Apple's 5 biggest MacBook fails

Apple MacBook
(Image credit: Dave Caudery/Mac Format)

When it comes to laptops, Apple have had more hits than ABBA. That’s because Apple consistently pushes the limits of what’s possible both in terms of design and technology, constantly redefining what mobile computing should be. Wireless networking, all-day battery life, incredible displays and even more incredible performance are all things we take for granted today, but they’re all the result of Apple’s constant research and innovation.

However, it's not all been rosy. Apple’s first portable Mac was a bit of a disaster, and there have been a few more missteps along the way to today’s hardware heaven. Here, we look back at the worst laptop fails of the past 30 years. If you can forgive Apple these sins and still want a new machine, then see our best MacBooks buying guide.

01. The Hindenbook

Apple MacBook

(Image credit: Apple)

The 1995 PowerBook 5300 should have been famous for its tech: it was the first Apple laptop to use the PowerPC processor. Sadly it was better known for its propensity to overheat and burst into flames, earning it the nickname Hindenbook.

02. Upside-down Apple

Apple MacBook

(Image credit: Apple)

Steve Jobs was adamant: the glowing Apple logo on the lid of the PowerBook should be the right way up when the laptop was closed. Unfortunately that meant it looked upside down to everyone else. Some film-makers even covered it up.

03. The Touch Bar

Apple MacBook

(Image credit: Apple)

We quite liked it, but the Touch Bar introduced in the 2016 MacBook Pro was loathed by many because it made some things more complex – eg, adjusting the brightness took a tap and a slide where previously you’d tap a key.

04. Butterfly keyboard

Apple MacBook

(Image credit: Future)

The best keyboards use scissor switches because they work well. But Apple binned theirs in the 2015 MacBook in favour of thinner, louder, stickier and less comfortable ‘butterfly’ switches that favoured looks over performance.

05. The Delaminators

Apple MacBook

(Image credit: Future)

The introduction of Retina displays didn’t go smoothly: many 2015 12in MacBooks suffered delamination – when the anti-glare coating starts to detach from the screen. Apple very quietly initiated a replacement programme.

This feature was originally published in MacFormat magazine. Subscribe here (opens in new tab).

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Carrie Marshall is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, broadcaster and musician from Glasgow, where she lives with her two children, a greyhound and more guitars than are strictly necessary. A professional writer since 1998, Carrie is particularly interested in how technology can help us live our best lives and has written thousands of features, columns, reviews and news stories for a huge range of magazines, newspapers, websites and trade publications including T3, Techradar, MacFormat, BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend.