back to article The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand

Apple's butterfly keyboards can be thwarted by little more than a speck of sand. This is according to do-it-yourself repair guru Kyle Wiens of iFixit, who bemoaned the sorry state of the Cupertino idiot-tax racket's laptops in an analysis yesterday on his company's blog. Calling out Apple for its shoddy craftsmanship, Wiens …

  1. Paul Herber Silver badge

    Could be worse

    Could be dust in your eyepad.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Could be worse

      I remember James May pronouncing it IPP-pod... I seriously wondered if that was actually the Brit pronunciation.

      1. Brenda McViking

        Re: Could be worse

        Given the insistance of the use of the lowercase "i:" ipp-od is the correct use from those of us who defend the language of the realm. If Messrs Jobs and Wozniak wanted it to be pronounced I-pod, then that's how it should've been spelled.

        Blimey, is that the time? Must dash, tea with Her Majesty later, what?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      MacBookPro late-2016 (and newer) models are THE WORST

      Two or three USB-C ports. Nothing else. Minus one port needed as power-port. So one or two USB-C ports. What are MBA's at Apple smoking?

      And the keyboard. What a mess. I chose the model with non-touchscreen ESC key). But even without the bling-bling touch-shit-touch-screen (ESC, F1-F10) the keyboard itself is THE WORST.

      The keyboard is as bad as these soft-touch-keyboards of the early home computer era. And the MacBookPro keys are so loud.

      I am back at Lenovo ThinkPad T-series. Yes their newer keyboards are a far cry of the older T400-series or even the IBM built models. But wow, a current gen ThinkPad T-series keyboard is still billion miles ahead of the crap that Apple sells at premium. Nuff said, that my Thinkpad is running Win7, and not the cancer that is Win10.

      I really want M$ to die because of their spyware and crap they do since 2012 with their evil indian CEO. And Apple to succeed and gain a bigger market-share. Unfortunately, the Apple CEO is a MBA and has no clue at all. How long will M$ and Apple remain. Well, even Google has a ignorant indian CEO now too, and is going the same rabbit whole with a crap Android P release.

  2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge

    El Reg: "Apple could not be reached for immediate comment."

    You guys do know the popular definition for "insanity", right? Maybe you ought to just give up and have LESTER bring you a lager instead.

    1. Jeffrey Nonken

      One definition for insanity, yes.

      OTOH there can be legitimate reasons for re-trying actions that fail repeatedly. Regression testing comes to mind. Also, if you've seen it work at least once.

    2. dbtx

      While I was becoming a high-school dropout, there was one teacher who always asked me if I had my homework done that day, while walking around the room to see everyone's and put a check mark in his records. He never assumed and always allowed the possibility that this day was the day when I had a different answer. So he's easily one of the two or three best teachers I had during the 6 years I was a minor and forced to live in ${that_god_forsaken_town}.

      I imagine it's at least vaguely similar for Das Reg: the high probability of false hopes versus being able to say the right thing-- their job-- was done.

      (Das Reg as usual because I feel like it. I like German, and incidentally German was the class.)

      1. LeoP

        "Der Reg" actually

        Yours humbly has german as his first language and during his long ago first years learned the hard way, that inanimate things tend to carry a rather random gramatical gender in this weird language. The Register would most definitly be a male specimen, just as "the Standard".

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: "Der Reg" actually

          The Register would most definitly be a male specimen, just as "the Standard".

          Duden disagrees:

        2. dbtx

          "Der Reg"

          Thanks, I had wondered about that. Well, I looked it up somewhere and maybe it was wrong, or maybe it wasn't the right noun-- is there a difference in German between CPU register or HVAC register? It's no big surprise if I settled on the wrong one; just take it as further hard evidence of me not turning in my homework ;)

        3. Louis Schreurs BEng Bronze badge

          Re: "Der Reg" actually

          I wondered, being non-native german speaking

        4. Fluffy Cactus

          Re: "Der Reg" actually

          No it's "Das Register" in German. And it's "Der Standard". Even if you has German as your first language, just like I do, you can still get it wrong. And that's in part because, like you said, inanimate things tend to carry a rather random grammatical gender in this weird language. I posted another item on this blog to explain more clearly why this is so. But, LeoP, if you talk about grammar and what is or is not right, it would help if you spelled "gramatical" as "grammatical, and "definitly" as definitely.

          Your homework shall be to determine the proper grammatical gender of Jogurt (or Joghurt) in German.

          1. dbtx

            Ahh, now the problem is reduced to the usual one "on the internet, you can always find someone to agree with you, no matter how (objectively) absurd your original claim" and there's a fun rule that applies especially IRL: "you will choose your teachers". Thanks for weighing in, everyone.

            But when Sideshow Bob was being paroled, he explained that the tattoo covering his back "DIE BART DIE" had nothing to do with killing Bart, it was just German... how does that fit in? Is 'beard' feminine?

            1. dbtx

              sorry it wasn't his back but his front. It's a very poor sort of memory that only works backward... tried to get the exact phrase from which had the full text but suddenly I get:

              You Are Banned

              You have been banned from our site for one of two reasons:

              You use an offline browser to download our site in mass.

              You use an ad blocking program.

              We do not allow offline browsers on our site. People use them to download the entire site which really puts a load on our server. Additionally they can be used to effectively steal all the work we put into placing these works online. If you're interesting in buying PDF files of the works on this site please visit

              We do not allow ad blocking programs for obvious reasons. Nothing in life is free, you pay for your access to our site by viewing the advertisements, if you choose not to view the advertisements then you're stealing from us. You will need to deactivate your ad blocking software in order to access this site.

              Your IP address is: (the end, nothing here.)

              Ooooh, I'm stealing! Just like the jerk who said skipping commercials with a DVR was stealing! FFS, all their content is necessarily public domain to begin with, so they do very little work... but I'm stealing. THE BAN IS MUTUAL. I'll get some 100% legal torrents and consume a few more of my billions of megabytes and then I'll be able to grep through that stuff, without you knowing what I like to grep for--- how do you like that?

              Can't even spell en masse...

              updated to add: I can't even follow their link to purchase PDFs-- just get the same message. Fucking incredible. You get nothing. You lose. Good day, sir.

              1. dbtx

                and now the so-called ban is lifted. I'm still using ABP, so they must have relaxed a bit. I should point out that it wasn't originally a ban, just a white page with "you are banned, etc" that went away when you allowed ads again.

            2. Glenturret Single Malt

              Reminds me of bread sold in Co-op supermarkets which is labelled Parisien Baguette, presumably in order to try and add some "authenticity". Its a pity that their marketing people hadn't done their French homework and would have appreciated that baguette is a feminine noun and (more subtly) that the adjective would be after the noun as in Baguette Parisienne.

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        "Das Reg as usual because I feel like it"

        I'm sorry but that is not a valid German word. Minimum plausible candidates start at no less than "Das ITfütterungshandbeißer"

        1. GrapeBunch

          Agglutination. The reason road signs in Hungary can be really really really wide.

          The rest is a mote in a fanboi's aye aye aye.

      3. EuKiwi

        Bonus points not achieved for using 'Das' rather than 'Der' based on the fact that, ending in '-er' and an inanimate, 'Register' is likely to be considered masculine... :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Der, die das ?

          As someone who learned the German language as the first or mother tongue, from the Austrian region, I can say that even within the German language areas there are disagreements over whether a specific subject (meaning a "noun") has a masculine (der) , feminine (die) or neuter (das) article. The rules for that are there, but they are not adequate.

          Speaking of "Register", the word is in German officially considered (das) (neutrum).

          There is no easy answer, because it's not always whether things are masculine, feminine or neuter, but whether "it sort of felt right". So, if you don't know the proper form, you can always revert to a "dialect method" of blurring out the actual use in spoken language, and say "d' Register", without letting on whether you were saying der, die or das Register. Overall, you learn the proper article with the

          noun, because there is no foolproof method to determine it. Reading an effing lot of books always helps, though. If you write, you better know your stuff.

          Some words are all over the place in German, for example yogurt is either "Jogurt" or "Joghurt" in German, and it is found in various German speaking regions to be called either "der Jogurt", "das Jogurt", or "die Jogurt", depending largely on "how people people felt about it". Some, I guess, thought that since Jogurt is a milk product and milk in German has, for obvious reasons, the feminine form "Die Milch". In regions where people thought like this, it became "die Jogurt" (e.g. in Eastern Austria).

          I am not sure what the thought process was to lead to the masculine "Der Jogurt" or to the neutral "Das Jogurt", but my guesses are that in some areas where eating yogurt was considered a "manly, scary thing", they called it "der Jogurt", and in areas where yogurt was not that much accepted, they called it "a thing", hence "das Jogurt".

          One would have to engage in "language oriented market research" to determine the "average per capita yogurt consumption" in areas where it's "der, die or das Jogurt", to see whether that even makes sense. Clearly, the process that makes "lactobacillus bulgaricus", "lactobacillus helveticus" (and others) turn milk into yogurt...does not seem to have an easily discernable gender. Voting on it is not science, although reporting how people have voted is at least a statistic. I love science, knowing full well how useless it can turn out to be.

          For these reasons, "jogurt" or "joghurt" in German is on the "Liste der rechtschreiblich schwierigen Wörter" in the, roughly translated as "The List of grammatically complicated words", because once you made a list of any problems, it's no longer as bad of a problem. A German habit, I guess. Like, "Hey, this word defies our rules, we must do something about it!".

          Anyone who remembers "Blazing Saddles", will recall that "Mongo" (the guy, not the database) was described by Gene Wilder as " Mongo isn't a "who", he is more of a "what"." If you have not seen that movie, you have a) no sense of humor, or b) been missing out. Now I should get back to work.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      They will answer if they judge it to be a PR shitstorm. Obviously this one is not a category 5 yet.

    4. Lee D Silver badge

      And yet... they KEEP BUYING APPLE PRODUCTS too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Unlikely to be buying many more...

        My 2011 MBP failed due to the shoddy graphics adaptor issue - after 6 months of fighting with them, they finally agreed to give me something towards fixing it (for no apparent reason, Apple decided that they would stop fixing the issue arbitarilly on 1 Jan 2017, despite the requirement to fix or replace in the EU for a further year).

        I could not find any MacBook (new) that met my needs.....they were still selling a version of the 2015 MBP, but it was horrendously over-expensive and came with an unreplaceable drive at 250Gb...(I had 500gb in the 2011 model).

        I turned to 2nd user and bought the better specd 2015 model with the separate graphics card and replacable SSD and faster CPU....for less than 1/3 of the price ....

        I cannot honestly see any posibility of purchasing another MBP with the state of crap they have out right now, and with the way that OSX is going.....(APPs everywhere...must have....need to have...really...have to have APPs.... EVERYTHING has to be an APP! ... meh...).

        1. Criggie

          Re: Unlikely to be buying many more...

          EU regs aren't all they're touted to be - I tred to buy a hardware clock from Meinberg (makers of excellent NTP software in Germany) but they tell me "Unfortunately, due to a disposal law we can not deliver to private persons." Sounds like a cop-out answer for "too hard, go away."

    5. Archtech Silver badge

      Insanely wrong "definition"

      Here is a correct definition of insanity (Concise Oxford English Dictionary):


      n adjective

      1 in or relating to an unsound state of mind; seriously mentally ill.

      2 extremely foolish; irrational.


      insanely adverb

      insanity noun (plural insanities).


      C16: from Latin insanus, from in- 'not' + sanus 'healthy'.

    6. EastFinchleyite

      No Contact

      El Reg: "Apple could not be reached for immediate comment."

      That's because the keys on the MacBook they use for email and VoIP calls are broken and they can't login.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: No Contact

        No, Apple have only ever responded to El Reg on one occasion, and the intern who responded was sacked shortly afterwards.

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    El Reg.

    Not shy.

    Will say it out loud should a product be shoddy.


    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      That keyboard review linked to in the article was extremely forgiving though.

  4. Jay Lenovo

    Pledge to Protect

    As I typ this on my Appl buttrfly kyboard, I am glad to s99 th issu9 is finally beeeing addrsseeed

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Pledge to Protect

      I was in an Apple store earlier in the year and someone was complaining about their keyboard. Staff were sympathetic and offered an expensive replacement which the customer declined. Said they would rather use a separate keyboard instead. Staff offered external keyboard for sale and this too was declined because the customer already had one.

      1. CareyKay

        Re: Pledge to Protect

        This is exactly the solution Im having to use - a blue-tooth keyboard that sits on top of the actual keys - cost £7.99

        My Mac is a late 2009 - I googled the repair but its way beyond my capabilities, totally frustrating as despite the age its got updated RAM and a 1TB HD and works just fine.

        "Free repairs" - how will that be accessed then? I doubt this will have trickled down to the local stores.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Pledge to Protect

          If it's a 2009 one then it may be repairable by a 3rd party repair centre... spare parts availability permitting.

        2. Valerion

          Re: Pledge to Protect

          My Mac is a late 2009 - I googled the repair but its way beyond my capabilities, totally frustrating as despite the age its got updated RAM and a 1TB HD and works just fine.

          My sister-in-law had a Lenovo laptop with a dodgy keyboard due to some juice spillage. Despite having no experience or expertise in computer repair, she was able to order (for about £25) and replace the keyboard herself. It took her about 10 minutes and her £350 laptop was as good as new.

          Good luck with that on a £1500 Macbook...

    2. GrapeBunch

      Re: Pledge to Protect

      83 111 32 108 111 110 103 32 97 115 32 121 111 117 32 104 97 118 101 32 110 117 109 98 101 114 115 44 32 110 111 32 112 114 111 98 108 101 109 32 103 101 116 116 105 110 103 32 121 111 117 114 32 109 101 115 115 97 103 101 32 97 99 114 111 115 115 33 32 32 87 104 121 32 105 115 32 101 118 101 114 121 98 111 100 121 32 115 111 32 103 114 117 109 112 121 63

      "The post is required, and must contain letters."

      1. dbtx

        "So long as you have numbers, no problem getting your message across! Why is everybody so grumpy?"

        are not numbers also keys? can you dial that in using a rotary telephone? has 'Phone of Damocles' got the same ring to it? When Cherry MX are fitted into a iThing, it will still not yet be the time to visit an Apple Store.

  5. djstardust

    Apple are shit nowadays

    Not a desirable product any more.

    Mass market poorly designed and manufactured crap that gives you the least for the most money.

    That's why the keyboard is glued to the frame and the hard drive can't be replaced.

    That 285 BILLION dollars in their bank account is you getting plainly ripped off.

    Wake up people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple are shit nowadays

      I don't blame it on "Apple" - more on Cook for giving Jony Ive the power to shrink functional products into unusable objects of art. I bet there are a lot of Apple employees who hate Ive and his obsession with "thin" too.

      I said it before - Cook needs to put Ive on a leash and let the engineers go fix his fuckups. I guarantee they know how to make usable products again; Cook just needs to give them the chance.

      1. casperghst42

        Re: Apple are shit nowadays

        Ive has some great ideas about design, but he should never be allowed to make the final decision on anything which is mechanical. For that one need engineers who know how to build shit.

        1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          Re: Apple are shit nowadays

          "For that one need engineers who know how to build shit."

          But building shit *is* the problem...

          1. Dave559

            Re: Apple are shit nowadays

            > But building shit *is* the problem...

            Knowing how to build proper shit, and unfortunately building utter shite, are two entirely different and completely opposite things!

            Good shit is good shit (and isn’t shite).

            1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

              Re: Apple are shit nowadays

              "Good shit is good shit (and isn’t shite)."

              At last, someone around here knows his shit!

      2. ma1010 Silver badge

        Re: Apple are shit nowadays

        Johnny Ive - Another of these worthless "gurus" like Steven Sinofsky, who destroyed the Windows UI.

        Why do large corporations listen to these shite "gurus" instead of their customers who tell them plainly what they want? Listening to these twats has been a total disaster for both companies.

        MS and Apple seem to be totally deaf to anything remotely resembling common sense. MS at least had the sense to kick Sinofsky out, although they still don't listen to their customers any more than Apple.

        1. mrobaer

          Re: Apple are shit nowadays


          Why do large corporations listen to these shite "gurus" instead of their customers who tell them plainly what they want?

          Didn't Steve Jobs paraphrase Henry Ford and say, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them."

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Apple are shit nowadays

            People *always* want it to work and to be reliable.

            Whatever "it" is.

            1. DropBear Silver badge

              Re: Apple are shit nowadays

              "People *always* want it to work and to be reliable."

              I'd contend that might depend on which end of the gun the bloke you're asking happens to be looking at...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Apple are shit nowadays

              @Richard12; "People *always* want it to work and to be reliable. Whatever "it" is."

              From "If Range Rovers Are So Unreliable, Why Do People Still Buy Them?":-

              "A few months ago, I had the chance to get up close and personal with a 2013 [Toyota] Land Cruiser, which is the model I want. And do you know what I discovered? The turn signal stalk is from a Toyota Sienna. The steering wheel is from a Toyota Tundra. The window switches are from a Toyota Camry. The Land Cruiser – the mighty Land Cruiser, with its go-anywhere persona and its near-$90,000 price tag – is a parts bin special."

              "This sort of thing may not matter to you, but it matters to the kind of person who spends ninety grand on a luxury SUV. [..] They want everything to be special, unique, high-quality, even if – ultimately – that low-volume “specialness” is probably the major reason Range Rovers are so unreliable.

              But don’t they care that Range Rovers are unreliable? The answer is, quite frankly, no, they don’t. [Their reliability ratings] consistently lose every metric and yet their cars still sell for full sticker – and they usually have a waiting list. Simply put, Range Rover buyers don’t consider things like cost of ownership and long-term durability. They want the nicest car they can get, they own it solely under warranty, and then they get a new one."

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Apple are shit nowadays

                I should also add (but ran out of editing time) that I think it's clear, even to the author, that the bit about the aesthetics of the Toyota wasn't implying that it was bad vehicle, but quite the opposite- the Range Rover is only "better" if you place aesthetics above everything else, and it pays a heavy price for that.

                There's quite likely a good reason why, in the Australian Outback- where a 4x4 is not only required to do *real* work, but where getting stuck in an unreliable vehicle could conceivably cost you your life- the favoured vehicles are Toyota Land Cruisers and not Range Rovers.

                It's almost as if the Land Cruiser was designed with the intended use of a 4x4 in mind, and today's Range Rovers are aimed at people living in hideously overpriced houses in Surrey to impress their neighbours with while they pop out for some milk.

        2. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

          Re: Apple are shit nowadays

          In my experience the suits are more likely to back the opinion of someone they have paid a lot of money to over reality, common sense, or any other counter opinion e.g. the customers.

          Perhaps due to fear of wasting money, or potential to blame paid person in the event of failure instead of self, or other reasons.

      3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Apple are shit nowadays

        Jony Ive is a designer, not an engineer. They are different beasts. I work with designers. They know (usually) how to make things look nice, but do not comprehend things like heat flow, strength of materials or how much electronics it takes to do things.

        Now, I'm an electrical engineer, and I often have to explain to these talented folks, the facts of life. Like the time a designer wanted a black LED. Yes, he wanted it hidden behind a white translucent panel, and he wanted it to light up black, just like on his nice sketch. And this guy has been in the biz for over 20 years.

        We ended up lighting it up using white LEDs, and he was perfectly OK with that.

        Good for quite a laugh among us EEs when he was out of the room, though.

        // "black LED" icon

        1. Peter X

          Re: black LED

          I was going to try to explain a sketch with Paul Whitehouse painting light bulbs black... however I couldn't remember it, but the whole sketch (and indeed this comment) is wildly off-topic anyway.

          But it's Friday and it's a funny sketch:

          The light-bulb bit is just before the 2 minute mark but you're better watching from the start.

          BEER TIME!

          1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

            Re: black LED

            And I always thought Black LED was for making Victorian fireplaces look nice...

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Apple are shit nowadays

          "We ended up lighting it up using white LEDs, and he was perfectly OK with that."

          Why didn't you just specify the panel as having an area of e-ink so you could "Light up" the area in black like he wanted? Then you can let him explain the cost implications to the bosses.

      4. I am the liquor

        Re: Apple are shit nowadays

        Cook, Ive, they're all just following the course laid in by Jobs. It used to be said that Steve Jobs cared passionately about Apple customers, from the moment they walked into the Apple store, all the way to when their credit card payment cleared. Apple products are designed exactly the way they need to be to attract buyers. Long-term usability isn't really a consideration. Given that job description, Ive is doing it pretty well.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: Apple are shit nowadays

          Absolutely. "All I care about is that it looks incredible for the five minutes it takes the customer to decide they want to buy it." is what Steve Jobs used to say to answer any criticism of form over function (a colleague of mine in my Apple days had the dubious honour of working on a project that Jobs cared a lot about, and the quote came via him)

          Everyone blaming Apple's obsession with "thinner, lighter" on Jonathan Ive is missing the point.

          It's not aesthetics, it's logistics.

          The downside of super-cheap Chinese manufacturing is that Apple has to air-freight a considerable amount of its production from its place of manufacture to the places where the customers are.

          Once shipping costs become a considerable part of your cost of goods sold, you look into reducing mass and volume, because mass and volume are the two variables that contribute most to air freight costs.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple are shit nowadays

            @ Kristian Walsh; I genuinely can't work out if this is satire or not. Weight might be an issue for cheap items, but do you seriously believe for a minute that- relative to the high value of the iPhone- shaving a few grams or millimetres off something that is already very thin and light is going to save anything *like* the money it would cost to do so, even if you're shipping them by air?!

            I've no idea if they ship them in retail-packed boxes or OEM condition (I'd assume the former), but either way the packing for each phone probably outweighs and will certainly out-proportion the phone itself.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: Apple are shit nowadays

              I would suspect that the first shipments, targetting the idiots who queue outside for a phone, are air-freighted around. After that slower, and cheaper, methods will be used. Air freight is especially punishing for heavy items, iPhones, including their packaging, are rather light and non-dense therefore while air freight will be expensive compared to shipping, it will not be prohibitive.

            2. Kristian Walsh

              Re: Apple are shit nowadays

              I did have the exact figure regarding how much the weight and size change in iPhone 4 vs 5 saved air-freight costs from someone who worked at a fairly senior level in logistics at Apple, and like you, I found it surprising. (And yes, retail boxed)

              At launch of new iPhones, Apple used to use something like 35% of all air freight capacity out if China. A staggering figure, but a company that needed ten million phones in shops in the first two weeks of sale would have to do this.

  6. Scott 1

    Lovely, seeing as I own one.

    Yes, I own one. Let the roasting begin. I probably deserve it.

    1. Sixtysix

      Re: Lovely, seeing as I own one.

      Great idea,

      Pop it in the oven 220 degrees (200 degrees fan oven) for 45 minutes or until all the plastic is black and dripping...

      Best served cold.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lovely, seeing as I own one.

        Ironically, that'd stand as good a chance of improving things since- IIRC- sticking it in a warm oven is essentially the "poor man's reflow" for those MacBooks with faulty nVidia graphics chips that came out a few years ago.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a desirable product any more.

    As an observer from the Windows/Android camp who is simply too mean to pay the Apple prices, I'd observe that the average product quality remains firmly in Apple's favour, as do user satisfaction figures, not to mention the profitability (and thus viability of the maker).

    Make enough different models of stuff, eventually you'll turn out a real lemon, but that's the way of the world, whether we're talking computers, phones, cars, aircraft, or just about any manufactured good. I'll wager that Apple will learn from this, whereas Microsoft seem to intentionally repeat their errors.

  8. Alistair Silver badge

    Our office Macbook keyoard is usted ecause the key is roken

    I take it that the issue is intermittent?

    I've been typing on an elitebook 8570w without s or f keys for about 8 months now. I'm rather sure that my speed has dropped off a wee bit, but my left index and ring fingers are developing odd calluses on the tips.

    (the posts are still there and the contact works -- the z hinge works, its just the little tiny clips in side the caps are broken and no longer grab the z hinge, and I'm a cheap bastard not about to pay $75 for a new keyboard.)

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      I sent in a correction request, mostly because I think the Scottish librarian "MacOok" is funnier.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Pterry's librarian was a Scot?

        1. Killfalcon Silver badge

          Not the one at the Unseen University, but his cousin works in the Feegle Polytech.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's one born ever minute

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

    1. Andy Mac

      Re: There's one born every minute

      Given the levels of household debt in western countries, it would seem that anyone can be easily parted from their money. Either that or we’re all fools.

  10. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    The elegant and slimmer fix

    Does anyone else worry that Apple will fix this by removing the keyboard?

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

      You're typing on it wrong.

    2. david willis

      Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

      I have to admit I’ve been waiting for the single slim block of aluminium, that is not tarnished by holes, keyboard or screen. With its illuminated Apple logo, which isn’t bright enough to be used as a lamp, meaning the whole thingis just an expensive paperweight. It seems Apple have almost managed to achieve with the 2017 MacBook Pro.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

        You just described the Apple design awards award.

      2. Christian Berger

        Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

        "that is not tarnished by holes, keyboard or screen"

        But where do you display the ads?

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

          But where do you display the ads?

          It's reading them out loud to you via the built-in ultra-flat piezo speaker, in a calm, soothing voice...

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

          "But where do you display the ads?"

          The Apple logo is the only ad you need. No other products shall ever be considered. You will buy more Apple paperweights. You exist to work. You work to earn. You earn to buy more Apple.

      3. Vince

        Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

        As the new macbook's don't have any illuminated logo...

        I still prefer my MBP 2016 to anything anyone else makes.

  11. raving angry loony

    When the only solution... to deep-six (sometimes with extreme prejudice) the corporate accountants who are obviously making bad decisions on subjects that should be left to engineers and technical people.

    Corporate accountants: destroying the world 1/100th of a cent at a time.

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    It is all very well to say that the Cupertino Idiot Tax company could not be reached but as this site opten points out, {cr}Apple are nothing more than a product re-badger and make/assemble virtually nothing themselves.

    Shouldn't El Reg be 'reaching out' (crap PC term if you ask me) to Foxconn and anyone else to puts these pieces of crap together.

    Now back on topic

    I looked at getting a 2016/2017 MBP and after a while in an Apple store, I just walked away and decided to make do with my 2012 MBP which has been working perfectly for one month short of 6 years now. Ok, so at least a dozen keys don't have any lettering on anymore and the case has a dent or two but it has yet to fail me. These modern ones don't have that sort of reliability. Until that improves dramatically, I'm keeping my wallet firmly closed.

    At least with the Apple stores you can at least see, feel and use the 'tat' before you part with your money. Try doing that for anything other than what cheap 'End Of Line' crap PC-World are peddling at inflated prices that week. This is about their only saving grace.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: But...

      Sorry Steve but you're just plain wrong.

      Manufacturers build to a spec, and assemble to assembly instructions. If your drawing/3D model has an error in it, the manufacturers are not going to know that. They will manufacture exactly what is on the drawing. Now if this was down to a manufacturer cocking up (which does happen) then you'd be right, but then a failure like that SHOULD be picked up by QA and would then be repaired or replaced. But this is quite clearly a design error - the design just cannot tolerate general dirt, dust and grit getting into the keyboard, nothing manufacturing does could generate that level of poor design.

      Apple design their parts and send the designs to various manufacturers for production who then send their parts to Foxconn for assembly. Neither the manufacturers or Foxconn are responsible for this cock-up - this turd of a failure falls squarely in Apples lap...

      (from a designer - but thankfully not an Apple one!)

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: But...

        Fully agree here. Many many moons ago I worked on Flight simulators and we had a perfect example of this when the Lockheed Chief Test pilot came to evaluate the work on our first C130 Sim. He sat in the cockpit and went through some basic procedures and reached up to the overhead panel and immediately failed the build.

        Apparently the drawings for the overhead panels were wrong and everyone on the shopfloor at Lockheed knew that and they fitted the panels where they should be and not where the drawing said.

      2. LeoP

        Re: But...

        The german saying for that is: "Shit ordered, shit delivered".

      3. ENS

        Re: But...Overruled?

        Yes, and no.

        Foxconn can - and do - identify elements of the design which make it difficult to build, and the guys at Hon Hai are skilled at recommending and communicating how those changes could be made.

        To a lesser degree they will comment upon maintainability, since this will affect their ability to refurbish anything that fails QA process, and will have to be passed onto the designer in terms of additional component and labour costs since yields will be lower.

        The question is whether the designer is willing to accept and implement those changes, but absolutely the manufacturer has the ability to recognise products which have design errors.

    2. gotes

      Re: But...

      Apple designed it, Foxconn just make the thing. I doubt they'd have any more to say to the Reg than Apple.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: But...

        Apple designed it, Foxconn just make the thing. I doubt they'd have any more to say to the Reg than Apple.

        Other than anonymously whispering what a bunch of twits the designers at Apple are...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      Ultimately it's clear that, in this case, it *is* a fundamental problem with Apple's faulty design, rather than the manufacturer's responsibility.

      But even if it had been, that wouldn't have changed the fact that Apple were ultimately responsible- and to blame- from the end-user's point of view. Whether they'd merely subcontracted the manufacture (as Apple do for everything anyway) *or* the entire design, that was *their* decision and their delegation of responsibility. The product is still being sold by Apple under their name.

      Apple carries the can for that, regardless.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      Havent you spelt that incorrectly ?

      Instead of Cupertino Idiot Tax company

      CUpertiNo idiot Tax company ?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I always wondered why my colleague, who has one of these, used to smash the keyboard quite aggressively. Now I know why - it's to get around this design flaw.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile in the real world mine has been fine since nov 2016. Another I am aware of pretty much gets used as a tray at lunch time so is covered in crumbs and has had no keyboard problems either.

    I have had problems with the magic keyboard which also has very low travel, but not quite the level of MacBooks. A blast of air sorts that out as well.

    1. rmason


      They've copped to the problem, you can stop trying to pretend it's not a real thing and is being exaggerated etc.

      Your unit hasn't broken, well done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They’ve copped to a limited number being a problem, not the entire design. F for reading comprehension.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Except that "a limited number being a problem" is a meaningless phrase without stating what that limit is, beyond listing lots of MacBook models. The limit could well be "all units of this type that we ever built" and their statement would still be factually correct. No grade for critical analysis I'm afraid..

          Previous Apple recall and extended warranty actions have usually been accompanied with a serial-number checker that tells the customer whether their product qualifies. Tellingly, there's no such detail in this one - it just lists basically every model that has featured this keyboard design (see for yourself: )

          It's a flawed design, not a manufacturing issue. They effected a remedial solution with the "v2" keyboards, but can't do much more as they've painted themselves into a corner by the rest of the design requiring such shallow key travel for the device to close properly, so we won't see a better design until they redo the whole casework.

  15. John70

    Wonder when they will change the keyboard to a touch screen so there is no more of these pesky mechanical parts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like an iPad <shudder>

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Wonder when they will change the keyboard to a touch screen so there is no more of these pesky mechanical parts.

      Why bother with that, when the "classic" whyPod already had a workable solution?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm not sure Apple actually want to stay in the desktop/laptop computer game, the flowerpot killed the desktop and now the butterflies are killing the laptop.

    Funny smell about the whole thing in my opinion...

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Masterplan

      I'm not sure Apple actually want to stay in the desktop/laptop computer game, the flowerpot killed the desktop and now the butterflies are killing the laptop.

      Flowerrpot? Is that what it was? I thought it looked more like one of those decorative trashcans you'd see in shopping malls.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No answer from Apple but how about Lenovo?

    "We would like to confirm that in the opinion of the Thinkpad designers this is the best keyboard Apple has ever produced. It's almost as good as the titanium Powerbook cases that developed stress cracking."

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: No answer from Apple but how about Lenovo?

      "We would like to confirm that in the opinion of the Thinkpad designers this is the best keyboard Apple has ever produced. It's almost as good as the titanium Powerbook cases that developed stress cracking."

      Did it have square windows? (a Stan Lee "no-prise" to anyone who knows the reference)

  18. Ken 16 Silver badge

    It's the users fault for using it outside of its design parameters

    It should be in either an Apple branded protective case when not in use and only taken out when in a Starbucks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's the users fault for using it outside of its design parameters

      "It should be in either an Apple branded protective case when not in use and only taken out when in a Starbucks."

      Too many crumbs in Starbucks, and I don't mean the clients.

      It's designed for ultra-minimalist design office type environments where there's a big sign on the wall saying "For your convenience food and drink must not be brought into this area".

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: It's the users fault for using it outside of its design parameters

      It should be in either an Apple branded protective case when not in use and only taken out when in a Starbucks.

      Ugh, I'd have to use it at StarSucks? Yet one MORE reason not to buy Apple tat...

  19. Steve Graham

    Form before function.

    Some years ago, fed up with crap keyboards (I really want a VT100) I bought an Apple USB one, under the impression that the higher price meant that I would get a better product.

    I some ways I did. It was pretty solid and well made. The key symbols were moulded in, and wouldn't rub off. And of course, it looked sleek and beautiful.

    It did have one flaw though. The keys felt like you were operating a 1980s pocket calculator. Wobbly and short travel. I couldn't actually type on it.

    There was an additional aspect which tells you all you need to know about Apple. It came with a (free!) USB extension lead. However, the keyboard USB plug and extension socket had a non-standard slot and key arrangement, so that you could not use the USB extension for anything else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ive Been Expecting This

      It's clear that Apple value thinness in their keyboards over travel, feel or reliability.

      I'm wondering why they don't just stop buggering about, take this to its logical conclusion and make a completely flat keyboard.

      Ive could even leave off the keywords and character graphic symbols if he felt they were disturbing the aesthetics. (^_^)

      Now that I think of it, you could leave off all the markings and even the "key" rectangles themselves, leaving nothing but a featureless black slab you could type on. Which sounds *very* Apple.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ive Been Expecting This

        No problems with travel, feel, or reliability with mine.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Ive Been Expecting This

        I'm wondering why they don't just stop buggering about, take this to its logical conclusion and make a completely flat keyboard.

        Maybe they should just provide a completely smooth, flat surface where the keys/buttons would have gone, and just go for a Projection keyboard.

        I was about to say a "featureless" flat surface, but you know the Apple designers would laser-etch Apple logos onto it (and subsequently introduce detection errors into the interface).

    2. coconuthead

      Apple alupainium keyboard

      I'm currently sporting bandages on both thumbs after typing too hard and long on mine. This isn't the first time. There just isn't enough travel and feel. So I've gone back to the "spare" keyboard (bought for a Windows build that hasn't happened) with mechanical Cherry switches, but which unfortunately also has all the key legends written on the front instead of the top, probably because 15 year old boys think that looks cool and they probably don't have all kinds of financial accounts that look unkindly upon passwords being mistyped and therefore ask "secret" personal questions.

      I quite liked the later VT220, but the terminal I used and liked most in the VT100 era was the Teleray 1061, which I believe had Hall effect switches. The day came when it was announced all the terminals would be replaced by ICL ones with horrid rubber dome keyboards and ghastly green displays. I appealed to the boss and kept my two 1061s. More of them failed, but with some horsetrading I kept the last two in the building. Then one morning after yet another repair, there was one, with the sickly green glow of an interloping ICL beside it.

  20. imanidiot Silver badge

    Old news really

    People have been complaining about the butterfly keyboards ever since they appeared in products.

    An (i feel) clear explanation featured here:

    Youtube: Louis Rossman - We need to talk about failing keyboards on these new Macbooks

    added to that a breakdown of all the shit they've been pulling for a LONG time. This engineering failing isn't a new thing, the summation here begins with the 2007 macbook. The horrible truth about Apple's repeated engineering failures

    And keep in mind, this is the OWNER of a shop focussing on board level repair of Apple products! It's his business to fix the shit design and even HE'S complaining about the level of workmanship.

    Btw, if you're interested in board level repair, SMD/SMC rework, etc, then you could do worse than watch some of his video's.

    I'm not affiliated, I just enjoy hearing him rip into Apple while showing great repair skills every now and then. It's like watching Bob Ross make a painting, just for the hell of it.

  21. localzuk Silver badge

    Normal for Apple to be honest

    There have been loads of things like this over the years.

    Just look at the 360 scroll ball on the mouse they made around 2007. Constantly gunked up, and their advice was to vigorously rub on a moist micro-fibre cloth. Couldn't get the ball out to actually clean the mechanism, so it didn't really fix it at all. I had to get mine replaced twice.

    Then you've got the trackpad in my MacBook Pro 2015 - the 2 buttons that you can press down to click on it get clogged by dust etc... With the "fix" being running a piece of paper through the gap to try and dislodge - doesn't really work.

    Or more obvious design flaws - the under-mouse charging port on their current mouse.

    There are plenty more examples. They just seem to not think things through! But, and this is an important but, they aren't alone in this.

  22. Spanners Silver badge

    Be kind

    As an enthusiastic Mac non-user, I would not call it a stupidity tax.

    I have long referred to it as a gullibility tax. Stupid people may, or may not be gullible. Not all gullible people are stupid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be kind

      "I have long referred to it as a gullibility tax. Stupid people may, or may not be gullible. Not all gullible people are stupid."

      It's a matter of expectation.

      People, for instance, drive Range Rovers for years never knowing that they are one of the least reliable vehicles out there (according to J D Power). If they are corporate, they don't even notice because when it goes wrong it gets taken care of. They put up with crap accountants because it takes years to realise how much better is a good accountant, and to do that they have to jump ship.

      The potential problem for Apple is that they maintain their huge margins partly by producing vast numbers of a few products. (On Gsmarena Apple has 2 pages of products. Samsung has 14). This has obvious advantages, but it does mean the occasional lemon sticks out more, it can't just be flushed cheap out of the channel and never mentioned again. It's a high risk high reward strategy. But in this case it calls into question whether Cook (production and logistics) or Ive (design) calls the shots.

  23. Trollslayer Silver badge


    'nuff said.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dirt? Under the keyboard?

    In the home of an Apple user?

  25. Del_Varner


    Why is Apple so obsessed with thinness?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thinness

      Why is Apple so obsessed with thinness?

      And you wonder if MRS Ive appreciates thinness too...

  26. Captain Obvious

    El Reg: "Apple could not be reached for immediate comment."

    Maybe you need to get in touch with Miss Cleo and have her channel her psychic abilities to take with Steve Jobs :)

  27. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    You're using it wrong

    Apple's products are not designed to be taken into environments where contamination is an issue. They are designed to be shown off by posers and admired by sycophants, preferably while stored inside hermetically sealed glass cases. Use as props in films showing impossible computations being achieved effortlessly is also permitted so long as the apple logo is very prominent.

  28. Howard Hanek

    Apple's Reply

    It's not a defect. We deliberately designed the keyboard to prevent MacBooks from falling into the hands of terrorists......

  29. rnturn

    One of my daughters had a problem with her Mac keyboard. Rather than repair it /she/ just decided to get a non-Apple laptop. My problem with having to use a Max for work was the keyboard was too small. Or at least it was a different size than my hands had grown accustomed to. I solved the problem when working from home with a couple of dongles to get from USB-C to PS2 and a Model M. Switching back to the Mac keyboard rather sucked when I went into the office---typos galore. I wasn't keen on lugging that keyboard around though I could have used it as a self-defense device... or as a bludgeon for those commuters wandering the sidewalks aimlessly gabbing on their cell phones.

  30. OscarG

    Jony Ive is a pompous hack

    Clueless Tim Cook has allowed Jony Ive to destroy the usefulness of every Apple product.

    Ive is the Trump of consumer-electronics design: With no ideas of his own, he only seeks to destroy the achievements of generations of predecessors.

    His idiotic, played-out, and embarrassing mania for "thinness" (which no one asked for) has been used as an excuse to hideously cripple one product after another.

    Apple needs to fire this asshole and get its house in order.

  31. Mr. Moose

    The Luger of laptops

    Sometimes too much precision, and overcomplication, is a bad thing.

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