updated 04:45 pm EST, Thu February 12, 2009
MacBook audio problems
A number of MacBook owners have reported problems with the headphone jacks on the new aluminum-unibody devices. The frustrated customers point out that the new design will securely hold the plugs from Apple's own headphones with microphone support, but several stereo headphones and speaker connectors are unable to retain a solid connection, according to Apple Support forum posts.
The problematic connectors allegedly disconnect when the cord is slightly disturbed, which disrupts the audio output to the jack and instead reroutes the signal to the MacBook speakers.
"When a jackplug is inserted into the socket there is a degree of play in the socket - fully pushed in and it works - give a gentle pull, the plug moves back out maybe 0.5mm and, even though the plug stays in the socket, the sound comes out of the speakers," said movetolearn in a forum post.
The primary difference between the newer mic-compatible connectors and the stereo-only variant is the presence of a fourth conductor, noticeable by the presence of a third ring. Experimentation by forum members pointed to this as a probable source of the problem, with the disconnection problems occurring with the three-conductor plugs.
Despite the problems with the new MacBook jacks, the cross-compatible design utilized in other Apple products, such as the iPod touch, does not appear to cause the same issues. One forum post suggested using a Fitz adapter which provides a four-conductor male plug and a three-conductor female port, potentially providing a remedy for the problem. [via AppleInsider]