I have to believe this is a general hardware bug, or a system software bug, because it happens on both my 13" 2.7GHz MacBook Pro, and my 17" 2.5GHz MacBook Pro.
I close the lid on the MacBook Pro, putting it to sleep. Or I should say that I assumed I was putting it to sleep— perhaps the machine never really goes to sleep, but crashes somehow, resulting in the following problem.
Some time later, I notice that the MacBook Pro is very hot, with the fans are running at full blast. Opening the lid, the screen is black and the MBP is unresponsive— black screen no response of any kind. A hard reboot is needed to restore functionality.
With the 17" model, this behavior was after all the latest updates prior to Nov 11, 2011.
I have to say that sleep is flaky on all Macs because I’ve had all models of Macs I own sometimes go into sleep-crash mode: black screen, won’t wake up, force reboot by cutting the power.
Yeap… it does that with my MBP 15" 2.8 GHz Core i7/8 GB/OS 10.6.8 too! BUT not with my MBP 13" 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo/4GB/OS 10.6.8.
Go work that out!? Very frustrated with Apple support!
From Dan K
My wife just had exactly the same issue with her 2-3 year old 15" MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard. I wonder if it had something to do with the end of DST - or maybe just a coincidence?
From Frank D
I’m not sure this is the same issue, but it’s not unusual in my experience. Other readers have written about similar problems.
While the 13" model is an excellent one (see my comments), the 15" model has a larger screen and anti-glare option; it would be my choice for airplane travel.
I've been an avid follower of your site and saw your section on sleep problems. I purchased a new MBP 13" (this is my first Mac), got it all configured, etc and connected it to an external monitor. I selected mirroring for the display since I wanted to close the MBP while connected to an external monitor. When I closed the MBP lid it shut down the external monitor, then froze and I couldn't hard boot. I disconnected the external monitor and power supply but still couldn't hard reboot. I thought I'd let the battery run down and then try it. Nope, after a few minutes the disk started spinning and the laptop started to get warm. I packed everything up and headed to the Apple store.
The Apple store was great, they were willing to refund my money (or replace the unit with new MBP). I decided to get the refund because I'm now evaluating options and considering the 15 inch model BTO with hi res antiglare screen.
Thanks for sharing you experience with the same problem -