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Bad Apples

Nobody likes a bad apple ?Image: Arthur Ward
Nobody likes a bad apple /Image: Arthur Ward

Apple recalls Macbook Airs due to SSD issues

Article: Arthur Ward – Technical Editor

Have you ever gone to the Farmers Market and come across the most deep red and juicy looking apple only to find out its spoiled when you take that first bite? Yuck! That’s just a bad experience—one that some Apple users are experiencing.

On Oct. 17, Apple announced that certain 64GB and 128GB solid-state storage drives (SSD) used in the previous generation of MacBook Air systems are faulty. The latest MacBook Air models that feature the new Haswell processors don’t seem to be affected as the recall is for the models that were sold between June 2012 and June 2013.

According to Apple’s website, you can find out if your drive is affected by going to the Mac App Store, clicking on updates and choosing the MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1. If a firmware update doesn’t appear, your model is not listed for recall and you should have no worries. The firmware update will test your drive to see if it is affected.

If your drive is affected, Apple is offering a free replacement of your MacBook Air’s solid-state storage drive. Affected users will have to schedule an appointment with an Apple Genius (Apple certified customer support technician) at their local Apple retail store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider to get their device replaced.

Users can experience unexpected loss of their data, therefore the company recommends you shouldn’t install any new operating systems or apps which is a major disappointment for Mac addicts considering the new release this week of OS Mavericks, Apple’s latest operating system. Data stored on the defective drives should be backed up as soon and as often as possible.

Apple’s free replacement program is only applicable to models that are less than three years old after the first retail sale of that model.

Quick Facts about Solid-state Storage Drives (SSD):

Durability: Solid-state storage drives are essentially hard drives without any spinning disks or moving parts. They can be thought of as a huge flash internal flash drive that your computer uses to store data. Because there are no moving parts, SSDs are much more durable than hard disk drives and can survive drops and falls. It’s for this reason that they are highly favored by the military.

Speed: SSDs are generally much faster than traditional hard disk drives. It takes a SSD less than one millisecond to access memory, whereas the spinning disks of a hard drive take about 17 milliseconds. This significant improvement in memory access time allows for programs to run much faster on computers with SSDs.

Life span: When compared to hard disk drives, SSDs have a few downfalls. The flash memory has a low endurance when it comes to write cycles causing it to have very low data retention. In other words, the more you use SSDs the lower their performance becomes over time. However, you can prolong the life of your SSD by avoiding the use of traditional disk defragmenters when trying to optimize space on your drive. Defragmenters use a lot of write cycles and reduces the life span of your SSD.

Cost: The high cost of SSDs is currently their biggest disadvantage. The price per gigabyte is considerably higher than traditional hard drives. Therefore, common sizes available today on the market are 256GB and 512GB models.

About Frank Nordstrom

One comment

  1. Apple quality control and over all quality of MacBook Air is very poor. I bought a Mac Book Air in November 2011 and last week the SSD has failed. The local apple service store has demanded a cost of approx. USD 400.00 to replace the SSD. They confirm that the item bought in November 2011 a re not covered by recall programme.
    The SSD are supposed to be more stable and long lasting.
    An apple computer is normally double the cost of a window machine for similar configuration. I have at my home Window laptops working perfectly fine since the last 7 to 10 years and these probably can run for another 5 years without problems.
    Looking at the cost I feel that buying an unreliable apple laptop was a costly mistake.
    Time to switch back to Windows.