Apple has been forced to completely redesign the MagSafe power adapter for its MacBook Pro laptops. The plans come after a litany of complaints from users and a number of incidents which have seen the adapter's cables fray, spark, melt and even catch fire. The existing 85W adapter is currently no longer available to buy from the online Apple UK Store.
The MagSafe adapter has been in trouble almost since its inception. Users have complained of poor strain relief on the cables at both the power adapter end, and also where the cable meets the MagSafe connection, says AppleInsider.
MagSafe, in case you don't know, is a magnetic power connector that has been designed to automatically disconnect itself if the cable is pulled. Handy if you don't want your laptop to end up on the floor if the cable gets snagged.
MagSafe or not?
Users have also complained that the magnetic pins on the MagSafe connector don't always engage properly. And others complain that the power indicator line on the MagSafe connector - which glows orange when the battery is being charged, and green when it's full - doesn't work properly either.
The 85W adapter for the MacBook Pro isn't the only one affected. Dozens of MacBook owners are also complaining about the 60W version, which has an identical design, on the UK Apple Store. Here's one example from user JP:
"I have had a Macbook for 12 months now. I have just bought my third power adaptor. They are ludicrously expensive, terribly designed and plain dangerous! My first one broke as the wires became bare through no more than usual use. My second one burned through the wire casing and shorted... Lets see what happens this time. Thirs time lucky? It better be as I dread to think what's next!!"
Another user - LJ - writes:
"I have had my laptop for 18 months and this will be the 4th that I have bought. This product is overpriced and next to useless. It just stops working though one had obviously overheated. To be honest it's rubbish."
Users are vehemently critical of Apple because damage to the adapter often isn't covered either by Apple's 12 month standard warranty, or the three year AppleCare one. Instead it's seen as normal wear and tear, forcing users to hand over £59 every time they need a replacement.
It's not yet clear whether MacBook Pro users will be offered the new MagSafe Power Adapter free of charge as part of some kind of safety recall. We think it would be a good idea, and would help salvage Apple's reputation for good design and build quality.