Some MacBook Airs exhibiting screen issues

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Some of Apple’s newly released MacBook Air models may have display problems, according to both Internet reports and first-hand accounts.

First reported by Cult of Mac over the weekend, some users have reported odd kernel panics, horizontal and vertical lines across their screen, and blank screen crashes. In fact, one MacBook Air owner posted a YouTube video showcasing the screen glitch. Others have complained and commiserated on Apple’s Discussion boards.

Sadly, I can personally confirm these issues: Just two days after unboxing my 11-inch Air—the base model with 4GB of RAM—the notebook randomly cut to a gray screen during Screen Sharing and only a reboot could cure it. In the ensuing days, I’ve seen my Air’s screen turn a variety of colors: gray again, tan, gray-black, and—on Monday—blue! (Let’s everyone get their Blue Screen of Death jokes out of the way now, please.)

As I was working on something different in every instance, it was hard to say exactly what triggered the crashes, though Screen Sharing has been the culprit at least twice. Neither a PRAM nor SMC reset did much to help.

Given that it’s November and I have a novel to write, I decided to consult the Genius Bar. The Genius I spoke with suspected the Air’s logic board might possibly be at fault, and offered to replace my poor malfunctioning computer with one of the ultimate configuration 11-inch Airs—at cost, as the store didn’t stock the model I had ordered online, and I didn’t want to wait for a shipped AppleCare replacement. (That exchange didn’t work out due to a parts issue, though I give credit to the Apple Store for trying just about everything to make things pan out.)

We’ve put in a call to Apple, asking for a comment on the MacBook Air display issue reports; Apple has yet to respond, but we’ll post an update if we hear back from the company.

Despite my own experiences, MacBook Air issues apear isolated at this time. Of the five 11-inch Airs in the Macworld office, only mine exhibited any symptoms. Additionally, both AppleCare and the Genius team at your local Apple Store seem to be more than willing to check out any computer exhibiting these problems, so if you’ve run into an issue with your new MacBook Air, it’s probably a good idea to book an appointment at your local store or give AppleCare a call.

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At a Glance
  • Apple MacBook Air (Late 2010) family

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