Tested: Apple's updated 2019 MacBook Pro butterfly keyboard

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 36
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,549member
    elijahg said:
    lkrupp said:

    AppleInsider's own research has shown how small of an issue the keyboard problem really is, (though it is above the previous design's average) and if Apple really did improve the reliability here then the number should fall even further. We'll be speaking more about this in about six months, as we collect the data.

    Doesn’t really matter does it? The die has been cast, the tech blog posts are believed over hard facts, the negative Internet has decided this keyboard issue is gigantic and affects every single MacBook on the planet. Every MacBook owner is enraged, everyone is demanding Apple change the keyboard. When AI’s own research shows the issue is a small one it is to be dismissed as propaganda, AI is an Apple apologist, so goes the tripe.
    Part of the issue too is the entire top case and battery must be replaced if a single key fails. That's just ridiculous. The old model had a separate keyboard which could be replaced alone.
    I think this is a significant contributor to the problem, added to the fact that a significant portion of people just don’t like the keyboard, even if it’s working perfectly.  My personal experience is that it’s worse in every way. Past keyboards would also allow you to snap a key off to clean underneath. 

    Posters above commented on the key size. I haven’t compared side by side, but I suspect the key size may be slightly larger while the spacing between the keys is actually smaller. Since part of how you position your fingers on the keyboard is based on the ridge or gap between the keys, this may cause issues for people. If there is a smaller gap between keys it makes it easier to accidentally hit an adjacent key, even if you are actually on the intended one. I’ve frequently had the problem of accidentally hitting the Touch Bar when I’m pressing delete. 

    Finally, the key travel is clearly less than most other keyboards (less than half.) I think this is the main source of discontent amongst users, but it is also probably a source of problems. If the travel is 0.8 mm and you get a 0.4mm crumb stuck it’s going to cause issues. 
    elijahg
  • Reply 22 of 36
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 173member
    lkrupp said:
    ireland said:
    Apple made it a point to tell users that the new MacBook Pro has a material change, and has a more reliable keyboard
    A bit generous, no? Failed design and embarrassment, this keyboard is. It’s like with the iPhone 4, there was nothing wrong with the antenna, but 4s had a new antenna with another band to stop the non-problem.
    As I said, it’s only a “failed” design on tech blogs. In the real world the keyboard works just fine for the vast majority. You are simply wrong in your opinion but I also know there is nothing that will change your mind no matter what, even of the repairs drop to zero. 
    I'm typing on this failed design with various keys doubling up (b,3,o,m and growing)... this was a design fail... but I get from your posts that either this is like saying the Catholic church made a mistake or your retirement/net worth is based on AAPL and any ding on Apple could lead to a lower share price.

    I've been an Apple loyalist and developer since the 1st West Coast Computer Faire, but I'm not religious about them... they make great products, but they screw up plenty as well... they're not super human (and in fact have been impacted by a noticeable bozo infiltration over the past few years)
    sreeelijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 23 of 36
    sreesree Posts: 110member
    Ok, I am an apple apologist to a large extent, but can't forgive them for the keyboard issue. This is their fourth attempt at fixing it (not counting the coutless efforts made during testing) for god's sake. In the fourth attempt I could probably raise a sensible kid, let alone fix a keyboard!

    My taste of the failed keyboard happened in Jan-Feb, when my dear friend and colleague had to change the keyboard of his new macbook air, thrice in 3 weeks due to this problem. It is back even after the third replacement, but he is just tired of going to the genius bar!! To supporters of apple, your ostrich mentality is not helping apple, it is letting them get complacent and lose their focus on quality.
  • Reply 24 of 36
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    sree said:
    Ok, I am an apple apologist to a large extent, but can't forgive them for the keyboard issue. This is their fourth attempt at fixing it (not counting the coutless efforts made during testing) for god's sake. In the fourth attempt I could probably raise a sensible kid, let alone fix a keyboard!

    My taste of the failed keyboard happened in Jan-Feb, when my dear friend and colleague had to change the keyboard of his new macbook air, thrice in 3 weeks due to this problem. It is back even after the third replacement, but he is just tired of going to the genius bar!! To supporters of apple, your ostrich mentality is not helping apple, it is letting them get complacent and lose their focus on quality.

    Indeed. Compare this to a car which has its wheels falling off. Now for the 5th consecutive year, those borderliner geniuses then change the bolt’s finish to remedy it and announce the “3rd generation” of its inherently_flawed_design.

    Back to elementary school’s drawing board.

    edited May 27 elijahg
  • Reply 25 of 36
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,949member
    For myself:   I use both a big fat thick Lenovo Thinkpad (with wonderful keys full of travel and feel as well marvels such as a Home button and forward delete key -- not to mention things like cursor buttons, page-up and page-down keys and a 2nd harddrive for consistent, concurrent backups) as well as a stripped down, thin and light 2014 MacBook Air with great sound and screen.

    Each has its good points and each has its weaknesses.  So I use each according to my needs.
    Mostly, the MBA gets used for casual stuff out on the back porch and the Thinkpads for everything else.

    The 2014 MBA keyboard is far better than the butterfly 2019 version (which I won't use) but still no match for the Thinkpad.
    edited May 27 henrybay
  • Reply 26 of 36
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 988member
    It seems to me that originally, very little real-world testing of the keyboard was done. Testing was probably in a similar fashion to Samsung's failed Fold, in a sterile environment. The MacBooks are consumer devices not scientific instruments or as Ive sees them, an art piece to be observed. They will get used, sometimes abused, and people will eat near them. If they're fragile enough that normal use (which includes enduring the odd crumb or two) causes failure then that's a failure of design and testing.
  • Reply 27 of 36
    henrybayhenrybay Posts: 105member
    When the smoke clears on this butterfly keyboard issue, I think we’ll see it affects a lot more users that Apple is letting on.

    Remember, most people who have an irritating computer hardware problem - such as some glitchy keys - will just put up with it. They are often too busy to take their computer into be fixed, nor do they read computer blogs. Indeed, consumer research shows that for every 20 people who have a problem with a company’s product, only one will actually make a complaint (unless it’s a really serious or life threatening one). 

    This is is why I am dubious about Apple’s claims that only a small group of people are affected by problems with their butterfly keyboard. My own experience is that out of 7 people I know who have bought recent MacBooks, 3 have had serious keyboard problems. Also, not one of them believes the butterfly keyboard is an improvement on the old version - they think it’s worse. 

    In time, the various legal class actions will reveal that Apple sacrificed basic keyboard functionality and reliability for sake of ‘thin-ness’. Worse, they pretended to themselves and their customers that this butterfly keyboard is not fundamentally flawed. 
  • Reply 28 of 36
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,757administrator
    henrybay said:
    When the smoke clears on this butterfly keyboard issue, I think we’ll see it affects a lot more users that Apple is letting on.

    Remember, most people who have an irritating computer hardware problem - such as some glitchy keys - will just put up with it. They are often too busy to take their computer into be fixed, nor do they read computer blogs. Indeed, consumer research shows that for every 20 people who have a problem with a company’s product, only one will actually make a complaint (unless it’s a really serious or life threatening one). 

    This is is why I am dubious about Apple’s claims that only a small group of people are affected by problems with their butterfly keyboard. My own experience is that out of 7 people I know who have bought recent MacBooks, 3 have had serious keyboard problems. Also, not one of them believes the butterfly keyboard is an improvement on the old version - they think it’s worse. 

    In time, the various legal class actions will reveal that Apple sacrificed basic keyboard functionality and reliability for sake of ‘thin-ness’. Worse, they pretended to themselves and their customers that this butterfly keyboard is not fundamentally flawed. 
    While our service numbers are likely lower than the magnitude of the problem, realize that there are literally hundreds of thousands of these machines in use at Apple facilities across the world.

    They know exactly what the failure rate is, with that sizable daily-use population.
    roundaboutnowGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 29 of 36
    majorslmajorsl Posts: 119unconfirmed, member
    elijahg said:
    It seems to me that originally, very little real-world testing of the keyboard was done. Testing was probably in a similar fashion to Samsung's failed Fold, in a sterile environment. The MacBooks are consumer devices not scientific instruments or as Ive sees them, an art piece to be observed. They will get used, sometimes abused, and people will eat near them. If they're fragile enough that normal use (which includes enduring the odd crumb or two) causes failure then that's a failure of design and testing.
    I think you're spot on with this. Food aside, people have pets that shed hair and dander, and so do humans. Eventually it will get under the keys and wearing a hairnet while computing just isn't practical. Just yesterday my H key stuck and a little compressed air and a slight lifting of the key got out whatever was stuck (I never did find it.) No, I don't eat anywhere near it.  I'm not terrified of many things, but something getting under the keys of this laptop is one of them.
  • Reply 30 of 36
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,719member
    Here's my speculation as to why Apple is so stubborn about keeping this keyboard form factor, despite all the heat they're getting for it:

    Either:
    • It's way cheaper to manufacture than the 2012 model MacBook Pro keyboard, such that is has a huge impact on their profit margins
    • They'd get more flack for the customers for the lack of thinnest (doubtful, because IMHO, the 2012 model was thin enough)
    • They're trying to train their customers to use virtual keyboards on a glass surface, and this, along with the TouchBar, is the first step

    I think it's the last one.  I think that one sucky part of Apple's laptop manufacturing is having to produce all kind of regional variants of models with different keyboards:

    • US English
    • UK English (yes, it is different)
    • German
    • French (AZERTY)
    • French Canadian

    It's especially bad when you consider the last one.  The French Canadian layout is unique among the world (it's QWERTY, unlike France's AZERTY, but with extra keys for accented characters), and I estimate that as little as 15-20% of the Canadian Mac using population uses it (confined to Quebec, with 20-20% of Canada's population), and that's probably overstating it.  At best, you're talking 100,000 people, but it's more likely in the tens of thousands.  Yet Apple needs to manufacture a special model of MacBook Pro just for them.

    I speculate that Apple is fed up with having to incur these operational costs seeing as iPhones and iPad just have a glass screen and virtual keyboard.

    If I'm right, Apple will have all its laptop users typing on glass within five years.

    Ugh!   :/
    Five years sounds about right, and they can kill two birds with one stone:
    The expense of having to manufacture a boatload if different keyboards. 
    Silence the wailing for a touchscreen Mac by coming up with a design that actually makes ergonomic sense. 

    They've solved the haptic click problem already. And the user base (the new one, not the old one) are already fine with shallow key travel (Hell, they’re used to no travel at all). The problem they still haven’t solved (as far as I know) is how to simulate the finger passing across the edge of the key, simulate the curved surface of the key, or finding the raised dots on the home keys. 

    javacowboy
  • Reply 31 of 36
    javacowboyjavacowboy Posts: 818member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Five years sounds about right, and they can kill two birds with one stone:
    The expense of having to manufacture a boatload if different keyboards. 
    Silence the wailing for a touchscreen Mac by coming up with a design that actually makes ergonomic sense. 

    They've solved the haptic click problem already. And the user base (the new one, not the old one) are already fine with shallow key travel (Hell, they’re used to no travel at all). The problem they still haven’t solved (as far as I know) is how to simulate the finger passing across the edge of the key, simulate the curved surface of the key, or finding the raised dots on the home keys. 

    Microsoft made Windows “good enough” and was able to conquer the PC market.

    Looks like Apple will be able to make virtual Mac keyboards “good enough” for the masses and market Macs successfully while getting away with alienating  mechanical keyboard enthusiasts like myself.

    I suspect they don’t even care about touch typists anymore.  The TouchBar was designed for non touch typists.

    One good thing I see out of virtual keyboards is the same surface area having a dual function: typing and trackpad.
  • Reply 32 of 36
    henrybayhenrybay Posts: 105member
    I speculate that Apple is fed up with having to incur these operational costs seeing as iPhones and iPad just have a glass screen and virtual keyboard.

    If I'm right, Apple will have all its laptop users typing on glass within five years.

    Ugh!   :/
    You may be right about this because Tim Cook’s focus has always been on supply chains and production (so he would appreciate the efficiency of a single keyboard for every market). While Jony Ive seems intent on turning all Apple products into thin slivers of glass to win design awards. No one at Apple appears to focus on old fashioned usability for the user. 

    If Steve Jobs we’re alive today he would tell Cook and Ive, ‘How is it possible that with all our technical skill, experience and resources, you guys managed to create the worst keyboard in the history of laptops? What were you thinking? And why do you keep doubling down on these ridiculous butterfly keyboards, version after version, year after year? Can’t you see this is a fundamentally flawed design - too fragile, too shallow and just horrible to type on!’
    javacowboy
  • Reply 33 of 36
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,949member
    henrybay said:
    I speculate that Apple is fed up with having to incur these operational costs seeing as iPhones and iPad just have a glass screen and virtual keyboard.

    If I'm right, Apple will have all its laptop users typing on glass within five years.

    Ugh!   :/
    You may be right about this because Tim Cook’s focus has always been on supply chains and production (so he would appreciate the efficiency of a single keyboard for every market). While Jony Ive seems intent on turning all Apple products into thin slivers of glass to win design awards. No one at Apple appears to focus on old fashioned usability for the user. 

    If Steve Jobs we’re alive today he would tell Cook and Ive, ‘How is it possible that with all our technical skill, experience and resources, you guys managed to create the worst keyboard in the history of laptops? What were you thinking? And why do you keep doubling down on these ridiculous butterfly keyboards, version after version, year after year? Can’t you see this is a fundamentally flawed design - too fragile, too shallow and just horrible to type on!’
    And I would say that that is core failing of the MacBook line:  They are all the same -- just with varying power and battery life.   An average person walking into an Apple store can't tell a MacBook from a MacBook Air from a MacBook Pro -- they are essentially all the same form factor.

    Basically Apple modeled all three after the thin, light, minimalist design as the the MacBook Air.

    And, while the MBA is a truly wonderful design, it doesn't serve all the needs of all the people. 
    Instead, it's a bit like Toyota selling only Camry's but with different types of power trains.   It IS a great car and a great design -- but one size doesn't fit all.
    henrybay
  • Reply 34 of 36
    RadMaxRadMax Posts: 4member
    I have a 2017 MacBook Pro and after 2 years of use, I can say that I wholeheartedly hate the keyboard.  The shallow key travel sucks, and the "clackiness" is annoying.  My "q" key, space bar, and left arrow key work intermittently.  Even if all the keys work reliably, the keyboard still sucks.  I am unhappy with my purchase and won't buy another MacBook Pro for me or my family.  Apple's incidence of keyboard failure for the MacBook Pro may be small, but if you get stuck with an intermittently functioning keyboard, then failure rate might as well be 100%.  Good luck to those whole buy MacBook Pros even with "updated" keyboards.
  • Reply 35 of 36
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,949member
    RadMax said:
    I have a 2017 MacBook Pro and after 2 years of use, I can say that I wholeheartedly hate the keyboard.  The shallow key travel sucks, and the "clackiness" is annoying.  My "q" key, space bar, and left arrow key work intermittently.  Even if all the keys work reliably, the keyboard still sucks.  I am unhappy with my purchase and won't buy another MacBook Pro for me or my family.  Apple's incidence of keyboard failure for the MacBook Pro may be small, but if you get stuck with an intermittently functioning keyboard, then failure rate might as well be 100%.  Good luck to those whole buy MacBook Pros even with "updated" keyboards.
    Sorry to hear that...
    If your MBP spends most of its time on a desk (as I suspect many do), have you considered buying an external BlueTooth Keyboard?  Most have better feel and reliability (Or rather, I haven't heard any complaints).
  • Reply 36 of 36
    henrybayhenrybay Posts: 105member
    RadMax said:
    Good luck to those whole buy MacBook Pros even with "updated" keyboards.
    Sorry to hear that...
    If your MBP spends most of its time on a desk (as I suspect many do), have you considered buying an external BlueTooth Keyboard?  Most have better feel and reliability (Or rather, I haven't heard any complaints).
    Excellent idea! I would go a step further and suggest new MacBook owners buy an Apple Magic Bluetooth keyboard and tape it firmly to the top of their butterfly keyboard. In fact, Apple should provide a free Magic keyboard with every  new MacBook Pro. This will solve a lot of problems. 
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