Aluminium iMac 24″ screen displays patches, uneven brightness and dark spots saga recap
My Aluminium iMac 24″ started to develop dark patches and black spots during the summer of 2008. It was well into it’s second year of Apple Care, so I was glad I’d purchased the extended cover.
I first sent it in for repairs a couple of days after that, as detailed here.
My initial feeling of satisfaction remained for almost a year, and the screen performed flawlessly for most of it. But as time progressed, I couldn’t help noticing that the bottom left hand corner was
was subdued by the quality of the second screen which was much lower than the original it replaced. I contacted Apple again and sent the screenshot below.
A call back from a more senior engineer suggested a further replacement screen.
So, I zeroed my drive, reinstalled tiger and sent it back with screenshots and explanations saved to the desktop.
The machine came back a couple of days later and no sooner had I powered it up than a horrible feeling came over me.
Second New Screen
The second replacement was just ghastly. After leaving it to “warm up” for an hour, I took the above screenshot. I didn’t even reinstall. I just put it straight back in the box, contacted Apple again and had the bloody thing replaced forthwith.
This time, a more senior member of staff contacted me, since this was now the third time to “fix” the problem.
She explained that the next screen would be the final screen I would be able to receive, since a screen could be replaced a maximum of three times.
So I explained to her that in actual fact, the screen would be replaced as many times as was necessary to ensure that I could do my work on it again, as I had done when I first purchased it. She seemed a little surprised by the concept.
I explained that the new screens were clearly inferior in clarity, regularity and colour balance and were clearly a different make from the originals. She would neither confirm nor deny this.
Once more she asked me to realise that this would be the last free replacement they would give, and I was once more forced to explain that this was not a favour to a mate, this was in order to fulfill the legal requirement of “fit for purpose” and obey advertising standards as on their original advert: A built-in professional grade screen perfect for editing photos and videos, and serious graphical applications, the screen was far from professional or perfect.
I asked for the screen to be fully tested and have an engineer report the fact to me before returning the machine, a demand to which she acceded graciously.
The engineer called and said that the screen had been calibrated for both colour and brightness and was found to be well within specifications.
Great! Finally, we were getting somewhere… Surely this time, the machine would have a lovely, clear screen, like the one it first came with.
The computer came back the next day.
I fired it up.
Bong. Came the chime. It was immediately and, by this point, unsurprisingly apparent that this screen was also substandard.
I contacted Apple again and this time, they put me straight back though to the lady in charge. I showed her the picture above and asked her if this was typical Apple quality.
No she admitted…
I asked her who had tested the screen and who had assured me that it was within spec. She couldn’t release the information, she said, but she would speak with him before contacting me back.
An hour later the phone rang and with an apologetic tone, the lady asked me to send the machine back in and confirmed that “some irregularities in the testing procedures had been found.”
Off it went.
The next day, a call from the chief engineer confirmed that the screen was below standard. But since there were no more screens of the original standard, the next screen might well be of the same quality or even worse. But, if I was not satisfied with the next screen, I could have the whole machine replaced.
The machine was back in my hands the next day, with another substandard screen, with almost the same patterns of distortion as the second replacement I’d received.
‘Since there are no more 24″ iMacs in stock, I’m afraid we are going to have to replace it with a different model. But we guarantee that it will be of at least the same spec or higher than your last model.”
“Whatever,” I said resignedly, as long as the screen is clear.
Two days later, the machine below arrived on my doorstep.
Now we’re talking…
Thank you Apple. It was a long and winding road, but well worth it. A machine nearly 3 years newer than the one it replaced. Although they had some quality control issues, they were constantly polite, attentive and very forthcoming with “fixes”.
Here’s another satisfied Apple customer (albeit with caveats).