HERE'S A LESSON in computer repair for you. Before taking your laptop in for repair when the screen just won't turn on, be sure to take a torch to it first. (An actual torch, not a blowtorch. We can't stress that firmly enough.)
That's a lesson learned the hard way by photographer Greg Benz, who took his MacBook Pro into Apple on four separate occasions. The first and second times, his logic board was replaced, but when replacement laptop given on the third visit failed in familiar fashion, Apple found the problem on the fourth time lucky: the screen brightness was off.
The discovery was made when an Apple employee shone his iPhone torch at the screen and saw the very faint outline of the log-in screen.
Now to be absolutely clear, this isn't as, uh, dim, as it sounds. As Benz has clarified on his blog after a number of inaccurate media retellings of this cautionary tale, some third-party software combined with his habit of using an external monitor created the perfect storm of tech support mysteries. The brightness settings on the Touch Bar didn't work until he logged in - something he wasn't trying to do, because who the merrily types away on a clearly broken computer? Nobody, that's who.
Nonetheless, Apple support staff will certainly have learned of one more check to run before rushing straight to a new logic board. By Benz's count, repairing two logic boards and replacing the computer itself will have come to around $10,000, not including the time spent by Apple support staff looking into the problem.
Despite all this hassle, Benz remains delighted with his purchase: "I truly love this computer," he wrote. "It's very fast and is a critical tool in my photography business. I have been using Apple computers for years and am glad that I can say that this is a machine I would highly recommend."
That's nice and all, but a fairly expensive endorsement. Still: Apple can afford it. µ
And it'll even undo the damage
Affected employees have 60 days to find a new home at the company
Doesn't inspire confidence in HongMeng's appeal
But don't get too excited if you've already got one