Apple says the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard doesn't improve reliability, and that's not great...

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  • Reply 21 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,108administrator
    palegolas said:
    I've tried to read through the article, but I haven't found a description of the actual problem with the keyboards. Perhaps I missed it? I have a 2017 MBP myself, and the two issues that plague me are:
    1. The clicky sound
    2. The occasional stuck keys
    Glad they've addressed point 1.
    Point 2, for me, is without exceptions generated from dirt, crumbles, unknown particles getting stuck in the (in my opinion) too tight construction, blocking a key from moving freely. When wiggled with for a while, it loosens up, the crumbles fall out (I guess). This has (for me at least) a 100% fix rate for the year that I've been using it.

    It might be that dust is slowly filling up beneath the keys, and that they will eventually have collected so much dust that they will stop working?

    If possible without killing the feel, a sealed construction would be great when it's this tight.


    2: keys that either don't register when pressed, or fire multiple letters with one press.
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 22 of 97
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,900member
    dewme said:
    Do you have an analysis by an accredited reliability engineer that backs your claim that the reliability of the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard is not improved over previous models? Reliability engineering is a professional discipline and practice backed by scientific method and mathematics. No problem about reporting on the number of failure incidents seen at repair sites but if your going to make claims about reliability as a quality attribute of a product or component they should be backed by evidence and analysis that’s subject to the same level of scrutiny as the reliability analyses and predictions done by the reliability engineers who work for the makers of the product. I’m not a reliability engineer but I’ve worked with several and it’s a real thing and taken very seriously, especially for products involved in critical applications. Words still matter. 
    I don't feel like you read the article.

    You're right, words still matter.
    The headline makes claims about the reliability of a product released yesterday. The only people who can comment on the accuracy of such a claim are Apple’s reliability engineers and possibly the component suppliers for the key switches. You are assuming Apple’s silence on the matter means that they have made no changes to the components or subassembly from previous models. You don’t know what Apple has done to influence the reliability of the keyboard yet the article title assumes they’ done nothing. The headline claims are the words I take issue with. Otherwise it’s a very well written article. 
    emoeller
  • Reply 23 of 97
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member
    Personally, I’ve never heard anyone complain their newer model MBP keyboard was too loud. They usually say the keys feel weird.
  • Reply 24 of 97
    Mike Wuerthele said: Comparisons to other vendors aren't really relevant, nor that possible, given the disparate nature of the service on the machines.
    It's relevant when using the term "reliability". That has no real meaning if you're not comparing it to the industry as a whole. The number of keyboard service events for the 2016/17 MBPs might be below what's typical for other manufacturers. I can certainly find all the same complaints about Dell, Lenovo, and HP keyboards online and those aren't using the same mechanism.
  • Reply 25 of 97
    arcanineguyarcanineguy Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    This is such a complicated topic and without actual apple provided data, I don't know that we'll ever get a valid or accurate sense of the scope of this issue since the data presented here is relative and not absolute. It does not attest to the overall reliability of the keyboard as compared to past keyboards, just a relative ratio of keyboard repairs vs other repairs.

    However.

    This issue itself has caused me to second guess myself on purchasing a new macbook to replace my basically "vintage" 2009 13" MBP. I've had keyboard keys on my '09 MBP break in 2010 and 2012. Both times I purchased a new key online for about 5$ each, and popped in the new key. They never fit flawlessly, but they worked for the past 8 years well enough. The fact that even if these new keyboards were as reliable as the old ones, there is no "cheap" fix. I cant simply break out the bad key, and insert a cheap, slightly lesser key and have the keyboard continue to function. If I plan to keep my new MBP for even half as long as I've had this one, I'll be out of the "repair program" and could have a dead computer with no affordable fix available in 4 years.

    There hasn't been a large increase in MBP sales for the last seven years, and certainly not a decrease. So, given that the numbers on repairs vary by a large percentage, you can positively extrapolate conclusions -- if perhaps not as precise as you may like.
    Right.  The way you present it, with assumed relatively equal sales comparison, the absolute number of keyboard service repairs actually went down compared to last generation models.  
    The 2014 MacBook Pro model year saw 2120 service events in the first year, with 118 related to keyboard issues necessitating an upper case replacement
    ...MacBook Pro release in June 2017... 1369 captured service events in the first year... with 112 related to keyboard issues
    So I'd say this is certainly overblown in terms of press and exposure, but the self-repairability aspect is what bothers me. 

  • Reply 26 of 97
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,752member
    Apple was never going to say publicly this keyboard is more reliable because that would be admitting the previous one wasn’t which would open the company up to more lawsuits and product recall demands. The thing is we don’t know what the cause of the issue is. Is it a flaw in the butterfly mechanism design itself? Or is the rumor John Gruber heard true and it was an issue with a metal alloy in one of the parts? We won’t know until we get some reviews but just because Apple didn’t mention reliability doesn’t mean this keyboard is the same as the previous gen. It makes absolutely no sense and is of no benefit to Apple to sell a new product with a known defect. All it does is open them up to more lawsuits, repairs, replacements, unhappy customers and lost sales. How is any of that good for Apple?
    I suspect that any design changes for reliability were made to the 2017 keyboard, given the data.

    Would like more, though.
    Sure. My guess is for legal reasons Apple isn’t saying anything.
  • Reply 27 of 97
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 258member
    These types of halfhearted repairs are what makes people not trust Apple and not want to buy their products again.
    Apple's customer satisfaction ratings are the best in the industry. Reality and your perception of it needn't be the same thing.
    andrewj5790StrangeDaysomasou
  • Reply 28 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,108administrator
    Mike Wuerthele said: Comparisons to other vendors aren't really relevant, nor that possible, given the disparate nature of the service on the machines.
    It's relevant when using the term "reliability". That has no real meaning if you're not comparing it to the industry as a whole. The number of keyboard service events for the 2016/17 MBPs might be below what's typical for other manufacturers. I can certainly find all the same complaints about Dell, Lenovo, and HP keyboards online and those aren't using the same mechanism.
    I see where you're coming from, but I disagree. The comparison is more valuable from Apple product to Apple product.

    If somebody else has a way to capture numbers from the literal 19 SKUs of the Dell XPS 13, across as many repair vendors as I have, then have at it, and we'll talk about it. 
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 29 of 97
    smiffy31smiffy31 Posts: 171member
    Apple was never going to say publicly this keyboard is more reliable because that would be admitting the previous one wasn’t which would open the company up to more lawsuits and product recall demands. The thing is we don’t know what the cause of the issue is. Is it a flaw in the butterfly mechanism design itself? Or is the rumor John Gruber heard true and it was an issue with a metal alloy in one of the parts? We won’t know until we get some reviews but just because Apple didn’t mention reliability doesn’t mean this keyboard is the same as the previous gen. It makes absolutely no sense and is of no benefit to Apple to sell a new product with a known defect. All it does is open them up to more lawsuits, repairs, replacements, unhappy customers and lost sales. How is any of that good for Apple?
    I suspect that any design changes for reliability were made to the 2017 keyboard, given the data.

    Would like more, though.
    Everyone would like more but Apple don't give information freely. As Rogifan said with the lawsuits in action they most likely cannot say anything anyway,
    For me this is not a failure, nothing is breaking (Unless Grubers birdy pans out), this is an increased susceptibility problem these "breadcrumb gate" problems are from outside interference, I'm sure they are also susceptible to outside water getting in but that is not considered a failure.
    Also as Rogifan said "It makes absolutely no sense and is of no benefit to Apple to sell a new product with a known defect."

  • Reply 30 of 97
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,011member
    That is such a small problem and, as always, overblown by the media.

    I have been using my MacBook Pro for a year now, and I never even once got a slightly sticky key.

    And everyone else I talk to, also have not experienced it.

    It's just like the bended iPhone 6 "problem". Mine is intact, and so is everyone elses!

    I have a 2016, and I don't have the issue. However, saying that you and your contacts don't have the issue, doesn't make it not one.

    The picture of the repaired 13-inch MacBook Pro is our editor in chief's machine.
    I’m waiting for lkrupp to make his standard “I don’t have this problem so everyone else must be lying” post. 

    Cesar, what rate of failure would you consider acceptable? Most people would consider a 5% failure rate excessive - that would mean 1 in 20 laptops failed. Even at that point, if you knew 10 people with MacBook Pros you probably wouldn’t see a failure.

    I have a new MacBook Pro, and I’m not totally enamoured with the keyboard but have learned to use it. That said, I have noticed that it is very sensitive to crumbs or any small particles getting under the keys, much more so than any other keyboard I have used and have already expeienreced some issues with the command key. It still works, but will fail to register on a not-infrequent basis. I’m not at all happy that a new, high end laptop taht I payed over $2000 for is having issues with the keyboard that may require an expensive repair. My 2011 MacBook Air had exactly 0 problems and still works perfectly.
    aylkanantksundaram
  • Reply 31 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,108administrator
    MplsP said:
    That is such a small problem and, as always, overblown by the media.

    I have been using my MacBook Pro for a year now, and I never even once got a slightly sticky key.

    And everyone else I talk to, also have not experienced it.

    It's just like the bended iPhone 6 "problem". Mine is intact, and so is everyone elses!

    I have a 2016, and I don't have the issue. However, saying that you and your contacts don't have the issue, doesn't make it not one.

    The picture of the repaired 13-inch MacBook Pro is our editor in chief's machine.
    I’m waiting for lkrupp to make his standard “I don’t have this problem so everyone else must be lying” post. 

    Cesar, what rate of failure would you consider acceptable? Most people would consider a 5% failure rate excessive - that would mean 1 in 20 laptops failed. Even at that point, if you knew 10 people with MacBook Pros you probably wouldn’t see a failure.

    I have a new MacBook Pro, and I’m not totally enamoured with the keyboard but have learned to use it. That said, I have noticed that it is very sensitive to crumbs or any small particles getting under the keys, much more so than any other keyboard I have used and have already expeienreced some issues with the command key. It still works, but will fail to register on a not-infrequent basis. I’m not at all happy that a new, high end laptop taht I payed over $2000 for is having issues with the keyboard that may require an expensive repair. My 2011 MacBook Air had exactly 0 problems and still works perfectly.
    For the record, this isn't a 5% failure rate, it is much, much lower. It is 9ish percent of the service calls -- which is generally about 2-3 percent of the user base in total.
  • Reply 32 of 97
    This is such a complicated topic and without actual apple provided data, I don't know that we'll ever get a valid or accurate sense of the scope of this issue since the data presented here is relative and not absolute. It does not attest to the overall reliability of the keyboard as compared to past keyboards, just a relative ratio of keyboard repairs vs other repairs.

    However.

    This issue itself has caused me to second guess myself on purchasing a new macbook to replace my basically "vintage" 2009 13" MBP. I've had keyboard keys on my '09 MBP break in 2010 and 2012. Both times I purchased a new key online for about 5$ each, and popped in the new key. They never fit flawlessly, but they worked for the past 8 years well enough. The fact that even if these new keyboards were as reliable as the old ones, there is no "cheap" fix. I cant simply break out the bad key, and insert a cheap, slightly lesser key and have the keyboard continue to function. If I plan to keep my new MBP for even half as long as I've had this one, I'll be out of the "repair program" and could have a dead computer with no affordable fix available in 4 years.

    There hasn't been a large increase in MBP sales for the last seven years, and certainly not a decrease. So, given that the numbers on repairs vary by a large percentage, you can positively extrapolate conclusions -- if perhaps not as precise as you may like.
    Right.  The way you present it, with assumed relatively equal sales comparison, the absolute number of keyboard service repairs actually went down compared to last generation models.  
    The 2014 MacBook Pro model year saw 2120 service events in the first year, with 118 related to keyboard issues necessitating an upper case replacement
    ...MacBook Pro release in June 2017... 1369 captured service events in the first year... with 112 related to keyboard issues
    So I'd say this is certainly overblown in terms of press and exposure, but the self-repairability aspect is what bothers me. 

    Why? The self repairabilty doesn’t matter if the failure number is lower. Overall repairs are down, and so are the keyboard repairs from the 2015 model that was easier to  self repair. Presumably the reliability gains are because of some of what are called cynically money-grabbing design decisions. 
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 33 of 97
    I believe the keyboard issue won't be totally resolved until Apple redesigns it. Potentially next year. In the meantime current MacBook/Pro users have 4 years of knowing their keyboards can be replaced for free.
  • Reply 34 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,108administrator
    If you can't see your comment, feel free to peruse our commenting guidelines.

    We welcome disagreement, as this thread indicates. You will be mindful of the rules, though.
  • Reply 35 of 97
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 233member
    I hate to state the obvious here (and trying not to violate the rules) but I guess we will find out once these things are generally in the wild. All in all the numbers stated in the article seem to match Apples stated “limited number” comments. 
  • Reply 36 of 97
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 389member
    I have a 2016, and I don't have the issue. However, saying that you and your contacts don't have the issue, doesn't make it not one.
    I wondered about the veracity of the reports... until it happened to me. I am now having problems with several keys on my 2017 MacBook 12”.
  • Reply 37 of 97
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 698member
    My late-2016 touch-bar MBP has the problem, especially with the “B” key. Autocorrect helps, but sometimes it autocorrects to the wrong word, of course. I have AppleCare, which has made me lazy about dealing with it, and I was sort of hoping that waiting might give them time to design a superior replacement, but maybe I should just hurry in case I need a second replacement down the road. 
  • Reply 38 of 97
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 81member
    My first batch 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro Touch Bar has been trouble free since I received it in December 2016. What percentage of keyboards are actually bad? Apple bloggers make it seem like it's a 50% fail rate (hello Marco Arment). Apple says it's a small percentage. Could be fraction of a percent for all we know. I use mine for hours each day. No keyboard problems or any problems. Period.
    edited July 2018 StrangeDays
  • Reply 39 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,108administrator
    Appleish said:
    My first batch 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro Touch Bar has been trouble free since I received it in December 2016. What percentage of keyboards are actually bad? Apple bloggers make it seem like it's a 50% fail rate (hello Marco Arment). Apple says it's a small percentage. Could be fraction of a percent for all we know. I use mine for hours each day. No keyboard problems or any problems. Period.
    The article addresses this to some extent.

    It is nowhere near 50%. It is not even 5% of all keyboards. The numbers in this piece are percentages of service calls, which in itself is a small fraction of the user base as a whole.
  • Reply 40 of 97
    I'm really really hoping that they fixed it and just aren't saying. Given that they're calling it quieter they must have done something of a redesign. And given that they waited until mid July instead of June, and waited to start their student promo as long as they did, I think that they were trying to redesign the keyboard so it would fail less. Of course I just bought one and I made sure to get Apple Care, plus i bought it on my Visa which adds another year of warranty. If this keyboard does break I'm not gonna be the one paying for a new one!
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