News Column

Apple's iMac Recall Casts Cloud Over Mini Debut

Oct. 23, 2012

Jessica Van Sack, Boston Herald

iMac. Image by Matthieu Riegler, Creative Commons.

Apple is expected to unveil a new miniature iPad this afternoon, but let's not let the hype overshadow a subset of customers that the Cupertino, Calif.-based giant has left behind.

Untold numbers of iMac computers with Seagate one-terabyte hard drives are dying, a problem Apple had all indications of years ago but only chose to address this month -- and quietly.

You'd have to do a lot of hunting around on the Apple website to finally find the post titled "iMac 1TB Seagate Hard Drive Replacement Program," which states in part: "Apple has determined that certain Seagate 1TB hard drives used in 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac systems may fail."

Indeed, Apple had determined this at least a year ago when it recalled a smaller subset of the same hard drives last year.

That's only after years of mounting evidence that there was a huge problem. Entire threads on Apple support communities are dedicated to the problem of loud, rumbling hard drives, and they date back at least three years.

Here's an example: "AppleCare asked me to take it to a Genius Bar. They couldn't hear it because it was so ***--noisy in the Apple Store. So I played the recording of it from my iPhone," wrote one user back in November 2009. Said another, "It was obvious to anyone with ears that the drives had a problem."

Not like a hard drive problem deserves alpha-level support. It took Apple a week after posting its notice on its website 10 days ago to email affected customers.

The recall problem does allow for free replacement and reimbursement of repair costs.

But that's little consolation for someone whose hard drive has already failed.

None of the many Apple media relations people that I emailed with questions about the Seagate hard drive recall bothered to respond, so I couldn't ask them why Apple ignored the problem for so long, and whether the company was just hoping customers would buy a new Mac. After all, Apple does come out with new iterations of devices pretty often (especially lately).

So as the faithful start pre-ordering the expected iPad Mini that's likely to be unveiled today on the West Coast, I have a tiny suggestion for Microsoft, which launches the new Surface tablet this week.

It's a slogan: "Apple. Innovating its way out of products that will die."

Source: (c)2012 the Boston Herald Distributed by MCT Information Services

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