The Consumer Complaints Board of the National Consumer Agency sent the iBook to an independent electronics lab after receiving regular complaints from Apple customers in Denmark. Delta found that the problem stemmed from a solder joint that loosened slightly every time the iBook was turned off and on.
"It is a bit like a person dying a little bit every time he breathes because the cells break down," board lawyer Frederik Boesgaard Navne said. in a statement released this week. "In the same way, the computer dies a little every time you turn it on and off."
Apple was not immediately available for comment.
The board said its findings could have global implications, claiming that "thousands" of Apple customers all over the world have tried to get the company to acknowledge the flaw and replace the computers. "The question now is whether Apple is going to go on denying that there is a design flaw in the same type of computer in the world outside Denmark's borders," the board said.
Once the solder joint breaks, power no longer flows between two components, causing the iBook to power down, the lab found. IBook owners unable to get Apple to fix the problem were able to get their machines to reboot by attaching a clamp to a particular area of the computer, or taking the machine partially apart and nudging cardboard shims in place. In both cases, the added pressure reestablished the connection between the components.
Apple has rejected customer complaints on the grounds that there was no proven design flaw, or that the machine's12-month guarantee had expired, the board said. Apple has settled a number of cases in Denmark based on the board's investigation.