Is the MacBook Air fit for purpose?

Those of you who follow my Twitter feed will know that I have been moaning about my MacBook Air for some time. Well I’m now on my 8th or 9th visit to an Apple Store Genius Bar and it’s time I wrote a little about my woes.

I bought my MacBook Air back in February 2008 – a second generation device with SSD which was serious money at the time. The first generations puportedly had problems overheating so I waited until the second generation. And I was very happy with it up until September 2009, when the display fell off.

For those of you that have hinge problems on a MacBook Air, Apple Support Article TS2948 details how Apple will replace the hinge out of warranty, free of charge. Of course Kingston Apple Store rubbished this, and tried to get me to pay £400. Only on my second visit, when I took the article to them and showed them and got the manager out, would they help.

And there my problems started. The MacBook started overheating when doing simple tasks like taking a Microsoft Communicator phone call, or watching Hulu/iPlayer TV shows.

I’ve since been back to the Apple store 8 or 9 times and had 3 or 4 separate repairs. New displays, new wireless cards, even a complete wipe of my system, and nothing has solved the problem.

From what I can see – and the evidence on the web supports this – if the Air gets too hot then it shuts down half the CPU and slows to 1/2 the speed – giving you 1/4 of the CPU power. My machine then hangs and crashes. Apple now seem to be claiming that I am putting unreasonable demands on the air, when I share a screen with MS Communicator. Seriously?

I’ve now repeatedly asked for a replacement machine because for my £2000 purchase, I don’t think Apple have produced something which is fit for purpose. And Apple keep wanting to try to repair it. I’ll let you know how it progresses.


I am still considering buying the new MacBook Air, but the current (4th Gen) device is no faster than the system I have – they put old innards in a new shell. Apple are reportedly in production of a new 5th Gen MacBook Air based on new Intel technology which will probably be very nice indeed, and all suggestions are that they resolved the problems in the 1st/2nd/3rd Generation devices.

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3 Responses to Is the MacBook Air fit for purpose?

  1. Shane Martin says:

    How many generations will it take them to get it right?

    I’m no Apple basher but seriously – this creates a bad reputation for that particular product range.

  2. Pingback: MacBook Air – the debacle continues with a two-tier support system | People, Process & Technology

  3. Pingback: The new MacBook Air – a revolution – and my Apple woes over | People, Process & Technology

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