No Surprise: Apple MacBook Isn’t Very Repairable

Apple’s new MacBook may be a miracle of engineering (if you believe the hype), but don’t expect miracles if you want it repaired.

As it always does, iFixit has done a teardown of the 2015 MacBook model, even digging out a 2009 plastic MacBook to compare it against. iFixit hasn't been too happy with Apple’s decision to use lots of proprietary screws, glue and other locking mechanisms in recent products. Given the new MacBook’s tiny stature, it's no real surprise that the heavy integration of just about everything means that outside of Apple's own service channels, you wouldn't easily be able to get anything on a MacBook repaired.

It’s a timely reminder, however, that Apple’s position in Australia as it relates to consumer law hasn’t changed just because the MacBook has. Goods still have to be fit for purpose "for a reasonable amount of time", and that relates to their quality. Apple would be miffed if it were suggested that anything Apple wasn't premium by design, and as such there’s a very solid argument to say that it would be reasonable to expect a MacBook to last a solid number of years and for Apple to provide repairs within that timeframe. You might just wait a bit while they melt all that glue off.

Retina Macbook 2015 Teardown</a [iFixit]


Comments

    Good luck getting anything repaired when your far from an Apple store.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they don't actually fix it, if they just give you another one with your data on it, because it's become so locked down, even Apple themselves can't fix it.

    And if you're going to go into a store, maybe bookmark these on your phone:
    https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/repair-replace-refund
    or download and keep a copy of:
    http://www.consumerlaw.gov.au/content/acl_resources/downloads/industry_guides/electrical_whitegoods.pdf

    "Can I speak to a manager? I need someone who has access to and an understanding of the content on consumerlaw.gov.au."

    (Edit: Learn what the ACCC stands for: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
    Any bogan who watches an ad for Current Affair knows 'ACCC'. An informed consumer knows what the acronym means, and an informed consumer is much scarier.)

    Last edited 16/04/15 9:36 am

      I've always wondered, does the unsafe product protection extend to ergonomic issues? It would seem that a product could easily be deemed unfit for purpose if the user itself was unable to properly use the item without causing some form of physical issue.

        Are you referring to this article? http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2015/04/sex-toy-review-the-njoy-pure-wand-delivers-amazing-g-spot-orgasms/

        Probably depends what it is, what it's meant to be used for, and what you actually use it for.
        If you buy a lawnmower and use it to clip your nails, I don't think you have a case if/when you injure yourself.

          I'm thinking more along the line of an office chair. If you start to develop back issues after a week of use would that be considered unsafe?

            This isn't my area of expertise, but from reading the material I don't think the product itself would be considered unsafe unless it can be shown it develops back issues for everyone, not just you.

            There's a separate section under safe products that relates to what does and doesn't qualify as 'unsafe' and the standards those are held to. See: http://www.productsafety.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/mandatorystandards - which does, helpfully, have a link on the right sidebar to report an unsafe product. You could always do that, if concerned.

            What I'd suggest you'd be better off looking at is OHS laws, instead. If you buy your own office equipment (including chairs), then it's your responsibility to buy one that suits you. If you experience ergonomics issues with equipment provided for you by an employer then you have to bring that to their attention and they have to arrange for something that fits for you. This happens all the time, it's a common WHS issue. Whether it's adjusting the height of desks or finding chairs which offer better back support... for your needs. Just the same as if you were somehow disabled. It's not necessarily because the product is unsafe (if everyone else can use it without problems) but because it's not compatible with your body/condition.

            Additionally, when it comes to consumer protections, the protections are usually about replacing, repairing, or refunding the defective product. If it's not unsafe, there are still some protections there, but they are slimmer.

            Where you're unlikely to see much result is when you start looking at liability. Consumer protections are MUCH weaker on the subject of 'knock-on effects'. For example, if you use a $30/month phone line as your primary contact point for your business and it goes down for half a day, the phone company is not liable for the $1000/hr business you lost for every hour it was down. Similar goes for products which are not found to be unsafe, but whose use has resulted in injuries. You'd really want to talk to a lawyer, but the layman's impression I have of liability cases is not so much that there is fault if the product is unsafe, but more if they KNEW it was unsafe. If they didn't know but took reasonable measures to find out and safeguard, then it should be harder to get money out of them.

            My understanding of the whole 'fair and reasonable' focus of the protections is that it does work both ways a little - it has to have been fair and reasonable for the manufacturer to know after testing that the product would have that result before you can claim against them for it.

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