change the composition of the plastic of the case, or coat the top deck somehow, to reduce or prevent this problem.

    I believe the design of the new macbooks should b
  • I have a 3 yr old PowerBook and a 2+ year old iMac. As many have said here, our skin oils are corrosive as hell. My PowerBook finish has spots exactly where my hands are when I am typing. Maybe I have lower expectations of the finish, but I was not at all surprised when it happened as I use my PowerBook alot--pretty much 5-12 hours every day. The white keyboard on my iMac needs to be cleaned about every other month, but it does not get used quite as much--as it is my wife's computer. I think it would be of
  • by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:51AM (#15548757) Homepage
    Hmmmmm... I have the urge to start a new company selling latex gloves with the apple logo printed on them. "iGloves"
  • Macbook Pro owner (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oztun ( 111934 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:59AM (#15548819)
    I have had my Macbook Pro for several months as have some of my coworkers. The one thing we all agree we love about our notebooks is the lack of problems. I've been using computers since 81, Dos/Windows PC's since 86 and coding for Linux since 94. I didn't really want a Mac, but I had to support Windows, Linux and Mac while constantly traveling. The Macbook was the best solution. I'm running XP and Linux virtually with Parallels and both work great for system adminstration and testing code.

    What amazes me is how much attention from the media and computer people these "problems" get. My Macbook did run slightly warm until the SMC update which fixed that. The whine people talk about isn't noticable if I set the notebook next to any desktop or old PC laptop I have. Also the whine typically last for 5 minutes in the morning when I boot. I use the notbook so much now that I put it to sleep and don't shutdown which means no whine. As for discoloration I've used mine everyday for two months and it looks brand new. Searching the net I've only found two cases so far of this.

    When using Windows your entire OS seems to slow down. You have a constant barrage of spyware and crap attempting to install. When you uninstall a program you wonder how many pieces are left over and what the effects will be. I mean with Windows I just came to expect problems ever since I started using version 3.0. I'd say that I have had way less problems with the Macbook than any other laptop I've ever owned (at least 10 Inspirons and Vaios). After fixing heavy Dell laptops for clients I've come to hate them and their tech support and yet they are still one of the best PC hardware companies out there. I've had even worse times dealing with Toshiba and Sony.

    People just expect everything to be perfect on Mac and any conceivable problem is major news in the industry. To me that says so much about how good the product really is. I always made fun of Mac in the past because before OSX and Intel they had huge roadblocks that kept me from using them. Even though I didn't really want to use one or support it now I don't think I can go back to using Windows or Linux for my client desktop. I will say for servers though Unix is still the only option for me. I believe in the right tool for the job. At this point Windows only use is for my clients who don't think they can live without it yet constantly cry for help. My Mac and Linux users very rarely ask for any help only the Linux guys are all developers.
  • The paint on the keyboard where my palms rest has all worn off.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Friday June 16, 2006 @02:20PM (#15550273)
    Apple has built a reputation for style, and this is what they get if there's even a little chink in the armor. If they don't want stories like this, they should be more like Dell and have this stuff be so common nobody bothers to write about it.
  • by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @03:11AM (#15557503)
    Here are MacBook owners on the Apple boards discussing their frustration and attempts to, er, get the yellow out, which is a major crisis in aesthete land. Not only that, but it's bringing people out of the woodwork to describe other problems with their BananaBooks. It's all too much for Apple moderators, who've shut down both discussions:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID =2516244 [apple.com]
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID= 516645&tstart=0 [apple.com]

    Locked discussions get a terse, "Unless otherwise noted, your Submission should either be a technical support question or a technical support answer." Er...what part of it's turning #@$%^! yellow!!! don't you understand?

FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms, and grows in every computer. -- A.J. Perlis

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