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"It just works."

Apple's Genius Bar better brace itself for some upset customers.  Buyers of Apple's pricey, sleek MacBook Pros are finding [Apple Discussions Forum] that their machines lock up and stop responding when you stress them.  The hard freeze, which occurs in OS X, is reportedly non-recoverable, though users can SSH into their frozen systems.

The company recently refreshed its MacBook Pro laptop lineup to feature Intel's new 32 nm Sandy Bridge CPUs and AMD's Radeon 6000 Mobility series GPUs, ditching NVIDIA GPUs (the 13-inch model is now no longer offered with discrete GPU).

While the hardware refresh looks promising, the reports may give potential buyers potential cause to steer clear.  Apple is reportedly aware of the issue, but does not have a fix for it at present and has not publicly commented on it.

Apple often remains silent about its quality issues.  That allows it to maintain an inflated perception of quality among consumers and the press.  

The company heavily sells its systems on claims that they are easier to use than Windows and lack Windows-like problems.

The tendency of its new laptops to freeze up stands in stark contrast to these claims.  Reportedly machines can crash under a variety of scenarios.  Describes one user:

Received a new 15" 2.2/6750M MBP last week and have been having some issues with the machine locking up under load.

For example if I boot up a VM using Fusion the temperature will spike up above 90 degrees and the machine will lock up most of the time. The machine appears locked (cannot move the mouse at all and keyboard is unresponsive). I can SSH into the machine still and it still is running however. This is one example but it will freeze under a number of circumstances where the CPU/GPU load is very high (rendering, DJ Software, compiling so far in my travels).

Another user, back on Apple's official Discussions forum, bemoans:

Great. I'm having the exact same issue. It happens when rendering video in Imovie. The fan comes on and everything freezes. I can do nothing but a hard reset. Now I'm wondering if I should return this $2000 item and wait until all the bugs are fixed. 

Maintaining its image of producing "magical" products has been a struggle of late for the gadget-maker.  While some devices like the iPad 2 pleasantly surprised, the company has received a dose of reality from recent malware attacks.  As it continues to grow its marketshare, it will likely continue to encounter the hardware issues and malicious attacks that have become a fact of life for OS maker Microsoft and its hardware partners.

In that sense, Apple may be a victim of its own image which it has worked so hard to create.

Update: Monday March 21, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Late today Apple rolled out an update to OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", which included a number of updated features and fixes.  A special version of the update was crafted for the early 2011 MacBook Pros (discussed in this article).  While ostensibly to fix other issues, many believed that this update would fix the freezing problems.

It appears it did not, at least not for all those afflicted.  Writes one user on the MacRumors forums:

this still does not fix the issues on the new MacBook Pro 2011 models (15" 2.3ghz) - just tested on the two machines we have here. Still they are getting too hot, constantly the fans are blowing (testing with Transmission/Bittorrent downloading the Ubuntu DVD). Also we had two freezes already (only under heavy load). I am posting updates on our findings to our blog ( http://j.mp/dLSqgy ) - and we are still waiting for replacements from apple.

Users are also reporting that the update fails to fix another crucial problem, blackouts when connecting to Apple's 24-inch Cinema Display.  Writes another user:

Still experiencing blackouts. No graphics glitches but definitely got 2 blackouts post update...albeit less frequent. Back to the drawing board i guess.

In fact, the update seemed to cause crashes/freezes when using Apple's iTunes.  Writes one user:

I'm on a new Macbook Air (13" maxxed out) and the update seems to be causing iTunes to freeze the whole system - clock, mouse, keyboard, etc. It happens about 5-6 seconds after I launch iTunes. I can start a song, and it will continue to play after the system locks up, but otherwise I'm stuck with a hard reset. I tried clearing the preference files in \Users\[me]\Library\Preferences, but that didn't help. I repaired disk permissions before and after the update. Any suggestions?

Adds another:

Since the update I've had 3 crashes with iTunes.
2011 15" 2.2 MBP.

Not sure its related to the update, but in the space of just over a year, I've never had a crash with iTunes on MacOS 

In other words, it appears that the update not only failed to fix existing issues, but caused additional ones.


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RE: Too late
By Tony Swash on 3/22/2011 3:21:23 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Well, my Windows lets me play my games without getting in the way, and do some 3D game development too, also without getting in my way, that's why I gave Steve Jobs a finger a long time ago.


Which games? A few years ago I was part of the 'Infiltration' modding team on Unreal Tournament. I did level design - really enjoyed it.


RE: Too late
By Pirks on 3/22/2011 3:40:55 PM , Rating: 3
Ah, too many to mention here :) Currently my favorite game of the year is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, this is freakin damn Masterpiece of games *thumbs up*... also enjoyed Dead Space 2 very much, Darksiders is pretty cool one too, etc etc... you Mac fans won't understand and believe the breadth of game selection on Windows :P not your turf haha


RE: Too late
By Tony Swash on 3/22/2011 4:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ah, too many to mention here :) Currently my favorite game of the year is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, this is freakin damn Masterpiece of games *thumbs up*... also enjoyed Dead Space 2 very much, Darksiders is pretty cool one too, etc etc... you Mac fans won't understand and believe the breadth of game selection on Windows :P not your turf haha


I run Windows 7 on my Mac so I can play Shogun 2 and Medal of Honour. One of the reasons I love Macs is that they are just so versatile. Today i flipped between MacOSX (for the serious creative stuff) and Windows 7 for the games, diddled around in the built in Unix command line and did some web development (Wordpress based) running an Apache/MySQL/PHP stack. Personally I would find being constrained to just running Windows very limiting. I know you can hack MacOSX to run on some generic PC hardware (I did on a Dell Mini 10V last year) but it's just that - a hack. Ona Mac you can run multiple OS's and use Unix commands all seamlessly, legitimately and supported. I just love it.


RE: Too late
By Pirks on 3/22/2011 4:39:23 PM , Rating: 3
One of the reasons I love PCs is that they are just as versatile. I run OS X 10.6 in VMWare under Windows when I want to, and it runs beautifully. No need to pay double price to Jobs to get OS X running :P

On a Windows box you can run multiple OSes and use Unix commands via Cygwin, I love it too. For me it's all benefits of a Mac just twice cheaper. Why pay extra $1k-$2k to Jobs? I say he better EARN this much money first :P


RE: Too late
By Tony Swash on 3/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Too late
By themaster08 on 3/23/2011 3:40:24 AM , Rating: 2
Legalities are the reason OS X is the least compatible OS. That is the fault of Apple, not Microsoft, or PCs in general. Otherwise it can be run on an abundance of PCs with little-to-no trouble whatsoever.


RE: Too late
By Pirks on 3/23/2011 11:21:01 AM , Rating: 2
I don't care about "legality", i.e. about what Jobs would say, he's way too arrogant to care about him and his "legality". I treat him exactly how he treats me, isn't that quite honest eh? ;)

And why would you want to boot into OS X when you can run it under VMWare just as fine? Even with 3D acceleration bells and whistles and stuff.


"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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