Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Has Apple quietly solved MacBook Pro's 'flexgate' flaw that cost users $600 to fix?

A 2mm longer cable may address the 'fluxgate' problem in 2018 MacBook Pro models, but Apple still hasn't acknowledged the issue.

Apple still hasn't publicly acknowledged the so-called 'flex gate' issue affecting MacBook Pro models made in 2016 and later. But it may have tacitly admitted to the existence of the design flaw by using a slightly longer display cable in 2018 MacBook Pro models.

The issue has forced some MacBook Pro owners to replace the entire screen of their laptops due to a damaged flex cable that connects the display and the display controller board under the touch bar.

Users have been up in arms because replacing the damaged cable would cost $6, but thanks to Apple's decision to solder the cable to the board, the whole display needs to be replaced, costing about $600. And it usually happened about a year after the warranty had expired.

The cable itself wore out after a few years of opening and closing the lid through normal usage. In particular, repair shops discovered that if the lid was opened beyond 90 degrees the cable would become stretched around the board, causing stress to an already very thin and fragile cable.

Repair experts at iFixit have confirmed that Apple's 2018 MacBook Pro could address this wear on the flex cable, which is 2mm longer than the cable in earlier models.

That doesn't sound like much of a difference, but iFixit teardown engineer Taylor Dixon says the extra length is "significant".

"This is significant because it gives the backlight cable more room to wrap around the board and not come into contact with the board as the laptop is opened past 90 degrees," said Dixon.

However, Dixon also notes that iFixit isn't 100 percent certain about the exact cause of the failure, meaning it could solve the problem or just delay the failure.

"The longer cable definitely gives more room to breathe around the board, but it's still in such close contact with the board that it's impossible to tell whether it's rubbing on the board at any point."


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