back to article Apple MacBook butterfly keyboards 'defective', 'prone to fail' – lawsuit

Two Apple customers, fed up with the keyboards used in recent model MacBook notebooks, filed a lawsuit against the company on Friday in a San Jose, Calif, federal court. Plaintiffs Zixuan Rao, of San Diego, Calif, and Kyle Barbaro, of Melrose, Mass, alleging that Apple's model year 2015 or later MacBooks and model year 2016 or …

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Coat

Perhaps clever Apple software

is recognising that the keyboard is wearing out due to being struck too often and throttles it? Purely in the interest of the user experience, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Perhaps clever Apple software

Welll it's one way to force Apple users into using Siri.

(You have to wonder if producing a less useable keyboard was a deliberate design objective in terms of Siri (to shift the pendulum) in that Apple products/services are designed to compete with each other).

I think we're starting to see Apple for who they really are.

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Re: Perhaps clever Apple software

Who needs a keyboard when you can use a touchscreen - look at this shiny new iPad Pro, sir....

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Quote of the year...

"The Register has asked Apple to comment on the lawsuit. We've not heard back."

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Coat

Re: Quote of the year...

Apple have a reply ready... however they are currently working on a software fix for remapping their space bars before they can type it out...

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Re: Quote of the year...

I'm expecting a typical "you're typing on it wrong" response...

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Paris Hilton

Re: Quote of the year...

As my daughter would say - LOL!

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Happy

Re: Quote of the year...

They would have answered - but couldn't get their keyboards to work.

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Re: Quote of the year...

They tried to write it using the virtual keyboard, but couldn't because their mice were crap too.

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Re: Quote of the year...

Dear Register,

We cannnnnnot find a problemwiththeeeeee keyboards.

Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Quote of the year...

"As my daughter would say - LOL!"

Is she the same age as David Cameron, 51?

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This is

Just so typically Apple.

They have tried to pull this one quite a few times and end up giving in, so why not enhance the customer experience and just admit there's a fault in the first place?

Surely it's what should happen given the fact you pay at least 3 times the manufacturing cost when you buy their technology?

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They must be typing on it wrong

It is highly unlikely the keyboards have any fault, until the contrary is proven I say their keyboards are functioning as intended. Inept users complain too much.

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Facepalm

Re: Highly unlikely?

If that were so, then there would be no cost in offering a repair for *faults* in keyboards, because no staff/engineers would find any when presented. Apple would be falling over backwards to offer everyone to come into store (sales opportunity) to "test" all these working keyboards.

However, if Apple have riveted the entire keyboard into the chassis, above the glued in parts and logic/motherboard, with super thin and easily broken key switches that cannot be externally replaced, and require both an labour intensive and materials/parts expensive replacement of over 50% of the laptop for a single key breaking within warranty, then I assume they will hold this one down in courts for at least the next 7 years!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Form follows function

Surely a company which claims to be as design-led (in the sense of practical industrial design, as opposed to designwankery for the sake of it) as Apple should always remember that form follows function, rather than function (or lack thereof) following form?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Form follows function

Surely a company which claims to be as design-led

they are design led.... but that design is in its form not function.... it has to look pretty first, then shoehorn what they can into it...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Form follows function

If Jony Ive can't wank off to it, it's not a proper Apple design.

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Re: If Jony Ive can't wank off to it, it's not a proper Apple design.

That would at least explain why the keyboards aren't working...

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Re: If Jony Ive can't wank off to it, it's not a proper Apple design.

Perhaps they should take a lead from Microsoft and offer an optional keyboard cum cover?

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Re: Form follows function

"Surely a company which claims to be as design-led (in the sense of practical industrial design, as opposed to designwankery for the sake of it) as Apple should always remember that form follows function, rather than function (or lack thereof) following form?"

It's got to be robust design though and not pretty but impractical design. Rigorous testing and quality control has significantly diminished at Apple since the unfortunate demise of Steve Jobs and that has got to change. "Quality First" ought to be the new mantra (for both products and operating systems).

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Pint

Solution: Morse code

Once the keyboard starts to go bad, then bring up an app to allow text entry using Morse code on any of the remaining still-functional keys. E.g. A quick ddd = s. A slow d d d = o.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Solution: Morse code

They need to bring back the Macbook Wheel.

https://www.theonion.com/apple-introduces-revolutionary-new-laptop-with-no-keybo-1819594761

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The MacBook Wheel

"With Predictive Sentence technology..."

Classic

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Re: Solution: Morse code

Apple will fix this by the high-profile release of another set of Emoji which can only be accessed through the touchbar.

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Re: Solution: Morse code

Apple will fix this by the high-profile release of another set of Emoji which can only be accessed through the touchbar.

Please, this is Apple. Surely you mean Animoji!

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Re: Solution: Morse code

Fair play to the Onion. Other than some of the more outlandish ticker headlines that was an incredibly well made parody!

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Devil

Re: The MacBook Wheel

"With Predictive Sentence technology..."

5 Years Hard Labour -or until the non-replaceable battery dies.

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The complaint, which seeks $5m in damages under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and recognition as a class action, recounted the keyboard failures experienced by the two plaintiffs

Only two plaintiffs for now but you can bet there'll be looking for others.

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Duh!

That's what a class action suit is

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Amateur Transplants

"a month later the notebook's "B" key became unresponsive"

There's seriously a lawsuit based on an Amateur Transplants song?

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Re: Amateur Transplants

Wonder if they have an L

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Re: Amateur Transplants

Lol that was a Dell computer. Guess apple are the new dell

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The only Mac I ever owned had the worst keyboard I've ever used

It was a few years ago now. I went into Mac ownership with an open mind and the expectation of frolicking in the sunny uplands with sexy hardware and lickable iconography.

The software was nice enough, but I really wanted the hardware to be good and it was quite a disappointment. The "L" key and spacebar sometimes failed to register. Screen viewing angles were poor.

The next machine was a T-series ThinkPad running Linux and the difference in hardware quality was very noticeable, even if it didn't look as nice. No idyll in the sunny uplands for me I guess.

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Re: The only Mac I ever owned had the worst keyboard I've ever used

Was it a MacBook Air? The screens on every Mac are fantastic... other than the MacBook Air. Poor angles, poor colour — and the only ~100dpi screens left in the line-up. It's not even a case of Apple leaving another model out to pasture; the screens were noticeably worse than the others at launch.

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Re: The only Mac I ever owned had the worst keyboard I've ever used

Was it a MacBook Air?

It was a late model (~2011) polycarbonate MacBook. Admittedly not the highest-end of Apple machines, but everyone I knew that had one loved them, reasonable spec for the price and - shock - even some user-upgradable parts. I think its original hard drive is still kicking around as the OS disk in my NAS.

And it was OK too. Just not great. The quality for the price I paid was enough to turn me off buying another Mac so I don't really know if an Air or Pro would've been any better.

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Re: The only Mac I ever owned had the worst keyboard I've ever used

My daughter has the latest MacBook Air as it was on her school list and my son has an older MacBook Pro 2012 that I was given & use when I need to test something from a Mac. Both the keyboards are horrible compared to the other laptops I have in the house. Albeit they are all Thinkpad's - T410, T420, 3 X230's, Gen1 X1 Carbon & a T460s. The MacBook keys feel sloppy and have quite a bit of play in them (they wobble) and the typing experience isn't pleasant at all. I've also comapred to a Surface Pro 4 type cover and a new Asus Vivobook and they all beat the MacBooks.

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Re: The only Mac I ever owned had the worst keyboard I've ever used

I've had many laptops of many different brands over the years and I now ONLY use Thinkpad T series machines, it saves a lot of hassle. (and I don't mind the styling, in my mind that's what a laptop SHOULD look like).

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"If you can't make it good, at least make it look good." - Bill Gates

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Anonymous Coward

Except good old Billy G always failed on both of those counts.

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WTF?

A cunning plan?

Presumably there'll be those affected who have simply bought a new, external, keyboard. But have you seen Apple's current keyboard prices? Over £100!! For a keyboard!! Better than $700 to have one repaired, I suppose, but does this current crop of external keyboards also use the apparently feeble - yet seemingly astonishingly expensive - butterfly switches?

I'm a Mac user, and have a number of their 2010-ish-era keyboards that are fab: slim, responsive, reliable. These were sold at around £40 for a wired version, IIRC - a bit pricey, but not completely mad for a decent keyboard. But over £100?!! I'd expect the thing to type by itself for that money.

Next time I need a new Mac keyboard it will be a Macally. And until they come up with a professional computer to hang their "Pro" tagline on - you know, one that can be upgraded here-and-there - I won't be buying any more of those either.

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Re: A cunning plan?

their 2010-ish-era keyboards that are fab: slim, responsive, reliable

In my brief, disappointing, foray into Apple-based computing I found this too. The laptop keyboard was so bad I needed to buy an external 2010-era keyboard. It was really quite good and I'd probably still be using it if I could get my head around the slightly non-standard layout for a non-Apple system.

So they can do good hardware. It just seemed a lot more hit-or-miss than it should have been.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A cunning plan?

£100 for a keyboard isn't that crazy, ergonomic ones go for many hundreds, personally I have an MS keyboard & mouse, about £100, but that is wireless, ergonomic and has a # key!!

But $700 for replacing a keyboard? now that is crazy!

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Joke

IBM Model M Keyboards...

Laughing all the way to the cupboard to get one of those, and heading to Apple to bash some skulls in... BOFH style...

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Re: IBM Model M Keyboards...

CLICK CLICK CLAKETY CLICK

love mine!

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Coffee/keyboard

I love my Cherry keyboard!

I know this isn't really related to Apple nor laptops but keyboards, still... I've been using computers a long time, even up to a time when I still smoked and as a result plenty of ash (and other misery) found its way into my keyboard. But after 30 years (including a few times when I fully dismantled and cleaned the keyboard) it failed on me. And yeah: unfortunately you don't get any warranty after 30 years it seems, strange ;)

It turned out to be a Cherry and after that one I tried many other keyboards and none really felt 'good' to me. I still can't really describe the issue but, a combination of how the keys respond, the noise they make and the overall feel of the keyboard. I just love my Cherry, it can stand plenty of abuse, I can type out blindfolded without any issue and it feels really good to the touch.

So I tried to contact Cherry (link to Wikipedia article), and guess what? Although they didn't carry my specific keyboard model anymore it was possible for them to custom build and ship one! Of course the costs would be higher (seems obvious) but it was doable. So I ordered :) I paid them around E 110,- and waited. It took a while (obviously) and I will be honest: at one point I even wondered if I would receive anything at all but then... it happened! :)

My brand new keyboard got delivered and it's exactly the same touch and feel as I had been accustomed to. And I still use it today, I think we're already a good 10 or so years in. Main change though: I don't smoke anymore (quit a loong time ago) so no more ash and other garbage.

I know this keyboard seems highly over-expensive to some but those don't realize how much time I spent behind the PC (which makes a good keyboard very important) nor do they realize that having a keyboard custom made can never be cheap. The lower prices are a result from mass production afterall, that's simple financial mathematics ;)

My point though: if Cherry can build keyboards which can last for years, even with major negligence and abuse, then why can't Apple? Especially considering the hefty price they charge you.

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Re: I love my Cherry keyboard!

I know this keyboard seems highly over-expensive to some but those don't realize how much time I spent behind the PC

I quite like some of the current "standard" Cherry keyboards. Never got on with the "flat" Apple devices.

In the same vein as your comment, when I set the children up with a Raspberry Pi for homework purposes, people were slightly confused that I spent more on the keyboard (about £40 IIRC) than on the Pi (£30, ignoring the case and PSU). They have to admit that it's quite nice for typing, and since that was the primary purpose of the "homework" computer, it made sense to me.

As I think I've mentioned here before, I think that touch-typing should be on the national curriculum, at least up to the end of primary school, so that children entering secondary have good keyboard skills and are insulated to some extent from behaviours that risk RSIs. Not that the current crop of Chromebooks actually have keyboards terribly suitable for touch typing...

M.

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Re: I love my Cherry keyboard!

They could build keyboards which last for years, but then they stopped producing the last of those, the A1048.

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Re: I love my Cherry keyboard!

All those GAMING mechanical keyboards from Razer, etc, use Cherry switches. They even have a color code, Cherry Red, Cherry Blue, Cherry MX... at least the construction method was copyrighted.

Freaking hipsters took over, now they are expensive as hell.

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-choose-the-best-mechanical-keyboard-and-why-you-511140347

https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_list&c=10

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Re: I love my Cherry keyboard!

I doubt it's due to hipsters, the PC market isn't what it used to be, most computers sold are laptops, and most people aren't bothered enough to to buy a decent keyboard. The market isn't that big.

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Re: I love my Cherry keyboard!

Apple did used to make good keyboards, their old Extended Keyboards of the early 90s were up there with Cherrys for typing feel.

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