Apple Recalls MacBook Air Just Before Unveiling New MacBook Pro
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has recalled the 64GB and 128GB iterations of last year's MacBook Air.
Apple issued the recall for MacBook Air units that were purchased between June 2012 and June 2013, warning that the flash storage drives may fail. The company will replace the affected drives free of charge.
To see if a MacBook Air needs repairing, Apple has released a special update (MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1) that will test the drive to see if it is affected. If it is, the MacBook will automatically direct consumers to Apple's support page for further instructions.
Apple also provided the following notice:
IMPORTANT: If your drive is affected, we strongly recommend that you do not install any operating system updates or new applications. We also recommend backing up your data on a regular basis until you receive a replacement drive. Learn more about backup options.
All repairs will be facilitated by an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
Once the repair is complete, Apple promised that users will be able to reinstall the operating system version that shipped with the product by going to the Mac App Store. This will be good news to those who don't want to be forced to upgrade to a different OS.
However, Apple reiterated that users should backup all other applications and data, as they will not be able to retrieve personal files from Apple.
Users who may have already paid to repair a defective hard drive can talk to Apple about a possible refund.
Apple is expected to unveil new iMac and/or MacBook Pro upgrades at its long-awaited event next week. While Apple is likely to focus on the next-generation iPad units (Mini and full-size iterations), the event promo line is, "We still have a lot to cover." This suggests that the company will talk about more than one product category.
By having to recall the MacBook Air today, some consumers may be less enthused when the new Macs are unveiled. They may hold back on making a purchase because they fear the new Pros be recalled as well. They may also have doubts about the flash storage drives, which are supposed to be more durable and more reliable than traditional hard drives.
This shouldn't have too big of an impact on future Mac sales. But if another recall follows, it could change the sentiment consumers have toward the product.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.