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Apple offers free fix for visually impaired iBooks

Unknown problems become known

At long last, Apple is prepared to help owners of dead iBooks return their kit to the land of the living.

Apple yesterday kicked off an iBook logic board repair program after a flood of complaints hit the Web. Apple will fix the ailing iBooks - manufactured between May 2002 and April 2003 - at no cost. This fix will no doubt add to quality control costs that have hurt Apple's bottom line.

It so happens that this reporter has had a very personal experience with the faulty logic board. About five months ago, my iBook screen would begin to vibrate and then display a psychedelic pattern reminiscent of a bad PCP vision. At first I thought it was a "feature," until it became clear that the pretty colors rendered the computer unusable.

Other problems listed by Apple include distorted video, unexpected lines, intermittent video image, video freeze and computer starts to a blank screen. If your iBook is like mine, you are suffering from all of the above.

To its credit, Apple fixed my system at no cost even though the warranty had expired. I do, however, wonder why it took so long for Apple to fess up to the problem. Apple customers have complained about the technicolor iBook visions for months.

It's curious, to say the least, that Apple could claim there were "no known problems" with the kit one month only to issue a full recall a couple of weeks later. Hmm.

But, for the plagued, there is hope. Whatever Apple did to my system appears to have worked and for quite some time now. The Apple technicians even went so far as to replace my gritty, ash-filled keyboard with a nice, clean slate.

Information on the return program is available here.

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