Apple Readies Fix For Faulty MacBook Air Display

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Apple has quietly acknowledged a problem with the MacBook Air display and is said to be working on a fix

Apple is reportedly working on a software update to fix display issues with its next-generation MacBook Air.

An unknown subset of users are reporting their laptops’ screens are either flickering or flashing lines of colour.

According to screenshots posted 4 November on the blog Boy Genius Report, seemingly from Apple’s internal support system: “Apple is aware of the issue and is working on a solution.” While a software update is reportedly in the works, the document shown advises “customers put the computer to sleep by closing the lid, wait 10 seconds, and then open the lid to wake the computer.”

This will force a power display cycle, which will – at least in theory – return everything to normal.

Sleep-related Problem

Both the new 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs are apparently affected by the issue, which seems to occur after the laptops are either woken from sleep or the display is hot-plugged. An Apple forum dedicated to “MacBook Air 11 Screen ‘Flicker’ and Freeze” can be found here.

Apple unveiled its revamp of the MacBook Air during an 20 October event. The new models leverage SSD (solid-state disk) storage technology to deliver the same “instant on” ability that is offered in mobile devices. The 11-incher retails for $999 (£614), and the 13-inch for $1,299 (£798).

“MacBook Air is the first of a new generation of notebooks that leaves behind mechanical rotating storage in favour of solid-state flash storage,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in an 20 October statement. “We’ve taken what we have learned with the iPad – solid state storage, instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturisation and lightweight construction – to create the new MacBook Air.”

Painful Repairs

However, repair site iFixit gave the new laptops a score of 4 out of 10, arguing that the “plethora of proprietary parts prevents people from painlessly fixing their machines.” Repair becomes a matter of sourcing those parts from Apple, or leaving the job to “someone involved in Apple-based repair.”

The MacBook Air features an aluminum unibody enclosure, and includes a full-size keyboard, glass Multi-Touch trackpad, support for the company’s FaceTime video-conferencing, Intel Core 2 Duo processors, Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics and SD card slots. It also ships without Adobe Flash pre-installed, requiring owners to manually download the popular plug-in.

“We’ve taken everything we’ve learned about miniaturisation from the iPhone and the iPad and applied it to the MacBook,” Jobs said during the 20 October launch event.

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