Dirty Books

by Giles Turnbull

So what progress, if any, has been made on the mysterious discoloration of white MacBooks?

The weird yellow-brown 'stains' were reported a few weeks ago. Pics appeared on Flickr, a discussion began on the Apple forums (sadly, this was closed by the moderators after a few days worth of posts), and a poll at our esteemed colleagues TUAW suggested that the problem was not isolated.

More recently there have been reports that Apple is now acknowledging this problem and affected computers returned to the mothership (or a nearby Apple Store) will be replaced or fixed up with new casing parts. But those are merely reports, I've seen nothing 'official' to back this up.

Is your white MacBook unexpectedly dirty? Have you joined the protestors at StainedBook?

This is one of those occasions when Apple's well-oiled PR machine could do with being a bit more responsive. There's clearly a problem here, even if its limited to a small number of machines. Instead of stamping out discussion of it on the forums and remaining publicly silent, Apple would be more highly regarded by all concerned if they simply acknowledged the complaints and said they'd look into it.


2006-07-03 14:17:25
I'm hereby revoking your blogging privileges for three days. Apple is replacing the top-shell of effected MacBooks under warranty. That news has been around the blog-o-verse a few times in the last few days. Where have you been?
2006-07-03 14:27:28
@Bob: do you have a link to an official Apple statement to that effect?

I know the story's been around the 'blog-o-verse' for a while, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's true...

2006-07-04 09:31:52
No offense, but what do you expect when you buy a *white* computer?

Any surfaces that are touched for hours at a time are very quickly going to look like you've been using it in the garage. How many white telephones have you seen recently, particularly in an office environment, that look clean?

2006-07-04 10:50:42
@brianary: No offense taken. I think the reason this campaign is so heartfelt is that this appears to be an anomaly. I've owned a white G3 iBook since 2002, and it has never shown anything resembling these strange markings. Of course a white product is going to show the dirt; but these people are saying that their new MacBooks are *changing color* before their eyes, not just showing dirt.
2006-07-04 12:49:31

Well if the blog-o-verse is that unreliable, perhaps there's no staining issue at all. It's one big hoax! Why do you get to choose what's reliable and what's not?

But seriously, if you were Apple and just made a policy, you too would be likely to deal it in the following way. First you'd communicate the issue to your support staff and handle these on a case-by-case basis.

You'd probably also draft a technical note, but you would do that very carefully after much review. You'd likely list the effected ranges of serial numbers. You'd likely help people distinguish the issue from "normal" smudging or wear. Ultimately you want to be careful about taking on extra liability.

Saint Fnordius
2006-07-05 00:31:08
I think Bob nailed it on the head with his second post: Apple is being very, very careful about what it says in its upcoming technote. I also suspect that they'd rather take a hit for being tight-lipped than putting out something they'd have to retract later.