• Apple Releases Firmware Update to Fix 27" iMac Graphics

    Apple released a firmware update for the graphics chipsets in its 27" iMacs in order to try to address display issues that have turned up in the new models. The company was also found not liable for earlier problems with iMac screens, as a judge threw out a class action lawsuit alleging that Apple knew about problems and did nothing to fix them.

    The 27" iMacs have been plagued with display problems since they began shipping in November. Some machines arrived with cracked screens, which Apple has been replacing, while others have had distortion or flickering on the large LCD displays.

    The company initially denied that there were any problems, and is still maintaining that there is no problem with the computers themselves. However, the knowledge base article accompanying the release of 27-inch iMac Graphics Firmware Update 1.0 it says that the 638KB download "updates the graphics firmware on ATI Radeon HD 4670 and 4850 graphics cards to address issues that may cause image corruption or display flickering."

    Aside from cracked screens, the problems listed on Apple's support forum have included a yellow tint in part of the display and irritating flickers. Apple delayed shipping 27" iMacs earlier this month, claiming that it was having supply problems. However, many observers - such as Gizmodo - thought that the delay was really announced so it could deal with the graphics issues.

    Users who have installed the update are giving it mixed reviews so far. Daniel Brusilovsky with washingtonpost.com's Tech Crunch noted that even after the iMac software update, he was still having issues with his screen. Others are having better luck, stating that the problems have subsided.

    In a separate matter, a federal judge dismissed a potential class action lawsuit which alleged that Apple shipped iMac screens that had manufacturing defects to its customers. Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said that the allegations were too general to be meaningful. According to the lawsuit, unwanted vertical lines would appear on the devices after the warranty period had expired. They alleged that Apple "internally recognizes and concedes" the defect, but did nothing to warn consumers. Even though the suit was dismissed, the judge said that the case might still possibly go forward if the complainants added more detail.
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