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Butterfly on a keyboard

Photos by Engin Akyurt and Leonard Jarro

10 comments

Class-Action Suit Filed against Apple for MacBook Butterfly Keyboards

TechRepublic reports that the controversy surrounding the butterfly-switch keyboards in Apple’s recent laptops is growing. Apple introduced these keyboards with the MacBook in 2015 and brought them to the MacBook Pro the following year. Users have found that keys can jam or otherwise be rendered inoperable by something as small as a speck of dust. If cleaning doesn’t work, the entire top case of the laptop must be replaced, at an out-of-warranty cost of $350 for the MacBook or $700 for the MacBook Pro. Despite a litany of complaints, Apple has remained unresponsive, leading to a class-action lawsuit against the company. It claims:

Apple’s butterfly keyboard and MacBook are produced and assembled in such a way that when minimal amounts of dust or debris accumulate under or around a key, keystrokes fail to register. The keyboard defect compromises the MacBook’s core functionality. As a result of the defect, consumers who purchased a MacBook face a constant threat of non-responsive keys and accompanying keyboard failure.

It’s a shame this situation has devolved to the point of a class-action lawsuit, and it reflects poorly on Apple’s hardware quality. We hope the company will address the issue soon with a repair program.

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Comments About Class-Action Suit Filed against Apple for MacBook Butterfly Keyboards

Notable Replies

  1. I really hope Apple gets slapped hard for this. This is a direct consequence of their neglect for the Mac coupled with their shoddy QA. I wonder why the even attempt to keep up the appearance. Obviously, they’re not really interested in the Mac anymore. Either they start taking it serious again, or they should just admit to giving it up. Hopefully public humiliation in unison with a juicy fine will encourage them to make that decision.

  2. I think it’s a bit overboard to claim that Apple doesn’t care about the Mac. The fact they worked on coming up with a new keyboard shows that to be false—even if the new keyboard is flawed.

    The amount of people complaining about the keyboards are relatively small in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough that Apple clearly needs to acknowledge the problem, if for no other reason than it’s killing potential sales.

    I for one will not buy one until they revise the keyboard so I don’t even have to consider it when purchasing. Before this issue, my only consideration was the lack of 32 GB of RAM. Now, even if they announce a 32 GB RAM option, I still won’t buy one because I can’t be without the thing due to a flawed keyboard that could cause me to go days or more without it while it’s being fixed.

  3. What’s false is believing because Apple does something on the Mac they actually care about it. In fact, doing something half-baked and then unleashing it on the public is what I’d expect when you don’t care. Not fixing it and waiting to see if you get forced to do so by lawsuit is when don’t care and you’re a jerk.

    Recall, Apple used to be known for care to detail.

    All my colleagues that had to get a new MBP hate the new KB. None that have had it for more than six months don’t have at least one key that’s sticky. Those of us lucky enough to be on a ~2015 MBP are holding on to them for as long as humanly possible. My 2013 MBP never had a single key act up. After 5 years, still just fine. No way Apple is getting any of my money or my department’s orders until they get their act together. Pro means something. Act accordingly.

  4. Let’s not get too far into the weeds of assigning emotions to companies. I think it’s safe to say that Apple doesn’t want the keyboard in the MacBook Pro to be bad, but that doesn’t mean the engineering tradeoffs to make it so thin haven’t created some unfortunate and unanticipated consequences. The question is, what will Apple do to fix these issues for users.

  5. Funny this comes up, because on my May 2015 MBP and my 2008 unibody MP, I’ve had multiple keys wear. The MBP has 3 worn and light shines through. I attempted to get it repaired at the store and it turns out the “N” key had a partially broken clip so they couldn’t fix it on the spot. I have to send it out Monday and hope I can get my software working again on the 2008 that I recently wiped clean.

    Diane

  6. Simon

        May 19
    

    GraphicMac:
    The fact they worked on coming up with a new keyboard shows that to be false—even if the new keyboard is flawed.

    What’s false is believing because Apple does something on the Mac they actually care about it. In fact, doing something half-baked and then unleashing it on the public is what I’d expect when you don’t care. Not fixing it and waiting to see if you get forced to do so by lawsuit is when don’t care and you’re a jerk.

    There is a problem with the new keyboard, but it is a problem that can be fixed. The fact that Apple is still manufacturing Macs and MacBook Pros, updating them frequently and adding lots of new software and hardware features proves that they are very invested in Macs and keeping them at the center of the Apple ecosystem. It is far from being buried in the graveyard with iPod, Apple I and II, Lisa, whatever the Apple branded Motorola phone was. It’s far from being relegated to hardware hospice, like Airport or Cinema Display.

    I think the problem is with Apple Care. They should be able to get this fixed quickly to everyone’s satisfaction

    Recall, Apple used to be known for care to detail.

    Compared to Samsung, HP, etc. they do have remarkable attention to detail. And there have been no problems of the magnitude of the Samsung exploding fireball phones, and then headphones, that necessitated global recalls after to serious injuries were frequently covered in the press. And HP had exploding laptop batteries.

    Marilyn

  7. I believe that the keyboard lawsuit depends on finding evidence that Apple executives believed that the keyboard was defective and decided to produce the MacBooks anyway. While I am unhappy about the vulnerability of the current MacBook Pro keyboards and believe that Apple should provide a 5-10 year warrantee on them, I don’t find merits.

    While Apple has ignored the Macs for some time they are showing renewed interested. I would like to see Apple do more experimentation. I would like the laptop line to tell a story, it is very muddled right now.

  8. And there’s even a Jonathan Mann song and video about it!

  9. I expect that there will be a refresh of the keyboard and that Apple will not say anything at all. I doubt that they will back down from the butterfly keyboard and I don’t think the failure rate is high enough for Apple to see it as a huge issue.

    That said, I think Apple is wrong on this one, and I think there are a lot of people out there like my wife who have a keyboard that is wonky and unreliable but cannot be bothered to take it in for service.

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