Apple Confirms Embarrassing MacBook Pro Design Problem

By Ewan Spence, Contributor

Why have MacBook screens been cracking unexpectedly? Since the launch of the new Apple Silicon powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops in late 2020, some users have been reporting mysterious cracks appearing in the screens. Now Apple has confirmed what is causing the issue.

Detail of an Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2GHz laptop computer, taken on November 10, 2016. (Photo by Joby Sessions/MacLife Magazine/Future via Getty Images) Future via Getty Images

Following multiple user reports on its forum and in other MacBook communities, Apple has quietly acknowledged the issue in its support documentation:

"To enable the thin design of Mac notebook computers, the clearance between the display (screen) and the top case is engineered to tight tolerances. If you use a camera cover, palm rest cover, or keyboard cover with your Mac notebook, remove the cover before closing your display. Leaving any material on your display, keyboard, or palm rest might interfere with the display when it's closed and cause damage to your display."

While Apple has tacitly confirmed how displays are being damaged, the root cause of the problem is not with MacBook Air and MacBook Pro owners. It lies with Apple pushing the limits of design in a quest to make its laptops as thin as possible.

While they look gorgeous on stage, in marketing shots, and on display in the Apple Store, any MacBook is an expensive investment for many, and consumers who can pay close to $3000 for some of the highly specced models are going to want to protect their new laptops from the dings and scrapes of modern life.

Apple has an extensive selection of third-party cases and covers on sale, although a look through the list today shows a lack of keyboard, palm rest, or camera covers. The closest you get to anything that would disrupt the closed space between keyboard and screen would be the clips that a hard case shell use to secure the shell to the body of the laptop, or the screen privacy guard that reduces the viewable angle of the screen.

But it’s the design of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air that is contributing to the problem. No matter how the laptop looks, everyone can see the voracious appetite for protective cases in the marketplace. They are part of the ecosystem, and as such they should be part of the design consideration. To reduce the tolerances between the two sides of the laptop to enable “the thin design” does not feel a customer led decision.

You can either follow Apple’s design goals and leave your laptop naked, or you can do the sensible thing for your bank balance and accept the risk that Apple’s tight tolerances around design may cripple your laptop.

Thankfully the new MacBook Pro design is just round the corner. Hopefully the new design that will debut on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops will be more accommodating to the business of life than the ideals of imagination.

Now read how Apple can read your heartbeat with this proposed addition to the MacBook Pro...

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