Although it doesn't appear to be a widespread problem, Apple said it has "received a few reports that some MacBook consumer notebooks may have hard drive issues, and we're looking into it."

Apple didn't say which drives could be affected, but UK-based Retrodata reported earlier this year that Seagate 2.5-inch drives with firmware revision 7.01 are causing potential data loss.

"The read/write heads appear to fail mechanically, quickly causing deep scratches to the platter surface, and rendering the drives practically unrecoverable," the company reported. You can check your firmware revision in the System Profiler application.

According to Alkas Ali, a director at data recovery specialist DiskEng, it is difficult to pinpoint specific hard disks with design flaws, due to the high volumes of faulty disks they encounter.

"Damage to magnetic platters are a normal type of failure for laptops," Ali said. "This can be caused by temperature related issues or if the read/write head oscillates." However he conceded that if the read/write heads are detaching from the arm, that is a design flaw. But he warned that you would need to see several hundred or several thousand drives with this problem to know for sure there is a design flaw.