Unfortunately for Apple, the curious case of the failing MacBook Pro and MacBook keyboards is refusing to go away. It now faces a class action lawsuit issued in California, which states that the company knew there were problems with the latest butterfly-switch keyboard design and went ahead with it anyway.
Based on a barrage of reports from users, the keyboard design introduced in 2015 and then tweaked in 2017 is so delicate that it’s much more likely to fail than the keyboards on older models. Just a small speck of dust or debris can cause problems, apparently.
Data collected by AppleInsider from Apple Genius Bars and authorized third-party repair shops suggests the keyboard failure rate has more or less doubled since the new design appeared. The stats show 11.8% of repairs were related to the keyboard – and usually, the entire keyboard needs replacing.
While the majority of MacBooks and MacBook Pros are obviously working fine with the new keyboards, a substantial number of users have reported problems. An online petition calling for Apple to replace defective keyboards is up to 19,000 signatures at the time of writing – not a small number.
To be fair to Apple it does offer a one-year warranty on new laptops and so if your problems start within that time window you can get a keyboard swap for free in the space of a few days. The new lawsuit claims that isn’t enough and says the “core functionality” of these devices has been compromised.
We’ll have to wait and see what Apple’s response is, but the keyboard controversy threatens to put people off buying a new MacBook or MacBook Pro – not something Apple CEO Tim Cook and his colleagues will be pleased about.