They say good things come to those who wait, but they never say you might be twiddling your thumbs until they just plumb fall off. Still, though, a good thing is a good thing, even if you wait the better part of a year to get it. Announcing, ladles and gentlemints, the 15-inch PowerBook G4 Display Repair Extension Program, otherwise known as Apple's Cure for PowerBook Leprosy, the hot portable affliction of late 2003. Applaud if you must, but take care not to clap too hard; there's no evidence that PowerBook leprosy is communicable to humans, but why risk fingers flying all over the room?
Anyway, you remember this, right? Lots of people who bought the long-awaited aluminum 15-inch PowerBook (and even some who bought the earlier titanium models) soon noticed that their displays were coming in a little... patchy. Over time, the lighter spots grew worse and worse, and while we never heard any reports of a screen actually falling off if the condition were left untreated, we remain convinced that Almighty Jobs somehow-- and possibly inadvertently-- smote some of his flock with a laptop variant of that most versatile of biblical plagues, leprosy. Payback for impure thoughts about Sony VAIO subnotebooks or something.
Okay, sure, technically Apple's been curing this disease under the guise of "warranty repair" for ages, now, so it's not so much the cure that's new, but the big public "Whoops!" See, repair extension programs basically continue to cover repairs of specific known problems for a certain time beyond the hardware's original warranty period. In this case, Apple is agreeing to heal those spotty white screens up to two years after the PowerBook was first purchased, which is essentially tacking an extra year on the warranty as far as PowerBook leprosy is concerned. It's more or less Apple saying "hey-- we screwed something up, but we're willing to do the right thing, here."
So here's the scoop: if you've got a 15-inch PowerBook with a serial number that falls between V7334xxxxxx and V7345xxxxxx or QT331xxxxxx and QT339xxxxxx, just follow Apple's simple instructions to determine whether or not your Mac is one of the unclean. If you do see spots before your eyes (oooh, it's like a Rorschach blot-- we see a man in a big suit doing the splits!), call Apple and they'll arrange a no-cost repair. They'll even foot the bill for shipping both ways; you can't get fairer than that. Actually, yes, you can: just as with that iBook Logic Board repair extension program from earlier in the year, if it so happens that you've already shelled out crazy ducats to have the spots problem fixed on an out-of-warranty unit, Apple will actually reimburse you said crazy ducats, making the repair free retroactively. So you can't get fairer than that.
By the way, if the white spots appear even when your PowerBook's off, you're not covered by the repair extension program. But the good news is, the problem won't recur if you learn to use the Delete key instead of correcting your typos with Wite-Out.