Tag Archives: iMac

The 2011 iMac: Officially a Lemon

Mid-2011 iMacThere’s probably little point in calling Apple out over a four-year old computer. But I think if my experience with the mid-2011 27″ iMac is any indication, these machines are lemons.

I’ve blogged here before about Jen’s mid-2011 27″ iMac, and how the video card failed two months short of a special extended warranty period Apple had put in place specially for this problem. But I haven’t elaborated yet on the history of my own iMac, which is the exact same model.

I purchased the all-in-one computer in November of 2011. It worked just fine up until January of 2014. I took the computer into a local Mac repair shop and there it was determined that the video card had gone bad. The shop was able to replace the card at no cost to me, because of the special warranty I mentioned above. After that repair, the iMac was working fine, up until about two weeks ago. Then, out of nowhere, I was struck by a surprise system crash. Rebooting would fix the machine temporarily, but after a few minutes, it’d crash again. The way the machine went down looked very similar to what happened when my iMac’s video card failed the first time. Having seen this type of crash before, not only with this iMac but also with Jen’s, I was pretty sure that the video card had failed again. Another trip to the Mac repair shop confirmed this. Fortunately, this failure occurred just inside the expiration date of the special extended warranty. So, at least the repair will be free of charge.

A friend of mine also has a mid-2011 27″ iMac that’s currently collecting dust in a storage shed. That iMac crashed in a way that sounds very similar to mine. Instead of messing with a repair, he just bought a new computer. Between me, my friend, and Jen, we’ve had three iMacs, all the same model, go down for the same reason. That’s a 100% failure rate in our (admittedly) small group. But we can’t be the only ones who’ve suffered with the problematic make of this particular iMac.

I think it’s safe to say that the mid-2011 27″ iMac is a lemon. If you’re using one of these machines and it hasn’t failed yet, consider yourself lucky. But prepare now for the inevitable loss of your computer. And if you’re considering buying one of these computers on eBay or Craigslist, take a pass. While they’re still very robust and competent machines, they will likely break before you know it, leaving you with an expensive doorstop.

Getting Onto Tim Cook’s Radar

Jen's iMacLast week, I wrote about my wife’s broken iMac that’s just barely outside of a special warranty period. That post was meant to be an open letter of sorts. Something I’d hoped would get the attention of someone up high enough on the Apple food chain that they’d reconsider the warranty period and just go ahead and fix the computer. After posting that blog, I sent an e-mail to Apple CEO Tim Cook as well as the Apple corporate PR team, explaining the situation, including a link to that blog post. I was polite and courteous but I did reinforce my belief that Apple should fix the machine, making sure to emphasize that I’d post a followup blog here at GNC, giving the company a chance to pick up some positive “organic PR.” I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it but I figured I’d give myself 24 hours before throwing in the towel and shelling out the money for the iMac repair. I set a reminder for 1PM the next day to call the service center and authorize the repair, in the case that no one from Apple got back to me.

That 24-hour period passed by with no response from Cupertino. As soon as my phone chimed with that 1PM reminder, I called the service center and gave them the green light on making the repair. And then about five minutes later, it happened! My phone went off with an incoming call. I immediately recognized the phone number because I had seen it the day before. It was the Apple corporate office. It worked! I thought. My message got thru to someone at 1 Infinite Loop and they’re gonna do it! They’re gonna fix my iMac!

I answered the call and was met by the friendly voice of Jessica from Corporate Executive Relations at Apple. She assured me that she was at the corporate office and not at a call center. She said that Mr. Cook had received my e-mail and that he wanted to follow up on the situation. Jessica asked me to recount what had happened so far. I told her how the iMac had died, where we had taken it for service, the diagnosis of a bad video card, and the attempts that were made to get the repair approved thru Apple Care (including my case number, which she already had).

After reviewing things, she said that she was sympathetic to the situation. But, it looked like everything was handled correctly and that she was going to send me an e-mail with specific information on the video card replacement program. So, while the e-mail I sent did manage to get onto Tim Cook’s radar (or at least, the radar of someone in the corporate office), it ultimately didn’t do anything to change my case. With a certain air of disappointment, I thanked Jessica for reaching out and ended the call.

The iMac repair was already in process so there was nothing else to do other than wait for it to be done. I gueess it’s nice to know that Tim Cook, like Steve Jobs before him, has a public facing e-mail address, and that someone is reading it. Overall, Apple is within its rights to deny the post-warranty authorization. But it would’ve been really cool if they’d stepped up and approved it in the face of a technicality. Of course, Apple moves a lot of products and sidestepping its own policy like this could set a dangerous precedent for the company. Regardless, the iMac is now back from the store and working just as good as ever.

Hey, Apple. Fix my iMac!

Two iMacsMy wife and I are the proud owners of two 27″ iMacs (seen in the photo to the left). Both machines were manufactured in 2011. They’re identical in terms of model and specifications. And both have been afflicted by the same problem – failed video cards.

The first iMac went down in early 2014. I took it to a local Apple certified repair shop where the problem was identified. The repair tech told me that Apple had put in a special “repair extension program” specifically for this iMac model because there are known issues with the video cards that shipped from the factory. Thanks to this program, Apple covered the cost of the repair and the iMac has worked flawlessly since.

The second iMac (seen to the right in the above photo) was acquired used in late 2014 as a replacement to my wife Jen’s aging MacBook Air (which she had mostly used like a desktop computer). A few days ago, this iMac started acting erratically and the symptoms were very similar to the other iMac’s failing video card. We took the second iMac into the shop and sure enough, the problem was diagnosed as a faulty video card.

But the iMac didn’t result in the same outcome as the first computer. This iMac was apparently originally purchased in May of 2011, which means the repair extension program for this machine expired in May of 2015. A scant two months ago. Due to this technicality, Apple won’t cover the cost of the repair, leaving us with a $500 bill after parts and labor. I recognize that Apple was being generous in even offering the repair extension in the first place. But the fact is, these iMacs were shipped with defective parts. It was only a matter of time before the video card would fail. But too bad for us it didn’t break down three months ago? That’s a lousy way to treat a loyal customer, Apple!

And speaking of us as customers. Here’s a rundown of all of the Apple products we’ve owned over the years:

  • 9 desktop Macs
  • 2 laptop Macs
  • 5 iPhones (and 1 iPod)
  • 2 iPads
  • 1 Time Capsule

Also, I’m legally blind and I live on a somewhat fixed income while my wife is a freelance writer and relies on her computer for work. The $500 repair bill is difficult for us financially and this is compounded by the fact that Jen is losing valuable productivity time while the machine is down.

So, come on, Apple! Wouldn’t it feel great to help us out and just approve the repair of the bad video card? Doesn’t our longtime patronage of your products mean more than a simple technicality in a warranty program? Please, Apple. Fix this iMac!

Today Only: 21″ Apple iMac Quad-Core i5 Desktop on Woot

It may be too late to order a Christmas present, but if you’re in the market for a new desktop computer and have your eye on an Apple then today is your lucky day.  It’s not often you can get a discount on any Apple product,but today the 21.5″ iMac is on Woot, the bargain hunter’s dream web site.

The 21.5 inch iMac starts at $1199 both in-store and on the Apple web site and sales are rare at best.  Woot, today only, is offering it for $1049.  This model comes with a 2.5 GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, a Radeon 6850M graphics card, and 802.11n WiFi.  These are brand new iMac’s, not refurbished models.

While this deal is good news for those shopping for a new Apple computer, it may also signal that new models are on the way.  That seems to frequently be the case with electronics that show up on Woot, which has had several tablets available recently in their daily deals.  Products like this also frequently sell out quickly, so if you want to get one then you better head over to Woot now.

Mac = Meh

I decided to jump on the bandwagon in May and purchased an iMac as a replacement for one of my PCs.  While I was not expecting an epiphany I must say I am a little underwhelmed by the experience.  Apart from the small differences in mouse use and where to look for menus I have really not found it any different from a windows PC, and definitely quite similar in feel to my KDE desktop.  I guess I expected to be more impressed with my experience.

Image courtesy of Apple
Image courtesy of Apple

So far the Mac has been justifying the main reason I purchased it admirably so far.  The PC it replaced was the family one and even with anti-virus software I was still finding myself cleaning out some sort of trojan or malware every few months.  After 3 months I have had to do zero maintenance on the Mac, so in that regard I am pleased.

Most of the actual issues I have with the platform probably relate more to my experience level than any inherent problem, for instance OpenOffice is still not running as well as I would like.  I am also not that impressed with Safari even though v4 is a definite improvement (I see a Firefox install in the near future).

What I do really like is the quality of the design.  The only cable involved is power and it looks good enough that I am considering moving it out into the family area.  The one bundled app I have fallen in love with though is iPhoto, especially the face recognition feature.  I haven’t found the photo editing any better though.

While I am not dissapointed in the Mac, it has not impressed me enough to change my main system from a Windows/Linux machine.  If any of the experienced Mac hands out there have any suggestions on how to improve the taste of the kool-aid please send them in.  As long as the box stays trojan free it will remain appreciated.

GNC-2007-11-27 #320

Back in the saddle from the new location and new studio. A great show where I catch you up on the move and all of the exciting things that have been happening here.

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Listener Links
Sony Fined for Price Fixing
iTunes Games
Wifi Causing Autism?

Show Notes:
Firefox Reach
Mark Cuban way off base!
Kindle DOR
Skype stumbles in UK
OLPC 2 for 1 Extended through Dec 31st
Hydrogen from MSI
Vista spurns Linux Adoption?
Pirate Bay to have revised Music Section
DVD Rentals to have Commercials?
Ten Firefox Extensions to keep surfing safe!
Doc Searls #1
Doc Searls #2
Maglev Wind Turbine
Toyota Simulator Cool!
Guitar Hero it Shreds
Desktop Evolution Windows and Mac
FeedDemon Calculates Attention
Windows XP SP3 10% Faster
Robin Good One True Media
MPAA Spy Toolkit
Credit Card Thieves .01 cents
Zoho Writer Work Off line
ISS Spacewalk and Harmony Wrap Up
RIAA not willing to battle Harvard
Best and Worse Consumer Electronics 2007
Cable Ala Carte could be Expensive
Cell Phone Tracking
Radiation not bad for you, Yea Right!
iMac update equals iBrick
QuickTime bug and XP

Gems I Found
Wells Fargo President Statement
Cool Toy if it was bigger

GNC-2007-08-10 #292

Two major rants tonight: Realistic privacy expectations in new media and signing exclusive podcast advertising contracts. Plus, a lot of great tech news and information.

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Comments to 619-342-7365 e-mail to geeknews@gmail.com

Listener Links:
Dorthy iLife08 Video
Metric Conversions
Zune running iPhone Fake or Real
AMIE Street
NYT Lowers some Walls
Amazon Payment system for Developers
HDTV Worth Waiting For
Linspire – Indiana University — Listen to show
Flashlight that makes you throw up

Show Notes:
Spam Blogs
AOL will Kill Digg Clone
Google Deletes Own Blog as Spammer
MAC vs PC in Cost
Circuit City and No Refunds
Oklahoma Students Fight Back
Apple Strategy
iPhone Touch Screen Issues
Ford almost got my vision correct
Sprint + Nokia N800
iMac teardown
Apple Wireless Keyboard
Xbox 360 has HDMI
NASA Asteroid Buster mock up
Vonage Financials
Google Evil News Walled Garden
Be careful Jason!
Endeavor STS-118
Search Engine Privacy Improvements?
Big File Transfer
Hitachi Blu-ray Camcorder
Low Marks on Video Downloads
DRM Stripped from Netflix Movie Stream
Universal Music DRM Free Test