Apple agrees to $50M settlement in MacBook butterfly keyboard lawsuit

13

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 61
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,831member
    techconc said:
    omasou said:
    Pretty small payout relative to the hysteria in the tech press about this issue. 
    The ONLY people who make out in a class action lawsuit are the law firms / lawyers.

    I had a MacBook Pro w/the butterfly keyboard, It was fine. Just different.
    True.   I have a 2016 MBP.  While I was never a fan of the shallow key travel, I never had any reliability problems with it.  I should note that this machine was used by the entire family, including teenagers who don't exactly take care of the products they use.   I suspect the hysteria over such issues were massively overblown, but all the same, I'm glad Apple moved on to a keyboard with greater travel for the keys.
    Actual issues weren't really the crux of the matter. 

    The problem was that literally every butterfly keyboard user was sitting on a problem waiting to happen. Whether the issue materialised for someone or not, though is irrelevant when the problem lies in the design of the keyboard itself (not a manufacturing issue or faulty batch of components etc).

    Lots of people haven't had issues but due to the design, all that really means is they haven't had issues 'yet'. They might never have issues but the design problem will still be there and seconds after posting 'I've had zero issues' someone could get bitten. 

    It looks like it doesn't hold up well the particle buildup but we will almost certainly never see any of Apple's internal testing results or repair statistics. 

    Many competing keyboards were spilproof but Apple chose not to implement a similar solution. Perhaps due to 'thinness' requirements.

    To make matters worse, this particular keyboard could not be swapped out without major and expensive 'repair' of unaffected components. 

    IMO, the repair extension programme should have covered these keyboards while the unit was still in use. 

    After all, Apple has gone on record as saying only a small number of units were affected. Where's the problem? 

    For starters Apple never put a number to 'small' (or whatever the exact term was) and then there is the pesky subject of what the repair entails (substitution of the keyboard, battery and top case). That is a hefty cost to manage under a repair programme that would effectively be covering most laptop macs produced by the company over the last few years. And a new keyboard and battery would surely inject a few more years of life into any affected unit. 


    MplsPmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 42 of 61
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,965member
    MacPro said:

    As an aside, why does this website not return you to the correct place if you have to re-sign in as seems to happen a lot these days?
    The AI website software isn’t the best - lots of bugs, quirks, etc. 

    If you are viewing a thread from the forum view and sign in using the link at the bottom it returns you to the thread you were on. If you use the link at the top of the screen it returns you to the general forum menu.
    dewmemr. hroundaboutnow
  • Reply 43 of 61
    techconctechconc Posts: 275member
    avon b7 said:
    For starters Apple never put a number to 'small' (or whatever the exact term was) and then there is the pesky subject of what the repair entails (substitution of the keyboard, battery and top case). That is a hefty cost to manage under a repair programme that would effectively be covering most laptop macs produced by the company over the last few years. And a new keyboard and battery would surely inject a few more years of life into any affected unit. 
    Yeah, I don't know the exact number of failures, but I've seen something reported a long time ago which suggested the failure rate was some fraction of a percent higher than other keyboards.  Not statistically insignificant but also not proportional to the media hysteria.  Again, I'm not a fan of the design solely because of the shorter keyboard travel. That said, I also don't subscribe to the notion that these keyboards are ticking time bombs that will certainly fail over some small period of time.  That's just not true.  Unless, of course, I just happened to get that one magical unicorn keyboard that is immune to such failures despite being HEAVILY used.
    foregoneconclusion
  • Reply 44 of 61
    avon b7 said: The problem was that literally every butterfly keyboard user was sitting on a problem waiting to happen. Whether the issue materialised for someone or not, though is irrelevant when the problem lies in the design of the keyboard itself (not a manufacturing issue or faulty batch of components etc).
    The issues that people reported with the butterfly mechanism (keys sticking, individual keys failing, entire keyboard failing) are all issues that also exist with scissor mechanism keyboards. It's quite easy to do a web search for various PC laptop vendors that use scissor mechanisms and find people complaining about the same types of failures. So pretty much anyone that buys a laptop could potentially experience it. 

    And saying that Apple never provided specific numbers for keyboard repairs is par for the course in the industry. Other manufacturers don't release numbers like that to the public either. AI did some investigating at Apple Stores and ended up saying that it appeared as though the year that the 1st MBP butterfly model was released probably did have higher than usual repairs for keyboards but that it was hard to tell if that was true beyond that year. And you also have to remember that the MacBook was actually the first to get the butterfly mechanism and it didn't generate the same types of complaints during it's first year of production. 
    edited July 2022
  • Reply 45 of 61
    thttht Posts: 5,530member
    I have a 2018 MBP15 model, and I've seen mostly double key presses on it. Anecdotally, perhaps strangely enough, the double key presses, especially space bar double presses, seem to happen a lot more with MS Office apps than they do with Apple apps, like TextEdit. So, perhaps it is a combinatorial problem between the apps used and the butterfly keyboard, and, why it seemed impossible to fix.

    I do like the butterfly keyboard over the scissors keyboard they replaced it with. The scissors keys are a little mushy, and I definitely like a click or a thonk over an indiscriminate slide of the scissors switch. If the butterfly keyboard was more reliable, it would have been fine and I think Apple would have kept it. They modified or refined the butterfly keyboard 3 times, and had a replacement program. You really don't do that if it didn't have issues. The curiosity is how they got to the point shipping it, and not knowing it would be less reliable than prior keyboards, and, not being able to get it reliable enough. Or perhaps once the replacement program was started, they knew the brand was damaged and had to change anyways, even though the last iteration was more reliable.

    Water under the bridge now. Hopefully it was a lesson learned and they keep looking at keyboard ideas. It's hardware that they should continually look at, continually attempting to improve. It's a big part of the user interface.
    MplsP
  • Reply 46 of 61
    bshankbshank Posts: 256member
    I have two MacBooks with this keyboard. Luckily they both still work nicely. In the Netherlands clearly no help from this class-action suit. 
    If yours still work nicely why would you believe you’re entitled to any help? I owned a few butterfly keyboard Macs and none of them had any issues. I took good care of mine and that seems to be a key factor. A lot of people take poor care of their Mac, type while they’re eating potato chips, clipping their nails, live in extremely dusty environments, etc. Having repaired Macs and seen toenails caught under the keyboard I can see why a lot failed. That being said Apple did not seem to have tested the keyboard in extreme slob-like conditions which a lot of peoples’ use cases are.
  • Reply 47 of 61
    anomeanome Posts: 1,533member
    mr. h said:
    crowley said:
    mr. h said:
    anome said:
    mr. h said:
    AniMill said:
    along with the Apple Watch tree removal fiasco
    ?? Typo? (I googled "Apple Watch" "tree removal" and the only relevant result was this post!)
    I, too, have no idea what this means. The only thing I can think of was when they removed the glued shut service port that people had started to build business models around using for plug-in watch bands etc despite no indication ever from Apple that the port was even meant to be there. I just don't know what had to be typed in to auto-correct to "tree".
    Thanks. That seems reasonable.
    Apple Watch three removal fiasco, perhaps?  As in, it's a fiasco that they haven't removed it and are still selling it?  Weird that they'd spell out three, instead of 3, but it's the only thing remotely approaching a "fiasco" I can think of.
    Yes, another reasonable guess, thanks. I wonder if it was just a drive-by comment or if AniMill will come back to clarify.
    It makes more sense as a typo, but I'm also not sure what scandal that would be. But, as I said, or at least tried to indicate, I'm kind of hard pressed to think of any scandal they might be talking about.
  • Reply 48 of 61
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,903member
    DAalseth said:
    welshdog said:
    DAalseth said:
    Thanks Jony

    Don't see his name on the patent.
    https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2015047612A3/en

    Wouldn’t have gone into production without his OK. Would not have happened at all without his push for thinner at all costs. 

    It was the engineers responsibility to make an effective and durable switch that fit the overall product design parameters.  They didn't.
    9secondkox2
  • Reply 49 of 61
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,849member
    macxpress said:
    welshdog said:
    DAalseth said:
    Thanks Jony

    Don't see his name on the patent.
    https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2015047612A3/en

    Doesn't mean it wasn't built because of his stupid design decisions. 
    And this is what blind hate looks like folks. 
    And this is what blind fanboyism looks like folks!
    elijahgmuthuk_vanalingamanantksundaram9secondkox2
  • Reply 50 of 61
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,273member
    Pretty small payout relative to the hysteria in the tech press about this issue. 
    That’s because the lawyers get most of it. 
  • Reply 51 of 61
    RadMaxRadMax Posts: 15member
    I had a MBP with this crap keyboard.  Apple replaced the keyboard twice gratis and promptly.  After the second repair, I sold the MPB to the highest bidder on Ebay with full disclosure of my troubles and at a significantly reduced price.  I was just glad to be rid of the computer and its rotten keyboard.
    anantksundarammuthuk_vanalingamMplsP
  • Reply 52 of 61
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,831member
    avon b7 said: The problem was that literally every butterfly keyboard user was sitting on a problem waiting to happen. Whether the issue materialised for someone or not, though is irrelevant when the problem lies in the design of the keyboard itself (not a manufacturing issue or faulty batch of components etc).
    The issues that people reported with the butterfly mechanism (keys sticking, individual keys failing, entire keyboard failing) are all issues that also exist with scissor mechanism keyboards. It's quite easy to do a web search for various PC laptop vendors that use scissor mechanisms and find people complaining about the same types of failures. So pretty much anyone that buys a laptop could potentially experience it. 

    And saying that Apple never provided specific numbers for keyboard repairs is par for the course in the industry. Other manufacturers don't release numbers like that to the public either. AI did some investigating at Apple Stores and ended up saying that it appeared as though the year that the 1st MBP butterfly model was released probably did have higher than usual repairs for keyboards but that it was hard to tell if that was true beyond that year. And you also have to remember that the MacBook was actually the first to get the butterfly mechanism and it didn't generate the same types of complaints during it's first year of production. 
    We may never know the official figures and I'm confident that wherever or whatever claims are made, Apple will aim to settle and not have anyone going through its internal management of the problems. 

    I think the time bomb references are fine in the sense that the design in terms of particle resistance is lacking and the out of warranty repair is very expensive and affects perfectly good components. 

    Perhaps the biggest sign is that they retired the butterfly design across the board. 

    If the numbers really were just a bit worse than scissor mechanism keyboards they would have continued to improve the design and rode the media storm, which had already died down long before the design change. All in the name of a better keyboard. 

    The problem is that the real 'failure' rate will probably never reach the public eye. 

    Either way, the decision to design a machine whose only real human touch interface is a keyboard (apart from the screen hinge and ports) that has poor particle resistance and have the repair impacting the top case and battery, was very, very poor. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 53 of 61
    Apple's all-time greatest s-show (as I can attest from both an MBP and an MBA, both of which we sold). I am shocked the company got away with just $50M.

    That's when you knew Ive was way past his sell-by date.
    edited July 2022 muthuk_vanalingam9secondkox2
  • Reply 54 of 61
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,492member
    Apple's all-time greatest s-show (as I can attest from both an MBP and an MBA, both of which we sold). I am shocked the company got away with just $50M.

    That's when you knew Ive was way past his sell-by date.
    I’m not following the logic here with respect to Jony Ive. As design chief he established the targets for “what” he wanted a product to be and what product qualities he wanted to present to end users. It was up to engineering to determine “how” these targets and qualities could be achieved. It was up to engineering and quality assurance to ensure that the as-built product, i.e., the implementation of the design, achieved the product design goals and quality requirements.

    If the shipped product suffered in-service failures after having gone through the engineering and testing processes then there is a failure either in the implementation, i.e., materials, mechanical design of the involved components, etc., or a failure in testing. Ideally the testing done prior to shipping the product should have uncovered any material or design weaknesses that would lead to premature failure. Obviously the testing for the butterfly keyboard did not uncover the flaws that led to the in-service failures. Why?

    Did Apple run the wrongs tests? Did they not run enough (accelerated lifetime) tests? Did Apple not subject the units under test to a wide enough range of environmental factors, i.e., heat, humidity, dust, physical shock, vibration, electromagnetic interference, cheeto dust, etc?

     I don’t buy into the notion that Jony Ive somehow doomed these products by asking for “too much” whether it is lighter weight, thinner overall dimensions, fewer physical ports, exquisite finishes, exotic materials, etc. That’s his role, to set the targets on what he’d like to see the product development team achieve. If the product development team cannot achieve those targets without sacrificing quality they are the ones who need to push back and make it clear why they are doing so. The end result and the product that reaches customers needs to be the result of a team effort and not simply the manifestation of one man’s vision.

    I’m not at all a fan of “how” Apple achieves some of its product design goals. Things like non replaceable batteries, soldered down components in products that aren’t volume constrained, and the pervasive use of glue for assembly do grate on my nerves because the products become unrepairable or needlessly expensive to repair. But it’s not the product vision, or the visionary, that made them this way, it’s the implementation and lack of consideration for other quality factors like repairability that made them this way. If Apple pushed aside all considerations for “how” something is built or undercut testing in order to achieve the purest form of what Jony Ive presented to them, it’s Apple’s fault, not Jony’s.
    9secondkox2welshdog
  • Reply 55 of 61
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,856member
    crowley said:
    macxpress said:
    welshdog said:
    DAalseth said:
    Thanks Jony

    Don't see his name on the patent.
    https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2015047612A3/en

    Doesn't mean it wasn't built because of his stupid design decisions. 
    And this is what blind hate looks like folks. 
    Accountability.  John was the Head of Design, Apple shipped a bad design.
    “Design” doesn’t cover all aspects of engineering. This was on the hardware team. 
    edited July 2022 welshdog
  • Reply 56 of 61
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,856member
    MplsP said:
    MplsP said:
    JP234 said:
    Since the second thing I do when I buy a new Macbook of any kind is to buy a keyboard cover, I've never encountered this problem. I also don't eat or drink in their proximity. And when I sell or trade them in, the pristine case and keyboard underneath gives me a bit extra leverage on price, Try it, they're cheap, and taking care of your electronics properly costs nothing.
    I bought a silicone cover for my keyboard. The feel was awful, it was horrible to type on, it left grease smudges on the screen and it still didn't prevent stuff from getting into the keyboard. If you have to purchase a protector for the keyboard because it won't stand up to routine use then it's a design fail.

    avon b7 said:
    ranson said:
    AniMill said:
    “ Apple denied any wrongdoing…” 

    Ummm, I have great respect for most Apple products and business practices, but the Butterfly Keyboard was an unmitigated disaster in design and durability. I understand they have to deny culpability, but they should send this bill to Jony Ive. Maybe this (along with the Apple Watch tree removal fiasco) were the real reasons they pushed him out, and cut ties to his new venture.
    To be clear, there is no wrongdoing here. Wrongdoing in the legal sense means with nefarious intent. Clearly Apple did not intend to make everyone's life miserable with this terrible keyboard design.
    And I suppose settling will have allowed them to avoid having to provide internal data on exactly how many machines were repaired due to keyboard issues. 
    The number $35 million ($50 million minus $15 million in legal fees) gives you a very rough idea of the total number of repairs in the five year period for those states. It has to be less than 700,000 (if all repairs were $50 variety) and more than 88,000 (if all repairs were $395 variety) since it's going to be a mix of $50, $125, and $395 payouts. Or from an annual perspective: less than 20,000 repairs on average per state and more than 2,500 repairs on average per state. 
    FTA, the settlement only covered California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. We have no idea about relative sales numbers but if you use your approach it's safe to say a large number of devices were affected.

    DAalseth said:
    welshdog said:
    DAalseth said:
    Thanks Jony

    Don't see his name on the patent.
    https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2015047612A3/en

    Wouldn’t have gone into production without his OK. Would not have happened at all without his push for thinner at all costs. 
    Pushing the envelope is what Jony and Apple are famous for. 

    Making things thin isn’t a bad thing. And the industry has followed Ive’s lead there. 

    The keyboard was a fantastic idea that simply wasn’t sorted out properly by the hardware team and shouldn’t have been signed off on by The hardware lead at the time. 

    It was a rare failure for Apple, which has a history of pursuing the impossible - and usually grasping it. 

    But this wasn’t Jony’s failure, no matter how hard you push that narrative. 

    “Cool story bruh”
    I'm not sure how you call the butterfly keyboard a 'fantastic idea.' Making things thin is fine, as long as they work and any idea that fails is not fantastic. We'll never know for sure how much of this was Jonny but ultimately it was Apple's failure.

    probably because the idea of a more stable keyboard with more uniform key presses and shorter travel is … a good idea. 

    Was it executed well? We all know the answer to that. But the idea - the concept - was fantastic  

    Idea is different from execution  

    Lots of great ideas that don’t pan out. Doesn’t detract that it was worth a shot. The hardware team has learned from it and will be more careful the next time an opportunity to invent comes around  

    A ‘good’ keyboard is a good idea. The definition of a good keyboard is up for debate. I would dispute that shorter travel is always a good thing. Take it to the extreme - when I was a kid a friend had an Atari 400 computer that had a membrane keyboard. It had no travel so that must be better, right? Or how about the iPad screen keyboard? Solid, stable, very short travel. It’s perfect!
    A good keyboard is tactile, responsive, provides consistent feedback, is sturdy, reliable, and “just works” as an input mechanism. 

    Shorter travel is a good thing to a point. And the butterfly keyboard hit the perfect balance on that. It wasn’t anywhere near your extreme examples. 

    It was a fantastic idea that had poor execution. 

    How was it a fantastic idea? Let’s take a look at a brand new butterfly keyboard. It works and is great to type with. Each key press is uniform and doesn’t tilt like a scissor switch. Boom. Done. 

    How does that separate from the execution? Over time, it has some failure points. Boom.

    so it was a fantastic idea that needed much more testing and R&D than it received. 

    And that’s literally all there is to it. 

    The fact the engineers were unable to produce a long lasting keyboard does not mean the concept wasn’t great - especially consideration how good the experience was when new. 
  • Reply 57 of 61
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,407member
    dewme said:
    Apple's all-time greatest s-show (as I can attest from both an MBP and an MBA, both of which we sold). I am shocked the company got away with just $50M.

    That's when you knew Ive was way past his sell-by date.
    I’m not following the logic here with respect to Jony Ive. As design chief he established the targets for “what” he wanted a product to be and what product qualities he wanted to present to end users. It was up to engineering to determine “how” these targets and qualities could be achieved. It was up to engineering and quality assurance to ensure that the as-built product, i.e., the implementation of the design, achieved the product design goals and quality requirements.

    If the shipped product suffered in-service failures after having gone through the engineering and testing processes then there is a failure either in the implementation, i.e., materials, mechanical design of the involved components, etc., or a failure in testing. Ideally the testing done prior to shipping the product should have uncovered any material or design weaknesses that would lead to premature failure. Obviously the testing for the butterfly keyboard did not uncover the flaws that led to the in-service failures. Why?

    Did Apple run the wrongs tests? Did they not run enough (accelerated lifetime) tests? Did Apple not subject the units under test to a wide enough range of environmental factors, i.e., heat, humidity, dust, physical shock, vibration, electromagnetic interference, cheeto dust, etc?

     I don’t buy into the notion that Jony Ive somehow doomed these products by asking for “too much” whether it is lighter weight, thinner overall dimensions, fewer physical ports, exquisite finishes, exotic materials, etc. That’s his role, to set the targets on what he’d like to see the product development team achieve. If the product development team cannot achieve those targets without sacrificing quality they are the ones who need to push back and make it clear why they are doing so. The end result and the product that reaches customers needs to be the result of a team effort and not simply the manifestation of one man’s vision.

    I’m not at all a fan of “how” Apple achieves some of its product design goals. Things like non replaceable batteries, soldered down components in products that aren’t volume constrained, and the pervasive use of glue for assembly do grate on my nerves because the products become unrepairable or needlessly expensive to repair. But it’s not the product vision, or the visionary, that made them this way, it’s the implementation and lack of consideration for other quality factors like repairability that made them this way. If Apple pushed aside all considerations for “how” something is built or undercut testing in order to achieve the purest form of what Jony Ive presented to them, it’s Apple’s fault, not Jony’s.
    He was he boss of design. He signed off on it. This debacle was preceded by a bunch of other poor design decisions (remember, e.g., 'flat', MagSafe?)

    It's honestly not much more complicated than that.

    Anyone who has worked in a company where managers are held accountable for their decisions knows it.
    edited July 2022
  • Reply 58 of 61
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,407member
    MplsP said:
    MplsP said:
    JP234 said:
    Since the second thing I do when I buy a new Macbook of any kind is to buy a keyboard cover, I've never encountered this problem. I also don't eat or drink in their proximity. And when I sell or trade them in, the pristine case and keyboard underneath gives me a bit extra leverage on price, Try it, they're cheap, and taking care of your electronics properly costs nothing.
    I bought a silicone cover for my keyboard. The feel was awful, it was horrible to type on, it left grease smudges on the screen and it still didn't prevent stuff from getting into the keyboard. If you have to purchase a protector for the keyboard because it won't stand up to routine use then it's a design fail.

    avon b7 said:
    ranson said:
    AniMill said:
    “ Apple denied any wrongdoing…” 

    Ummm, I have great respect for most Apple products and business practices, but the Butterfly Keyboard was an unmitigated disaster in design and durability. I understand they have to deny culpability, but they should send this bill to Jony Ive. Maybe this (along with the Apple Watch tree removal fiasco) were the real reasons they pushed him out, and cut ties to his new venture.
    To be clear, there is no wrongdoing here. Wrongdoing in the legal sense means with nefarious intent. Clearly Apple did not intend to make everyone's life miserable with this terrible keyboard design.
    And I suppose settling will have allowed them to avoid having to provide internal data on exactly how many machines were repaired due to keyboard issues. 
    The number $35 million ($50 million minus $15 million in legal fees) gives you a very rough idea of the total number of repairs in the five year period for those states. It has to be less than 700,000 (if all repairs were $50 variety) and more than 88,000 (if all repairs were $395 variety) since it's going to be a mix of $50, $125, and $395 payouts. Or from an annual perspective: less than 20,000 repairs on average per state and more than 2,500 repairs on average per state. 
    FTA, the settlement only covered California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. We have no idea about relative sales numbers but if you use your approach it's safe to say a large number of devices were affected.

    DAalseth said:
    welshdog said:
    DAalseth said:
    Thanks Jony

    Don't see his name on the patent.
    https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2015047612A3/en

    Wouldn’t have gone into production without his OK. Would not have happened at all without his push for thinner at all costs. 
    Pushing the envelope is what Jony and Apple are famous for. 

    Making things thin isn’t a bad thing. And the industry has followed Ive’s lead there. 

    The keyboard was a fantastic idea that simply wasn’t sorted out properly by the hardware team and shouldn’t have been signed off on by The hardware lead at the time. 

    It was a rare failure for Apple, which has a history of pursuing the impossible - and usually grasping it. 

    But this wasn’t Jony’s failure, no matter how hard you push that narrative. 

    “Cool story bruh”
    I'm not sure how you call the butterfly keyboard a 'fantastic idea.' Making things thin is fine, as long as they work and any idea that fails is not fantastic. We'll never know for sure how much of this was Jonny but ultimately it was Apple's failure.

    probably because the idea of a more stable keyboard with more uniform key presses and shorter travel is … a good idea. 

    Was it executed well? We all know the answer to that. But the idea - the concept - was fantastic  

    Idea is different from execution  

    Lots of great ideas that don’t pan out. Doesn’t detract that it was worth a shot. The hardware team has learned from it and will be more careful the next time an opportunity to invent comes around  

    A ‘good’ keyboard is a good idea. The definition of a good keyboard is up for debate. I would dispute that shorter travel is always a good thing. Take it to the extreme - when I was a kid a friend had an Atari 400 computer that had a membrane keyboard. It had no travel so that must be better, right? Or how about the iPad screen keyboard? Solid, stable, very short travel. It’s perfect!
    A good keyboard is tactile, responsive, provides consistent feedback, is sturdy, reliable, and “just works” as an input mechanism. 

    Shorter travel is a good thing to a point. And the butterfly keyboard hit the perfect balance on that. It wasn’t anywhere near your extreme examples. 

    It was a fantastic idea that had poor execution. 

    How was it a fantastic idea? Let’s take a look at a brand new butterfly keyboard. It works and is great to type with. Each key press is uniform and doesn’t tilt like a scissor switch. Boom. Done. 

    How does that separate from the execution? Over time, it has some failure points. Boom.

    so it was a fantastic idea that needed much more testing and R&D than it received. 

    And that’s literally all there is to it. 

    The fact the engineers were unable to produce a long lasting keyboard does not mean the concept wasn’t great - especially consideration how good the experience was when new. 
    Meh, speaking for myself, every time I used my MBP then, I left like I was tapping the tip of my fingers on the desk.

    'Tactile with consistent feedback' are not the words that come to mind. Rather, it's "clickety-clack with no response, no feedback, and character repeats".
    MplsP
  • Reply 59 of 61
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,492member
    dewme said:
    Apple's all-time greatest s-show (as I can attest from both an MBP and an MBA, both of which we sold). I am shocked the company got away with just $50M.

    That's when you knew Ive was way past his sell-by date.
    I’m not following the logic here with respect to Jony Ive. As design chief he established the targets for “what” he wanted a product to be and what product qualities he wanted to present to end users. It was up to engineering to determine “how” these targets and qualities could be achieved. It was up to engineering and quality assurance to ensure that the as-built product, i.e., the implementation of the design, achieved the product design goals and quality requirements.

    If the shipped product suffered in-service failures after having gone through the engineering and testing processes then there is a failure either in the implementation, i.e., materials, mechanical design of the involved components, etc., or a failure in testing. Ideally the testing done prior to shipping the product should have uncovered any material or design weaknesses that would lead to premature failure. Obviously the testing for the butterfly keyboard did not uncover the flaws that led to the in-service failures. Why?

    Did Apple run the wrongs tests? Did they not run enough (accelerated lifetime) tests? Did Apple not subject the units under test to a wide enough range of environmental factors, i.e., heat, humidity, dust, physical shock, vibration, electromagnetic interference, cheeto dust, etc?

     I don’t buy into the notion that Jony Ive somehow doomed these products by asking for “too much” whether it is lighter weight, thinner overall dimensions, fewer physical ports, exquisite finishes, exotic materials, etc. That’s his role, to set the targets on what he’d like to see the product development team achieve. If the product development team cannot achieve those targets without sacrificing quality they are the ones who need to push back and make it clear why they are doing so. The end result and the product that reaches customers needs to be the result of a team effort and not simply the manifestation of one man’s vision.

    I’m not at all a fan of “how” Apple achieves some of its product design goals. Things like non replaceable batteries, soldered down components in products that aren’t volume constrained, and the pervasive use of glue for assembly do grate on my nerves because the products become unrepairable or needlessly expensive to repair. But it’s not the product vision, or the visionary, that made them this way, it’s the implementation and lack of consideration for other quality factors like repairability that made them this way. If Apple pushed aside all considerations for “how” something is built or undercut testing in order to achieve the purest form of what Jony Ive presented to them, it’s Apple’s fault, not Jony’s.
    He was he boss of design. He signed off on it. This debacle was preceded by a bunch of other poor design decisions (remember, e.g., 'flat', MagSafe?)

    It's honestly not much more complicated than that.

    Anyone who has worked in a company where managers are held accountable for their decisions knows it.
    That's an extremely narrow view that assumes an authoritarian leadership model and lack of professionalism in the rank and file. It's sibling philosophy is that for every failure someone's head must roll - regardless of root cause or whether the failures are due to individual or systemic shortcomings. Apple's testing failed to uncover the latent defects in the design of the butterfly keyboard. Apple attempted to mitigate the issue through subtle changes that either; 1) did not adequately address the failure modes, or 2) could not overcome the public perception that the design's initial shortcomings were unresolvable. Once the butterfly keyboard was deemed to be inferior in the eyes of critics it didn't really matter whether the post-modification changes brought its failure rate within the same range as what was seen with the previous design. Any subsequent failures would be treated as a continuation of the same problem.

    I have no problem choppin' heads when it can be shown that a person or group of people who are the final authority for making the "ship it" call make the call to ship a product that the rest of the development team has advised against shipping. I've seen situations like this and ultimately heads did roll. But if Apple allowed Jony Ive or any other executive in the organization to override the advice of their engineering and quality assurance team, or if the engineering or quality assurance team is too gutless and unprofessional to live up to their professional responsibilities, then Apple has a much greater problem on its hands than lopping off (or issuing a golden parachute) to the public facing executive or manager who's in charge. Showing Jony Ive the door won't change a thing if Apple doesn't fix its systemic shortcomings, which in this case appear to be inadequate testing and verification.

    This case is yet another instance where Apple kind of set themselves up for failure and did a poor job of managing their response when public reaction and perception went sideways. It may have gone deeper because Apple seriously pumped-up the supposed benefits of the butterfly keyboard design at a time when it wasn't obvious that customers even thought there was any issues with the previous keyboard design. As far as I can tell, few people had any issues with the previous design. Rolling out a new design to benefit overall product design goals were fine, but they stumbled enough to piss off enough people who they didn't want to piss off. It's one thing to stumble a little bit when you're trying to advance the state of the art on something new, but trying to fix a problem that's not broke, and in-fact breaking it ever very slightly, is unforgivable. Apple should have recognized this and set the engineering and quality bar much higher than they did. With nobody asking for a new keyboard design they could have iterated on the new design and implementation for several more product development cycles before releasing it to the public in a product. 
    edited July 2022 MplsPwelshdog
  • Reply 60 of 61
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,965member
    MplsP said:
    MplsP said:
    JP234 said:
    Since the second thing I do when I buy a new Macbook of any kind is to buy a keyboard cover, I've never encountered this problem. I also don't eat or drink in their proximity. And when I sell or trade them in, the pristine case and keyboard underneath gives me a bit extra leverage on price, Try it, they're cheap, and taking care of your electronics properly costs nothing.
    I bought a silicone cover for my keyboard. The feel was awful, it was horrible to type on, it left grease smudges on the screen and it still didn't prevent stuff from getting into the keyboard. If you have to purchase a protector for the keyboard because it won't stand up to routine use then it's a design fail.

    avon b7 said:
    ranson said:
    AniMill said:
    “ Apple denied any wrongdoing…” 

    Ummm, I have great respect for most Apple products and business practices, but the Butterfly Keyboard was an unmitigated disaster in design and durability. I understand they have to deny culpability, but they should send this bill to Jony Ive. Maybe this (along with the Apple Watch tree removal fiasco) were the real reasons they pushed him out, and cut ties to his new venture.
    To be clear, there is no wrongdoing here. Wrongdoing in the legal sense means with nefarious intent. Clearly Apple did not intend to make everyone's life miserable with this terrible keyboard design.
    And I suppose settling will have allowed them to avoid having to provide internal data on exactly how many machines were repaired due to keyboard issues. 
    The number $35 million ($50 million minus $15 million in legal fees) gives you a very rough idea of the total number of repairs in the five year period for those states. It has to be less than 700,000 (if all repairs were $50 variety) and more than 88,000 (if all repairs were $395 variety) since it's going to be a mix of $50, $125, and $395 payouts. Or from an annual perspective: less than 20,000 repairs on average per state and more than 2,500 repairs on average per state. 
    FTA, the settlement only covered California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. We have no idea about relative sales numbers but if you use your approach it's safe to say a large number of devices were affected.

    DAalseth said:
    welshdog said:
    DAalseth said:
    Thanks Jony

    Don't see his name on the patent.
    https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2015047612A3/en

    Wouldn’t have gone into production without his OK. Would not have happened at all without his push for thinner at all costs. 
    Pushing the envelope is what Jony and Apple are famous for. 

    Making things thin isn’t a bad thing. And the industry has followed Ive’s lead there. 

    The keyboard was a fantastic idea that simply wasn’t sorted out properly by the hardware team and shouldn’t have been signed off on by The hardware lead at the time. 

    It was a rare failure for Apple, which has a history of pursuing the impossible - and usually grasping it. 

    But this wasn’t Jony’s failure, no matter how hard you push that narrative. 

    “Cool story bruh”
    I'm not sure how you call the butterfly keyboard a 'fantastic idea.' Making things thin is fine, as long as they work and any idea that fails is not fantastic. We'll never know for sure how much of this was Jonny but ultimately it was Apple's failure.

    probably because the idea of a more stable keyboard with more uniform key presses and shorter travel is … a good idea. 

    Was it executed well? We all know the answer to that. But the idea - the concept - was fantastic  

    Idea is different from execution  

    Lots of great ideas that don’t pan out. Doesn’t detract that it was worth a shot. The hardware team has learned from it and will be more careful the next time an opportunity to invent comes around  

    A ‘good’ keyboard is a good idea. The definition of a good keyboard is up for debate. I would dispute that shorter travel is always a good thing. Take it to the extreme - when I was a kid a friend had an Atari 400 computer that had a membrane keyboard. It had no travel so that must be better, right? Or how about the iPad screen keyboard? Solid, stable, very short travel. It’s perfect!
    A good keyboard is tactile, responsive, provides consistent feedback, is sturdy, reliable, and “just works” as an input mechanism. 

    Shorter travel is a good thing to a point. And the butterfly keyboard hit the perfect balance on that. It wasn’t anywhere near your extreme examples. 

    It was a fantastic idea that had poor execution. 

    How was it a fantastic idea? Let’s take a look at a brand new butterfly keyboard. It works and is great to type with. Each key press is uniform and doesn’t tilt like a scissor switch. Boom. Done. 

    How does that separate from the execution? Over time, it has some failure points. Boom.

    so it was a fantastic idea that needed much more testing and R&D than it received. 

    And that’s literally all there is to it. 

    The fact the engineers were unable to produce a long lasting keyboard does not mean the concept wasn’t great - especially consideration how good the experience was when new. 
    Well, by your criteria, the butterfly keyboard was a failure. I've only had it 3 months, but the keyboard on my 16" MBP is a success by the same criteria. Personally, I found the feel and response to be awful, and it clearly wasn't reliable, nor did it 'just work.' Some of this is clearly personal preference, but there seem to be far more people who didn't like the keyboard than did. Everyone that I've spoken to far prefers the new MBP keyboards as well.

    You made my point - decreased key travel is only good to a point. Apple crossed that point with the butterfly keyboard. I measured it and it only had 0.3mm of travel. 300µm.

    avon b7 said: The problem was that literally every butterfly keyboard user was sitting on a problem waiting to happen. Whether the issue materialised for someone or not, though is irrelevant when the problem lies in the design of the keyboard itself (not a manufacturing issue or faulty batch of components etc).
    The issues that people reported with the butterfly mechanism (keys sticking, individual keys failing, entire keyboard failing) are all issues that also exist with scissor mechanism keyboards. It's quite easy to do a web search for various PC laptop vendors that use scissor mechanisms and find people complaining about the same types of failures. So pretty much anyone that buys a laptop could potentially experience it. 

    And saying that Apple never provided specific numbers for keyboard repairs is par for the course in the industry. Other manufacturers don't release numbers like that to the public either. AI did some investigating at Apple Stores and ended up saying that it appeared as though the year that the 1st MBP butterfly model was released probably did have higher than usual repairs for keyboards but that it was hard to tell if that was true beyond that year. And you also have to remember that the MacBook was actually the first to get the butterfly mechanism and it didn't generate the same types of complaints during it's first year of production. 
    The butterfly keyboard also 2 other huge and critical design flaws. You couldn't remove the keycaps to clear debris and you a broken keyboard required replacing the entire logic board. So you have a keyboard with a design that was prone to trapping dust, crumbs and debris, only 300µm of key travel meaning even the smallest amount of debris was enough to disrupt the mechanism, did not allow for cleaning and could not be easily repaired. Brilliant. 
    muthuk_vanalingamdewmeanantksundaramcrowley
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