MBP keyboard article

maflynn

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I didn't write this, saw it on twitter when John Siracusa Retweeted it

I know there's a lot folks who believe the keyboard is fine, and what we see here at MR is because people tend to go to forums to complain and the in fact the keyboard is not defective, but I think this article helps lay bare that mindset.

Maybe I should know who the author is, but I don't. Looks like she's some editor, but other then that, I'm not sure.

The new Macbook keyboard is ruining my life

Salient points I found interesting:
Perhaps it’s true that less dirt gets under butterfly switched-keys. But therein lies the problem — when dirt does get in, it cannot get out. A piece of dust is capable of rendering a butterfly switch nonfunctional. The key won't click, and it won’t register whatever command it’s supposed to be typing. It’s effectively dead until someone can either shake loose the debris trapped under it or blow at the upside-down keyboard Nintendo-cartridge style. Meanwhile, Apple quietly put up a page with instructions expressly to try and help people with dead butterfly switch keys.
It’s unclear how big of a problem butterfly switch keyboards are. Apple forums are overflowing with reports of Geniuses who have told customers that Apple is “collecting data” on the issue. One corporate issuer of the MacBook Pros in question reported to me that its business has encountered a significant number of keyboard issues, but “less than 5% for sure.” Another Genius explained to me that he had seen an overwhelming number of the computers with keyboard issues, the spacebar in particular — while some keys can be very delicately removed, the spacebar breaks every single time anyone, including a professional, tries to remove it.
If Apple decides to replace the keyboard, it sends out the computer to replace the entire top case; there is no such thing as replacing an individual key or just the keyboard. On a Macbook Pro, the top case retails for $700, but the computers haven’t been around long enough for anyone to be out of warranty yet
Seems like this author has interviewed some apple folks and they seem to be aware of the issue, and that that geniuses, the first line of repairs back up the notion that this is fairly large.

I have no idea if apple will change the keyboard in the 2018 model, I really hope they do, as we have two years of evidence that the butterfly keyboard performs worse then the prior design.
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
What to say, Apple seems to be making a habit of poor design decisions. The keyboard issue is simply amplified massively by the poor design, resulting in the customer unjustly facing an extensive repair bill...
The failure of the keyboards is directly on Apple, as ever Apple will little do nothing unless it knows that it will loose in a court of law.

Q-6
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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For over a decade Apple has been sacrificing typing quality for thinness with each new redesign. Get out a 12" PowerBook or iBook G4 and you'll see what I mean, these older Macs have plenty of key travel and feel great to type on.

It was only a matter of time before reliability began to suffer as well...
 

jerryk

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Nov 3, 2011
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For over a decade Apple has been sacrificing typing quality for thinness with each new redesign. Get out a 12" PowerBook or iBook G4 and you'll see what I mean, these older Macs have plenty of key travel and feel great to type on.

It was only a matter of time before reliability began to suffer as well...
I think the pre-2016 Macbook Pros have fine keyboards. A good mix of travel and spacing. Travel is not as long as older units, but enough to still have a good feel and fit in a slim case. The 2016/2017 appears to be case of taking thinness too far.
 

akidd

macrumors regular
Jan 30, 2007
182
87
Tunbridge Wells, UK
For over a decade Apple has been sacrificing typing quality for thinness with each new redesign. Get out a 12" PowerBook or iBook G4 and you'll see what I mean, these older Macs have plenty of key travel and feel great to type on.

It was only a matter of time before reliability began to suffer as well...
Wrote, corrected and designed so many pages on my iBook G4 large version (it's been kept for sentimental reasons) bet it'd still work v slowly) could type away on that. 2015 mbp and the airs are fine as well. Surely they can fix what is a fundamental purpose of a laptop.
 

BigMcGuire

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Jan 10, 2012
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Wonderful. Right after wife and I buy a 2017. In all fairness, I did read this article during my hours of researching this issue yesterday.

Wife really wants a Pro (I do too) - after 3 years of heavy Macbook Air 2015 usage, I used this opportunity to upgrade with her. Plan of attack? AppleCare+ and weekly/daily dustings with cans of air (may make it worse?). Then trade back in in 3 years to get better? Pro.
 

jerryk

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Nov 3, 2011
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SF Bay Area
Wonderful. Right after wife and I buy a 2017. In all fairness, I did read this article during my hours of researching this issue yesterday.

Wife really wants a Pro (I do too) - after 3 years of heavy Macbook Air 2015 usage, I used this opportunity to upgrade with her. Plan of attack? AppleCare+ and weekly/daily dustings with cans of air (may make it worse?). Then trade back in in 3 years to get better? Pro.
If you really think it would be better to wait until June and WWDC, you have 14 days to return a new MBP and try again in a 8 weeks or so..
 

BigMcGuire

macrumors 603
Jan 10, 2012
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California
If you really think it would be better to wait until June and WWDC, you have 14 days to return a new MBP and try again in a 8 weeks or so..
I'm torn. Leaning more to keeping. We get them delivered to the store next week Wednesday. Leaning towards keeping them and doing AppleCare+. Frustrating to have to deal with this, with a $3k machine.
 

zmon

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2013
173
144
Louisiana
Wife really wants a Pro (I do too) - after 3 years of heavy Macbook Air 2015 usage, I used this opportunity to upgrade with her. Plan of attack? AppleCare+ and weekly/daily dustings with cans of air (may make it worse?). Then trade back in in 3 years to get better? Pro.
The problem with that mentality is that it doesn't just work. Who in their right mind would recommend someone a laptop that you have to keep a can of air on hand to blow out the keyboard every so often if you want to fix a key that's not working? Apple seems to have abandoned the "It just works" mantra with these keyboards. I don't want to worry about taking my laptop to school, work, whatever, and have the keyboard stop working on me if something flies right under the keys at just the right time.

I've been holding off for the 2018 models specifically for the Coffee Lake quad cores in the 13 inch model, but if Apple doesn't do something about these keyboards, I may take my money elsewhere. I don't care if they increase the thickness ever so slightly to accommodate a better keyboard. If they end up using the same design again with the butterfly switches, I for sure won't be an early adopter. I'll wait and see what happens over the course of a month or two.
 

aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
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I didn't write this, saw it on twitter when John Siracusa Retweeted it

I know there's a lot folks who believe the keyboard is fine, and what we see here at MR is because people tend to go to forums to complain and the in fact the keyboard is not defective, but I think this article helps lay bare that mindset.

Maybe I should know who the author is, but I don't. Looks like she's some editor, but other then that, I'm not sure.

The new Macbook keyboard is ruining my life

Salient points I found interesting:






Seems like this author has interviewed some apple folks and they seem to be aware of the issue, and that that geniuses, the first line of repairs back up the notion that this is fairly large.

I have no idea if apple will change the keyboard in the 2018 model, I really hope they do, as we have two years of evidence that the butterfly keyboard performs worse then the prior design.

Yes, this is all very frustrating and the fact that Apple is still selling computers with these issues is troublesome, because I’m starting to fear there is nothing they can do about it - otherwise they would’ve fixed it by now.

They make these designs to last a few years and, obviously, a new design is not due until, at least, 2019 - and maybe they just can’t do anything about it, just like they can’t do anything with the current Mac Pro, until they change the design.

Worrisome.
[doublepost=1524720891][/doublepost]
What to say, Apple seems to be making a habit of poor design decisions.
Keyboard is trully an issue and a poor decision. So was the Mac Pro’s thermal limitations. But saying that they have a habit of making poor decisions is going too far. They made some amazing products recently.
 
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Queen6

macrumors G3
Yes, this is all very frustrating and the fact that Apple is still selling computers with these issues is troublesome, because I’m starting to fear there is nothing they can do about it - otherwise they would’ve fixed it by now.

They make these designs to last a few years and, obviously, a new design is not due until, at least, 2019 - and maybe they just can’t do anything about it, just like they can’t do anything with the current Mac Pro, until they change the design.

Worrisome.
[doublepost=1524720891][/doublepost]

Keyboard is trully an issue and a poor decision. So was the Mac Pro’s thermal limitations. But saying that they have a habit of making poor decisions is going too far. They made some amazing products recently.
The current keyboard design is simply unacceptable, and Apple's antics not much better. Louis's very mush illustrates Apple's poor design philosophy, nor is it easily discounted given his profession.

Having owned many of the problematic Mac's it's frankly beyond tedious for yet another MBP be afflicted with yet another serious design flaw once again due to piss poor design. Most companies strive to engineer out known failure mechanisms, while Apple looks to ever more eloquent excuses...

Bottom line as long as people continue to buy these products Apple will continue to churn out evermore diluted garbage, looking to manufacture at a lower cost, yet increasing it's margins. You see I look at the MBP from a different angle and much of what I see is a device that's far cheaper to produce, far more expensive to effect repair, and most definitely hostile towards the consumer. Apple now just want to produce everything as simple as possible while charging as much as they possibly can, which is all good until "it just doesn't work"

Q-6
 
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Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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If they really are aware of the problem (it’s hard to see how they can’t be tbh) it’s even more astonishing they have been charging for out of warranty topcase replacements to ‘solve’ this by some people’s accounts. Not only not good customer service, but pretty much unacceptable by anyone’s standards to charge hundreds of $/£/€ for something that not only is completely their fault, but when the expensive ‘fix’ can fail again.
 
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maflynn

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I’m starting to fear there is nothing they can do about it - otherwise they would’ve fixed it by now.
My fear is that we'll see a minor update to the keyboard in 2018. While this minor update may be sufficient to correct the failures, we'll not know until time passes, yet, I'm planning on getting a new laptop sooner then later. That is waiting 6+ months is not in the cards for me.
 
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Queen6

macrumors G3
If they really are aware of the problem (it’s hard to see how they can’t be tbh) it’s even more astonishing they have been charging for out of warranty topcase replacements to ‘solve’ this by some people’s accounts. Not only not good customer service, but pretty much unacceptable by anyone’s standards to charge hundreds of $/£/€ for something that not only is completely their fault, but when the expensive ‘fix’ can fail again.
Apple has conducted itself in the same manner time and time again, nothing will happen until Apple faces legal action it's not able to refute and or negativity rises to a point where Apple perceives it's image may be tarnished in the eye of the general public. Until then you will be paying out your own pocket simple as that...

Just look at the 2011 15" MBP dGPU fiasco, I even fiercely defended Apple myself :oops: While Apple span it's wheels and did as little as possible in the face of clear and obvious design issue. Only to replace the afflicted Logic Boards with even less reliable refurbished/reworked boards o_O

Q-6
 
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Falhófnir

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My fear is that we'll see a minor update to the keyboard in 2018. While this minor update may be sufficient to correct the failures, we'll not know until time passes, yet, I'm planning on getting a new laptop sooner then later. That is waiting 6+ months is not in the cards for me.
I think I’m going to try and wait for ice lake (hopefully) in the 2019 models, but the thing is, if the keyboard isn’t fixed this year, I don’t think it’s going to be. By next year the redesign will also be looming, as will the potential switch to A series CPUs (I appreciate this is a big no-no for some people though for me it’s not an issue). If their 2020 redesign really does go haptic feedback touchscreen keyboard then I honestly think I’m just going to have to walk away from macs. The current design is already really stretching usability as far as a comfortable typing experience goes.
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
My fear is that we'll see a minor update to the keyboard in 2018. While this minor update may be sufficient to correct the failures, we'll not know until time passes, yet, I'm planning on getting a new laptop sooner then later. That is waiting 6+ months is not in the cards for me.
I voted with my $$$$ simple as that, privately, professionally and in business...

Q-6
 

Closingracer

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2010
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I didn't write this, saw it on twitter when John Siracusa Retweeted it

I know there's a lot folks who believe the keyboard is fine, and what we see here at MR is because people tend to go to forums to complain and the in fact the keyboard is not defective, but I think this article helps lay bare that mindset.

Maybe I should know who the author is, but I don't. Looks like she's some editor, but other then that, I'm not sure.

The new Macbook keyboard is ruining my life

Salient points I found interesting:






Seems like this author has interviewed some apple folks and they seem to be aware of the issue, and that that geniuses, the first line of repairs back up the notion that this is fairly large.

I have no idea if apple will change the keyboard in the 2018 model, I really hope they do, as we have two years of evidence that the butterfly keyboard performs worse then the prior design.
So one article from not a major outlet makes it the truth? Mines will be a year old soon and still works like brand new
 
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maflynn

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I think I’m going to try and wait for ice lake (hopefully) in the 2019
Do you really think Intel will hit their dates with Ice Lake? I'm less confident.

If their 2020 redesign really does go haptic feedback touchscreen keyboard then I honestly think I’m just going to have to walk away from macs.
I wouldn't be surprised to see apple move to ARM by then, based on that rumor.

I voted with my $$$$ simple as that, privately, professionally and in business...
I agree, but I have family expectations and the Mac is the best solution for my needs. I have a windows laptop and I'm fine with using it, but everyone else really doesn't want me to leave the plaform. Honestly if the keyboard is fixed, I'm ok with the rest of the machine
[doublepost=1524739288][/doublepost]
So one article from not a major outlet makes it the truth? Mines will be a year old soon and still works like brand new
Lets talk about the inverse, just because your keyboad hasn't failed doesn't mean the design is solid and problem free. I've debated the topic with a number of members who basically said the problem is over blown and is not a major problem. Yet we see a lot of discussion here and elsewhere on people's issues with the keyboard failure. Oh and those people who I debated, a number of them eventually incurred keyboard failures in their own right.

Its a different problem, but I remember back when the 2011 GPUs started failing, people were denying it, and supporting apple saying its not a problem but for a rare number of folks. Yet as time went on the issue continued to grow until such time that apple had to deal with the issue. While this problem isn't as wide spread I believe, how people argued over it, is the same imo. Many people who have not had any issues deny that their may be a design flaw with the keyboard. I'm not looking to knock people down a peg, or blame them for buying a 2016/2017model, heck, I've stood in the apple store a number of times with my credit card in hand. The need for a new laptop for me is increasing, but its hard to deny that the keyboard has a weakness built into it.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2017
4,617
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Apple has conducted itself in the same manner time and time again, nothing will happen until Apple faces legal action it's not able to refute and or negativity rises to a point where Apple perceives it's image may be tarnished in the eye of the general public. Until then you will be paying out your own pocket simple as that...

Just look at the 2011 15" MBP dGPU fiasco, I even fiercely defended Apple myself :oops: While Apple span it's wheels and did as little as possible in the face of clear and obvious design issue. Only to replace the afflicted Logic Boards with even less reliable refurbished/reworked boards o_O

Q-6
Yeah I kind of understand if they can get away with not making a huge recall over this then they are going to try it rather than opening themselves to all sorts of lawsuits and bad publicity, but I think it’s going to do them serious damage in the long term as people who are affected stop seeing them as the company that will take care of them when things go wrong, as your own example illustrates... With the machines being so nicely portable I’m willing to give the keyboard a go, even when it’s not comfortable for extended typing sessions in my own experience (I guess I can always get a magic keyboard if it really came to it, bollocks though it is that I would need to) - but I want to know the built in keyboard isn’t going to fail first and render the portability useless.

Do you really think Intel will hit their dates with Ice Lake? I'm less confident.

I wouldn't be surprised to see apple move to ARM by then, based on that rumor.
It’s getting to be a long shot, but if intel do what they did with broadwell for cannon lake and release just the Y series in 2H of this year, they might get the Ice Lake parts shipping by next year. I will have to see what the Apple-designed chipsets are like, as I say I don’t require tons of power so it could work ok for me but the keyboard has to be workable.
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
I agree, but I have family expectations and the Mac is the best solution for my needs. I have a windows laptop and I'm fine with using it, but everyone else really doesn't want me to leave the plaform. Honestly if the keyboard is fixed, I'm ok with the rest of the machine
I still have Mac's at home for the family, professionally Apple has just cashed itself out for my needs. Once the Mac's start being a problem I'll likely move my wife's new notebook to Ubuntu, my daughter can already deal with W10 and the Surface Book, my son is still too young to care.

In many respects it's better for the kids to understand Windows at a user level, given it's pretty much mandatory in most higher level professions. Unless there's significant change within Apple I don't see much future for the Mac other than eye candy...

Q-6
 
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