2016 MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards failing twice as frequently as older models

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  • Reply 41 of 202
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 232member
    Mike Wuerthele said:

    So far, so good with no stuck keys or other oddities -- but I realize my experience is anecdotal.
    For most of us, our knowledge of the world is anecdotal. For each of us that's experienced a failure in an Apple product, the failure rate is 100% and we're unhappy about it. The larger picture is apparently quite different, as myriad customer satisfaction surveys show Apple at the top of the heap. It can be difficult to handle the dissonance between our personal experiences and those of the masses, but it's often important to do so.
    applesnorangesrandominternetperson
  • Reply 42 of 202
    I have a 2016 15” touch bar MBP, and for a while I thought my typing was getting sloppier, because I started seeing more typos (usually auto-corrected, but sometimes to the wrong word). I eventually did some testing and realized it was the keyboard failing inconsistently. Fortunately I bought AppleCare—for the first time in 30+ years of Mac ownership—but I feel bad for all the people who didn’t and also have this problem. Apple should just bite the bullet and fix this for free for those people.  
    baconstangcgWerks
  • Reply 43 of 202
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,094member
    And this is why an industrial design stylist, Jony Ive, should have no responsibility over functional areas of design. Yes, let him design or supervise the superficial elements of Apple products, but let engineers make the final call. Tech journalists like Andy Ihnatko said when the butterfly mechanism keyboard was announced that he didn't like it because it felt unnatural. Apple should've extensively tested their keyboards in high use simulations and with real people before moving ahead with an inferior keyboard.
    edited April 30 cgWerksavon b7elijahg
  • Reply 44 of 202
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 38member
    bsimpsen said 
    For most of us, our knowledge of the world is anecdotal. For each of us that's experienced a failure in an Apple product, the failure rate is 100% and we're unhappy about it. The larger picture is apparently quite different, as myriad customer satisfaction surveys show Apple at the top of the heap. It can be difficult to handle the dissonance between our personal experiences and those of the masses, but it's often important to do so.
    You are right, although I don’t really take customer satisfaction surveys that serious. On the other hand, I am probably just nostalgic of the times I could service my computers, upgrade cpus, upgrade bluetooth and WiFi cards, repair the speaker, solder something or at least have it serviced for a reasonable price in a sustainable way.
  • Reply 45 of 202
    jorgiejorgie Posts: 28member
    The keyboard is where the rubber hits the road. Why would you ever launch a design where the most physically complicated moving parts touched by the consumer cannot be easily replaced?
    baconstangSEJUgatorguySpamSandwichavon b7
  • Reply 46 of 202
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 38member
    The point being made is that the data from service centers is only the percentage of keyboard related repairs they see, not the actual "failure rate" of the butterfly mechanism keyboards. That would need to be determined using the total units sold. So although the data shows that keyboard related repairs has gone up, the difference in actual "failure rate" is pretty minimal and easily falls within the typical standards for any mass produced computer product. 
    You are right, but nevertheless in this design the keyboard is the most likely point of failure, hence the “percentage of keyboard related repairs” is quite significant, silicon does not brake that easily, it might overheat and over time the lead contacts might brake, but that is another story.

    Just take a look at a disassembled unit. The mechnism is frighteningly delicate, just a small piece of plastic. I am not sure what broke my keyboard, but since I am really careful with it, I suppose a small piece of dust must have gotten under the mechanism and somehow the mechanism broke ... there is not very much material to stress (Or AppleCare broke it when they tried to clean it).
  • Reply 47 of 202
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,276member
    My original MacBook Pro 13" with TouchBar was an absolute lemon.  I had to take it to the Apple Store 5 times (at a round trip of about 2 hours).  Had everything replaced.  The battery was "depleted" after 3 months of use... the keyboard was faulty, the TB3 ports were loose all around. Pretty much everything except the screen was replaced more than once.

    They finally gave me a brand new 2017 MBPr/t with better specs and I haven't had an issue yet that isn't software related.
    baconstangavon b7pscooter63
  • Reply 48 of 202
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 38member
    And since this is the first serious article on this issue on any mayor website covering apple I would like to add some more voices on this issue.

    DHH aka David Heinemeier Hansson: 
    “This keyboard has to be one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history. Everyone who buys a MacBook depends upon the keyboard and this keyboard is undependable”, amen. @jasonfried is typing on an external Bluetooth keyboard right now. Disgraceful.

    Casey Johnston Gives Up On The Current Macbook Pro Keyboard

    Casey Johnston: "The New Macbook Keyboard Is Ruining My Life"
    https://theoutline.com/post/2402/the-new-macbook-keyboard-is-ruining-my-life?zd=2&zi=o4cbnako

    Stackexchange:
    Q: MacBook Pro 2016: Keyboard key stuck – how to remove key?
    https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/272038/macbook-pro-2016-keyboard-key-stuck-how-to-remove-key
    "protected by Community♦ Nov 6 '17 at 23:37, This question is protected to prevent "thanks!", "me too!", or spam answers by new users. To answer it, you must have earned at least 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count)."

    Q: Does a 2017 15" Macbook Pro top case fit on a 2016 Macbook Pro?
    https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/301971/does-a-2017-15-macbook-pro-top-case-fit-on-a-2016-macbook-pro
    "The keyboard on the 2016 MacBook Pro is very prone to breaking, I've had the top case replaced twice in the past year so far and and I'm for a third time before warranty expires. Does the new 2017 top case fit on a 2016 Macbook Pro? I heard they fixed the keys in the latest iteration.Best case they will cover it under warranty and switch to the new top case, worst case I'm considering buying a 2017 top case myself and changing."

    Q: 1 key - 2 letters macbook pro 2016 and 2017
    https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/293523/1-key-2-letters-macbook-pro-2016-and-2017
    "I had a macbook pro 2016 and had problems with the key "b", which produced "bb" about 1/3 times I hit the key. After reparation and several months later, I had the same problem with the letter "n".
    I now own a macbook pro 2017, and I feel I have the same problem with the key "m", but maybe with an occurence of 1/40, which make it much harder to demonstrate.
    It's always the same zone on the keyboard, I was wondering if several people had the same problem ?"

    I mean: I love this computer, but this keyboard is felling just like the 2011 GPU issue, and I am not talking about the feeling of typing on it!!! Just think about having to face a broken key after AppleCare runs out ... nightmare!
    edited April 30
  • Reply 49 of 202
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,154moderator
    lmac said:
    Apple has kept this quiet remarkably well. I won't buy a laptop with the butterfly keyboard because I've seen so many problems with them. Apple needs to fix this! Take into account that by the time it fails a third time, it's usually beyond even the extended AppleCare, and that renders a repair cost prohibitive. And this recommended fix rarely does the trick: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205662
    The keyboard doesn't really need to be permanently attached to the laptop. They could just have a solid, flat, recessed area with no key holes and have a keyboard overlay attach magnetically. This would allow people to easily switch keyboards to a different nationality or different input device like a drawing or touch input. It may need the keys to be recessed when the lid closes but this is ok to do with an overlay as it would be inexpensive to replace and can be done with a retail purchase. This would also make the middle of the laptop waterproof. It would be possible to replace the keyboard with a flat display panel, even if it was from a 3rd party, which wouldn't be much different from typing on an iPad.
    edited April 30 pscooter63
  • Reply 50 of 202
    tipootipoo Posts: 843member
    Sad truth is, large bill dodges aren't past Apple. 

    Look at 2011s solder problems, they started the program years later, and for three years since the original purchase date...Most people either moved on or missed the window by then. Or not sending a user notification to come in for the free 6S bad battery batch swap. 

    I hope they do the right thing here, and I hope we keep them accountable and not reduce to whataboutism to defend such behavior. 
    cgWerks
  • Reply 51 of 202
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 38member

    And this is why an industrial design stylist, Jony Ive, should have no responsibility over functional areas of design. Yes, let him design or supervise the superficial elements of Apple products, but let engineers make the final call. Tech journalists like Andy Ihnatko said when the butterfly mechanism keyboard was announced that he didn't like it because it felt unnatural. Apple should've extensively tested their keyboards in high use simulations and with real people before moving ahead with an inferior keyboard.
    I don't agree with this point. That is what industrial designer do for a living: design, which means invent, draw, assemble, objects and pieces that work, are functional and beautiful. At this scale design work is teamwork.

    The point is that apple as a company did make a mistake here, no problem ... that is normal ... when you work something might go wrong ... but you should take responsibility when you screw things up, which is something else.
    edited April 30 applesnoranges
  • Reply 52 of 202
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,758member
    I don’t remember hearing about failures like this with the retina MacBook keyboard. I wonder what changed with the keyboard design to make these more unreliable?
  • Reply 53 of 202
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 38member
    Marvin said:
    lmac said:
    Apple has kept this quiet remarkably well. I won't buy a laptop with the butterfly keyboard because I've seen so many problems with them. Apple needs to fix this! Take into account that by the time it fails a third time, it's usually beyond even the extended AppleCare, and that renders a repair cost prohibitive. And this recommended fix rarely does the trick: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205662
    The keyboard doesn't really need to be permanently attached to the laptop. They could just have a solid, flat, recessed area with no key holes and have a keyboard overlay attach magnetically. This would allow people to easily switch keyboards to a different nationality or different input device like a drawing or touch input. It may need the keys to be recessed when the lid closes but this is ok to do with an overlay as it would be inexpensive to replace and can be done with a retail purchase. This would also make the middle of the laptop waterproof. It would be possible to replace the keyboard with a flat display panel, even if it was from a 3rd party, which wouldn't be much different from typing on an iPad.
    I mean seriously ... at this point just put a display where the keyboard is and some actuators below to make it vibrate when you touch a key on it and have some feedback. At least nothing that can brake down in a 5000,- euro machine someone would like to work with for years without loosing sleep over how easy it is for it to brake down and how costly it will be to repair. You already took away one of the most important keys on my MBP: the ESC. Now coding or CAD drawing in Autocad is a nightmare, but I accepted it somehow. To change a top case for a key is unacceptable from a design and service point! By the way: what does greenpeace have to say about it?
    edited April 30 cgWerks
  • Reply 54 of 202
    SEJU said:  You are right, but nevertheless in this design the keyboard is the most likely point of failure, hence the “percentage of keyboard related repairs” is quite significant, silicon does not brake that easily, it might overheat and over time the lead contacts might brake, but that is another story. 

    Just take a look at a disassembled unit. The mechnism is frighteningly delicate, just a small piece of plastic.
    Per the original presentation for the 2016 MacBook Pro...
    Butterfly keyboard = stainless steel dome switch + glass-filled nylon for the butterfly 
    Scissor keyboard = silicone dome switch + plastic for the scissor

    randominternetperson
  • Reply 55 of 202
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,758member
    SEJU said:

    And this is why an industrial design stylist, Jony Ive, should have no responsibility over functional areas of design. Yes, let him design or supervise the superficial elements of Apple products, but let engineers make the final call. Tech journalists like Andy Ihnatko said when the butterfly mechanism keyboard was announced that he didn't like it because it felt unnatural. Apple should've extensively tested their keyboards in high use simulations and with real people before moving ahead with an inferior keyboard.
    I don't agree with this point. That is what industrial designer do for a living: design, which means invent, draw, assemble, objects and pieces that work, are functional and beautiful. At this scale design work is teamwork.

    The point is that apple as a company did make a mistake here, no problem ... that is normal ... when you work something might go wrong ... but you should take responsibility when you screw things up, which is something else.
    Anyone who think industrial designers are just stylists don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. When the retina MB was released people like Marco Arment complained about the key travel but there were not many complaints about keys getting stuck or the keyboard no longer functioning properly. There is something specific to this batch of MBPs that’s a problem. It needs to be addressed and fixed.
  • Reply 56 of 202
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 38member
    Anyone who think industrial designers are just stylists don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
    Well said. By the way “style” is a word which should not be used neither in the context of architecture nor of industrial design!
    cgWerks
  • Reply 57 of 202
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 38member

    SEJU said:  You are right, but nevertheless in this design the keyboard is the most likely point of failure, hence the “percentage of keyboard related repairs” is quite significant, silicon does not brake that easily, it might overheat and over time the lead contacts might brake, but that is another story. 

    Just take a look at a disassembled unit. The mechnism is frighteningly delicate, just a small piece of plastic.
    Per the original presentation for the 2016 MacBook Pro...
    Butterfly keyboard = stainless steel dome switch + glass-filled nylon for the butterfly 
    Scissor keyboard = silicone dome switch + plastic for the scissor

    It is not only a question of material, but also of scale and dimension, which means of the section of available material which can bear a certain load.
    As visible in this video the relevant piece of the scissor mechanism has a joint in the middle, which could be a probable point of failure.

    https://youtu.be/ryRVWBrG8i0

    Plastic is a complicated material since it ages terribly!


    edited April 30
  • Reply 58 of 202
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,758member
    SEJU said:
    Anyone who think industrial designers are just stylists don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
    Well said. By the way “style” is a word which should not be used neither in the context of architecture nor of industrial design!
    Exactly. Also I find it ironic that people complain about Apple being obsessed with thinness when other companies are out there bragging about how their product is thinner than Apple’s. In fact I’ll bet there are laptops on the market today that are thinner than the MBP and don’t have keyboard failures.
  • Reply 59 of 202
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,183member
    AppleInsider said:
    Not including any Touch Bar failures, the 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard is failing twice as often in the first year of use as the 2014 or 2015 MacBook Pro models, and the 2017 is better, but not by a lot.
    ...
    We're also subtracting warranty-voiding accidents, like impacts, or water spills.
    ...
    For the redesigned 2016 MacBook Pro, of the 165 keyboard repairs, 51 came back again once, and of those 51, 10 more came back for a third time. The 2017 fared better in this regard, with 17 of the 94 coming back once, and 3 of those coming back for a third time.
    re: not including touch bar failures.... does that mean if the repair *also* included a Touch Bar problem, it might not have been included? (Hopefully not, but I'm curious.)

    re: warranty voiding - I agree on impacts/spills, but my understanding is simple dust in the environment causes problems, though some of that can be resolved at home with an air-can. So, that kind of failure (though fixable) obviously isn't included, or is it? Are these replacement repairs only? Or, do they include incidents where someone brought it in and the tech fixed it with an air can?

    That 2nd incident state is damning though. Wow!

    I'm glad to see some confirmation behind what I've been hearing everywhere, though. Maybe this will quiet some of the fanboy, it's all in your imagination, stuff. But, my hunch is the the problem is actually bigger than this data represents. Again, when listen to like a dozen Apple-enthusiast podcast hosts, along with Apple-loving friends... and like half of them have had issues and complain a ton, it's probably not imagination or an isolated problem.

    merefield said:
    Imagine hobbling a device that is supposed to be used by the professional daily for hours on end with an uncomfortable and unreliable keyboard.
    The whole 'boutique'-leaning design of the latest Mac Book Pros has been a disaster for Apple.
    Well, and also consider that (I'd guess) a rather large percentage of MBP owners don't even use the build-in keyboard a lot, as they move from 'dock' at home to 'dock' at work. I'd think this would be more of an issue for the 'boutique' crowd who often use them at coffee-shops. But, I agree, these weren't really aimed at the traditional pros, but at the big-pie-slice prosumer market, to sell in bigger numbers.
  • Reply 60 of 202
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,094member
    SEJU said:

    And this is why an industrial design stylist, Jony Ive, should have no responsibility over functional areas of design. Yes, let him design or supervise the superficial elements of Apple products, but let engineers make the final call. Tech journalists like Andy Ihnatko said when the butterfly mechanism keyboard was announced that he didn't like it because it felt unnatural. Apple should've extensively tested their keyboards in high use simulations and with real people before moving ahead with an inferior keyboard.
    I don't agree with this point. That is what industrial designer do for a living: design, which means invent, draw, assemble, objects and pieces that work, are functional and beautiful. At this scale design work is teamwork.

    The point is that apple as a company did make a mistake here, no problem ... that is normal ... when you work something might go wrong ... but you should take responsibility when you screw things up, which is something else.
    Jony Ive is a stylist, not an engineer. How is this a point of debate? He makes things look beautiful and there's something to be said for this, however, those designs need to be engineered to function. Who at Apple made the call to "improve" the keyboard?
    elijahg
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