Apple's $50M keyboard settlement deemed 'fair & reasonable' by US judge

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
Despite objections, a US judge has upheld the $50 million settlement from a class-action lawsuit against Apple over faulty MacBook butterfly keyboards.

Judge approves Apple settlement
Judge approves Apple settlement


A court granted initial approval in November 2022 to a $50 million settlement that resolves the class-action lawsuit against Apple regarding the butterfly keyboard. The class-action case, which was certified in 2021 and initiated in 2018, pertains to people who own MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models released in 2015 and 2016.

Now, a report on Friday from Reuters says US District Judge Edward Davila approved the settlement, calling it "fair, adequate and reasonable."

Eleven consumers led the class-action lawsuit from various US states, including New York, Florida, California, and Michigan. They alleged that Apple failed to provide sufficient repairs or troubleshooting help for specific MacBook "butterfly" keyboards manufactured between 2015 and 2019.

Despite encountering obstacles, the settlement faced opposition on specific grounds. For example, one objection highlighted that the compensation of $125 provided to a particular group within the class was deemed inadequate, considering that keyboard repairs often exceed $300 in cost.

Other challengers argued it was unfair to deny compensation to MacBook owners who experienced keyboard failures but did not get them repaired. In response, Davila pointed out that while not everyone who was purportedly injured will receive compensation, the settlement compromise benefits many people.

Judge Davila further emphasized that the potential for a more favorable settlement or the possibility that the benefits provided may not completely compensate the class members did not constitute sufficient grounds for disapproval.

Class members will receive between $50 and $395 as part of the settlement, depending on the number and nature of repairs made to their keyboards -- and how many requests the settlement gets. As of early March, more than 86,000 claims for class member payments had been submitted.

The court's decision also granted the plaintiffs' lawyers' request for $15 million in legal fees. In a statement, the two prominent lawyers representing the lead plaintiffs from Girard Sharp and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith said they "look forward to getting the money out to our clients."

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,257member
    $50M / $50 = 1,000,000 Mac users, except the lawyers get $15M right off the top. I don't call the $15M fair, adequate and reasonable. I call it the typical corrupt legal system. With only 86K claims, I see the settlement way over board. 
    iOS_Guy80tyler82watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,838member
    Was this really as big of a deal as everyone seemed to make it out to be? We used a lot of these butterfly keyboard MacBook Pro's at work and I shit you not, we never had any keyboard issues at all with those. Maybe we were just extremely lucky idk. I also supported some in my previous job and never had any issues either but we didn't have as many. 
    edited May 2023 DGDMNtmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    DGDMNDGDMN Posts: 7member
    macxpress said:
    Was this really as big of a deal as everyone seemed to make it out to be? We used a lot of these butterfly keyboard MacBook Pro's at work and I shit you not, we never had any keyboard issues at all with those. Maybe we were just extremely lucky idk. I also supported some in my previous job and never had any issues either but we didn't have as many. 

    Blown out of proportion. My daughters haven't had a single issue with their Butterfly action keyboards either. Going on 5 years of usage. 
    iOS_Guy80watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,341member
    I can’t speak for the plaintiffs in the case, but I’m still using a butterfly keyboard on my 2019 MBP with no issues.

    Some stats AppleInsider once ran on this problem showed that indeed some consumers were affected, but IIRC it was not a much larger percentage than the number of repairs needed on the previous-design keyboards — or the current-design keyboards, for that matter.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,072member
    DGDMN said:
    macxpress said:
    Was this really as big of a deal as everyone seemed to make it out to be? We used a lot of these butterfly keyboard MacBook Pro's at work and I shit you not, we never had any keyboard issues at all with those. Maybe we were just extremely lucky idk. I also supported some in my previous job and never had any issues either but we didn't have as many. 

    Blown out of proportion. My daughters haven't had a single issue with their Butterfly action keyboards either. Going on 5 years of usage. 

    But notice what the lawyers sued Apple for ...... They alleged that Apple failed to provide sufficient repairs or troubleshooting help for specific MacBook "butterfly" keyboards manufactured between 2015 and 2019. It appears that the class action complaint wasn't about any known design flaw or a high failure rate of Apple's butterfly keyboards but just that Apple failed to provide repair support if or when they fail. And this .... failure to provide sufficient support .... would had to have been after any warranty period, as Apple would had repaired/replace any keyboards that were still under warranty.

    Now if Apple weren't repairing or offering support for failing the keyboards, while it was still under warranty, that's a different matter. But the fact that the lawyers will get $15M for representing what might be less than 100,000 plaintiffs in a class action suit on a product that sold in the millions to consumers (with-in the time period), still makes them "scumbags."
    iOS_Guy80watto_cobragrandact73
  • Reply 6 of 16
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,005member
    macxpress said:
    Was this really as big of a deal as everyone seemed to make it out to be? 
    My 2017 MBP was fine through the initial reports of keyboard failure. I even posted a few comments like this. 
    But it went bad in 2020 and made typing without an external keyboard very frustrating. I was hesitant to spend the $100s to replace because I mostly used the machine for photography and layout and it worked fine for that. 

    But yeah, some of the keys would double or triple enter and others would not respond without an extra press. Copy editing became excruciating.  It was the only apple keyboard in 30 years I had problems like that with. Anecdotal, I know, but it fit with the complaints…
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 16
    nubusnubus Posts: 414member
    Had two replacements paid by Apple (and shareholders). This noisy keyboard with a terrible feel had a failure rate well above normal all from the start. In fact it was 2x more prone to failures than the generation before. 11.8% of devices experienced problems. With replacement requiring a switch of battery this is one expensive repair.

    Did it pass engineering tests before shipping or did someone decide to ship a product they knew would be unreliable? Did someone then decide to keep that product for two more generations due to stubborn pride and sunk costs? If engineering found this before shipping then problem is with product management. The real cost for Apple is way beyond 50 million. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 16
    HedwareHedware Posts: 88member
    Not everything designed and manufactured by Apple is wonderful. Think wireless mouse that could not be used while being charged.
    Apple should have just stopped with the poorly designed keyboard instead of being pigheaded and in denial. 
    nubusmuthuk_vanalingamMplsP
  • Reply 9 of 16
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,753member
    nubus said:
    Had two replacements paid by Apple (and shareholders). This noisy keyboard with a terrible feel had a failure rate well above normal all from the start. In fact it was 2x more prone to failures than the generation before. 11.8% of devices experienced problems. With replacement requiring a switch of battery this is one expensive repair.

    Did it pass engineering tests before shipping or did someone decide to ship a product they knew would be unreliable? Did someone then decide to keep that product for two more generations due to stubborn pride and sunk costs? If engineering found this before shipping then problem is with product management. The real cost for Apple is way beyond 50 million. 
    Those are the kinds of things that have crossed my mind all these years. 

    Personally, and from a product perspective, I put it squarely in the design flaw camp. It should never have been conceived as non-spillproof.

    I find it hard to believe that none of the particle ingress testing lit up any warning lights. 

    I lean towards someone deciding the new design itself outweighed its flaws (including noise) and they had to run with it.

    That someone had enough influence to push things through. 

    Everything was compounded by other design decisions that are typical at Apple. Like the crazy cost of out of warranty repair of a keyboard because it required replacing perfectly good and unaffected parts like the top case and battery.

    Everything coming together as it did over those years created the perfect storm and from then on PR damage control was the only real way forward. 

    This is one inside story that I feel someone would love to tell. Give it some more years and I'm sure more pieces will drop and we'll begin to see what was going on internally and names will appear. 

    As it is, IMO, every butterfly keyboard is a ticking time bomb. Everything is fine until it is not fine. This isn't like a bad batch of components or an assembly issue. 

    I see it as a design flaw. 
    nubusmuthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFellerMplsP
  • Reply 10 of 16
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,838member
    avon b7 said:
    nubus said:
    Had two replacements paid by Apple (and shareholders). This noisy keyboard with a terrible feel had a failure rate well above normal all from the start. In fact it was 2x more prone to failures than the generation before. 11.8% of devices experienced problems. With replacement requiring a switch of battery this is one expensive repair.

    Did it pass engineering tests before shipping or did someone decide to ship a product they knew would be unreliable? Did someone then decide to keep that product for two more generations due to stubborn pride and sunk costs? If engineering found this before shipping then problem is with product management. The real cost for Apple is way beyond 50 million. 
    Those are the kinds of things that have crossed my mind all these years. 

    Personally, and from a product perspective, I put it squarely in the design flaw camp. It should never have been conceived as non-spillproof.

    I find it hard to believe that none of the particle ingress testing lit up any warning lights. 

    I lean towards someone deciding the new design itself outweighed its flaws (including noise) and they had to run with it.

    That someone had enough influence to push things through. 

    Everything was compounded by other design decisions that are typical at Apple. Like the crazy cost of out of warranty repair of a keyboard because it required replacing perfectly good and unaffected parts like the top case and battery.

    Everything coming together as it did over those years created the perfect storm and from then on PR damage control was the only real way forward. 

    This is one inside story that I feel someone would love to tell. Give it some more years and I'm sure more pieces will drop and we'll begin to see what was going on internally and names will appear. 

    As it is, IMO, every butterfly keyboard is a ticking time bomb. Everything is fine until it is not fine. This isn't like a bad batch of components or an assembly issue. 

    I see it as a design flaw. 
    Bullshit...they keyboards are fine and people just wanted something to bitch about on social media like they always do. There's seriously nothing wrong with the keyboards but enough people bitched and made a fake narrative about them so Apple switched back. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,753member
    macxpress said:
    avon b7 said:
    nubus said:
    Had two replacements paid by Apple (and shareholders). This noisy keyboard with a terrible feel had a failure rate well above normal all from the start. In fact it was 2x more prone to failures than the generation before. 11.8% of devices experienced problems. With replacement requiring a switch of battery this is one expensive repair.

    Did it pass engineering tests before shipping or did someone decide to ship a product they knew would be unreliable? Did someone then decide to keep that product for two more generations due to stubborn pride and sunk costs? If engineering found this before shipping then problem is with product management. The real cost for Apple is way beyond 50 million. 
    Those are the kinds of things that have crossed my mind all these years. 

    Personally, and from a product perspective, I put it squarely in the design flaw camp. It should never have been conceived as non-spillproof.

    I find it hard to believe that none of the particle ingress testing lit up any warning lights. 

    I lean towards someone deciding the new design itself outweighed its flaws (including noise) and they had to run with it.

    That someone had enough influence to push things through. 

    Everything was compounded by other design decisions that are typical at Apple. Like the crazy cost of out of warranty repair of a keyboard because it required replacing perfectly good and unaffected parts like the top case and battery.

    Everything coming together as it did over those years created the perfect storm and from then on PR damage control was the only real way forward. 

    This is one inside story that I feel someone would love to tell. Give it some more years and I'm sure more pieces will drop and we'll begin to see what was going on internally and names will appear. 

    As it is, IMO, every butterfly keyboard is a ticking time bomb. Everything is fine until it is not fine. This isn't like a bad batch of components or an assembly issue. 

    I see it as a design flaw. 
    Bullshit...they keyboards are fine and people just wanted something to bitch about on social media like they always do. There's seriously nothing wrong with the keyboards but enough people bitched and made a fake narrative about them so Apple switched back. 
    If that really were the case, Apple would have just sat the storm out and let the design revisions do their thing.

    Like I said, the keyboards are fine until they are not. 

    Can we prove anything either way? Nope. 

    We'll see perhaps, but it will be a few years from now. 

    One thing is clear in my mind. If they had been spillproof from the outset, there probably wouldn't have been as much of an outcry. Repairs would have been less and also less costly. 

    To this day I believe their keyboards lack spill protection yet phones get IP68 ratings. 

    What is more likely? Phone water immersion or spilt liquids on laptops? 

    muthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFellerMplsP
  • Reply 12 of 16
    nubusnubus Posts: 414member
    avon b7 said:
    As it is, IMO, every butterfly keyboard is a ticking time bomb. Everything is fine until it is not fine. This isn't like a bad batch of components or an assembly issue. 

    I see it as a design flaw. 
    +++ on all you said. It was probably the design team that forced engineering to create the keyboard so that is could all be glued together to fit in no space at all. Function was lost with the failures, noise, and feel of this (I'm writing on a Butterfly keyboard). 

    Recent developments like Framework Laptop and Dell Luna Concept show how other companies are doing designs that go beyond being thin.
    muthuk_vanalingamMplsP
  • Reply 13 of 16
    nubusnubus Posts: 414member
    macxpress said:
    Bullshit...they keyboards are fine and people just wanted something to bitch about on social media like they always do. There's seriously nothing wrong with the keyboards but enough people bitched and made a fake narrative about them so Apple switched back. 
    This site checked the numbers: https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/04/30/2016-macbook-pro-butterfly-keyboards-failing-twice-as-frequently-as-older-models

    And the numbers are very, very clear. The failure rate is double that of the previous model and the cost of each repair 75% above. Butterfly keyboards are best avoided.
    muthuk_vanalingamMplsPcharlesatlas
  • Reply 14 of 16
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,838member
    nubus said:
    macxpress said:
    Bullshit...they keyboards are fine and people just wanted something to bitch about on social media like they always do. There's seriously nothing wrong with the keyboards but enough people bitched and made a fake narrative about them so Apple switched back. 
    This site checked the numbers: https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/04/30/2016-macbook-pro-butterfly-keyboards-failing-twice-as-frequently-as-older-models

    And the numbers are very, very clear. The failure rate is double that of the previous model and the cost of each repair 75% above. Butterfly keyboards are best avoided.
    BS article...Very little to back it up. 
    watto_cobratmay
  • Reply 15 of 16
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    macxpress said:
    nubus said:
    macxpress said:
    Bullshit...they keyboards are fine and people just wanted something to bitch about on social media like they always do. There's seriously nothing wrong with the keyboards but enough people bitched and made a fake narrative about them so Apple switched back. 
    This site checked the numbers: https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/04/30/2016-macbook-pro-butterfly-keyboards-failing-twice-as-frequently-as-older-models

    And the numbers are very, very clear. The failure rate is double that of the previous model and the cost of each repair 75% above. Butterfly keyboards are best avoided.
    BS article...Very little to back it up. 
    BS because you don’t agree with it yet you have nothing to back up your position?
    charlesatlasgrandact73muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 16
    "It never happened to me, so obviously all these people are lying just for a windfall."

    /s
    muthuk_vanalingamMplsP
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