Apple Admits to Hardware Quality Problems with iPhone X, MacBook Pro

Posted on November 10, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS, Mac and macOS with 35 Comments

What's Up with Apple's Resistance to Multi-touch Macs?

Apple on Friday quietly announced free service programs aimed at fixing endemic problems with two of its most high-profile and expensive devices, the iPhone X and the MacBook Pro.

“Apple has determined that some iPhone X displays may experience touch issues due to a component that might fail on the display module,” an Apple support document notes. “Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will replace the display module on eligible devices, free of charge.”

Symptoms of this problem include a display, or parts of a display, that do not respond to touch and a display that reacts as if touched even if it is not. Apple also notes that this issue is limited to the 2017 iPhone X; presumably, newer models like the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are not impacted.

The MacBook Pro issue is even more serious since it results in data loss.

“Apple has determined that a limited number of 128GB and 256GB solid-state drives (SSD) used in 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) units have an issue that may result in data loss and failure of the drive,” a separate Apple support document explains. “13-inch MacBook Pro units with affected drives were sold between June 2017 and June 2018.”

It’s been a tough couple of years for Apple hardware quality. Most recently, Apple admitted to a manufacturing defect in the iPhone 8. And its MacBook Pro laptops have been dogged by keyboard reliability problems so severe that a single crumb stuck under a key is enough to warrant a repair for the unusable computer.


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Comments (36)

36 responses to “Apple Admits to Hardware Quality Problems with iPhone X, MacBook Pro”

  1. jprestig

    Data loss is so in right now.

  2. SupaPete

    Macbook Pro 2018s have a feeling like emitting current when plugged in while fully charged. I have that on mine and there are many posts about this issue.

    That one is totally unacceptable to me in a product which cost 4.5k+

    (and i can't even return the crap thing because i need it for work)

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to SupaPete:

      Where are you located? Sounds like a classic ground (earth) issue.

      • SupaPete

        In reply to Jeffsters: I'm, located in Europe, so maybe Apple has done zero testing for European power plugs?
        I don't understand what you mean with this would be a classic ground earth issue.
        I have never ever had this issue with any of the computers i bought from any manufacturer (also including older Apple ones) ever and find it completely unacceptable.
        Since you seem to know what the issue is about, do you have an idea for if there is any way to work around it?

  3. HellcatM

    LOL there is always quality problems with apple products. I can't think of one that hasn't had some issue. Some are bad, and some are horrible!

  4. locust infested orchard inc

    What an unprecedented iDebacle.

  5. locust infested orchard inc

    Quote by Paul Thurrott, "The MacBook Pro issue is even more serious since it results in data loss."

    When Windows 10 is afflicted with file deletion, the media and commenters are incensed by Microsoft's poor coding QC, followed by a rallying cry for all to migrate off Windows 10.

    However when a similar occurrence is apparent on Apple iDevices, the news is either conveniently buried or spared further scrutiny.

    I insist one should be impartial in the relay of news in a open and transparent manner, setting aside the fanboism attitude to reporting fairly without prejudice towards any corporate entity, for file deletion and data loss is an issue not to be taken lightly, even if it just occurs in a handful number of cases.

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      Dude there is a HUGE HUGE difference from a software update that Microsoft created and didn't adequately test that deletes your data and an SSD that Samsung, or some other manufacturer made, NOT Apple, that initially passes all the test and fails over time later.

      • locust infested orchard inc

        In reply to Jeffsters:

        Samsung SSDs are extremely reliable and excel in performance. To suggest it's the individual part's manufacturer that is to be blamed for the associated problem, and in no way is Apple to be held to account, is nonsensical as the iDevice has a part-bitten logo emblazoned on it, rather than the data storage device manufacturer.

        Apple should take ownership of the issue and deal with it in a responsible manner, as opposed to distancing itself from its ill-behaved product.

  6. Jeffsters

    The crappy keyboard issues aside in these cases Apple needs to hold their component manufacturers to a higher standard. I'm sure they hold them accountable in these situations, aka free replacements the cost of which I'm sure will be transferred, but situations like this just shouldn't happen.

  7. dontbe evil

    I see apple fans downvoting all comments that they don't like against their beloved company

  8. NT6.1

    The last good hardware they released was the 2015 Macbook Pro.

  9. red.radar

    If Apple is going to push their ASP higher by raising prices... then it needs to improve its quality level appropriately.

    People dont pay pay premium prices to deal with quality issues no matter how good the support after the sale is.

    It it just needs to work.

  10. jchampeau

    I wonder how much of this is inevitable and can be likened to the same kinds of quality issues that happen to any hardware manufacturer and how much, if any, is a result of Apple, in a quest for profitability in the face of declining sales volume, putting pressure on their employees and suppliers to the point of unsustainability, a la Volkswagen or Wells Fargo.

  11. Tony Barrett

    Bad hardware (which Apple is getting pretty good at), but this 'repair' program is only designed to stop disgruntled owners affected by this moving away to other platforms. Apple call it 'customer service', I call it 'ensuring customer loyalty'. Apple will do whatever it takes to keep the customers it has, and this will barely cost Apple anything in reality.

  12. Bob Shutts

    Good thing I just ordered ordered a maxed out 2018 MacBook Air and not the other stuff. LOL

    • warren

      In reply to Bob_Shutts:

      Don't forget to download the 1.3 GB 2018 MacBook Air-specific patch after you get it! Yep, there were enough problems that the device as sold, that they needed to immediately issue a giant patch for it.

      • Bob Shutts

        In reply to warren: It's a custom build that won't arrive for awhile. I'm hoping the OS will be patched by then. If not, no biggie in this age of cable internet.

        EDIT: Just read some user comments. Looks like a firmware update and other Apple laptops are getting it as well.

      • Jeffsters

        In reply to warren:

        Actually this isn't too uncommon for any hardware manufacturer. Often firmware is set and minor changes or issues discovered only after initial-run production so a firmware updated is made available and rolled in later. That I really don't have any issue with. This situation is different and should be a concern to the component sourcing team.

  13. jimchamplin

    Good thing those SSDs are so easily replaced... oh wait... they’re built into the board because thin.

    Something my dad used to say, “thin to win.” It was used very pejoratively, meaning that something is cheap. Auto manufacturers rolling the steel a little thinner, a restaurant using less meat in a sandwich.

    I think that it’s clearly also true for the tech industry. Make thin machines? Much higher chance of sucking.

    It’s not like this is new for Apple, though. Almost a generation ago, the white iBooks were fraught with issues, most of them pertaining to the for-the-time thin design. Video chips that would come loose from the board, crappy, failure prone hard drives literally imprisoned inside the chassis. These machines were nightmares and repair was intentionally made difficult.

    Because thin to win.

  14. nbplopes

    Well I have that problem with SP3 touch after a year and .... basically they told me “either pay to get fixed or use it without touch”. That is much better.

    For a company that is accused of not admitting a thing by many, It seams that it admits far more and often than others.

  15. Angusmatheson

    I have to agree. That you can walk into an Apple Store and get someone to help. My work owned two of the 2016 MacBook pros that had keyboard failures. We sent them in and they got fixed. Super frustrating but now all better. All of the MacBook Airs that broke (2 of 13 over 5 years) they fixed too. I walked into a Microsoft store with a Surface Pro 3 - and they said there was nothing they could do (especially frustrating because unasked for 1803 update reactivated the de-activated chipped touch display and put it into a boot loop). HP phone support has been horrific. Computers, phones are complicated and fragile things. People need help with them. It seems to me that Apple is more helpful fixing and unscrew-upping their products for normal people who don’t have IT support than other computer and phone manufacturers are (I have to admit I’ve never tried either Google nor Samsung’s support). More companies should help keep their technology working and not just be thrown away and repurchased when there is a problem. (Windows rot (which Android and MacOS gets too) - as more browser add on, utilities running in the background, and system cruft -also add to the problem that older hardware slows down so that nomals have to buy a new computer. Most people can’t do a clean install every year to keep things working well.)

  16. geekraver

    It would be nice if they did something about Macbook Pro’s backlight cable issue. Hit mine just a couple of months into it’s second year.

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