The Consumer Complaints Board of the National Consumer Agency in Denmark is claiming to have found evidence of a manufacturing flaw in Apple’s iBook G4 – defective solder joints that fail after a year or more of use. Because the solder joints in question are for a component that controls power flow, iBook G4s afflicted with this problem reportedly shut off or display a blank screen. The most common workaround for the problem is to apply additional pressure to the area to the left of the trackpad with a clamp or internal shims.
The iBook G4 was introduced in October 2003 and discontinued in May 2006, when it was replaced with the MacBook. Ironically, the PowerPC G3-based iBook models that the iBook G4 itself replaced also had troubles with their logic boards, prompting Apple to issue a repair program for certain iBook models back in January 2004 (see “Apple Announces Replacements for Some iBook Logic Boards,” 2004-02-02 and our followup in “iBook Repair Program Extended,” 2004-06-21). But the discussions of the problems suffered by the older models sound awfully similar to the problems encountered by iBook G4 owners. The chatter on the Applefritter site follows much the same path, identifying a weak solder joint and sharing the clamp and shim workarounds. For even more detail, you can read the lab report commissioned by the Danish board.
Apple has settled a number of cases in Denmark after the release of the report. The question, of course, is if Apple will create another repair program to address this problem worldwide, something the more than 2,000 signatories to an online petition have joined Denmark’s Consumer Complaints Board in asking for. Apple didn’t respond to our request for comment.