Early MacBook Air adopters have been reporting problems with their new notebooks that include video problems and frequent kernel panics. Now some of these users have released pictures and video evidence demonstrating the flickering video and computer freezing issue that appears to be happening on nearly all 11-inch and 13-inch models of the new MacBook Air.
We were the first to report this issue last week-end and since then there are more reports of other MacBook Air users encountering the same problem. Users in Germany are reporting problems and the folks at MacWorld have reported seeing the problem happen on of their new MacBook Airs.
The discussion forum posting covering this topic isn’t as big as some of the other Apple glitches we’ve seen in the past so hopefully this problem isn’t very widespread. Irregardless of the size of the discussion there definitely is a problem. One YouTube user, MrSchroder, has posted a clear video showing the distorted video on his MacBook Air so that you can see it too.
I made two attempts to contact Apple PR this week once via e-mail and once by telephone. My requests for a comment from Apple about this situation were not returned. This is fairly typical. I’ve contacted them about more mundane things and gotten a response, but when it comes to something important like this they seldom respond. Fortunately, I had better luck with AppleCare.
Apple to issue firmware update?
I called them on a tip I got from this discussion, because one user advised the forum members that Apple is aware of this problem and working on a solution for it via another software update. I spoke to an AppleCare representative and he advised me that this was indeed the case, but no estimate was available about the release date for the update.
Possible fix: Shut the lid
In the meantime the AppleCare representative told me that Apple offers a workaround to try. Close the MacBook Air and wait approximately 10-15 seconds and then open it again. This will allegedly power cycle the notebooks screen and reset it. I’m not sure if this will help or not since I have not seen the problem happen since the first time for me. I’m also not sure if this will help if the machine freezes. Generally the only cure for that is a hard reset via the power button.
Something to try: Install old MBA software update
I did try one thing on my own. Apple has already released one MacBook Air update that included video fixes. Immediately after seeing the problem for the first time on my MacBook Air I manually applied that update again with all applications, etc. closed. Since then the problem hasn’t shown up again. I’d be curious to know if this works for anyone else especially those of you that report it happening consistently.
If either of these ideas work for you or you have another suggestion please feel free to leave a comment about it.
I also strongly suggest that any one encountering either the video or kernel panic problem call AppleCare immediately and get them to document your problem and issue you a case number. The case number will be handy in the event that you find yourself going to the Genius Bar to get the notebook repaired or replaced.