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2012 MacBook Pro: Powers on By Itself on Rough Roads

Among other things, good design means that something works right all the time.

So here’s one irritating issue with the 2012 MacBook Pro

While driving around in the wilds on the bumpy roads of the White Mountains, my MacBook Pro with Retina display keeps waking up. When I pull it out of the leather bag I keep it in, I find that the battery is partly drained, and it is hot.

Apparently the bumps are bumpy enough to press keys on the keyboard just enough to wake it up, whereupon it burns some power and goes back to sleep until the next bumpy section. Or maybe just stays awake if the bumps continue.

So I can’t leave it in sleep mode without the risk of finding a hot and bothered laptop sometime later, with a partly drained battery.

I thought that shutting it down would solve the issue.

But the power-on key is actually a key on the keyboard now, and it too can be jostled and activated, thus booting up a machine stowed in a bag in the back of my SUV.

This is not a supposition; driving along with the MacBook Pro shut down and stowed in a bag in the back of my SUV, I occassionally hear the classic Mac startup 'chong' sound. Well, the power-on key is part of the keyboard in 2012 models, and it too can be jostled and activated, thus booting up a machine stowed in a bag in the back of my SUV. I’ve had to resort to putting it on top of a soft object, like a pillow or sleeping bag. Very elegant.

The older models had a recessed power button, so they could not be powered up by jostling (at least not that I ever found). Perhaps someone at Apple thinks this design is a new and elegant improvement. Or maybe it saves $1 on parts. But a design defect is a design defect. Plenty of people travel with laptops, and perhaps my experience is not an isolated case (air turbulence on an airplane for example).

Mountain biking in the White MountainsMountain biking in the White Mountains

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