back to article At last! Apple admits its MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards utterly suck, offers free replacements

Apple has finally admitted the utterfly-mechanism keyoards in its Macook ad Macook Pro laptops are diaolical, and has offered free repairs and replacemets. It's funy what tens of thousads of complaints and a lawsuit will do. These minimalist noteook keyoards, asically, are terrile: the key tops fall off, ad they ecome …

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Took me a minute...

Yep, it did. El Reg got me. Again

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Re: Took me a minute...

ot ad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Took me a minute...

Apple's proprietary QUIRKY keyboard design.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Took me a minute...

Given the amount of builder's dust still settling on Apple's Campus, maybe the problem has come home to roost, for Tim Cook.

There's nothing like experiencing the problem yourself.

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Re: Took me a minute...

hink differen

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Re: Took me a minute...

Genius :D

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Took me a minute...

I bought the only MacBookPro late 2016 model available without the OLED-touch-bar crap. It came with only two USB-C ports and no friggy other ports at all. One of the two USB-C ports is always needed for power. What a "great" experience. Of course, the crappy keyboard has such shitty keys, like no other notebook (only the the Surface tablet keyboard is known to be worse). I switched back to ThinkPad T-series running Hackintosh.

Johnny Eve is an idiot! Steve Jobs is rotating is his crave.

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Re: Took me a minute...

Johnny Eve is an idiot! Steve Jobs is rotating is his crave.

You've got one of those keyboards I see. But Jony Ive is the industrial designer concerned with appearance and aesthetics. He's not specifying the product, I doubt he gets a say on the type and number of ports. You'll have to pin your problems on somebody else.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Took me a minute...

> Jony Ive is the industrial designer concerned with appearance and aesthetics

Exactly. Form over function.

We all want the damn MacBookPro keyboard to work fine and be usable. Yet this Jony Ive wants it too look nice and unique but doesn't care about anything else. That's the problem. He is the problem.

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Re: Took me a minute...

I bought the only MacBookPro late 2016 model available without the OLED-touch-bar crap.

I waited for that round of new MacBooks to come out, then eagerly went to a store to try them. I absolutely hated the feel of the short-travel keyboard, even when it was brand new and the keys worked. This was also before it was general knowledge that you have to replace the entire keyboard assembly and half of the case if just one key goes bad.

I ended up buying a refurb 2015 core i7 MBP for several hundred dollars less, with a full complement of ports. I feel like I dodged a bullet.

(PS: Please don't bother replying about how I 'shoulda bought a Dell' or whatever. I have owned many PCs, and still have 3 Win7 boxen. The entire reason for buying a MacBook was to escape the Windows 10 slurp. And yes, I've tried Linux; the driver and hardware support for professional audio recording is terrible.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Took me a minute...

> It came with only two USB-C ports and no friggy other ports at all

Bet that was a surprise...it's not like there are specifications and reviews all over the place. Ever considered you weren't buying a machine that suited your requirements? Or was it just new and shiny so you had to have it anyway?

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Re: Took me a minute...

It came with only two USB-C ports and no friggy other ports at all. One of the two USB-C ports is always needed for power. What a "great" experience.

And with the appropriate dongle that charging port can be simultaneously used for charging and other purposes.

Don't get me wrong, I do hate the minimalist number of ports these days that means you have to start carrying around multiple dongles - ethernet, video, hubs/port replicators - but it is possible to have more than 2 things connected via the lightning ports.

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Re: Took me a minute...

The keyboard for an Apple laptop was once a removable board that was attached to the motherboard with a cable. Now the keyboards are built into the case and can't be lifted out, increasing repair costs or making it impossible to repair. Unfortunately, Apple also didn't design the keyboard keys to last, so we get problems like with this butterfly keyboard. I like being able to type on my laptop keyboard while water is pouring down over it, and the keys are usable even while wearing gloves. For the price Apple charges, the company should be able to put that sort of quality into its products instead of trying to aesthetically-improve technology that didn't need fixing and at the expense of functionality. I miss Steve.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Took me a minute...

The stickiness of Apple is starting to wear thin.

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ck!

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Nicely done.

Did the spell-checker on Word have conniptions, putting red squiggles under every single word, or did it just give up in despair?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nicely done.

I actually switch that off when I'm creating original content as it tends to interrupt my already fragile train of thought - I rather do spell check afterwards.

Besides, most of my posts develop errors when I hit submit :).

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Re: Nicely done.

I thought they used TeX or DocBook or something!

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Happy

Re: Nicely done.

"Besides, most of my posts develop errors when I hit submit :)."

I am going to use this for work now. Thank you :)

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Re: Nicely done.

I'm an Engineer. I don't need to be able to spell properly. I only need to know that it is possible and what the tolerance limits for wrong spelling are for the particular job. Spell checking is a later process that comes well after the inspiration phase of the project.

For example, when designing an aircraft I would expect very small tolerances when writing the specification document. When writing a political manifesto plus/minus 50% is to be expected and permitted.

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Re: Nicely done.

clippit had a heart attack.

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Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

Unless something has been done to fundamentally improve the design, you still end up with a keyboard that is, at best, fragile.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

I thought Apple might produce a Touchbar mode to automatically display keys that Apple's (state of the art) AI shows are sticking, so they could be selected from the Touchbar instead.

Now, that would have been very Apple.

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

Everyone sending their laptop off every few months just because Apple's too proud to admit the keyboard design is crap could get expensive for them.

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

AFAIK, they will only repair Macs that are less than 4 years old and I imagine that they will find some way of weaseling out of many repairs- citing 3rd screen replacements or scratches on the lid, insisting that keyboard faults are constant rather than intermittent, etc.

You don't get to be the richest firm in the world by being good guys.

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

@Dan 55 let's just say, I have a very small violin, you could maybe even call it "world's tiniest"...

seriously though, hubris getting punished only causes me schadenfreude, and apple has plenty of hubris

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

> Now, that would have been very Apple.

Surprised they didn't claim people are holding it wrong, this time around.

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

Not only is the keyboard design crap, but the idea of riveting them to the case is crap too. The laptop I am using now is 10 years old and I wore out the keyboard... $20 for a new OEM keyboard and a five minute install and it was back in tip top shape. I know Apple devices are meant to be thrown away and not repaired (despite costing considerably more than my repairable Asus laptop), but that's just ridiculous.

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

I like using the term enforced obsolescence. Apple refuse to officially release board schematics, repair tools, procedures and replacements parts outside their authorised repair centres. When Apple don't want to repair your equipment... Tough. But. Apple are almost saintly compared to the Microsoft Surface laptop which can't be repaired without destroying it.

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

I know Apple devices are meant to be thrown away and not repaired (despite costing considerably more than my repairable Asus laptop), but that's just ridiculous.

Sadly, that seems to be the norm now with high-end "design-focused" laptops from many vendors, not just Apple. It's weird to me that I can easily upgrade the RAM, HDD/SSD, keyboard, etc. on almost any $400-500 laptop, while a $1500 model is likely to be a sealed-up, glued-together brick with soldered RAM and storage.

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

Ummmmm, not exactly true.

Managed to get my MacBook Pro (late-2013) repaired under an old callback to replace the screen because of faulty anti-glare layer that disintegrates after some harsh contact with the touchpad due to pressure of the closure. It was technically out-of-date. They're genuinely very good if you tell them honestly and state the callback on the phone. Another £300 not required to spend to get another few years out of the laptop. Being the richest, you generally get to ace at customer service. The big boys always get complaints surfaced because media like a good storm in a teacup.

Wonder if Microsoft/HP/Dell do that same? Probably not. I know Lenovo are better with their pro grade laptops.

And the issue with all USB-C isn't that bad. Wish they'd give a USB3/HDMI dongle with laptops, but you can get one for £15/20 (Kanex).

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Re: Er, this Doesn't Really Fix the Problem...

It was technically out-of-date. They're genuinely very good if you tell them honestly and state the callback on the phone. Another £300 not required to spend to get another few years out of the laptop.

You think you got special treatment but you didn't, it's only because it's a design fault that's in their list that they can't wiggle out in either the EU (consumer rights) or US (class action) so they're forced to extend the guarantee.

But then four years after purchase they declare your product obsolete just because and say they'll no longer repair it.

Non-retina 2012 MacBook Pros with two video cards aren't covered despite also having the same display issues as Retina 2012 MacBook Pros. They wouldn't touch them with a barge pole, strictly statutory guarantee period only.

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We had one of ours fail - out of notional warrenty. Forced Apple to replace it through the lageal protection available to buyers who have a reasonable expectation of a decent product that works beyond 1 year. Mind you it took a very snotty letter from a tame solicitor to force them to do it with a threat of legal action.

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May I ask in which country are you based?

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this would work in the UK. especially if purchased with a credit card. You could get your CC to do the fighting for you too.

1 year is not a reasonable lifetime for a keyboard.

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bex

Optional

Macbook keyboards have been crap going back all the way back to the shitty plastic one were bits fell off the top case. Until I say the light I had the mentioned above not so plastic fantastic, then a 13 inch 2011 MacBook "pro". Both of them would miss keys occasionally and christ they were uncomfortable on the fingers.

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Anonymous Coward

We’ve two 2015 MacBooks bought on student discount (AppleCare for £50) and between them we’ve had 4 new keyboards, a new screen and a new main board. I should have bought the pro but even that is ruined.

They’ve been utter sh1te. I will keep them for now because I endlessly hope that Apple will pull their head out of their 4r5e and stop claiming a laptop with awful keyboard and needs a dongle to plug in a mouse or usb stick no proper USB ports is a “Pro” machine.

I’ve got 2 Lenovo Thinkpads issued by work (T450 and a T470) and a X240 I got off eBay for myself and they’re so much nicer to use apart from the OS.

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apart from the OS.

You can always install Linux (or Hackintosh them into macOS, if you don't give a shoot about the law).

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[...] stop claiming a laptop with awful keyboard and needs a dongle to plug in a mouse or usb stick no proper USB ports is a “Pro” machine.

I know this is a matter of opinion, but I actually rather like the port strategy on the current MacBook Pro. It's clean and forward-looking. I carry a multiport dongle that has USB, HDMI, SD card & ethernet and just use that when needed. I have another dock on my desk that has a fuller range of ports and also provides power (which reminds me of when I used to use a docking station with my old Thinkpad, yet more convenient). But I know this is personal preference - all these adapters add £££ to the overall cost, and many people just find dongles annoying.

I'm not going to defend the shitty keyboards though.

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Anonymous Coward

T420 here running Linux(es/s/ii?) and it works wonderfully. I install different distros onto USBs and play away. I know I could create VMs of each but I like the way I do it, just for me, at home :)

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TVU
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Hey, what's this quality control thing?

"We’ve two 2015 MacBooks bought on student discount (AppleCare for £50) and between them we’ve had 4 new keyboards, a new screen and a new main board. I should have bought the pro but even that is ruined"

What this amply demonstrates is that that there has been a decline in initial design and then quality control and that both aspects have really got to be improved by Cook & Co.

From an external perspective, it looks like they just don't care any more, particularly about professional users, and that they're effectively turning the MacBook range into high value, but less than useful, lifestyle brand goods for updating Facebook accounts, etc.

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I actually rather like the port strategy on the current MacBook Pro. It's clean and forward-looking. I carry a multiport dongle that has USB, HDMI, SD card & ethernet and just use that when needed.

1982 called and wants its ZX Interface 1 and row of Microdrives off the side back.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hey, what's this quality control thing?

Lifestyle indeed, i blame that woman from Burberry who joined them, in partnership with Johnny Rotten, style over substance. Pro range is now just for aspiring wannabes, completely unsuitable for professionals. Apple are going to lose their core base quickly at this rate.

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As much as I hate to defend Apple, especially on such a contentious issue, but I can think of a couple of instances where they have predicted changes in computing by removing certain features - e.g. no floppy drive in the iMac, no optical drive in the Macbook. And - I know this is unpopular here - no easily replacable battery in the iPhone. I'll keep my removable storage and 3.5mm jack though, thanks.

Personally, I prefer a proper docking station - which is why I'm clinging on to my 2014 E-series Dell. The new ones use those fiddly USB-C port expander things.

P.S. Not an Apple user. I have a few broken iPhones people have dumped on me, and a Mac Plus. Spent several hours trying to install Mac OS on a regular PC, without success.

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Oh, and I almost bought a Macbook Pro 17" a few years ago as it was pretty much the last remaining laptop with a big 16:10 screen. Then they fxcking went and discontinued it.

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1982 called and wants its ZX Interface 1 and row of Microdrives off the side back.

I had the Interface 1, but only one microdrive. That was enough. I recall it slightly melted the underside of my Spectrum too, such was its monster power.

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Re: Hey, what's this quality control thing?

Apple are going to lose their core base quickly at this rate.

With Windows 10 being unusable rubbish, people are saying the same thing about the Windows platform. Where are the Apple people going to go? Linux would be good, but there's still a lot of people who need to run software that comes in Mac and Windows form, but not Linux. If only Apple would offer MacOS as a standalone product...

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@gotes

Spent several hours trying to install Mac OS on a regular PC, without success.

Except for AMD PCs and Intel Atom/Pentium/Celeron, every PC I saw out there could run macOS like a charm ...

Try again from scratch. If you do it correctly, it will run, even better than Windows, and arguably smoother than Linux.

@Updraft102

but there's still a lot of people who need to run software that comes in Mac and Windows form, but not Linux.

There is an open-source project called Wine. It emulates Win32 APIs on macOS and Linux making you able to run quite a lot of Windows programs (including Photoshop, the most common complaint).

If only Apple would offer MacOS as a standalone product...

Then it would be as successful as OS/2, because there's an immense number of PC configurations.

And there's their brand and image, which cost money and would be wasted by this move.

Not to forget the malware spike.

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Oddly, you've relieved my pain a little. I'm on my 3rd Acer Aspire keyboard, which is again having "mood swings", waking up forgetting short cuts (Linux Mint) and language switches. Is it so hard to make a decent keyboard? My old Thinkpads took a pounding (old journo here) and begged for more, even after the characters wore off. Might follow your lead on the X240.

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my galaxy note 3 has better connectivity and repair options than apple products.

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