FAIL + Noise = Replaced Apple 24″ LED Cinema Display

A few days ago I had the most bizarre thing happen. I was working on my computer, a MacBook Pro 15″ 2.53 HHz Intel Core Duo Uni-body and an attached Apple 24″ LED Cinema Display. I was in the middle of something, when the image on the screen split in half. The left half of the screen was on the right and the right half on the left. For a split second  (no pun intended) I freaked! Then my brain immediately went into troubleshooting mode. After I tried a few things in the Display System Preference, I just decided to restart. That fixed the issue. And I thought nothing more about it.

Now a day later … Thursday June 12th … I was again working on my computer, when the whole 24″ display went black! No warning. No dying wheeze. Nothing. Blackness. Wow … the screen went to sleep? No. The MacBook Pro screen was NOT black. Panic time!

I reached deeply into my troubleshooting repertoire and tried everything within my powers to resuscitate it … but it was DEAD JIM! I tried zapping the PRAM (holding the “Command”, “Option”, “P” and “R” keys while restarting) 4 to 5 times. Nothing. I searched the Apple Support site and Apple Discussions. Some similar issues, but not results, other than replacement. I tried starting up from one of my multi-partitioned external USB drives which have clean installs of both OS 10.5 and OS 10.6. No go. Still blackness. I reached into the depths of my Library folder and trashed the Users/xxxxx/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ and did a restart. Still nothingness.

It was time to admit the problem. My 16 month old, our of warranty, no AppleCare extended warranty, 24″ LED Cinema Display was gone. History! After about 10 minutes of shock, anger, and grieving, I went online to the website of the Seattle University Village Apple Store and made an appointment with a Genius.

Fast forward to my appointment. The Genius hooks up the display to his MacBook …. and … nothing! Black! He tells me it’s out of warranty and that it will cost $600.00 to replace the LCD panel. Though he will wave the $160.00 per hour labor fee. WTF!!!! More Shock (anger) and not much awe! I grabbed my display and went home. I WAS PISSED!!!!!!!

After only 16 month of use on a $899.00 display, and that’s it? I expected much more. Oh … like a replacement, and an apology? This isn’t the Apple I knew and loved. I was angry and depressed. After dinner that night, I cleared my desk, and reorganized it to work without the 24″ display. I was ready to move on.

Friday morning I woke up and was pretty much resigned to my fate. Not having enough money to repair or replace the display, I had to make due without it. So I started my morning ritual. Start the MacBook Pro & check mail. Wouldn’t you know …. a survey from Apple. “How did we do?” Oh boy … I get to unload! Of course there were the rate-us-questions. Fail! Fail! Fail! And finally, do you have any comments? With razor tongue I was ready to slice, dice and julienne! But then I had a “What Would Chris Do” moment. Chris being my partner, and the more business savvy person in this relationship. I heard him say, “…leave the anger and emotion behind. Give the facts. And don’t berate.” So I composed a letter.

In the letter I spoke of my disappointment that Apple didn’t stand behind a product that was only 16 months old. I spoke of how I had been purchasing and using Mac computers since 1986 and expected longevity in all their products. I stated that I was Mac consultant and would now have to think twice before recommending Apple displays without the caveat of buying AppleCare on all Apple products, because they don’t last as long as they once did. I also commented that I would have thought Apple would have replaced the display without even a second thought. That was the Apple I knew and loved.

At the end of the survey, I was asked if I would like someone from Apple to call. So I left my number etc. And sure enough … I got a call from Kelii Moreau, the Senior Manager of the University Village Apple Store just a few hours later. He told me that he read my eMail and I was right. Apple should have replaced my display. And if I stopped in later today, they would! It was music to my ears! I was told to box up my old one, and ask for a manager when I entered the store. A brand new fully (1 year) warrantied display would be waiting for me to swap for my old one.

After finishing my morning errands, I was at the Apple store with my defective and boxed display. I asked for a manager, handed the greeter the eMail from Kelli … to eliminate repeated explanation. Within a minute I was greeted by a salesperson and he went off to retrieve my new display. The entire team had already been briefed. Another manager Jennifer Dance came out to greet me and thank me for my letter. She said (and I paraphrase) ” you are a bit of a celebrity here. Everyone on the team got to read your letter. It reminded us all of what Apple has been and what we need to strive to be. You made an impression! And you did it without getting angry. Thanks you for that too.” Really? Wow! Cool! Thank you!

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