I think I'm on my fifth or sixth warranty repair visit with Apple

Usually when you buy a computer product, you expect it to be working well when you bring the thing home -- not for me. I'm somewhat of an unlucky guy when it comes to computer hardware. Never once in my life have I purchased a computer product that has worked properly out of the box. I have to return, exchange or troubleshoot the product at least once before things begin working as they are suppose to.

Enter the MacBook Pro, a glorious piece of hardware by any standard, that appears to have been designed well, built well, and operate well. That's what Apple customers hope, and I hope, anyway. When I first purchased my MacBook Pro last year in June, it had overheating problems. The Apple store that I purchased it from was kind enough to exchange the unit for a brand new one. Unfortunately, it too had overheating issues and in fact, locked up once in a while. At this point, I was starting to get a bit worried, but not yet frustrated -- well, maybe I was frustrated.

I visited the nice folks at my local Apple store again, but this time I did not have such a good mood as I did when I first walked into the store. Again, my unit was taken in and a brand new one was given to me. Just so it's clear, I did purchase the AppleCare extended three year warranty for my MacBook Pro, but all these things happened within my first month of purchase.

Fast forward two months. I was relieved that my third MacBook Pro had none of the problems that the previous two units had. But boy was I wrong. The fan on the right side of my unit started flaking out and eventually died completely several days after making rattling noises. I was upset now. I brought the unit back into the Apple store and they held it for a day and had it repaired. My work order indicated that the right side fan was replaced as well as the inverter board -- a problem for many MacBook Pro users, causing such behavior as a whining noise, which I did not experience, and flickering LCD screens.

A week after I took my repaired unit home, the left fan failed on me. At this point, I was fuming because the situation was becoming more than just ridiculous for me. Did Apple rush this product out too quickly? If so, it still doesn't make any sense, since the design of the MacBook Pro was largely based on the previous generation of PowerBooks. Again I went back in for repair and they replaced the left fan. Now however, the top keyboard cover no longer fit flush with the main chassis, and there was nothing that could be done. The folks at Apple's Genius Bar told me that if I wanted, they could hold my MacBook Pro for several days, gut the entire thing and replace the chassis for me. Sigh -- no thanks, I don't want to have something else break in the process. Once you take apart a complex piece of hardware like the MacBook Pro, it will never be like it was when it shipped from the factory. I didn't want to take my chances.

We're now in 2007, everything had been going well since my last visit to the Apple store, and I had hoped then that nothing else would go wrong. Yesterday however, fate would prove me wrong again as the SuperDrive in my unit failed to read DVD-R discs that it had previously been able to handle. At times I would hear a loud rattling noise, and during DVD playback the movie would just stop with an error. So now as I write this article, I am standing inside my local Apple store yet again. I'm waiting to speak to another Genius about my nightmare notebook. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Apple will eventually gut out my whole unit, replacing every bit of hardware one piece at a time.

Will I ever buy another Mac notebook? At this point, all I can say is that I am extremely disappointed.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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