Apple hit with class action suit over MacBook, MacBook Pro butterfly switch keyboard failures

“A class action lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday takes Apple to task over an allegedly flawed keyboard design deployed in MacBook models from 2015, claiming the company knew about the defect at or before the product’s launch,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Lodged in the Northern District Court of California, the complaint levels multiple claims targeting MacBook models manufactured from 2015 and MacBook Pro models produced from 2016,” Campbell reports. “Both laptops feature the company’s butterfly keyboard mechanism, an ultra low-profile switch advertised as both more responsive and robust than traditional scissor-type components.”

“According to the filing, ‘thousands’ of MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have experienced some type of failure with Apple’s butterfly keyboard, thus rendering the machine useless. Specifically, the suit claims the design is such that small amounts of dust or debris impede normal switch behavior, causing keystrokes to go unregistered,” Campbell reports. “Last month, an AppleInsider investigation into the issue, collecting data from Genius Bar locations and authorized third-party shops to find the 2016 MacBook Pro’s keyboard failed roughly twice as often in its first year of use as 2014 and 2015 MacBook Pro models with scissor-type switches. Current 2017 model year versions fair a bit better, though the model has not been available for a full year. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s one that might have merit.

SEE ALSO:
Report: Butterfly MacBook Pro keyboards require more frequent, more expensive repairs – May 8, 2018
MacBook Pro users petition Apple to recall and replace defective butterfly keyboards – May 3, 2018
Apple’s MacBook Pro keyboards said to be failing twice as frequently as older design – May 1, 2018
MacBook Pro: The butterfly keyboard effect – April 26, 2018
Where Apple’s reinvention of the keyboard may go next: Full touchscreen – March 14, 2018
Apple’s design decisions and iPhone batteries – January 8, 2018
Hey Apple, it’s time to give up thinness for bigger, longer-lasting batteries – January 6, 2017
Apple in talks to acquire Australian startup Sonder for dynamic key-morphing Magic Keyboard – October 13, 2016
At this point, why make iPhone any thinner? – January 8, 2016
Open thread: What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly? – December 21, 2015

17 Comments

  1. Real world testing would have probably found this but when testing is done in what I can only assume is a very closed and almost sterile environment this would never get spotted

    I’m not sure I see a fault in this more like a bad design call

    In the end I have to admit this is another case of Apple choosing style over function

    Who else here at MDN would like to see Apple make a real pro laptop? Not that the current systems slow or under powered but if they would drop this idea that it has to be a thin as it can be we would get a real pro model. Sure consumers like thin and for macbook or the air it makes perfect sense but to compromise a “pro” system just to make it a tiny bit thinner is getting real old real fast. Pros want ports, expansion, upgradeability super battery life and so on, not thinner

    I long for my 17″MBP but it’s too out of date to be a daily runner

    1. I don’t doubt they tested the latest Macbook Pros in a variety of environments and noticed the keys failing, but considered it within tolerable limits. Real-world use by millions of users showed that the problem is more serious than keyboard issues of the past.

      I’d like to see them go back to something that’s actually useful for most users, but I can’t imagine Apple retreating to this degree. They see themselves as the deciders on future trends and they’ll force feed it to the public unless it becomes a total fiasco. Even if they knew the demand was there and they could fit some legacy ports back on without adding more than a few mm, they wouldn’t out of pride. Dongle with it.

    2. “Who else here at MDN would like to see Apple make a real pro laptop?”

      Ahhh, millions?

      “but if they would drop this idea that it has to be a thin as it can be we would get a real pro model. Sure consumers like thin and for macbook or the air it makes perfect sense but to compromise a “pro” system just to make it a tiny bit thinner is getting real old real fast. Pros want ports, expansion, upgradeability super battery life and so on, not thinner”

      Exactly right! The thinness OBSESSION of Apple is holding us back, BIG TIME.

      “I long for my 17″MBP but it’s too out of date to be a daily runner”

      I bought the 17” fully loaded on DAY ONE in May 2003. Alas, the hard disk died a few days ago. But I got a lot of good reliable years out of it.

      It is heavy by today’s standards, but sturdy and has all the ports I need. If Apple would come back with a new 17” Pro laptop, with all the ports if not more, a reliable keyboard, weight and thickness NO ISSUE — I would buy it fully loaded on day one …

  2. Within one month of purchasing I took my MacBook Pro into the Apple store with a space bar issue just as described here. It did resolve itself, but had the issues along the way of full resolve.

    Now I commonly type a particular character and not see a result on the screen, and I ask myself—did I really type?—and of course the issue continues.

  3. *sigh* This lawsuit was inevitable. At least some people tried the petition path first. This butterfly keyboard design mess is another of many recent Apple Blunders®™. So disappointing. As with others, I’ll be sticking to my older MBP until something actually impressive surpasses it.

  4. Apple is always getting class-action lawsuits. Did Facebook even get a single lawsuit when 80M subscribers got their personal data stolen? Why is Apple always a lightning rod for lawsuits?

      1. Yes, quality standards and meeting deadlines under Cook have declined precipitously.

        Imagine if Apple ran an emergency room in the largest hospital in NYC. To use an analogy, the top flight equipment would be a MacBook Pro with a faulty keyboard, less ports, fraying cables and buggy software releases. In that scenario, they would be in even more legal trouble. Oh wait, hospitals don’t use Macs, so all is WELL.

        Apple owner since my Lisa …

  5. My brother in law is in the market to buy a new Mac. I could not, in good conscience, endorse the new MacBook Pro. My brother just bought one. I recently recommended for him to buy Apple Care. He did. I would not buy one. Now I am happy that I got my 2015 MacBook Pro when I did.

    1. Right! The problem is iunder Cook Apple is making products thinner and cheaper with less ports while charging premium prices. Cook knows he is no tech visionary and most moves are to make more money to appease the BOD and keep his job. He needs to go, pronto …

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