back to article That magical super material Apple hopes will hit backspace on its keyboard woes? Nylon

The magicc new materil emedded in Apple’s vry latest Macbook Pro keyaords, to prevnt them from malfutioning, is nylon, iFixit, the popular DIY repair shop, reveled on Friay. Clerly th fixis too lte for yr Reg reprtr's Macook ro ut we wll psh on. If yo thnk ts hard to red try usin thefkn hing. Apple’s utterfly mechanism, …

  1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    Upi mrrf s mre {V/

    1. fobobob

      cn't ndrstndwht yo'r tying tosy

  2. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

    Oddly -- I know more than a few mac users, damned few have run into the malfunctioning keyboard issue. I however have killed HP laptop keyboards, IBM/Lenovo laptop keyboards, Asus laptop keyboards, and at least a dozen varieties of PS2 and USB connected external keyboards. However I'm known to hammer on the damned keyboard just like the keyboard I learned to type on in grade 9. Which was a gawdaful white and black manual typewriter. With a horrible carriage return that made noises somewhat like a petrified monkey with its tail caught in a bear trap.

    Mind you, I'd still not bother with the impractical glitzy tacky mac things.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      I never got into the habit of using the little finger for the return key. On my first typewriter I'd have broken the finger if I'd tried. And that was a portable!

      1. I Am Spartacus

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        I wrote my degree report on one of these portable machines in 1980.

        I looked at this the other day and, wow, all those typo's and Tippit corrections. How far we have come, even with dodgy keyboards!

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

          Try correcting duplicator stencils - it's a great incentive to improve your accuracy!

      2. FIA

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        Return key?! You kids today........

        I'm still probably programmed in such a way if you rung a small bell at just the right moment I'd wave my hand vaguely in the air, smack the side of the monitor and wonder why it was on the floor rather than half an inch higher.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      My first encounter with computers was via a teletype (a keyboard that would come out better than you if you decided to hit it!) which probably still has an effect on the way I type!

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        IBM Selectric, baby! Roman and italic, even different fonts and point sizes. All you had to do was change the ball, and maybe tweak a mechanical lever. The future had arrived.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

          ...not to mention some of those Selectric models even came with wireless cloud uplink built-in! Back in '83 no less...!

      2. Kernel Silver badge

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        "My first encounter with computers was via a teletype (a keyboard that would come out better than you if you decided to hit it!) which probably still has an effect on the way I type!"

        Generally teletypes responded better to the rhythm typing technique rather than the more familiar touch typing.

        My wife was, in the past, a telegraph operator (yep, including morse code) and learnt typing on a Gentex 100% mechanical teletype - even today she still sometimes breaks into rhythm typing on her laptop once she gets going on a sentence.

      3. PhilBuk

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        Probably an ASR33, my first too. Could be why I now have hearing aids.

        Phil.

    3. Jamesit

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      Try an IBM model M, almost indestructible. They don't like coffee tho:-(

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        First keyboards I worked on had Hall erect keyswitches.

        If a key went dodgy you could take it out and clean the gold pad. You could also remove the whole PCB and wipe down the printed Hall effect sensors.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Cabbage
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        I had someone present me with one to repair when its electronics stopped working after a trip through the dishwasher. The response to my asking why on earth they thought it was a good idea to do that was that it worked fine the previous three times they did it.

        They don't make keyboards like that any more.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

          With Model Ms and dishwashers, the secrets are to make sure the dishwasher is clean, there is none of the incredibly abrasive detergent left in it, and leave plenty of time to allow it to dry before trying to use it.

    4. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      I’ve yet to break a Dell keyboard, or anything Dell, in 20 years of using them. Other brands, well, mileage definitely varies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dell Keyboards

        There are Dell Keyboards and well Dell Keyboards

        An old Inspiron 8100 of mine went through FOUR keyboards in 18 months.

        As similar tale applied to another Dell Laptop that I was issued at one of the many places I worked.

        HP KB's on Laptops seemed to suffer similar fates apart from the HP 7780W(?). That lasted 3 years of being lugged around the world before the power socket broke.

        Yet, I picked up two Dell 'built like a tank' USB keyboards from a Car Boot sale for a £5 more than 12 years ago and they are still going strong.

        Countless thousands of lines of code, specs, reports, MBA assugnments and now three 200,000+ word Novels have all been keyed in using those keyboards or my 2015 MacBook Pro (non butterfly)

        One of the Dells has started to creak a bit. That is down to the plastic case developing a crack so I may have to think about changing them soon (3-4 years perhaps). All I know is that I'm going to have to pay an awful lot more than £2.50 each for the replacement.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      Keyboards on other computers break too (not to the extent that the MacBook's one does due to the absurd design) but on any other computer you can buy a replacement keyboard for £20-30 and swap it yourself.

    6. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      My first carriage return was a big lever on the side of the typewriter that you pulled.

      1. Uffe Seerup

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        Strictly speaking it was a CR+LF lever. If you didn't pull it gently, it would add a LF at the end of the CR

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

          Usually programmable though - IIRC the typewriters I used had "0", "1", "1½" and "2" settings for the number of LFs added :-)

          Then my grandfather bought an electric typewriter with electric return. The thing used to walk an inch or so sideways when the carriage returned, if it wasn't set up on a non-slip surface.

          M.

        2. ghp

          Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

          I would've sworn it did the linefeed first, and if you pushed through, the carriage returned.

    7. Joe 37

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      I learned to type on an Olivetti typewriter in a desert. Sand got into everything. And I had to cut a lot of stencils for a Gestetner machine. So I learned to beat keyboards to death with my fingers. Which I still do.

      I buy the cheapest garbage keyboards and replace them about three times a year.

      IBM Model M's can handle the battering but cost a fortune and drive everyone nearby mad with the noise. I have killed some of those too.

      1. ghp

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        Some of those nearby?

      2. Clive Galway

        Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

        Buy a Wooting keyboard - that way you can hot-swap the switches if one breaks without even unplugging the keyboard.

        If you get the linear switches, there is no clicking to annoy colleagues, and no physical switches (The switches are optical, not electronic), so they won't break in a hurry

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple keyboard malfunction issues and IFixit.

      You killed an IBM keyboard? Stop using keyboards as tank armour and you'll be fine.

  3. Graham Dawson

    After several weeks of experimentatin, I successfully replicated the appley keyboard experience by spilling a glass of wine over my keyboard, flusing it out briefly with a splash of isopropyl alcohol, spraying it with wd40 electrical contact clearner and then leaving the rsultant mess to dry. Th replicatin is neary perfect, thoug somewhat frustratinnnnn to us.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Drinking the wine instead of spilling it could have the same effect. Maybe drink another couple to be sure.

      1. Graham Dawson
        Pint

        Done and done.

        And I mean done.

    2. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge

      It always helps if you turn the laptop or keyboard off when spraying it...

    3. Mike Lewis

      Twitch, twitch. That reminds me of the time a junior programmer was having trouble with his keyboard, back in the days when they were too expensive to just throw away. I told him to open it up and spray it. I meant with freon, he used WD-40. He spent the rest of that morning cleaning it out.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "spraying it with wd40 electrical contact clearner"

      Is that something different to WD40? ie do they sell other stuff under the WD40 brand? If not, you just left a light oil all over the inside of your keyboard ;-)

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        "spraying it with wd40 electrical contact clearner"

        Is that something different to WD40? ie do they sell other stuff under the WD40 brand?

        Yes it is and yes they do. Don't try to oil hinges with this one :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        contact cleaner

        Careful with contact cleaner. Some years back (green screen transitioning to PC era) we had a sheepish employee bring his malfunctioning keyboard to IT. He had accidentally spilled Mountain Dew on his keyboard, which caused some keys to stick and some to not register keypresses. In one part do-it-yourself inventiveness and two parts hide-your-screwup he decided to clean the keyboard with contact cleaner.

        Apparently the contact cleaner he selected was a bit more aggressive that the stuff you used. Instead of a few sticking keys, the keyboard looked like it belonged on Salvador Dali's gaming rig. About half of the keys essentially melted.

        1. Graham Dawson

          Re: contact cleaner

          I think that might have been caused by the mountain dew.

    5. macjules Silver badge

      The early nineties Apple Extended Keyboard II was amazing - you could take it apart, wash it, let it dry and reassemble it and it would work like new.

      Shame they forgot what their livestock consumers want.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        They didn't forget. They stopped caring!

      2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        macjules: Shame they forgot what their consumers want.

        Have you learnt nothing from Steve Jobs? The people don' know what they want until you show it to them. And as the fussiest of model consumers himself, he happened to have his finger on the pulse of consumer desires and he was right often enough that one overlooked when he was wrong.

        Unfortunately the current incumbent of Apple Inc. (née Computers) is an Operations man. He may be a wizard at process optimisation, but his taste is as grey as his clothing.

        I think that the problem lies in the constant need to change the products. I, personally, am of the opinion that most people want a slowly changing (and cheaper) MacBook Pro from 10 years' ago that still works as it did then. They want a pretty OS that doesn't slow down the machine and doesn't make their life any harder. And that applies to Microsoft too.

        Rather than trying to make those who bought a MacBook to buy a new one, why not try convincing everyone to buy a MacBook? If it will last for 10 years and if Apple will look after it, it should be an easy sell.

    6. segillum

      WD-40 is emphatically not "electrical contact cleaner". It's a mixture of white spirit and light mineral oil, neither of which should be brought anywhere near anything electrical or electronic.

      Propanol or a properly formulated contact cleaner are a considerably better idea.

      1. CliveS
        FAIL

        WD-40 is a brand. And in addition to their original multi-use product, they also do a contact cleaner...

        https://wd40.co.uk/specialist/fast-drying-contact-cleaner/

        1. tin 2

          In fairness WD-40 was the product and not the brand for a long long time, hence the potential for misunderstanding.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Was th artcl tped on a Mc or an Asus? Frm exprenc cld b th latr.

    1. Mr Benny

      I'm typing this on a Mac. But the 1st thing I did when I bought it was also buy a 20 quid PC keyboard and mouse.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Coat

      "Oh other laptops do it tooo"

      Yeah, jump on the bashing bandwagon. Just make sure it's a big wallet you use to do so ;)

      Mines the one with the experience of doing £15/£20 part swaps in other laptops. OH, I don't mind Apple charging £100s for the parts... but why rivet the stuff in?!?

  5. DougS Silver badge

    Apple is stubborn if nothing else

    They keep trying to fix the butterfly keys, instead of going back to the older design that worked perfectly. Even if they had to make the laptop thicker that doesn't mean they'd have to make it heavier if they don't fill that extra volume.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

      They need to change it, because people (including myself) are making purchasing decisions that exclude their entire current range.

      Mrs also has a works MacBook Pro, which by pure luck was the last model to have the normal keyboard. Most of her colleagues have unwittingly upgraded, and the unreliability they're suffering is a threat to business. Needless to say she's refusing to forsake it, they'll have to pry it from her hands with a crowbar.

      F***ing Ridiculous

      Apple are taking the piss. They don't honour the 2 year statutory warranty period here in Europe, and now they're shipping a keyboard that they're already saying they will replace gratis for 4 years. Someone is going to get them under the Sale of Goods Act, what they're flogging is not fit for purpose.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Sale of Goods Act

        Sale of Goods act went out of use in 2015.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: Sale of Goods Act

          That's true. And here's the replacement.

          It should also be noted that membership of the EU confers consumers rights as well. But don't worry, the government has that covered. So they say :)

      2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

        people (including myself) are making purchasing decisions that exclude their entire current range

        I was shopping for a Macbook Pro right when the first generation with the butterfly keyboard (and no fkn ports) was due to come out.

        Fortunately, I decided to go to Best Buy to try it out before ordering. Even brand new, before the key failures started to kick in, I absolutely hated the new keyboard. It only has a tiny amount of travel, and the key caps barely peek up above the bezel. It was far and away the worst laptop keyboard I'd ever used. The fact that it was on a premium-priced machine made it completely unforgivable.

        I bought an Apple-refurb 2015 MBP with the older keyboard for about $500 less -- with the added benefits of a mag safe power connector, SD card slot, and an HDMI port. I won't consider a newer MB model until the butterfly design has been abandoned and all of the plans and tooling for it have been jettisoned into the sun.

      3. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Someone is going to get them

        They did get fined in Italy for offering to sell extending one year to two for warranty. The two years is an EU minimum, it can be six.

        They are going to extend it to retailers buying from wholesale/factory as at the minute the retailers can be left out of pocket. Maker's direct sales count as retail. Though it might not apply in UK by the time it becomes law.

        Curry's/PCWorld/(also CPW now?) and Argos also infamous for selling worthless "warranties" that are actually overpriced 3rd party insurance.

    2. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge

      Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

      It’s St Ives who’s the stubrn and clueless fckr. If his old boss were still alive he’d have reeled him in years ago or booted him out. Style completely replaced function in this feckers brain

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

        I somewhat disagree. Ivy has always been a clueless fuck and chosen design over function. I know he doesn't care what we think as he's a multimillionaire for being a clueless fuck & I do my work properly but am not a multimillionaire.

        My point is. He designed the hockey puck mouse and that was while Steve was alive. Steve clearly agreed with the design as he was as bad as Ivy. So that's where I'd disagree. Steve would never have reeled him in. Steve always championed Ivy. If anything Steve would been doing presentations now claiming how "All other laptop manufacturers have the same issue. At the end of the day, you are using it wrong" much like antennagate. And no Steve, other laptop manufacturers do not have the issue.

        So no, they are both arrogant fucks. One is just a long dead arrogant fuck. And the dead arrogant fuck would be in 100% support of the living one.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

          Possibly true, but there's no way Jobs would have allowed this to run on for four years (or more if the new design doesn't work). After two he'd have put the older design back in and called it a 2nd generation butterfly keyboard.

        2. Korev Silver badge

          Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

          The hockey puck mouse really, really made my hand hurt as it was too small.

          1. steviebuk Silver badge

            Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

            Yep and watching the promo videos for it where Jobs said how beautiful it was. Sickening. He'd sell shit to a blind person if he could.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Pint

              Re: Apple is stubborn if nothing else

              Post of the year!

  6. Bloodbeastterror

    Louis Rossmann

    I recommend checking out this guy's channel. He can be long-winded, but many of his videos are mindblowing in their revealing of just how poor Apple's design and customer service really are. Fanbois will sing praises of the wonderful service Apple give; Rossmann shows the other side of the coin in irrefutable technical detail.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Louis Rossmann

      He's also the canonical model of a New Yorker, with the exception that he can probably make a sailor sit down and take notes on new and exciting obscenities.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Louis Rossmann

      "Fanbois will sing praises of the wonderful service Apple give; "

      Sometimes gaining a reputation for "wonderful service" is a side effect of having a priduct that is prone to failure .... I've read that Dyson built their reputation this way - their original vacuum cleaners had a very high failure rate but they had a system where if anyone rang in to report that theirs had stopped working then a "repair engineer" would arrive at their house in a few days and give them a replacement. As a result instead of everyone talimg about how Dysons always broke down the talk was about Dyson's excellent customer support .... meanwhile Vax, Numatic ertc who built better vacuums that didn't break down lost out (unless, like us, you had a local vacuum cleaner repiar/retail shop where the owner advised everyone that Dyson's were rubbish, Vaxes were still ok but nowhere as good as they had been but Numatic Henry, especiallu commerical version, were the way to go)

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Louis Rossmann

        Must be nice to be able to afford to do that.

      2. Boris

        Re: Louis Rossmann

        "but Numatic Henry, especiallu commerical version, were the way to go"

        They still are mate (says a recently retired cleaner)

        I despaired when they retired the henry at my last job because there was a Vax on "special offer" - it was clearly shite.

        Henry's are bomb proof, the spares and bags are cheap and readily available and it's made in Britain - a success story no one knows about...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Louis Rossmann

          Henry’s are a pain in the butt to use compared to modern battery cleaners. They are OK for offices with professional cleaners. For domestic pile carpets you need a turbo beater head as an extra and they are not very good.

          I have one, it’s only used for DIY cleanups. For normal use it’s a pile of shit unless you are happy to spend three times as long dragging the thing behind you and it’s electric cable too.

          There’s a love in with Henry’s but they are not all that.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: compared to modern battery cleaners

            Or anything else on batteries that needs serious power and near enough mains:

            1) Heavier for same power as AC wired (or 12V car socket) due to weight of batteries.

            2) Battery pack may only be two year life.

            3) Often lower power and shorter life than a cheaper mains driven model.

            4) Less environmentally friendly (power loss in charging and energy to make battery packs.

            The Dyson fan is a gimmick. Any physicist will explain why a single large blade is quieter than a small blade (or several) and more efficient than the small ones for the SAME air flow. Guess what is in the base of the fanless/bladeless fan?

            His vacuum cleaners were not original, nor the air knife hand drier. He really is the appliance equivalent of Ives. His aim is to have 80% profit. The big "apparently" bladeless fan might be novel but noisy and inefficient compared to similar outer diameter traditional large blade fan for the same air flow. Style more than function.

        2. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: Louis Rossmann

          Tell the girlfriend that. She loves Apple and unfortunately loves Dyson. I like the portable nature of it but that is all. We have the animal one but it sucks like a straw with a hole in it. The only way to get it to be useful is on full power, then the battery only lasts about 15mins. Whats funny is if you watch the advert, it even states on there all testing was done in max mode. So even they know normal mode is shit.

          She also likes the bladeless fans. They feel as if someone is in the corner blowing. They are useless. "Oh its so quiet". No it fucking isn't. She insists its on in the hot evening. What can I hear, the fucking noise of the motor. The annoying fucking noise of the motor ):-(

          I'd had enough. She uses the Dyson. I went and bought a numatic Henry and use that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Unhappy

            Re: Louis Rossmann

            She needs a new boyfriend. One who’s not an old grump.

            1. steviebuk Silver badge

              Re: Louis Rossmann

              I like being an old grump :) she accepts me being an old grump as I'm not an old grump all the time.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Pint

                Re: Louis Rossmann

                Fair enough. There's so much unhappiness around nowadays, and if you've found a way that works for you both, then have a pint on me...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Louis Rossmann

      Louis won't recommend a MacBook later than 2014 and explains why... but he would choose some models from 2013-4 if you "held a gun to his head".

  7. DenTheMan

    It works..

    ........... For 12 moths before the bugs strike.

  8. Mephistro Silver badge
    Flame

    Nylon

    In my experience, nylon is a finicky material to use in sustainedly warm environments. No need to go to high temperatures, just about 40 ºC for several hours a day and, depending of the additives used in the nylon parts and the mechanical stresses applied, it either goes soft, goes brittle, suffers permanent deformations or just breaks.

    A few years ago I tried to fix a high end HP laptop that was just out of its two years guarantee period. The nylon connectors in the motherboard just disintegrated when trying to open them!

    After a bit of research in the relevant forums, I learned about these issues with the nylon connectors. It wasn't clear whether the issue affected all units of this model or only some batches, but lots and lots of users were complainig about these symptoms. The solution offered by HP was a mainboard replacement, worth about half the price of a new model, and with no guarantee the issues wouldn't reappear in another two years. Sigh...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nylon

      Ah, Nylon, and a memory triggered. No names will be mentioned.

      Waaaay back in the early '80's, I think, my employer won a contract for a safety related system on a new bike power station.

      Customer had specified the whole thing very tightly - PO 3000 relays and to be assembled using a prescribed list of bits, which included Nylon pushrods.

      Our guys pointed out that Nylon wasn't appropriate, as it was hygroscopic and with the multiple contacts specified, there was a good chance that the relays would fail. Fast.

      Customer insisted, so we went ahead.

      Guess what? Relays fell over like journalists after the pub. All the pushrods were changed out for PTFE ones, I believe at the clients expense.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Nylon

        I remember a much older issue with Nylon. It doesn't like high voltage, and degrades to a sort of brown fibrous material that is highly inflammable and falls apart at a touch.

        So, it was probably not a good idea in the 1960s to use it as the insulator for the TV EHT winding and rectifier support on line output transformers.

        P.S. It wasn't usually the wax impregnated ones that caused the fires!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Nylon

        In this world of BS spouting 'cloud and devops architects', comments like this make the Reg worth returning to, again and again. I am not being sarcastic.

        Please apply this post to all people who actually know what the fuck they're talking about and have taken the time to spread their wisdom.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nylon

      There are a lot of different nylons, some of which are very durable and some of which are very manky.

      But the good ones cost more, and cost more to injection mould, so people tend to use the cheap stuff.

      Dupont's Zytel Plus is pretty good, but there are Zytels that replace aluminium in some applications and can withstand over 200C for extended periods, which is why I once researched them for an application. If Apple are using something like that, it will be a big improvement over acetal.

      1. quxinot Silver badge

        Re: Nylon

        It'd be interesting to see if there's recycling marks on it. You'd think they'd use something with a reasonably high temp rating to keep it from getting soft with heat.

        Though, if it's taken this long to try to fix a poor design, I would not hold my breath over it.

  9. PicasaLover

    Upple iFackwiiiiiiiiiiiiiTTTTTTTTTT

  10. Sanctimonious Prick

    Oops!

    Too many spelling mistakes!

    :)

  11. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Contacted Apple

    "The Register has contacted Appl for coment, but we're probably unlikely to hear anything bak."

    But I'd bet that publc_rlations@aaple.om is wondering what's going on.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Contacted Apple

      O, u!

  12. Joe Gurman

    The writer showed remarkable restraint

    In omitting mention of Apple's move to increase transparency in the butterfly mechanism issue.

  13. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Unfortunately the Pro range stopped being intended for professionals a few years ago. It’s now just a label for aspiring wannabes and fashion victims like my sister. She’s a complete amateur but everything has to be Apple Pro, innit. St Ives needs to rapidly follow Missing Burberry out the door.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      The thing is about what Apple are doing is that it's been a sustained level of crapness for quite a long time. If ever there were something that could force people out of the fruity walled garden, it's this. And there's some very nice PC laptops these days, if you can live with Windows 10.

      There's some domains, e.g. biomedical research, where all the software is Mac, not PC. The people in these areas have real problems these days because finding a Mac that's usable is a big problem.

      No wonder the 2nd hand market for old MacBooks is healthy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Macs in biomedical research

        After 15 years in biomed research on 2 continents, I don't see where this comes from. Pretty much every equipment is Windows, with a few custom Linux here and there. I believe Leica briefly sold a microscope that coud come in a Mac version but that stopped when Apple stopped making computers.

        Now some researchers choose to work on Mac for their administrative / office tasks, especially in the US, but that's certainly not the norm, and they usually have to take extra steps to convert the data into Mac-friendly formats as most of the proprietary technical software is Windows-only (although you can now find more and more Linux software to extract data from the proprietary formats, and those typically work on MacOS too).

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Macs in biomedical research

          Almost every lab machine we have is running Windows these days too. There are a few instruments like the Mass Specs which use Linux.

        2. TVU

          Re: Macs in biomedical research

          "After 15 years in biomed research on 2 continents, I don't see where this comes from. Pretty much every equipment is Windows, with a few custom Linux here and there. I believe Leica briefly sold a microscope that coud come in a Mac version but that stopped when Apple stopped making computers"

          One of the really sad things about Apple under the current management is that they appear to be completely neglecting their professional customers in favour of phones, tablets and social media lifestyle laptops. I don't think that Steve Jobs would ever have allowed this to happen since all this only started happening after his demise.

          I know of families who've completely deserted the Apple ecosystem to go to Windows and Android and developers who've gone over to Linux. With phone and tablet sales flatlining, it's an insane and wholly counterproductive policy to neglect professional users.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Macs in biomedical research

            The accountants and the cash pile say otherwise.

            Professional users tend to be demanding in terms of expectations and technical support. That costs. Are you going to sell an iPhone at 50% gross margin or a pro computer which is probably much less than that and has far higher overheads?

            Remember when HP visited you to sell you a single 9845?

        3. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Macs in biomedical research

          HEP and other research fields often prefer Linux, or choose macOS because a) it's generally POSIX compatible (and much of Linux-based software compiles on it), and b) because it's a professional OS (i.e. is known to be pretty rock-solid compared to Gnome et al).

          That said, with the way things are going, more people are migrating towards Windows 10 where you can get high-powered devices (think Surface Pro et al) that are a damn sight cheaper than Mac hardware, and with the new Linux subsystem, you can run Linux software natively too.

          It'll be a bitchfight between Microsoft and Apple now...

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Pro

      That's not new and not limited to Apple. Pro now means "top tier personal". Good examples include MSWindows (Pro for consumers, Buisness for professional use) or indeed the PS4 Pro.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Pro

        Agreed, "Pro" is ust a marketing term nowadays. Although there is worse. Prosumer!!!

    3. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      And your sister is exactly the reason why Apple will not change. No matter how much they screw up, no matter how badly they screw them over, no matter how dumb the design is, people will buy it because it is Apple and therefore cool. I've noticed that all the cases for iPhones must have a big circle on the back so that people can clearly see you are using an Apple product. I really do believe that some of these hipster doofuses think that owning Apple somehow makes them superior.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I own Apple and that makes me superior.

        Damn.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        And because of this, if I ever were to own an iPhone (perish the thought!), I'd have to find something to hide the Apple logo. I'd rather it be unbranded and look like a generic Android cheapo. It would not be a status symbol... if anything, it would be a pretentiousness symbol, tagging me as one of those Apple cult dolts who will get shat upon and apologize to Apple for deserving it.

        On the other hand, the other major player is Android. I don't like smart phones and I don't plan to ever have one, but if I did, the Apple may actually end up being the lesser of two evils. Even with its premium price and not so premium build quality, not to mention its locked-down nature both in hardware and software, at least it's not Google.

        I loathe Microsoft too, btw, just to round it out, and that's relatively recent. I had contempt for them after what they pulled during the browser wars days, but that was tempered by my liking for XP and 7. Now I despise them from stem to stern.

        I keep reading posts by former Mac fans who are fleeing the platform (in favor of Windows) because of how bad Macs have gotten, and then I go to another site and see post after post by former Windows users who have fled to Mac or Linux because of Windows 10.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "And because of this, if I ever were to own an iPhone (perish the thought!), I'd have to find something to hide the Apple logo. I'd rather it be unbranded and look like a generic Android cheapo.....

          On the other hand, the other major player is Android. I don't like smart phones and I don't plan to ever have one, ....

          I loathe Microsoft too, btw, just to round it out, and that's relatively recent. I had contempt for them after what they pulled during the browser wars days, but that was tempered by my liking for XP and 7. "

          May I respectfully inquire, do you use lampblack or oak gall ink for your quill pens?

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        >I've noticed that all the cases for iPhones must have a big circle on the back so that people can clearly see you are using an Apple product

        Not had that problem with third-party cases.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I believe it because at least two of them have told me so.

        One of them, in the early days of the docx format, with a shiny new copy of Word whatever for Mac, sent me a plain text single page document in docx, and when I asked for it to be sent as plain .doc for circulation replied that he did not want his document "downgraded to an inferior format".

    4. rg287 Silver badge

      Unfortunately the Pro range stopped being intended for professionals a few years ago.

      This, unfortunately. Obviously the writing was on the wall when they scrapped Aperture. FCPX and Logic Pro users are probably keeping a very wary eye on the future of their workflows.

      Even assuming the Butterfly Keyboard worked as intended, the response to "Hey, we've designed this new mechanism that saves us 2mm" should have been "Fantastic, we can use that space for more battery, or to improve the thermals so we can slot an i9 in without it throttling permanently, because Pro users will value the performance".

      Instead, they said "Great, we'll make the whole thing thinner, because that's what people want in a Pro laptop. Thinness, even if that means using last generation components. No no, what do you mean "isn't that what their Airs are for?" Of course not! We must make the Pro line as thin as the Airs. For... reasons..."

      Which is why the 13" Pro is 14.9mm thick and the 13" Air is 15.6mm thick.

      And for comparison the 13" Dell XPS is 11.6mm.

      Dear Apple. What the blazing fuck are you playing at?

      1. Marcus Fil
        Pint

        @rg287

        May I offer you this for your excellent post

  14. NanoMeter

    Not environmentally friendly

    Nylon and plastic are not environmentally friendly. Keyboard manufacturer will soon be forced to use wood instead.

    1. bpfh Silver badge

      Re: Not environmentally friendly

      Plastic can be environmentally friendly. Start mixing milk and vinegar and mould the result into the shape you want. It might start smelling after it gets hot though...

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Not environmentally friendly

      Will they be branching out with a new material?

  15. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Happy

    Planned Obsolescence

    This was, at its root, just a 'minor' miscalculation in the spirit of Road Runner/Wiley Coyote. Except no one laughed.

  16. Mr Benny

    "Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy"

    Wtf is that? Or did you mean standard infrared spectroscopy that like millions of other embedded systems has to map the time domain into the frequency domain and so uses a fourier transform in its firmware?

    1. terrythetech
      Boffin

      Re: "Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy"

      No, it is a thing. It involves interferometry and moving a moving mirror and maths instead of the usual grating set-up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Those grating set-ups

        Get on your nerves after a few minutes.

      2. Ivan Headache
        Coat

        Moving a moving mirror

        So that's why so many research bods have beards

        Mine's the one with a gillette in the pocket

  17. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Hilarious.

  18. Muscleguy Silver badge

    I'm typing this on the keyboard of a mid 2010 15" MacBook Pro and all the keys are intact and work just fine.

    Note the previous owner, my youngest, is in bioinformatics and operated it through the console and terminal instead of the GUI so the has a lot of use in its time and the trackpad is almost mint. Had a new HD and more RAM when I got it.

    The main glitch? like most machines from the era you have to run gfxCardStatus and set it to Internal Only or have kernel panics. Since Thunderbird locks it into that setting I'm sitting pretty, unless I need to restart it, in which I have to be quick.

    I'm not sure what problem Apple was trying solve either. But mind you the other daughter's laptop had a number of loose keys on it and I was tasked to refix those which were fixable. I suppose it depends on how well you treat your devices.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      The main glitch? like most machines from the era you have to run gfxCardStatus and set it to Internal Only or have kernel panics. Since Thunderbird locks it into that setting I'm sitting pretty, unless I need to restart it, in which I have to be quick.

      Video and part.

      Maybe a half-decent 3rd party repair shop can change the capacitor for you once they know what the problem is if, like me, you don't know which way round to hold a soldering iron.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Surely you only make the soldering iron mistake once?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          I'm very stubborn.

  19. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Well, it's not exploding batteries

    In advancing technology, some mistakes will be made. Apple at least have tried to innovate to what is probably a better action, but there was a problem. Hopefully they have fixed it.

    But at least it is not exploding batteries which result from product being introduced too fast.

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Well, it's not exploding batteries

      In advancing technology, some mistakes will be made. Apple at least have tried to innovate to what is probably a better action, but there was a problem. Hopefully they have fixed it.

      It's the way they "advanced" which is telling. By designing a more compact keyboard, they could have created more internal space for thermal management or battery - features valued in a "Pro" laptop.

      Instead they kept the guts the same and shrunk the chassis so that it's actually thinner than a Macbook Air, and took away all the ports so you have to carry a bag of dongles around with you to connect your USB-C ports to HDMI/USB/DisplayPort/Ethernet/any-useful-peripheral-that-you might-actually-own. Those dongles are a lot chunkier than the 2mm they saved with the bloody keyboard.

      That business decision tells you that they're not really giving any consideration to what their Pro-users want or need. They're following an aesthetic-first edict from St Ives.

  20. iced.lemonade

    maybe, economically...

    if (updating the production/assembly line for current macbook pro for a better thermal/keyboard is so expensive &&

    (

    people complaining about failed keyboard is so few numerically so not justified to update ||

    people complaining about thermal throttling is so few numerically so not justified to update ||

    people buying macbook pro is so few numerically so not justified to update

    )

    ){

    keep churning out products from existing production/assembly line until it breaks or company faces class action;

    }

    (honestly, imo, even if they only fix the thermals and keyboard issues, it will already be a very nice machine)

  21. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrAple kebords isssssssssssssssssssssuxs

  22. naive

    The apple bashing is undeserved, bad quality is an epidemic

    I think generally laptops are products which carry too many compromises in their design.

    Perhaps with the exception of the Panasonic toughbook, they all have issues.

    Bad servicibility is something they all share, it is impossible for a layman to replace parts. Inside they are made too cheap with extremely fragile connectors and parts.

    Replacing the keyboard, often requires the whole laptop has to be taken apart since the the design department didn't add a removable bezel at the top.

    It means that a 2+ year old laptop often is an economic write-off after a keyboard failure.

    Just don't buy one if you don't need one, then you be fine.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The apple bashing is undeserved, bad quality is an epidemic

      Only one company makes upgrading difficult by design, makes it difficult to get hold of replacement parts, makes it difficult for the owner to swap memory or hard drive, makes it difficult for 3rd party repairers to do their job, and has such a slow turnaround on repairs without any replacement available. Their own repair service is little more than a tombola which has three possible outcome - replace display, replace mainboard, or replace case, and many times they can't even manage to do that right.

      If you think it's normal that a 2+ year old laptop often is an economic write-off after a keyboard failure then put down the kool aid and look at the prices of replacement laptop keyboards for other manufacturers and watch a video online which walks you through replacement.

  23. Ima Ballsy
    Pint

    I have at the office ...

    One of these :

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-IBM-Model-F-AT-Personal-Computer-Clicky-Keyboard-Long-Cord/133060312238?hash=item1efb033cae:g:q8kAAOSwPhZc5WBu:sc:USPSPriorityMailLargeFlatRateBox!39157!US!-1

    *SIGH* .. to bad it's not PS2 or USB compatible ,,,

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: AT Keyboard

      If it's AT and not XT, then a DIN to mini-DIN passive adaptor works. I've used a real keyboard of an IBM AT on a later PS/2 generic Pentium Mobo. The older identical plug original PC and XT keyboards are different to the AT & PS/2 protocol/standard. The PS/2 version simply is an extra connection (optionally) for mouse and mini-DIN instead of standard DIN.

      What I REALLY hate is a native US keyboard, one that can't be fixed with tippex and a different key map as a punctuation key is missing. I don't mind US keyboards with TWO |\ keys, because those give separate codes and thus will work for European layouts (usually with UK the " and @ swap and the |\ key near Enter becomes ~#). One thing I like with Linux is making CAPS = Compose and that almost ALL the keys work with AltGr. The standard MS UK map is a bit mean.

      A mini-DIN (PS/2) adaptor for USB is a few Euro and unlike USB to PS/2 for a USB mouse must be active. Converts PS/2 connector keyboard or Mouse (they use a different data out pin) to USB HID. I've not tried the the adaptor with the PS/2 mouse/keyboard Y-cable that works with every laptop I've tried.

      Only some older USB mice have a PS/2 mode that uses a passive wired plug to PC PS/2 port.

  24. TeeCee Gold badge

    Durability.

    Gentlemen, I give you the IBM 5250 Model 1.

    Never seen a keyboard fail on one of those, although they were responsible for more than a few wrist failures(!) The keyboard is rumoured to be capable of derailing trains if left in the wrong place. The whole arrangement is a device of such legendary durability that I have seen one still in use and working while it was actually on fire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Durability.

      Looks like a Vic 20.

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