I have said it before in this thread about 20 pages ago.
For those of us in the USA -- Apple has not ground to stand on with this issue. It would require them to own up to the issue and at the very least take responsiblity for a design defect that they are pawning off on their customers as "Their fault, its environmental"
They would never win this case in court.
I'm in the same boat you're in. I have 2010 27" iMac that is barely two months out of warranty. It has started displaying the grey smudges on the upper right hand of the screen. I neglected to get AppleCare as I put my trust in Apple's rep for great hardware.
I called up Apple Corporate directly and asked for someone in the Customer Relations department. I politely but firmly explained that I was fairly disappointed in the build quality of the machine. I spent a lot of money on this iMac and was upset that it was starting to fall apart after barely a year.
To Apple's credit, the woman I spoke with arranged a repair at my local Apple Store and waived all costs. While I'm not thrilled at the screen breaking down so quickly, I'm very pleased that Apple worked with me on this issue.
I'm coming away from this experience with a few observations:
1. If you buy an Apple product with a built-in screen, get AppleCare. My experience (based on two iPods, a PowerBook and this iMac) is that you'll need it at one point.
2. If you're out-of-warranty, try calling Customer Relations at Apple Corporate. The worst they're going to do is say "no." As with dealing with any customer service reps, the key is to not be an ***. You're justified to be upset, but the person on the other end of the phone didn't build your computer. Don't take it on them.
I'm very appreciative that Apple is making this effort, but I have to admit I'm concerned that the fix won't take. This is a one time only gesture I'm receiving. We'll see what happens when I get the iMac back.
Thank you, this is somewhat reassuring, I'll try that. I've been VERY polite (didn't get upset with anybody) but firm in explaining that I'm disappointed by the lack of quality of a very expensive product (top of the line i7). The people at the store said they understand but their hands are tied if corporate doesn't recognize the problem and issues an extension for that kind of problems.
I feel that even if I get my way with them, the idea that there's people that get lucky and people that doesn't is incredibly unfair, everybody's money is just as good, treating your customers differently is the worst thing you can do from the point of view of customer experience and Apple is supposed to be the top in this game.
Essentially, I just expect Apple to be the "it just works" company I learned to love and I expect them to deliver on that, otherwise I would be buying Dell or HP.
By the way, are you in the US?
I agree with you inifinity percent. While I'm happy that Apple is helping me out, I never wanted to have to make this call in the first place. As expensive as Apple's gear is, the monitors on the iMacs should be more durable than this. With any luck, this will be my first and last experience with this issue.
Hopefully, the Customer Relations department will do the right thing by you. I fully understand your frustration. Best of luck.
BTW, I am in the US. Unless I owe you money; in that case, I'm a citizen of Freedonia.
I've got the same issues (greyish spots) on my 27" Imac bought late december 2009.
I discovered the problem something like 3 months ago by using the full screen feature of Lion Mac OSX.
For now, I have been to an Apple Store to know if Apple was aware of the problem and if something was planned for my out-of-warranty Imac. It appeared that they were really reluctant at first to give me any information concerning this problem.
After speaking longer, having them confident in me not to make a fuss, they finally admitted they had at least one Imac presenting the same problem IN the Apple Store (which of course was upstairs in a closed room).
I have also contacted Express Lane which seems quite busy working on that problem because they are still making me wait after more than 1 month exchanging emails with a technicien => they definitely don't want to say "no" quickly...which could be something good finally. They also asked me to provide them with pictures of my screens
I think people should contact the same way Express Lane to let them know how spreadfull is this problem.
I have also signed up to different petitions that we can meet on the internet of course...a global action seems unavoidable.
I'm having these exact same issues.
See the big diffrent in just 3 months? It was only showing up as 2 lines on the right side of my screen - now its showing up all over the screen.
The shots taken today were done by first cleaning the exterior glass of my iMac (I've NEVER taken my iMac apart) so as to make sure no smudges were finger prints. I then opened Pixelmator and made it fulll screen (I run Lion) and set it to a gray background as I find that colors maes the smudges show up best.
I never purchased Apple Care. I only purchase Apple Care on my mobile devices, not my desktops. I guess that will teach me to assume Apple doesn't make bad products.
I've had my LCD panel replaced twice and had the entire iMac replaced once. Today I noticed the problem has returned. Here is a summary of what I've gone through with this problem:
- I originally purchased a 27" iMac in February, 2010. I included an 8 GB RAM upgrade and an Apple Care plan.
- In mid 2010 I noticed a "watermark-like stain, almost a wet smudge" appear on the screen. Apple of Albuquerque replaced the LCD panel immediately.
- Around September of 2010 the problem returned. Apple of Albuquerque again replaced the LCD panel.
- In June of 2011 the problem returned for the third time. I had moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the local Apple store replaced the entire system...reluctantly...with much accusation, insinuation, snide remarks and condescension.
- In addition, when I asked them to make sure they included the 8 GB of RAM in the system they lied. Upon returning home I noticed the new iMac only had 4 GB of RAM. When I called them the person on the phone insisted he personally put the 8 GB in my system and that it probably wasn't seated correctly. The problem with this very dumb lie is that I own a screwdriver (perhaps you've heard of the tool?) and it takes less than 30 seconds to verify this Apple employee's claim. What did I find? 2 sticks of 2 GB RAM.
- I informed Apple's Mayfair Mall store of this "error" and they agreed to resolve the problem. I also insisted they upgrade me to 16 GB of RAM for having inconvenienced me. They balked so I repeated all the above events. I said "I paid for a premium product and so far I've had a lousy experience with it. Lying to me was the anvil that broke the camel's back." They agreed to the 16 GB upgrade.
- This week the problem reappeared. I'm now preparing myself for the onslaught of nastiness I'll experience when I walk into the Mayfair Mall Apple Store.
I've lost roughly 2 work weeks because of this problem. That's real money to me. I'm a graphic designer & photographer. I cannot afford to be without a computer. Apple, I hope you are listening...I bought the iMac because I needed something that was reliable. I paid a premium for that promise. I've been a customer of yours since the Apple IIe. And all you've done in the last two years is treat me like a customer of Dell.
I'll replace the LCD panel again...but what is the point? Clearly, you do not care to actually solve the problem. In 4-6 months the smudges will reappear. At that point my Apple Care will expire. And I'll be stuck with the world's most expensive stain.
I want a permanent solution to this problem, Apple. I've been a customer of yours since the Apple IIe. Right now I feel like the foolish fanboy PC users describe. You've burned me and you've severely damaged my relationship with your company.
I spent an hour discussing this problem with an engineer who has experience with LCD panels. Here was his conclusion:
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS IRRELEVANT WITH LCD PANELS
1.) The individual cells of an LCD are sealed.
2.) Dust does not effect LCD cells.
3.) Moisture/Vapor/Humidity/Water do not effect LCD cells. Since the cells are sealed there is no way for water of any kind to enter the cell. In fact, he's submerged LCD panels in water for 4-5 hours (to remove various protective layers from the panels) and then turned them on after they've dried.
SMEARING/SMUDGES ARE CLEARLY CAUSED BY EXCESSIVE HEAT
The engineer looked at the various photos on this thread as well as my iMac and without skipping a beat he said "Your LCD panel is too hot." I asked him if he'd ever seen this before. He responded "Oh, yeah. I've accidentally exposed LCD panels to a heat source 4-5 times and caused this exact problem. The individual cells contain liquid crystals. If they're exposed to excess heat and begin to boil these smudges are the result. It gets worse over time because the panel is consistently being subjected to overheating causing more cells to boil and leak. This stuff is really simple; dead cells are black, working cells emit a full range of colors and cells that have boiled off some of their fluid are grey. What you have is clear, obvious, scientific proof that the LCD is being overheated, that the cells are boiling off some of that fluid, the cells are bursting and the fluid is staining the inside of your panel. The only way to fix this is to redesign the iMac."
QUALIFICATIONS OF ENGINEER
My engineering partner has worked professionally with LCD panels for over 5 years. He's personally assembled over 500 units that required custom LCD panel installation. He is a professional engineer who previously worked for Bell Labs as well as private firms with military contracts. He has experience in electrical engineering, electronics, optics, IR and projection.
I'm now convinced that the iMac has serious overheating issues and that it is cooking the LCD panel.
Anyone who has ever been told their environment is to blame has been deceived. Smoking, dust, a clean room, humidity...none of these are factors when dealing with a technology sealed from the outside world. Heat and heat alone is the culprit to this issue. This is a design flaw in the iMac. It deserves a recall and a redesign.
Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing.
However, I'm confused as to how some (very technically proficient!) folks have shown images of a fully-disassembled LCD screen (separating the screen from the backlight) and literally "wiping off" the particles that are causing the smudges... when I read "...the cells are bursting and the fluid is staining the inside of your panel", I'm just trying to reconcile what appears to be cleanable (with proper disassmebly and handling) with the description of your engineer which sounds like more permanent damage to the display. Unless I'm reading that wrong?
Or, phrased differently.. I didn't think any of the LCD cells were damaged, but rather just some kind of dust/particles made their way between the LCD and the backlight?
OMG, that's even worse than dust particles or condensation. But it makes sense. I think a lot of the problem is Apple tried to stuff all the hot internal hardware right next to the LCD.
I'm wondering though, has anyone had these same issues with Macbook Pros or with the 27" Cinema Thunderbolt displays? Or is the heat dissipation of the motherboard on just the iMac the issue here?
Binary Mango -
Could you please point me to the specific posts you refer to? I've read this thread thoroughly and I'm struggling to find them. I see pictures of smudges exactly like mine. I see dozens of posts where people have been told by Apple that it is an "environmental problem" and refuse to repair it. I see posts from people like DeepRoot who has experienced exactly what I've experienced; Apple replacing the LCD panel of our iMacs for free. I see plenty of messages from people who have been accused of living in unusually dusty environments. But, I don't see any posts like the ones you refer to but fail to specifically reference.
And there is my extensive story. Two panels replaced and an entire iMac...and the problem has returned for the fourth time.
However, let's entertain your hypothesis. This would mean Apple has now spent thousands of dollars on replacing my LCD panels, an entire iMac, retail staff wages, manual labor, shipping costs...all for something they could have fixed with the wipe of a cloth? That's an irrational conclusion.
It also isn't supported by the facts of my case. Nor the other cases cited on this thread. The majority of people on this very thread fall into two camps: people who complained and have had their LCD panels or iMacs replaced and people (primarily in Asia) who have complained and been told it isn't Apple's responsibility.
Dust doesn't look like water. Ever. Dust looks like dust. These smudges/water spots/stains are so fundamentally different than how dust behaves or reacts with electrical components that it borders on a flat earth argument. More importantly, the exterior of an LCD panel is not conductive. The cells are also sealed. So there is no way for dust to interact with anything inside the cells of an LCD panel. It is a scientific impossibility.
The panels do react to heat...something computers are quite adept at creating.