updated 08:00 pm EDT, Wed June 6, 2007
PowerBook owners unite
A new wiki site has launched with the hope that Apple will both acknowledge an alleged batch shipment of defective 17-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4s and that the Cupertino-based company -- which prides itself on customer service -- will initiate a display repair extension program to fix the problematic notebooks. The wiki claims that hundreds, possibly thousands of Apple customers who purchased 17-inch G4 1.67GHz PowerBooks manufactured at a factory in Shanghai (W8) around March and April of 2005 are experiencing the "Bridget Riley" vertical lines display defect. The problem manifests with one or more one-pixel wide vertical lines spanning the full depth of the display from top to bottom in a variety of colors which include magenta, cyan, yellow, and blue.
The problem predominantly shows up in PowerBook model M9689, while hardware serial numbers of afflicted systems often begin with W85, according to the site.
"Lines begin to appear by flickering, then soon after stabilise into a steady, solid, vertical line. Once one line appears, others are likely to follow at the rate of 1-5 per week. Typical first onset is 12-24 months after purchase."
Owners of suspect PowerBooks can access the hardware serial number by pulling down the Apple menu, selecting "About This Mac," clicking on the "More Info..." button, and locating the serial number in the Hardware Overview panel. PowerBook owners can discover where and when the computer was manufactured by pasting the serial number into a special online service called Chipmunk.
The wiki is aimed at organizing affected PowerBook owners with the hope that Apple will listen and investigate the claims, eventually initiating a free repair program.
A similar movement erupted in early January when numerous PowerBook owners cried out, posting to Apple's own support forums and launching a website to document each case in one centralized location.