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Flexgate: The design flaw behind MacBook Pro’s ‘stage light’

Tuesday January 22, 2019. 10:00 PM , from Mac Daily News
“The Touch Bar generation of MacBook Pro always had its quirks, but the thin-at-all-cost design may finally be proving more trouble than it was ever worth,” Taylor Dixon writes for iFixit. “The latest issue to crop up — dubbed ‘flexgate’ by one of our users, Alex — reveals that the compact design for the display’s flex cables is prone to fatigue and failure, leading to a host of display problems that can’t be easily (or cheaply) fixed.”
“The issue is fairly simple: the current generation of MacBook Pro laptops (2016–present) uses flexible ribbon cables to connect the display to a display controller board beneath the Touch Bar,” Dixon writes. “These cables wrap over the board, where they’re secured by a pair of spring-loaded covers—and they’re subjected to the stress of bending with every opening and closure of the laptop. Within a seemingly short time, those cables are starting to fatigue and tear. The backlight cable is generally the first to go, producing the infamous ‘stage light’ symptoms, and eventually giving out entirely when the laptop is opened more than about 40°.”
“Apple opted for thin, fragile flex cables as opposed to the beefier wire cables used in previous designs that could be routed through the hinge instead of wrapped around it, helping mitigate the stress of repeated openings and closings. But the bigger problem is that, in an apparent effort to make the display as thin as possible, Apple designed the cables as part of the display, so they cannot be replaced,” Dixon writes. “This means that when (not if) those cables start to fail, the entire display unit needs to be replaced, as opposed to one or two little cables — effectively turning a $6 problem into a $600 disaster.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: There’s likely to be more fallout from this to come and, depending on how widespread this is, result in an Apple MacBook Pro display repair program eventually.
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