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

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  • Reply 61 of 204
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,728member
    Take a vacuum cleaner to they keyboard, gently. That solved issue with the spacebar on my '16 MacBook. Less travel distances means less clearance for the crap that gets in the keyboard, meaning more likely the key won't engage when pressed. It's a simple fix.
    You shouldn’t use a vacuum near sensitive electronics, there is a lot of static electricity generated around the end of the hose. Better to stick with compressed air. 
    macxpresspscooter63
  • Reply 62 of 204
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 418member
    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?
    The MBPs (and latter-generation Retina Macbooks) have deeper "travel", probably accomplished with more delicate parts. 
  • Reply 63 of 204
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,607member
    SEJU said:
    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.
    No, that's what a good industrial designer does. Far too many pick the wrong priorities, including, it seems Ive (if this was under his control). The keyboard, being a primary user-interface point of the device, should have had a top-level priority, not 'thinness' or some other fairly irrelevant design construct.

    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?
    My guess is numbers? We just didn't hear as much about it. I have heard people complain about dust issues with the MB, though not many outright failures. But, I also only know of a couple people who have them. (So, in my anecdotal data, it's 100% dust problems, zero outright failures, but super-low dataset. :smile: )
  • Reply 64 of 204
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,224administrator
    cgWerks said:
    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.
    If the upper case had to be replaced because of a keyboard issue, it's included.

    Air-blowouts are *not* included, these are just replacement repairs necessitating a part order.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 65 of 204
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,607member
    SpamSandwich said:
    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?
    Not if he's a well-trained industrial designer (which he supposedly is). While not as deep in the engineering side as an engineer, it's a big part of the training. It's more of a cross-discipline thing. (Note, I'm not an industrial designer, but worked with one for most of the 90s.) But, you make a point in that too many of them seem to fall on the stylist end of the category and give the discipline a bad name. (Don't ever look at the stuff those ID student competitions turn out. We used to look at that stuff and laugh and laugh.)
  • Reply 66 of 204
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 39member
    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?



    “Stylist” could be used when referring to elder Ladys who come for tea and give suggestions of which colour or wallpaper should be used in this room or that room, a designer is someone else: he draws objects starting from their functional, material and esthetic constraints, sometimes and depending from the complexity of the task he collaborates with engineers or other disciplines.

    Industrial design as in the case of Apple has a very long perspective. Apple in particular came up with a tecniche which does not focus only on a single product, but which has a broader view. One design choice after another they condition and train us towards another way of doing things. The classic iPod with its circular touch interface gave us an idea of who important an interface (hardware and software) is for the way we interact with data. Computer will become thinner and thinner, interfaces will change and we will adapt. Nevertheless should they work and be reliable as long as possible. I always buy top of the line and expect my computers to be in perfect working condition for at least 10 years. Even if only to let my kids make their first steps in them!
    edited April 30
  • Reply 67 of 204
    Almost everything that was nice about the 2012 MacBook Pro has now been lost, all in the name of making it as thin as possible and the philosophy of "it just works". Reliable ports and keyboards replaced by dodgy adapters and keys that stick at the mere sight of dust. The MagSafe both protected your computer and allowed you see see its charging state from across the room. It allowed you to see when the power cycled from an SMC reset. USB C has made the MacBook even worse than before as you only get one port for both charging and data. What a bonus. Who needs a status light, because you don't need to know whether its sleeping or starting up, or giving you an error warning, because your new laptop "just works" when you open the lid. Except when it doesn't "just work". Then you're left staring at a black screen on a computer than doesn't chime, doesn't show a white screen, doesn't have a glowing apple on the display housing and doesn't light up a status LED when you switch it on or reset it and there's no MagSafe LED, so you have no idea of its charging status either. All the while wondering if that stuck spacebar is going to cost you hundreds of dollars to fix. For the money, I reckon it's better to buy a 21" iMac (which is back on-form) and a iPad.
    cgWerkselijahgtokyojimu
  • Reply 68 of 204
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,728member
    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.
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? There’s an Input Design Lab at Apple, and it’s run (or at least was at the time of this article) by Kate Bergeron and John Ternus. 

    https://medium.com/backchannel/exclusive-why-apple-is-still-sweating-the-details-on-imac-531a95e50c91

    By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    pscooter63Rayz2016
  • Reply 69 of 204
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 39member
    cgWerks said:
    No, that's what a good industrial designer does.
    Ok, I agree. But to me you are either a professional (engineer, medic, carpenter, designer, cook or whatever) or you are not. What you referring to I do not consider a designer, but an “elder lady who comes to dinner suggesting a new colour for a room” ... or with a more contemporary reference: someone who spends hours on Pinterest to find “inspiration” for his entrance, bridge, skyscaper, table, graphic layout or whatever ...

    Then again this is a mistake Apple made and they should respect their customers and solve they problems hey created.
    edited April 30
  • Reply 70 of 204
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,760member
    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.
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? There’s an Input Design Lab at Apple, and it’s run (or at least was at the time of this article) by Kate Bergeron and John Ternus. 

    https://medium.com/backchannel/exclusive-why-apple-is-still-sweating-the-details-on-imac-531a95e50c91

    By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form should not unreasonably compromise function.
    edited April 30 cgWerksavon b7elijahg
  • Reply 71 of 204
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,728member
    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.
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? There’s an Input Design Lab at Apple, and it’s run (or at least was at the time of this article) by Kate Bergeron and John Ternus. 

    https://medium.com/backchannel/exclusive-why-apple-is-still-sweating-the-details-on-imac-531a95e50c91

    By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form should never compromise function.
    All signs point to them moving to flat virtual control surfaces. This and the enlarged trackpad and Touch Bar and Taptic Engune are steps in that direction. I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the keyboard failing, but it’s absurd to assume they didn’t do testing. Apple makes mistakes, and I expect they’ll find a way to correct this, eventually, if the numbers are as bad as they appear to be. 
  • Reply 72 of 204
    SpamSandwich said:  Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form not unreasonably compromise function.
    Per the original presentation for the 2016 MacBook Pro, the butterfly mechanism was considered to be 4X more stable than the scissor mechanism, i.e., it didn't have as much wobble when the key was being struck. 
    edited April 30 macxpress
  • Reply 73 of 204
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,760member
    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.
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? There’s an Input Design Lab at Apple, and it’s run (or at least was at the time of this article) by Kate Bergeron and John Ternus. 

    https://medium.com/backchannel/exclusive-why-apple-is-still-sweating-the-details-on-imac-531a95e50c91

    By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form should never compromise function.
    All signs point to them moving to flat virtual control surfaces. This and the enlarged trackpad and Touch Bar and Taptic Engune are steps in that direction. I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the keyboard failing, but it’s absurd to assume they didn’t do testing. Apple makes mistakes, and I expect they’ll find a way to correct this, eventually, if the numbers are as bad as they appear to be. 
    Considering the hardware side of Apple still has a fairly good reputation, unlike the software side (based on numerous missteps recently), it would be to their benefit to subject their industrial designs to more "real world" testing before release. Time and again we've been told Apple does not release hardware until it's ready. Part of being ready is giving designs significant wear testing under realistic conditions.
  • Reply 74 of 204
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,173member
    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.
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? There’s an Input Design Lab at Apple, and it’s run (or at least was at the time of this article) by Kate Bergeron and John Ternus. 

    https://medium.com/backchannel/exclusive-why-apple-is-still-sweating-the-details-on-imac-531a95e50c91

    By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form should never compromise function.
    All signs point to them moving to flat virtual control surfaces. This and the enlarged trackpad and Touch Bar and Taptic Engune are steps in that direction. I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the keyboard failing, but it’s absurd to assume they didn’t do testing. Apple makes mistakes, and I expect they’ll find a way to correct this, eventually, if the numbers are as bad as they appear to be. 
    The idea that Apple redesigned the keyboard “without regard to function or durability” is absurd. We have no idea what the cause of this issue is. Just attributing it to Apple’s obsession with thinness makes no sense because there are laptops as thin or thinner that don’t have this problem. 
  • Reply 75 of 204
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,760member
    SpamSandwich said:  Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form not unreasonably compromise function.
    Per the original presentation for the 2016 MacBook Pro, the butterfly mechanism was considered to be 4X more stable than the scissor mechanism, i.e., it didn't have as much wobble when the key was being struck. 
    Although "wobble" is part of the physics which disperses energy as the keys are struck. If the entire mechanism is inflexible, I could see why it would result in more damage and wear.
    edited April 30
  • Reply 76 of 204
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,607member
    For the money, I reckon it's better to buy a 21" iMac (which is back on-form) and a iPad.
    A lot of this depends on what you do for a living (or need to do with the device). Due to some career changes here personally, I'm considering foregoing a laptop and heading back to a desktop/iPad combination, actually. But, a lot of 'professional' users can't really do that, as the iPad just doesn't cut it for their mobile workflow. Unfortunately, a MacBook Pro no longer seems to cut it for a desktop substitute for many of us, either (when it kinda, sorta used to).

    fastasleep said:
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? ... By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    Yeah, the question is whether he, or Tim, etc. had say in whether it shipped or not. (Instead of Jobs, who would have told them to get back to work and do better.)

    SEJU said:
    Ok, I agree. But to me you are either a professional (engineer, medic, carpenter, designer, cook or whatever) or you are not. What you referring to I do not consider a designer, but an “elder lady who comes to dinner suggesting a new colour for a room” ... or with a more contemporary reference: someone who spends hours on Pinterest to find “inspiration” for his entrance, bridge, skyscaper, table, graphic layout or whatever ...
    No, an industrial designer is more like an architect or a UI designer, as opposed to an engineer or graphic designer. It is a blended discipline where they have a good handle on both (or multiple) disciplines, but don't necessarily go as deep as the specialist. But, this experience allows them to better blend the disciplines and they *should* be going to those experts whenever they run into something that goes beyond their depth.

    SpamSandwich said:
    Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form should not unreasonably compromise function.
    Exactly. A good industrial designer would have played with it for 15 minutes and said.... nope, this isn't going to cut it on the whole. Maybe show this to the iPad cover people.
    This is a bit like putting 14" steel wheels on a Ferrari.

    fastasleep said:
    All signs point to them moving to flat virtual control surfaces. This and the enlarged trackpad and Touch Bar and Taptic Engune are steps in that direction. I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the keyboard failing, but it’s absurd to assume they didn’t do testing. Apple makes mistakes, and I expect they’ll find a way to correct this, eventually, if the numbers are as bad as they appear to be. 
    If true, that's even worse. If you want to experiment with this kind of stuff in the odd, unique product, that's one thing. This is for the high-end professional-use product. What professionals want a flat virtual keyboard? Why?

    foregoneconclusion said:
    Per the original presentation for the 2016 MacBook Pro, the butterfly mechanism was considered to be 4X more stable than the scissor mechanism, i.e., it didn't have as much wobble when the key was being struck. 
    One positive attribute to weigh against a bunch of negative ones... and that isn't even considering the failure issue (which possibly they didn't foresee).

    SpamSandwich said:
    Time and again we've been told Apple does not release hardware until it's ready. Part of being ready is giving designs significant wear testing under realistic conditions.
    That was the old product-driven Apple. The new marketing-driven Apple doesn't seem to work that way. :(
  • Reply 77 of 204
    rogifan_new said:  Just attributing it to Apple’s obsession with thinness makes no sense because there are laptops as thin or thinner that don’t have this problem. 
    Every laptop line is going to have a percentage of units with keyboard problems. The question is whether or not it's really statistically significant or not. The numbers in this article don't even come close to 1% of the units likely sold needing a keyboard repair. Since the key mechanism is always the same design in every unit sold + dust likely being present in most consumer and business usage scenarios then it seems hard to believe it's really the design that's the problem. Should be failing a lot more than a fraction of a percent if that were the case. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 78 of 204
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,187member
    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.
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? There’s an Input Design Lab at Apple, and it’s run (or at least was at the time of this article) by Kate Bergeron and John Ternus. 

    https://medium.com/backchannel/exclusive-why-apple-is-still-sweating-the-details-on-imac-531a95e50c91

    By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form should never compromise function.
    All signs point to them moving to flat virtual control surfaces. This and the enlarged trackpad and Touch Bar and Taptic Engune are steps in that direction. I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the keyboard failing, but it’s absurd to assume they didn’t do testing. Apple makes mistakes, and I expect they’ll find a way to correct this, eventually, if the numbers are as bad as they appear to be. 
    The idea that Apple redesigned the keyboard “without regard to function or durability” is absurd. We have no idea what the cause of this issue is. Just attributing it to Apple’s obsession with thinness makes no sense because there are laptops as thin or thinner that don’t have this problem. 
    You mean that obsession with thinness that has results in several recent generations of a thicker Apple Watch, iPhone, and other products? Is that the obsession to which you speak?

    While I don't care for the new keyboard I think it's folly to assume that they designed an entirely new mechanism for the sake of thinness.
    edited April 30
  • Reply 79 of 204
    for those who have been multiple visits remember 3 failed repairs and you should be offered a replacement Mac even if something as small as the Facetime camera LED not turning on after the repair.
    SEJU
  • Reply 80 of 204
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,576member
    Soli 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.
    Why do people think Jony Ive is sitting around designing every component on every device? There’s an Input Design Lab at Apple, and it’s run (or at least was at the time of this article) by Kate Bergeron and John Ternus. 

    https://medium.com/backchannel/exclusive-why-apple-is-still-sweating-the-details-on-imac-531a95e50c91

    By all accounts, Ive largely has a supervisory role in overall design. Anyone who thinks he designed the butterfly key mechanisms has no idea what they’re talking about. 
    Personally, I'd like to know why the keyboard was redesigned without regard to function or durability. If done strictly to make the device thinner, it fails because form should never compromise function.
    All signs point to them moving to flat virtual control surfaces. This and the enlarged trackpad and Touch Bar and Taptic Engune are steps in that direction. I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the keyboard failing, but it’s absurd to assume they didn’t do testing. Apple makes mistakes, and I expect they’ll find a way to correct this, eventually, if the numbers are as bad as they appear to be. 
    The idea that Apple redesigned the keyboard “without regard to function or durability” is absurd. We have no idea what the cause of this issue is. Just attributing it to Apple’s obsession with thinness makes no sense because there are laptops as thin or thinner that don’t have this problem. 
    You mean that obsession with thinness that has results in several recent generations of a thicker Apple Watch, iPhone, and other products? Is that the obsession to which you speak?

    While I don't care for the new keyboard I think it's folly to assume that they designed an entirely new mechanism for the sake of thinness.
    I believe they did, and it turns out not to have been a great design over time. The issue isn't so much that Apple designed a keyboard that isn't great - the redemption will be in how they move forward. As it always is. With a bit of luck they will improve the design and replace dud keyboards with a more reliable version as they come in for repair. 

    As for a design that 'feels' better, I am hoping they will produce a keyboard with retractible keys. The moment you open your MBP they keys pop out a fraction in order to provide extended travel. I don't think they will as it sounds over complicated, but if anyone can Apple can.
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