Tuesday, June 13, 2006

White MacBook Turning Shades of Yellow

Some users have reported the palm rest area, touchpad and mousepad of their new white MacBooks has begun to discolor

A few weeks ago DailyTech reported that a user at an Apple store had seen flaking on a black MacBook less than 24 hours after the MacBooks initial release, fortunately that seems to have been an isolated case. Last week DailyTech reported that some MacBooks had accidently left the factory with a clear piece of plastic covering the rear air vent. Now some users on the Apple support forums are reporting moderate to severe discoloration near the palm rest and other locations of their new white MacBooks. At least one user has posted images of the problem to Flickr.

The cause of the discoloration isn’t clear but many users are speculating as to the cause. Some think that it might be due to the cleanliness of the user’s hands, while others think that it may be a chemical reaction of the plastic to the user’s body chemistry. A few others believe that it may even be a heat related issue. Apple has not officially confirmed the issue yet.

One thing is clear however, removing the yellow discoloration is rather difficult. Users have tried a verity of products to removing the discoloration with little to no success. Among the remedies tried has been the popular iKlean line of products, Windex and even the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser all with different degrees of success.

Due to the location heat seems like the least likely culprit, as only the battery and hard drive reside under the palm rest area. However heat can’t be completely ruled out as the cause as at least one user has reported seeing the condition above the keyboard near where the screen and computer connect, where normal wear is much less likely to occur. Incidentally this is near where the heat sink for the processor resides.

A possible preventative measure has been suggested by one of the users of Apple’s support forum. They suggest using clear static cling vinyl film to cover the palm rest. This doesn’t prevent the discoloration appearing on the touchpad or mouse button but it might be a viable option for some MacBook owners.

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