iBook Repair Program Could Affect More Than 800,000 Units

Threatened with a class-action lawsuit by irate owners, Apple announced Wednesday a three-year, worldwide repair program for certain models of its iBook notebook computers that can have logic board problems that result in faulty internal or external video. Based on numbers provided each quarter by Apple, the number of units affected could theoretically be upwards of 800,000.

"We have determined that a small number of iBooks introduced in 2002 have a display problem caused by a component failure on the logic board," said Phil Schiller, head of worldwide product marketing for Apple in a statement given to The Mac Observer. "We are launching a repair extension program which will repair these components for free, and we will offer a full refund to customers who have already paid for this repair. Our first priority is to take care of our customers."

The iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program will repair these components for free and offer a full refund for customers who have already paid for the repair. Apple will pay for shipping costs, the company said.

The program applies to iBooks with serial numbers in a range of UV220XXXXXX to UV318XXXXXX that were manufactured between May 2002 and April 2003.

Apple declined to comment on the exact number of iBooks affected and an Apple spokeswoman was not available to answer additional questions Wednesday evening. Based upon sales data provided by Apple each quarter since May 2002, however, the numbers of iBooks affected could theoretically be over 800,000, although it is possible the number could be much lower.

iBOOKS SOLD BY APPLE BY FINANCIAL QUARTER SINCE BETWEEN MAY 2002 AND APRIL 2003

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Q3 2002
169,000 units
Q4 2002
182,000 units
Q1 2003
186,000 units
Q2 2003
133,000 units
Q3 2003
190,000 units
TOTAL
860,000 units

(Because Apple does not provide numbers broken down by month, it is impossible to calculate more exacting numbers minus the months Apple said were NOT affected by the iBook problems, April 2002 and June 2003.)

Once a customeris iBook has been received by Apple or an Authorized Apple Service Provider, it will be inspected to confirm whether it is affected by the component failure and if so, Apple or the AASP will repair it at Appleis cost, including shipping charges. Repair may include either repair or replacement of the customeris main logic board.

There have been increasing complaints over the last year about problems with the iBook laptop, including scrambled or distorted video, unexpected lines on the screen, an intermittent video image, video freeze, and the computer starting up to a blank screen. Many users report replacement units had the same problems as older, original models.

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