As reported by our friends at DPS Computing, it appears the 2010 MacBook Pros that have a hybrid graphics solution, comprising of both integrated Intel graphics and more powerful NVIDIA graphics, are suffering from kernel panics; which inevitably causes their computer to crash completely. However, as widely reported by MacBook Pro users with the Mid-2010 models, if users are using the more powerful NVIDIA graphics processor while using their computer, it often causes kernel panics and as a result, their Macs crash completely, necessitating a forced restart of their computer.
DPS Computing Ltd. has done some investigations over the weekend and has found some solutions that mitigate the issue – and it appears DPS Computing has had more success than what even Apple has had so far. According to DPS Computing, Apple has tried rectifying the issue in the form of software updates but none of the software updates that Apple has so far supplied has as of yet rectified the issue. Apple hasn’t generally commented on the issue publicly, either.
Some users experiencing the problem have tried to pinpoint whether a specific application on their Macs are causing the issue. DPS Computing has investigated as to whether an application called MozyPro (also marketed as MyBusinessWorks in the UK), a cloud-based backup facility, is the root cause of the issue. However, unfortunately, kernel panics still occur on the Mac that they were testing. Users were reporting that the kernel panics were not occurring as much when they had uninstalled MozyPro.
DPS Computing believes the source of the problem is the NVIDIA driver – specifically the NVDAResman process, which is one of the processes running on Macs with the NVIDIA graphics card, could be the main attribute that is causing the kernel panics. However, interestingly enough, Apple has (eventually) posted a support article, which is the first official correspondence from Apple that the issue exists. Apple are advising affected consumers to either perform a software update or going to Apple for a free repair if the problem still exists afterwards. However, there is a time-limit in doing this to be eligible for free repair (although I’d beg to differ the Apple-set time-limit under European consumer laws), so contact Apple as soon as possible if a software update does not rectify the issue.
DPS Computing states that there are reports that Apple were censoring their support forums “removing any instances in threads where words such as ‘complaint’, ‘boycott’ and ‘petition’ are used”. While this cannot be confirmed and so should be taken with a grain of salt, what is evidently true is that it has taken Apple an unacceptable amount of time to even post official correspondence to consumers regarding the problem’s existence – so users are, yet again, left in the dark. No wonder European regulators, especially the Italian Antitrust Authority, are investigating Apple for breaching European consumer laws. If Apple is not complying to European consumer laws in European countries such as Italy, Apple should be handed a heavy fine and training their employees about their responsibility to adhere to laws that protect consumers and provide statutory warranty rights that are greater than Apple’s 1-year standard warranty.
In my opinion, Apple needs to change their behaviour when it comes to hardware or software problems with their products or risk tarnishing their reputation with consumers. In my personal opinion, they’re absolutely in the wrong to simply hide away and let consumers have to figure out the best course of action for what is essentially a broken, and very expensive, computer. They should be speaking out about the problem and letting consumers know they are at least investigating the reports.
Eventually, consumers are going to get fed up and switch back to using a Windows computer. I’m not entirely sure whether Apple are delusional or not, but it’s a pretty good way of losing customer loyalty in their approach to handling product issues.
If you have an affected notebook and are considering going to Apple about it, I’m sure Apple will repair your product without any issues, but it doesn’t hurt to research your consumer rights and printing them out and taking them with you, to remind Apple if they refuse your repair, about your consumer rights in the UK, which they are required to comply with. The UK direct.gov.uk web site has a section on your consumer rights.
Saying this, other companies are likely as bad as Apple when it comes to pushing the boundaries when they know they should be undertaking a repair, but I can’t help but think for an expensive laptop, I expect perfection and perfection in after-sales support when there are problems.
Note: Some of the commentary here is my own opinion and does not necessarily represent facts or the truth. I do not work at Apple in Cupertino so I do not exactly understand whether they are simply trying to cover up the issue or are working hard to figure out what the issue is behind the scenes. But the bottom line is, the result is that consumers are left with a product that doesn’t work, and I hope consumers are given good treatment by AppleCare or by Apple Retail Stores/Customer Relations if a user is outside of their warranty period.