back to article ood new, fanbys. Apple spds up n-str McBook latop kyboad rpairs, ccrding t hs leakd mmo

Apple is speeding up repairs of defective laptop keyboards that have left MacBook users angry, frustrated, and firing off lawsuits. The iGiant has ordered its posh shops to turn around in-store laptop keyboard repairs faster, according to a memo seen by MacRumors. Repairs have, in the past, been largely done off-site and take …

  1. Fazal Majid

    Stopgap at best

    This is a stopgap, but since the flawed design of the keyboard hasn't been corrected, they will be back for repairs until AppleCare runs out, but if Apple wants to avoid the cost of class-action lawyers, they'd better put in place an unconditional warranty extension until the butterfly keyswitch can be corrected and all MacBooks and MacBook Pros made since 2005 recalled.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Stopgap at best

      Why do macbooks need keyboards?

      I thought they were just for holding your place in Starbucks?

      1. Martijn Otto

        Re: Stopgap at best

        You're very right. This is why apple is now introducing the new Macbook Wheel"

    2. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Stopgap at best

      they'd better put in place an unconditional warranty extension until the butterfly keyswitch can be corrected and all MacBooks and MacBook Pros made since 2005 recalled.

      You probably mean 2015, not 2005, right?

    3. NATTtrash
      Megaphone

      Re: Stopgap at best

      You're absolutely right: Apple will only do something when there is a (class action) law suit looming. Louis Rossmann has shown that already like a zillion times for all kinds of fruity hardware flaws, including the keyboard issues going back years. As he also did with regard to the repair policies. But then again, as CBC News Canada also showed on hidden camera, "geniuses" rather wave an iPad in your face to show you you're better off buying a new iDevice™ (because it "can't" be fixed, you're better off investing in a new Apple, although Louis fixed it under 2 mins for free!). I personally would rather bring the repair to a real technically knowledgable person like Louis, but we all know you have to be a genius 5 weeks away from where you yourself are to be allowed allowed to even touch the iNtimatePlaces™.

      1. Just Another SteveO

        Re: Stopgap at best

        “I personally would rather bring the repair to a real technically knowledgable person like Louis...”

        In this context I think you mean ‘take’ not ‘bring’..... and no, I have no idea why that usually US misuse of ‘bring’ and ‘take’ irritates the living daylights out of me. But it does.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Stopgap at best

      Since 2015 I think, oh for a 2005 keyboard.

      Apple's combined collective ego won't let them just go back to the pre-2015 keyboard, they'll fiddle with this for a year or two longer until the keyboard lasts the product lifetime (which is 5 years if you believe Apple).

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Stopgap at best

        The tracks on mine went after the air con at work dripped on it.

        Bought a filthy Bluetooth version, one straight swap of the keys and domes later and I have a much improved full travel keyboard...once I managed to get MacOS to work right with it (drivers not included in OTA updates as it turns out. 1x 4GB+ download got it working in the end)

  2. Dave K Silver badge

    I'm actually impressed that Apple hasn't scrapped the butterfly design yet given that these issues have been ongoing for a while. Macbooks are expensive and the keyboards are a sod to replace, hence reliability is important. At the moment, would I risk buying a MacBook given the temperamental and flimsy keyboard on them? Not a chance, and I bet I'm far from the only person that is put off from a new MacBook as a result of the flawed keyboard design.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      For $250 from eBay, you can pick up a 2014 MacBook Air, with a proper keyboard, Broadwell (5th generation) Core i5, and a preinstalled SSD.

      Only quirks are a 1366x768 screen resolution on the 11" model (or 1440x900 on the 14"), both with a 16:9 ratio, and the fact that the SSD uses a proprietary connector.

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        It's certainly the better option if you need a Macbook, and likely (ironically) to last longer than a new one.

        Personally I alternate between a 2010 ThinkPad X201 (my favourite laptop), or a 2014 X1 Carbon (lighter, so handy for travelling). At least with those, I can upgrade most the components and could probably bash on the keyboards for several more decades before anything broke...

        Saying that, Macbook's 16:10 screen does appeal to me a lot (one of the reasons I love my X201). But I'm not buying something where the keyboard could crap out after a couple of years...

      2. mrdalliard
        Thumb Up

        2014 Macbook Air

        Can testify that my five year-old Macbook Air is still doing just fine. The keyboard is still good to use. Whilst I could probably do with putting in a new battery sometime over the next twelve months, it's still a robust workhorse for me that also has normal ports and doesn't need a pile of dongles.

        1. OffBeatMammal

          Re: 2014 Macbook Air

          Mid-2012 Macbook Air 13" here, keyboard is still flawless (though trackpad occasionally doesn't register a click). I've been wanting a new MacBook Pro but unless I know I can get 5+ years out of it given the price point it's not going to happen (and looking more like a Dell XPS 13 will be my replacement)

  3. macjules Silver badge
    Gimp

    Still not happy ..

    I bought a MacBook Pro in March, which set me back the best part of £3,000. To put it mildly, the keyboard makes such a noise when you type fast that everyone complains, forcing me to use a much more decent Apple keyboard, albeit at the truly ridiculous cost of £149. Note that the super new £149 keyboard does not use the butterfly mechanism but that Apple are at pains to point out that it uses the scissor one instead.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Still not happy ..

      What's wrong with a cheapy USB keyboard? Or even a cheapy wireless USB keyboard/mouse combo?

      Oh, I forgot, it doesn't have the Apple logo on, silly me.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Still not happy ..

        Note the fanboi icon: indicates willingness to part with vast amounts of cash for anything with a chewed bit of fruit on the box.

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Still not happy ..

        "What's wrong with a cheapy USB keyboard? Or even a cheapy wireless USB keyboard/mouse combo?"

        Cheapy keyboards are a fool's errand. Investing in a decent keyboard is a no-brainer if you use your computer for any length of time, and quality costs money.

        1. robidy

          Re: Still not happy ..

          An expense item is not always the best item...it just guarantees you have spent more of your hard earned cash.

          As an example the which best buy kettle costs a tenner...other kettles usually cost 3 tenners and upwards.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Still not happy ..

          Cheapy keyboards are a fool's errand. Investing in a decent keyboard is a no-brainer if you use your computer for any length of time, and quality costs money.

          True, decent keyboards are expensive to come by now because most people stick with the cheap one that came with the computer so they're not made in large enough numbers, but I hope you're not confusing Apple's expensive keyboards with quality.

        3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          Re: Still not happy ..

          Cheapy keyboards are a fool's errand. Investing in a decent keyboard is a no-brainer if you use your computer for any length of time, and quality costs money.

          I agree, however....although I have the budget and inclination to buy a kick-arse keyboard for my PC at home home, my employer isn't prepared to buy anything other that cheap'n'cheerful for the computer on my desk at work (and bring-your-own-keyboard isn't an option). Having a great keyboard at home just makes the rubbish keyboard at work feel so much worse. Consequently, I tend to stick with less-than-brilliant for home use as well.

        4. Avatar of They
          Thumb Down

          Re: Still not happy ..

          Eh?

          My work keyboard cost about 8.99 (actually free with the PC but on Amazon you can get it for 8.99), I use it for several hours everyday and it has lasted 3 years or so. (The previous one lasted longer but I poured coffee over it by accident) It is a Dell. It is comfortable and keys click nicely, they are separated well and it is not prone to dust or rubbish inside it. (I can give it a knock and stuff falls out should the need arise) It is USB. Has the extended bit for the numpad and all the keys you might expect with no Fn requirement. I haven't developed wrist pain or a sudden need to upgrade to wireless or a white one. It works with my work laptop, docking station and the old desktop I used to use (and the one before it). It is fairly solid and made of hard plastic with a plastic ridge round the outside so no keys hang over the edge.

          An Apple keyboard at $149. So I can buy more than 10 Dell keyboards at over 3 years a piece, which means "cheap" will outlive the Apple device by some thirty years of use.

          But Dell isn't a fruit based product I guess.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Still not happy ..

            I upgraded from a basic Dell keyboard to a fancy mechanical one last year, and honestly, it's nicer, but it's not ten-times-the-price nicer.

            Sometimes all you need is a basic keyboard with full-travel keys.

        5. Chris Parsons

          Re: Still not happy ..

          No they're not. The best keyboard I have bought was a perixx wireless for about fourpence. I bought it ten years ago and it's still wonderful.

        6. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Still not happy ..

          Or route around and find a quality keyboard cheap. My mech keyboard only cost £20. Nice cherry mx blues on it and it's been fine for 6+ years I've had it. Bar one minor flaw... Its got a French AZERTY layout, but it is an ISO 105 so I just touch type instead.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Still not happy ..

        "What's wrong with a cheapy USB keyboard?"

        Do MacBooks still have USB slots? I mean real ones, as found terminating the cables of 99% of USB devices out there?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "forcing me to use a much more decent Apple keyboard"

      Forcing? Yep. Those rolexes, Porsches and Gucci handbags are "forced" on you.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: "forcing me to use a much more decent Apple keyboard"

        Sometimes, these could be "forced" upon one ... suppose a person inherits a huge fortune from their father, and along with the money, their father's status and social obligations. They'd be forever clamped to the Porsches and Rolexes even though they might not want them, nor they can voluntarily leave that status ...

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: "forcing me to use a much more decent Apple keyboard"

          suppose a person inherits a huge fortune from their father, and along with the money, their father's status and social obligations

          That's perhaps the most bizarre interpretation of "social obligation" I've ever encountered! But it does explain Apple marketing.

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: "forcing me to use a much more decent Apple keyboard"

          St. Francis of Assisi begs to differ.

          (I think this is a cultural thing.)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "forcing me to use a much more decent Apple keyboard"

          suppose a person inherits a huge fortune from their father, and along with the money, their father's status and social obligations. They'd be forever clamped to the Porsches and Rolexes even though they might not want them, nor they can voluntarily leave that status

          Tony Benn. Your argument is invalid

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    Change for the Red Dot

    Considering the price of Apple gear, some people really need to consider why they are buying a laptop..

    For Starbucks : Fine, buy the Macbook Air, it has the Logo so that part is taken care of.

    For Professional Work : Just buy a Thinkpad, almost everything is replaceable by the user, the keyboards are great, the resolution is great ( depending on model obviously and the damned things just work.

    I have never, ever seen the advantage of a Mac, it's certainly not for the software or the customer care.. ( Virus can be avoided on Windows, just think before you click).

    In the last few years, Apple has lost any advantages that they ever had, and they were already minor... It's time to move on with the hardware wars, whtehr it be Laptops or Phones, Apple are no longer producing superior material. Now its just like buying an "object with a logo".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Change for the Red Dot

      Mostly agree with that but take issue with the Lenovo comment, they're still doing that stupid FN/CTRL key position swap and on some of the models they've done away with RJ45 ethernet connectors forcing you to carry either a proprietary dapter or an Ethernet-USB dongle of some description if you need wired connectivity.

      Plus, I still haven't forgiven them for their woeful quality control a few years ago.

      1. PTW
        Facepalm

        Re: Lenovo Fn/CTRL

        It can be switched in the BIOS, yes, yes, I know you shouldn't have to and the fact they introduced the BIOS feature and didn't just swap the keys back has me lost for words.

        1. PTW

          Re: Lenovo Fn/CTRL

          Wasn't in time to edit, but having just looked at a colleague's MacBook, I guess I'd forgotten, are Lenovo are trying to ape [or lure away users from] apple with the Fn/CTRL placement?

          Apple keyboards did it for me, had a macbook for 3 months before throwing back at IT: no del key, Fn/CTRL switch, stupid half height up/down cursor keys, no pg up/down, end or home and the cmd key, oh, the horror!

          Don't find the no tabbed terminal an issue either in windows or linux, I find it much easier and safer with alt-tab and separate windows

      2. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Change for the Red Dot

        ... take issue with the Lenovo comment, they're still doing that stupid FN/CTRL key position swap ...

        You can swap the meaning of those keys in the BIOS, if only they'd made the keys the same size so that you could also swap the key-caps!

        ... and on some of the models they've done away with RJ45 ethernet connectors ...

        Done so the body can be made a tad thinner, I gather. It would certainly steer me away from those models onto a slightly chunkier one with proper ports.

        The keyboards have also suffered. Before about 2012 they were excellent, now they're no better than adequate.

    2. antonyh

      Re: Change for the Red Dot

      Mac does have some advantages. Don't underestimate the power of muscle memory and the placement & use of the cmd key instead of ctrl for many things, especially cut and paste.

      But that's just a keyboard, and I could use a mac layout on windows if I really wanted. The OS is good, doesn't have some of the craziness that's in Windows. QA is lacking on both sides, but Apple are nowhere near as bad as Microsoft over the last year. HiDPI still doesn't work properly on Windows too, it's a lot better on Mac. Microsoft still don't have a multi-tab terminal/console app. Talking of apps, the MS 'app store' is a junkyard.

      There are some softwares that are much loved and only on Mac - DevonTHINK, Sketch, Keynote, anything by Omni. The same goes for Windows, there are some great tools there too that aren't on Mac (can't think of one right now though). Pick one and run with it.

      As for Linux, I can't run a large wedge of software on there including Adobe. Not that it would matter with a broken butterfly keyboard anyway. It was the keyboard and not the cost that led me away from Apple - I spent the same amount on a Windows machine (Dell XPS 15).

      Apple is all about taking things away - USB A, MagSafe, F-Keys, replaceable parts, SD Card reader. All the things I want and need. Now they've taken quality from the keyboard. iOS 13 promises to be more desktop-like, so the end is coming for OSX/MacOS, and probably Intel-based devices too.

    3. Crypto Monad

      Re: Change for the Red Dot

      I have never, ever seen the advantage of a Mac, it's certainly not for the software

      For me, it's 100% about the software. There is no way I'm running Windows as the base OS on anything I use.

      I used to run Linux and even BSD on laptops a long time ago. In those days, wifi support was dodgy; these days it's fixed, but now it's retina display support (HiDPI) which is still lacking.

      macOS gets that stuff right - plus it can run Microsoft Office, which sadly is still required for compatibility, that is if you want to edit a third-party document without mangling it.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: Change for the Red Dot

        Why not build a Hackintosh? Contrary to popular lore, they are very stable unless you use esoteric hardware.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Change for the Red Dot

          If your machine can handle it, it's easier just to stick macOS in a VM.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Change for the Red Dot

            If your machine can handle it, it's easier just to stick macOS in a VM.

            Is such a thing possible? I thought that the only way to get macOS was as installed on a piece of Mac hardware, with no option to buy a copy of the OS separately.

            1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

              Re: Change for the Red Dot

              It's possible to run macOS in a VM, using VirtualBox or a modification to VMware.

              However, for the experience to be even near optimal, you'd need to have two GPUs, a Linux host, and PCI passthrough. Otherwise, you'd have no graphics acceleration (Quartz Extreme / Core Image).

              It's much, much easier to run it on your host instead of in a VM ... you simply need to have an Intel processor (no AMD as Apple didn't use these in real Macs) and an Intel iGPU or NVIDIA GPU (You can actually use AMD for the GPU, but I haven't tried) ... this is known as a Hackintosh (portmanteau of "hack" + "Macintosh"), and has been around since the first Pentium 4 Intel Transition Kit Mac (even before the first Intel Mac).

              hackintosh.com is usually a good resource to start ... I've done it on a multitude of laptops, and so far, it's a great experience.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: Change for the Red Dot

                Well here it is if you want a try.

    4. PerlyKing
      Linux

      Re: it's certainly not for the software

      It was the software for me (proper Unix under the shiny shiny) but with the current hardware issues and prices, when my 2010 MBP dies it'll be the year of Linux on the desktop again :-D

      1. MrBanana

        Re: it's certainly not for the software

        "Proper Unix under the shiny shiny" - you must be joking. It's an ancient BSD clone, with a whole layer of macOS cruft slathered on top. Good luck if you imagined that you could do anything like edit normal system files to configure your system, or if you thought that the command line tools were from the recent decade.

    5. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Change for the Red Dot

      Software for me. I switched to Mac years back (from ThinkPad, coincidentally) when Windows updates nearly made me put my ThinkPad through the nearest window. I was heading to the US on a business trip to give a big presentation; everything was ready to go but I was really late. My TP had about 4% battery remaining so was on charge, then I went to shut it down to take it with me. It started doing updates before shutdown (Update 1 of 351 in progress - do not turn off your computer). My critical work for the business trip was on it, I couldn't risk doing a shutdown halfway through updates if there was a chance it would break the OS, and I couldn't unplug the laptop and let it do updates on the way to the airport because it only had 4% battery left.

      I had to wait for it to finish. It took 35 minutes and I missed my flight. That was the moment I decided f*ck you Windows and your arbitrary, dictatorial approach to updates*. The frustration had been building for a long time, but this was the final straw.

      Now I'm on Mac and haven't looked back.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Change for the Red Dot

        Conversely, I recently tried switching to a Thinkpad after years on Macs - I was mildly unhappy with hardware lock-in and irritated with OS X.

        Sadly I found the trackpad wasn't up to scratch - tracking was a bit off and I found the cursor jumped about a bit. I don't know if it was a hardware issue or Linux doing something odd, but it was enough to send me back to my 6yo Macbook.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Change for the Red Dot

          "Conversely, I recently tried switching to a Thinkpad after years on Macs - I was mildly unhappy with hardware lock-in and irritated with OS X.

          Sadly I found the trackpad wasn't up to scratch - tracking was a bit off and I found the cursor jumped about a bit. I don't know if it was a hardware issue or Linux doing something odd, but it was enough to send me back to my 6yo Macbook."

          You were irritated with hardware lock-in on a device that lets you run Windows, Linux AND MacOS fully native and completely legally?

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Change for the Red Dot

            I was irritated that if I wanted to run OSX, I had to do so on a Mac. If I didn't, I would prefer to do so on something other than a Macbook as they're a pain to repair or upgrade. Although they do have nice trackpads, as it turns out. Does that make more sense?

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Change for the Red Dot

        Hibernate instead of shutdown. I think I only shut down once a month, when it's Patch Tuesday.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Change for the Red Dot

          "Hibernate instead of shutdown. I think I only shut down once a month, when it's Patch Tuesday."

          If I remember rightly (it was 2012) it wasn't possible (or advisable) to go into hibernation while the updates were in progress. I'd set the power button to Shutdown rather than Hibernate, and closing the lid put it into Standby. At the time I bitterly resented Microsoft's "We'll do what the hell we like, when we like" arrogance, and I still do; the most recent example of this was my dad getting caught out when Windows 10 auto-installed on his laptop despite him telling it not to on multiple occasions, and then breaking his business accounting software which had warned him it wouldn't work with Win10. It took him, and me, a week of lost time to undo that monstrosity.

    6. OffBeatMammal

      Re: Change for the Red Dot

      I'd loved my old Thinkpad, but some years ago moved to a Mac. Still have to use Windows for some things (remote desktop, Fusion VM, and a physical desktop machine) but despite how much better Win10 has got, I still find it incredibly frustrating compared to macOS.

      First couple of Mac laptops have been great - amazing build quality and reliability, but ... I'd expect it at the price tag. I'm finding myself torn now... performance on my old Mac is finally starting to suffer (it's a mid-2012 Air, so compared to how PCs seem to slow down that's pretty impressive) so it's time to upgrade and while a MacBook Pro should be a no-brainer (perfect fit for what I want it for, and an OS I am comfortable/familiar with) the keyboard and other build issues are giving me cause to hold off. If there was a current ThinkPad that ran macOS (hackintosh) reliably... I'd switch in a heartbeat.

      Apple's obsession with thin at the expense of everything else is doing more harm than good ... but unless these recalls/replacements start to hurt the bottom line there's no reason for them to change

  5. tempemeaty

    It would not surprise me if a Chinese manufacture started making a replacement keyboard with a more reliable design to replace the Apple one with. As bad as this has gotten I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.

    1. robidy

      It's impressive the lengths apple go to to stop knock offs working...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many extended repair programmes....

    A selection of programmes:

    late 2007/8 Macbook Pro - *all* had faulty NVidia GPUs (this one wasn't Apple's fault to be fair, NVidia paid for the entire programme).

    2011 Macbook Pro - repair programme for distorted/no video

    Macbook 2006/7 (Black/White) "crackbook"- plastic top case cracking at the edges. I couldn't count the number of these I replaced, could likely do it with my eyes shut such is the muscle memory. Replacements cracked just as easily too.

    White Macbook 2009 - unibody, different plastic, still cracked (around hinges and Ethernet port). More tedious repair due to unibody design.

    2010 iMac - Seagate hard drives (again not Apple's fault directly)

    1. robidy

      Re: So many extended repair programmes....

      List of faults for all Mac competitors (PC/Windows/Liniux/Atari/Commodore/anything else you can think of) are available.

      It's easy to criticise anything...it's a damn sight harder to get it right....just sayin'

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So many extended repair programmes....

        "List of faults for all Mac competitors (PC/Windows/Liniux/Atari/Commodore/anything else you can think of) are available.

        It's easy to criticise anything...it's a damn sight harder to get it right....just sayin'"

        Main difference is for the price differential, Apple shit should be perfect and be giving you a BJ

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: So many extended repair programmes....

          "Main difference is for the price differential, Apple shit should be perfect and be giving you a BJ"

          There is (next to) no price differential for equivalent hardware.

          MacBook Pro 13" i5 with 8GB/256GB costs $1.299.

          Dell XPS13 i5/8GB/256GB costs $1.299.

          ThinkPad X1 Carbon i5/8GB/256GB costs $1.179.

          Surface Laptop 2 i5/8GB/256GB is $1.299.

          Of course you can buy cheaper laptops (and say 'why buy Apple when my $399 Plastic Fantastic Acer has the same processor), but when comparing actual like-with-like the prices are very similar.

  7. georgezilla

    But first ....

    " ... knowingly released a defective design ... "

    But first don't you have to actually test something to know if it's defective? You know, before you release it.

    Or is this just Apple fallowing Microsofts lead?

    Microsoft: Why bother, let the effing customer test it for us.

    Apple: Hey that sounds like a deal.

    Customer: HELL YEA!!!! Here, take all my money!

    Customer: Wait. What? HEY! It's broken!

    Microsoft: So?

    Apple: Shut up and give us more money.

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