Apple admits MacBook drives broken

Apple has admitted that a batch of Macbook laptops were shipped with defective hard drives.

The Cupertino company says that "a very small percentage" of hard drives used in MacBook systems sold betweeen May 2006 and December 2007 are liable to fail "under certain conditions".

Anyone with a black or white 13-inch MacBook with a 1.83GHz, 2GHz, or 2.16GHz processor and a 60GB, 80GB, 100GB, 120GB, or 160GB hard drive who gets a flashing question mark on screen and failure to boot can get a free repair, even if the hardware is out of warranty.

Anyone who has paid for an official Apple repair on one of the affected drives can also get a full refund of the costs involved, according to the support post.

The repair program currently covers affected MacBook models for three years from their original date of purchase or until August 15, 2010 whichever provides longer coverage. Apple says it will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions if needed.

As expected, Apple is staying tight-lipped about the cause of the malfunction.