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

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  • Reply 41 of 97
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,621member
    Let’s put our cards on the table shall we. Even if the “issue” is fixed we’d still have complaints from those who just don’t like the new keyboards on general principles. They don’t like the feel, the travel, the size of the keys, the shape of the keys, whatever. They won’t be satisfied unless Apple gives them a standard legacy keyboard with big, typewriter style keys, the kind that Mavis Beacon trained touch typists grew up with. I’ve read complaints from “professionals” who type for a living (journalists, data input clerks, etc.) and don’t like the keyboards, period. Tech journalist Andy Ihnatko is one of them.
    edited July 2018 backstabomasou
  • Reply 42 of 97
    ipilyaipilya Posts: 185member
    I am interested in this topic as I am getting ready to go in for my 4th top case. Since the failure is in the early intermittent stage, the managers are discussing the options between themselves. But I honestly feel that a replacement of the top case is no longer a satisfactory choice.
  • Reply 43 of 97
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,563member
    avon b7 said:
    With lawsuits ongoing, if they have tweaked the reliability of the keyboard, it's probably wise not to say anything about it in case it is taken as tacit admission that earlier keyboards were unreliable.

    The problem isn't with the 'small percentage' (we will see how that plays out) but the fact Apple is not limiting the programme to certain production batches/serial numbers etc. In effect, 100% of 2016/17 butterfly keyboards are at risk of developing the problem (independently of whether only a fraction of them actually get hit). That would appear to point to design issue and no doubt will be mentioned in the court cases.

    If Apple had been more transparent on what the issue is, it would have been better but the legal consequences possibly dissuaded them from doing that.
    There are possibilities few can consider, owing to our not being part of the production. John Gruber had a source suggest it may have been the original supplier of metal alloy from a vendor that didn’t meet the design spec and had consequences in tension strength or whatever, and that a subsequent supplier was found who supplied the correct material needed. 

    My point is nobody outside of Apple can say whether it was the design or the material or a manufacturing issue or what. To try to conclude it was the design is just fooling yourself. You have no data to make reasonable conclusions from. 
    edited July 2018 backstab
  • Reply 44 of 97
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,394member
    lkrupp said:
    Let’s put our cards on the table shall we. Even if the “issue” is fixed we’d still have complaints from those who just don’t like the new keyboards on general principles. They don’t like the feel, the travel, the size of the keys, the shape of the keys, whatever. They won’t be satisfied unless Apple gives them a standard legacy keyboard with big, typewriter style keys, the kind that Mavis Beacon trained touch typists grew up with. I’ve read complaints from “professionals” who type for a living (journalists, data input clerks, etc.) and don’t like the keyboards, period. Tech journalist Andy Ihnatko is one of them.
    It appears to me that Apple is mostly satisfied with the butterfly design, and is now in the "continuous improvement" phase of a mature product, or better way to put it, "if it ain't broke, don't start over from scratch". It sure looks like it ain't broke and just needs some fine tuning.
    backstabomasou
  • Reply 45 of 97
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,217member
    kruegdude said:
    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. 
    Apple is in a  prickly situation right now and there are probably no safe avenues to go down.

    For numbers, we will have to see how things play out over time.

    For the keyboard issues themselves, they really should come forward with an explanation of what the problem is. However, if it's the design itself they will be in hot water. If it's a manufacturing issue that cannot be traced, which is difficult to believe because all batches go through tests, you would think the issue has been resolved and therefore the new (third generation) keyboards would be excluded from the repair programme. I don't know if that is the case. If that were the case though, why not state that publicly? If the problem is environmental (including particle accumulation), the whole thing swings back to the design again. If the legal action reaches court, I suppose internal documents could surface. If out of court settlements are reached, that could lead to more suits.

    Lot's of questions and no clear answers. The repair programme is definitely a start but I'm not sure it's enough.

    If the affected users do ultimately represent a small percentage of butterfly keyboard users, the whole thing might blow over but we'll only know when sufficient time has passed.
  • Reply 46 of 97
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,900member
    I'm sympathetic to AppleInsider's (and others) predicament in trying to ascertain whether Apple has taken any steps to specifically address apparent reliability issues with the 2018 MacBook Pro's keyboard design. This is a service they are trying to do for their readers and I get it. Ideally Apple would be forthright and unambiguous in their language and state whether or not they have made any changes at their level or at a supplier level to improve the reliability of their keyboard. I think they are reluctant to do so more from a competitive positioning standpoint, including supplier relationships, rather than a product liability standpoint.

    I suspect there is only so much that Apple wants to disclose about how they manage supplier quality, build quality, failure analysis, and other aspects of their engineering and business process. This is why we haven't seen Apple present any findings about the failure mode or modes of the keyboards that have failed in the field. Are failures due to the key switch mechanism, mechanical aspects of the key mechanism, the way the keys are positioned in the keyboard assembly and Mac chassis, inadequate dust/debris intrusion prevention, miscellaneous electronics, PCB issues, heat, mechanical stress, etc.  

    Only Apple knows all the details, has all the data, and has done the failure mode analysis to identify why keyboards have failed in the field. They also have both the failure analysis data as well as the upfront reliability analyses from the previous generations of MacBook Pros. Maybe their reliability analysis for previous generation products did not take certain factors into effect. Maybe the key switch supplier's failure rate data was wrong or had excessive variation between batches/builds that Apple wasn't aware of. It's also possible that Apple's reliability predictions were close to what appeared in service and they are once again falling prey to the Internet Amplification Factor. It's also possible that Apple took action to remove unexpected/unpredicted variation in their component sourcing and/or manufacturing process and the reliability analysis stayed (statistically) the same. If that was the case they could not honestly state that their reliability predictions for the 2018 models are any better than the reliability predictions for previous years models. They could however state that their quality is better for 2018 since the core motivation of quality control is to remove/reduce variation. This may be more of a quality issue than a reliability issue.

    I'd like to see Apple officially step up on this specific topic and produce a clear and unambiguous statement. 



    hammeroftruth
  • Reply 47 of 97
    This article is garbage. The headline is clickbait. You have no evidence to support that a laptop released earlier this week doesn't improve keyboard reliability from previous generations. I appreciate what AppleInsider has done to bring the previous generations' keyboard issues to light. It's likely that AppleInsider's pressure helped force Apple's hand on the Keyboard Service Program. But do you really expect Apple to state that they fixed a design flaw which they can't admit exists while they're under multiple class action lawsuits? If the inability to get Apple to admit a design flaw existed in the previous generation keyboard is your empirical evidence for this headline, then you should probably take your journalistic chops on over to BuzzFeed. Why not wait for an iFixIt teardown before you go spewing unless garbage in the name of news?
  • Reply 48 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,107administrator
    KENNY113 said:
    This article is garbage. The headline is clickbait. You have no evidence to support that a laptop released earlier this week doesn't improve keyboard reliability from previous generations. I appreciate what AppleInsider has done to bring the previous generations' keyboard issues to light. It's likely that AppleInsider's pressure helped force Apple's hand on the Keyboard Service Program. But do you really expect Apple to state that they fixed a design flaw which they can't admit exists while they're under multiple class action lawsuits? If the inability to get Apple to admit a design flaw existed in the previous generation keyboard is your empirical evidence for this headline, then you should probably take your journalistic chops on over to BuzzFeed. Why not wait for an iFixIt teardown before you go spewing unless garbage in the name of news?
    Apple itself is saying that there are no changes, and has at multiple venues, I'm comfortable repeating what they've said on the matter. Also, this is labeled as an editorial, you know.

    And, should there be a teardown that suggests otherwise, or a clear statement from Apple on it saying that they have taken steps, we'll talk about it again. But, given that Friday alone, that they have told five other venues that there are no changes, and are reiterating their previous statement about a "small percentage," I'm not expecting much to differ in the future.

    Regarding the rest of your comment, feel free to review the commenting guidelines. 
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 49 of 97
    backstabbackstab Posts: 138member
    No problem with my post being deleted; vast majority here have made same points. (I didn't read others before I posted)
    Consensus is that headline is hyperbolic at best, factually wrong at worst. (i.e. 'clickbait')
  • Reply 50 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,107administrator
    backstab said:
    No problem with my post being deleted; vast majority here have made same points. (I didn't read others before I posted)
    Consensus is that headline is hyperbolic at best, factually wrong at worst. (i.e. 'clickbait')
    You have a strange perspective on "consensus."
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 51 of 97
    MaurizioMaurizio Posts: 23member
    This article is a brillant example of “lies, damn liesand statistics”. The value the author choose to show that there is a problem with the new keyboard is by itself meaningless. The percentage of maintenances cases regarding the keyboard with respect to the total number of cases do not mean anything; for example, you would get the same values if Apple reduced the failures of other components. Also if you do not establish a relationship with the total number of unit sold, you cannot derive any conclusion on how significant the problems are for thr majority of the users.

    This is not to say that the butterfly keyboards have no problem; i have no idea.

    But with all the respect due to AI, the indicators used are pure BS and do not do avgoid service to the readers
  • Reply 52 of 97
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 491member
    This headline should have read, “New Keyboard Might Be Better, Might Not, Nobody Really Knows Yet”
  • Reply 53 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,107administrator
    Maurizio said:
    This article is a brillant example of “lies, damn liesand statistics”. The value the author choose to show that there is a problem with the new keyboard is by itself meaningless. The percentage of maintenances cases regarding the keyboard with respect to the total number of cases do not mean anything; for example, you would get the same values if Apple reduced the failures of other components. Also if you do not establish a relationship with the total number of unit sold, you cannot derive any conclusion on how significant the problems are for thr majority of the users.

    This is not to say that the butterfly keyboards have no problem; i have no idea.

    But with all the respect due to AI, the indicators used are pure BS and do not do avgoid service to the readers
    We've been over this before, and have even done so in this comment thread. As the numbers of MacBook Pros sold through the years have remained static, you can compare the number of service cases to get a feel for the magnitude of the problem. Given that the number of service events as a whole went DOWN as compared to the 2015 and earlier, and the keyboard incidents went WAY UP, it's pretty clear that there's something going on, even not counting percentages.

    As a previous commenter pointed out the 2017 keyboard numbers are far more interesting. They are about the same as a single-failure as the 2015, but with repeat offenders bringing the numbers up and over the 2015.

    This isn't about assigning a number of users affected by the problem and never has been. This is about assessing failure rates as they compare to the previous model.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 54 of 97
    henrybayhenrybay Posts: 62member
    Stuck keys are just part of the problem. The worst aspect of the new MacBook keyboards is they have almost zero travel. This makes them very uncomfortable to write on for extended periods. Apple has sacrificed functionality for thin-ness. The design fashionistas have taken over at Apple. Steve Jobs would never have allowed this. 
  • Reply 55 of 97
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,770member
    Are we shooting first than ask about the just released 2018 Macbook Pro keyboard reliability ? First let someone like iFixit tear down and compare keyboards to last version.
  • Reply 56 of 97
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,107administrator
    wood1208 said:
    Are we shooting first than ask about the just released 2018 Macbook Pro keyboard reliability ? First let someone like iFixit tear down and compare keyboards to last version.
    From a few comments up:

    "Apple itself is saying that there are no changes, and has at multiple venues, I'm comfortable repeating what they've said on the matter. Also, this is labeled as an editorial, you know.

    And, should there be a teardown that suggests otherwise, or a clear statement from Apple on it saying that they have taken steps, we'll talk about it again. But, given that Friday alone, that they have told five other venues that there are no changes, and are reiterating their previous statement about a "small percentage," I'm not expecting much to differ in the future."
  • Reply 57 of 97
    omasouomasou Posts: 16member
    I had recently purchased a new 2016 MY MacBook Pro TB when prices had dropped. I had very limited use of the machine in the last few months but started noticing a rattling noise when tapping the trackpad or typing fast. Apple replace the top case a few weeks ago.

    The previously annoying clackety, clackety sound of the MY 2016 keyboard has been replaced with a much quieter and nicer feeling keyboard. Not sure if it is this "new" MY2018 keyboard or the MY2017 keyboard but I have absolutely no complaint and cannot feel a major difference between this new MacBook Pro keyboard and my previous MY 2013 MacBook Pro or Apple Magic keyboards, wired or wireless.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 58 of 97
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,008member
    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.
    No, I was just using 5% as an example, but probably wasn't totally clear on that.
  • Reply 59 of 97
    Hmmm I have a 2016 MacBook Pro 15” and never experienced any keyboard issues at all. Not sure what the problems you are talking about...
  • Reply 60 of 97
    irelandireland Posts: 17,538member
    Institional pride; brand insecurity. If they further improved reliability then great. But they should tell us so, if they did. Otherwise it comes across as if they are convering up an issue with the older keyboards.

    To be really honest, though, in this day an age all new Mac notebooks should be IP67 water and dust resistant. Reliability is as important as privacy when your products are this expensive.
    edited July 2018 dewme
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