• Apple Acknowledges 27" iMac Screen Issues; Production Halt Rumored

    Since the 27-inch iMac was released last fall, it's been plagued with a number of hardware problems, such as inability to power up, cracked LCD screens, flickering video and yellowish displays. The company has steadfastly refused to acknowledge any issue, instead replacing computers for customers. For the first time, however, an internal tech support document has been uncovered that shows it is aware of the problem, and offering a refund to customers who complain loudly enough about it.

    Gizmodo passed on a memo that it claims was leaked from a person inside Apple tech support. The memo outlines the screen discoloration complaint that it acknowledges may occur "in certain combinations of lighting conditions and onscreen content." It instructs tech support representatives to "not attempt a repair or replacement at this time," but instead to "explain that slight color variability is normal for LCD displays." Reps are also told to take customers' contact information to arrange for a replacement of the LCD panel "in approximately 3 weeks." Coincidentally or not, the delay still shown for iMacs purchased on Apple's online store is 3 weeks.

    The memo also says that customers "who require an immediate resolution" can get their money back:

    In certain combinations of lighting conditions and onscreen content, some customers may perceive very slight color variability on an iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) display. Some customers may report that certain areas of the display have a slight yellow tint.

    Products Affected
    iMac (27-inch, Late 2009)

    Do not attempt a repair or replacement at this time. Explain that slight color variability is normal for LCD displays and in general does not warrant replacement. Customers who are concerned that their iMac has a yellow tint issue, and who provide contact information, will be contacted by Apple in approximately 3 weeks to arrange a LCD panel replacement. Those who do not wish to provide contact information can contact Apple in the future for the latest information. Customers who require an immediate resolution should be offered a refund. Please transfer these customers to Customer Relations for handling.

    Tier 1 Instructions
    Calls should be logged under the follow Component and Issue to ensure that the customer will be contacted when a solution becomes available.

    Component: System Video
    Issue: Non uniform color or brightness
    The memo has not been independently verified, and Apple has refused to comment on the issue.

    Separately, the hardware website HardMac has reported, citing an anonymous source, that Apple has halted all production of the 27" iMac. According to the source, production "will not resume before Apple has finally found a reliable and definitive fix for the remaining past (flickering and flashing display) and new issues (yellowish panel and flickering display) affecting those models."

    A Gizmodo reader, meanwhile, was able to resolve his own discoloration issue by taking the display apart and putting it back together. He had disassembled his display to take color-temperature readings of the backlighting LEDs, which he found to be normal. When he reassembled the display, the discoloration had disappeared. he now thinks "a manufacturing defect involving the distance between a layer of material used to diffuse the LED backlight and the LCD panel" caused the material to become dislodged during shipping, and that by reassembling the display as carefully as he did, he realigned the layers to where they had been when they left the factory.

    image via Apple
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