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

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  • Reply 101 of 204
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 39member
    cgWerks said:
    While I've adapted pretty well over the years, I'm thinking if all things being equal, I'd be fastest on the old Apple Extended II or something like that.
    I have to ask: you mean you are fastest on a keyboard similar to an M3501with the ALPS mechanism? Personally, I appreciated the introduction of the chiclet style Apple Keyboard (A1243), I find it more relaxing to type. Somehow it stresses my wrists less. That is probably the reason, why I am perfectly ok with typing on the new keyboard.

    If they only would change it so that we can service single keys, repair them, clean the keyboard, etc. I mean the metal dome won’t brake that easily, but the plastic/fiber butterfly mechanism is probably more delicate and to face a 700,- euro bill for a 1 cent part is not acceptable.

    Furthermore, although the machine is quite simple on the inside, taking it apart is a tedious task. My service experience with previous MBPs has always been that most repairs where carried out in 1 hour. With this generation they take it in and you have to return the next day or later, almost as if they had to do some form of meditation beforehand or as if they had to decide who is going to be the lucky one who has to disassemble the whole machine in order to repair the keyboard.
  • Reply 102 of 204
    sdp4462sdp4462 Posts: 2member
    Apple Europe has behaved very poorly surrounding design flaws. Tim Cook’s representatives in Ireland bring shame upon the company. Replacing bad parts with other bad parts and then not fixing them when they inevitably fail again. Instead of buying the lemon MacBook Pro back it has sat in a 3rd party repair center for over a year. 

    Time for a new CEO. Time to make Apple great again!
  • Reply 103 of 204
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,755member
    $700 for a keyboard?!?!?!?!

    A keyboard for my Lenovo Thinkpad costs under $40, I can install it (easily) myself, and it works & feels much better than the Apple keyboard.

    Apple needs to prioritize functionality a bit higher over slick, beautiful "design"....
  • Reply 104 of 204
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,229administrator
    tht said:
    If you are going to parse service call data, at minimum you should have started with service call data starting with the 2012 rMBP, continue on with the 2013 and 2014 model years. This would have eliminated production ramp issues from the data, and you could more logically conclude that the new keyboard is failing more often, maybe. That’s a maybe.

    If the 2012 and 2013 model years had higher keyboard call service incidents than the 2014 and 2015 model years, that would be an indication that what you are seeing with the 4th gen model are production ramp issues, where Apple is slowly improving production yields. In this case, all you are doing is saying that mature products are more reliable than new products. That’s not a big conclusion. This is supported by the data you have presented though. The 2017 models appear to be more reliable than the 2016 model years. If the 2018 model year is as reliable as the 2015 MBP, yeah, it’s just your straightforward refinement of product design and production processes.

    The numbers you have presented could also be caused by other things unrelated to the keyboard as well. No data has been shown for the MB12 which has rev 1 of this keyboard, the same one as the 2016 MBP, right. Not sure if the 2017 model MB12 uses the same 2nd gen keyboard as the MBP15, but the complaints of the MB seem to be much less? Not enough media folks own it, so we don’t here about the complaints? Or if it is better, it could be the keyboard is fine, and it’s due to the battery or higher thermal environment in the Pros. If so, this could simply be adding slight more clearance between the keyboard and using better batteries and better cooling, and the keyboard would remain unchanged. 
    The numbers as presented are a top case replacement, necessitated by a keyboard failure of some sort. So, they can't be caused by things unrelated to the keyboard. Beyond spills, it doesn't speak to root cause of keyboard failure, nor is that particularly relevant at present.

    Regarding the 2012, 2013 and MacBook, this is the data we have. Data on the first year of the 2012 and 2013 won't be coming. At present, I don't have enough data on the first and second gen MacBooks to say anything about them with any certainty of accuracy.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 105 of 204
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,229administrator
    $700 for a keyboard?!?!?!?!

    A keyboard for my Lenovo Thinkpad costs under $40, I can install it (easily) myself, and it works & feels much better than the Apple keyboard.

    Apple needs to prioritize functionality a bit higher over slick, beautiful "design"....
    The keyboard for your Lenovo Thinkpad doesn't consist of the upper case metal, the battery, and the keyboard -- as spelled out in the story.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 106 of 204
    BlockBlock Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I also had a spacebar fail slowly on my MBP within the first 3 months of ownership last fall. Of course, I was confused that my expensive apple had a problem. So id hit the spacebar twice or a little harder. Unfortunately I read an article that suggested that I could repair it by removing the spacebar. After I did, I found that I couldn't get the spacebar back on, and Apple would not accept any warranty since I tampered with the device.

    I spent the $700 on a 16gb ram Chromebook and the MBP sits unrepaired under some papers on my desk.

    Apple is messing up, and PCs got.too hard to use. I feel that we are in the computer dark ages again.
    edited May 1 GeorgeBMaccgWerks
  • Reply 107 of 204
    ra5543ra5543 Posts: 1member
    Mine is a late 2016 model. the keyboard failed and had to be replaced, under warranty thankfully. As I recall they had to replace the motherboard/main board. Now about a year later the 4 key is inconsistent. 
    You said it is time for action, but didn’t specify what we could do. Any suggestions?
  • Reply 108 of 204
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,229administrator
    ra5543 said:
    Mine is a late 2016 model. the keyboard failed and had to be replaced, under warranty thankfully. As I recall they had to replace the motherboard/main board. Now about a year later the 4 key is inconsistent. 
    You said it is time for action, but didn’t specify what we could do. Any suggestions?
    There's not much we can do, no, other than be sure that readers aren't just living with it, and taking machines in for service. The call to action was more for Apple -- who we know reads.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 109 of 204
    AI_liasAI_lias Posts: 249member
    $700 for a keyboard?!?!?!?!

    A keyboard for my Lenovo Thinkpad costs under $40, I can install it (easily) myself, and it works & feels much better than the Apple keyboard.

    Apple needs to prioritize functionality a bit higher over slick, beautiful "design"....
    The keyboard for your Lenovo Thinkpad doesn't consist of the upper case metal, the battery, and the keyboard -- as spelled out in the story.
    And therein lies the problem. 
    GeorgeBMacmazda 3s
  • Reply 110 of 204
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,229administrator
    AI_lias said:
    $700 for a keyboard?!?!?!?!

    A keyboard for my Lenovo Thinkpad costs under $40, I can install it (easily) myself, and it works & feels much better than the Apple keyboard.

    Apple needs to prioritize functionality a bit higher over slick, beautiful "design"....
    The keyboard for your Lenovo Thinkpad doesn't consist of the upper case metal, the battery, and the keyboard -- as spelled out in the story.
    And therein lies the problem. 
    Yeah, not refuting that part.
    GeorgeBMaccgWerks
  • Reply 111 of 204
    SEJUSEJU Posts: 39member
    ra5543 said:
    Mine is a late 2016 model. the keyboard failed and had to be replaced, under warranty thankfully. As I recall they had to replace the motherboard/main board. Now about a year later the 4 key is inconsistent. 
    You said it is time for action, but didn’t specify what we could do. Any suggestions?
    There's not much we can do, no, other than be sure that readers aren't just living with it, and taking machines in for service. The call to action was more for Apple -- who we know reads.
    If I am not mistaken both 2011 GPU and "Staingate" nightmares had a dedicated website documenting the problem, collecting user feedbacks, links to articles about the issues and so on. This could be a blueprint to follow. For now I am glad you wrote an article about this issue, since the other blogs appear to be rather quiet about it.
    edited May 1
  • Reply 112 of 204
    That fact that the repeat return rate is much higher for the new keyboard suggests that the problem is personal.  Some people will have more problems with this new keyboard, while others won't.  My personal theory is that it's crumb related.  The new keyboard is (reportedly) very finicky if something gets between the keys.

    Fortunately for me, I have no complaints about the keyboard (MacBook Pro 2016) nor have I have any problems with it.
    GeorgeBMacfastasleep
  • Reply 113 of 204
    tht said:
    In this case, all you are doing is saying that mature products are more reliable than new products. That’s not a big conclusion. This is supported by the data you have presented though. The 2017 models appear to be more reliable than the 2016 model years. If the 2018 model year is as reliable as the 2015 MBP, yeah, it’s just your straightforward refinement of product design and production processes.
    Yeah, there's nothing about the data available that would eliminate manufacturing issues from being the most probable explanation. There's also zero context in terms of laptop keyboard repair rates from other companies. Are either set of numbers actually significant relative to laptops? Nobody really knows. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 114 of 204
    danvmdanvm Posts: 629member
    chasm said:
    bsimpsen said:
    You've got your numbers all wrong.
    I can't speak for Mike, but I think you've misinterpreted. FTA: "All data has been collected from assorted Apple Genius Bars in the U.S. that we have been working with for several years, as well as Apple-authorized third-party repair shops."

    This means that the data we're seeing has been aggregated from only those repair shops and Genius Bars (a tiny subset of the total number of Genius Bars and AASPs). It's very much like where pollsters sample 1,000 or 10,000 people at random, and from that extrapolate conclusions that apply to everyone in the country -- statistics show that you don't need to ask everyone to get an accurate answer, just a representative sample. And that's exactly what Mike has done, he's gathered a representative sample.

    Personally, I think the big takeaway from this (very valuable) research is to stop eating and drinking things over your 2016 and later MacBook Pro, or at the very least (as I do) use a keyboard cover for it. Crumbs have always been the bane of keyboard repairs, and it sounds like this latest keyboard design didn't really factor that in as much as perhaps they should have. I'm perfectly fine with the new keyboard style in terms of performance, but this data does tell me two things I couldn't previously say with certainty:

    1. The new keyboard design seems less tolerant of contaminants.
    2. While your odds of having a keyboard problem are still low (and even lower if you take the same precautions you should have always taken with scissor-based keyboard designs), they are in fact higher than they were with the previous design. Probably not an insurmountable problem, but a factor in buying decisions.
    It's sad that you had to take care of MacBook keyboards, when you have Thinkpads, with keyboards that are spill resistant with better tactile feedback that recent Apple notebooks.  


    cgWerks
  • Reply 115 of 204
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,640member
    Just one question. If the upper case, keyboard and battery have to be replaced if you have issues with any of them, why the price difference for different repairs?

    Someone here in the forums he recently stated there was a set fee for battery replacement which, although I couldn't find any model specific prices, was far lower (at least according to that person) than the prices being mentioned here for keyboard replacement. If all three elements need to be replaced independently of which one actually fails, are they pricing according to the 'refurbishability' of what is not affected?

    So, if your battery has issues, the keyboard/upper case can be salvaged and passed on as a refurbished part but if the keyboard fails, the most expensive element of the three is essentially not salvageable and therefore the final price is higher.

    Or does it cost the same to repair independently of whichever of the three has issues?

    Either way, count me in the group that detests these design decisions. I'd much rather have repairability as part of the initial design goals.
    edited May 1
  • Reply 116 of 204
    That’s not what the data says. There is no way, with this data, to compare failure rates because it is missing sales figures. Without sales figures there is no way to k ow the failure rate. All it shows is that, as a percentage of repairs, keyboard repairs and replacements have doubled. That could mean, for example, that other components are more reliable now.
  • Reply 117 of 204
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,229administrator
    That fact that the repeat return rate is much higher for the new keyboard suggests that the problem is personal.  Some people will have more problems with this new keyboard, while others won't.  My personal theory is that it's crumb related.  The new keyboard is (reportedly) very finicky if something gets between the keys.

    Fortunately for me, I have no complaints about the keyboard (MacBook Pro 2016) nor have I have any problems with it.
    It may very well be crumb-related. But, I'm not certain how much I care about that, given that Apple is fully aware that computers are treated more and more like appliances and not babied like in days of yore.
    SEJU
  • Reply 118 of 204
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,755member
    $700 for a keyboard?!?!?!?!

    A keyboard for my Lenovo Thinkpad costs under $40, I can install it (easily) myself, and it works & feels much better than the Apple keyboard.

    Apple needs to prioritize functionality a bit higher over slick, beautiful "design"....
    The keyboard for your Lenovo Thinkpad doesn't consist of the upper case metal, the battery, and the keyboard -- as spelled out in the story.
    Yeh, I saw that and ignored that because:
    Why would I want to replace the top upper case metal and battery (and pay to tear the machine apart) just to replace a simple keyboard?  

    And, as I pointed out, the ThinkPad keyboards are far superior to MacBook keyboards (at least by any measure meaningful to me:  repairability + Comfort and efficiency typing because of their feel and travel).

    Often, people criticize a design because it was a compromise between multiple requirements.   But it  seems that the MacPro keyboards are a compromise taken too far to the point that it simply ignores too many other requirements in the pursuit of thinness and lightness.

    p.s. The $40 is FOR the keyboard, not the labor.  The keyboard is (in Lenovo terminology) a "FRU -- Field Replaceable Unit".   It can be done by a user with a screw driver in 10-20 minutes or by a pro in about 5 minutes...
    edited May 1
  • Reply 119 of 204
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,229administrator
    $700 for a keyboard?!?!?!?!

    A keyboard for my Lenovo Thinkpad costs under $40, I can install it (easily) myself, and it works & feels much better than the Apple keyboard.

    Apple needs to prioritize functionality a bit higher over slick, beautiful "design"....
    The keyboard for your Lenovo Thinkpad doesn't consist of the upper case metal, the battery, and the keyboard -- as spelled out in the story.
    Yeh, I saw that and ignored that because:
    Why would I want to replace the top upper case metal and battery (and pay to tear the machine apart) just to replace a simple keyboard?  

    And, as I pointed out, the ThinkPad keyboards are far superior to MacBook keyboards (at least by any measure meaningful to me:  repairability + Comfort and efficiency typing because of their feel and travel).

    Often, people criticize a design because it was a compromise between multiple requirements.   But it  seems that the MacPro keyboards are a compromise taken too far to the point that it simply ignores too many other requirements in the pursuit of thinness and lightness.
    It wasn't a judgement statement -- just a factual one. 

    My MBP 2012 keyboard collapsed into the case under use in 2015. Some of the rivets they use to hold the keyboard in place snapped. It cost me $440 to replace it. So, I'm not a big fan.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 120 of 204
    ipilyaipilya Posts: 180member
    I have had my keyboard aka top-case replaced 3 times now. no idea why there is such a problem... the last time there was also a failure on the mainboard. sigh.... talk about not being able to rely on a product for business. :(
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