Keyboard in 2018 MacBook Pro will not be used for repair of earlier models



  • Reply 21 of 25
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 745member
    JustinTO said:
    I was in the Apple Store (in the Toronto Eaton Centre) two days ago looking at the MacBook which I've been thinking would be an incredible mobile laptop.  The "B" key wasn't working on the keyboard.  I was astonished.  1) because Apple's "only affects a minority of customers" claim fell so obviously flat in the face of that they can't even get their floor model keyboards to work
    Interesting—the “B” key on my keyboard is definitely the one causing the most trouble. I would be interested to know if others are mostly having problems specifically with that key. 
  • Reply 22 of 25
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,305member
    dewme said:
    avon b7 said:
    avon b7 said:
    We'll have to wait for a teardown if Apple is not forthcoming on the changes. If this third generation keyboard can be replaced more easily than the previous two generations, and as a result, can't be swapped into earlier models, I think most people would accept it.

    If it can fit earlier models but Apple isn't allowing it, I think people will feel rightly petplexed.
    Again, you’re making assumptions you’re in no position to make. Apple said the new keyboard is improved for sound and never said reliability. Gruber’s source suggested the problem was bad metal from a previous supplier, and has been remedied. If so, there’s no reason to give customers of an older model a new feature (quieter keyboard) from a newer model. If it was indeed the bad alloy then they get the fixed alloy. 
    Everybody is in a position to make assumptions. Not sure why you think otherwise. You yourself are making an assumption: that Gruber is right!

    If the new part is 100% compatible with affected models and is actually better, why not retire the old part!

    This is Apple after all.

    Perhaps it would be nice if Apple just came out and said, 'we had a quality control issue that has been remedied'.

    Can you think of a reason why that hasn't happened yet?

    Don't worry, I'll just know you'll reply with "it's not for me to think of the reasons".

    There are likely many reasons why Apple hasn't stepped forward and announced a problem with the keyboards that would warrant a more drastic response like a product recall. Personally, I believe there is an underlying psychological effect in play that is driving some or even a great deal of the current negative narrative we see in blogs and online commentary. The effect is called Relative Judgement Theory, which basically boils down to people's judgements being rebased or recalibrated relative to previous observations and judgements rather than always judging something against an absolute standard.

    In all likelihood Apple has assigned a numerical threshold to determine whether a product that is seeing failures in-service requires a deep dive forensic quality review and/or consideration of remedial and corrective actions like product recalls or part replacement. In fact, Apple's recurring language about "very low numbers" leads me to believe that the observed failure rates are well below the absolute threshold that they have assigned to the part in question. I'd also bet that the absolute numbers that they've applied are at least as good or better than industry norms and are based on sound reliability engineering principles and practice. If Apple came up with reliability estimates that were not realistic based on the reliability of underlying components they'd be doing a great disservice to their customers. In other words, Apple's absolute judgement numbers are deterministic and not pulled out of thin air or their butt.

    The problem here could be that those who are critical of Apple's operational behaviors have assigned their own and more rigid and lower failure rate threshold than what Apple has assigned. Why would they do this? Perhaps they hold Apple to a higher standard than what Apple holds itself to - for whatever reasons, including lack of knowledge, unrealistic expectations, or personal experience with other Apple products. Apple's reactions to previous quality issues that were also below Apple's quality thresholds but were still addressed by Apple also come into play, like the iPhone 4 antenna nothingburger. When Apple caved on the antenna nonissue and gave away free bumpers they also recalibrated many people's relative judgement of what constitutes an issue that requires action by Apple.

    This theory has nothing to do with whether or not there is a quality issue with the keyboards in question. What it does warn us about is what happens when customer's expectations result in the goalposts constantly being moved further and further away and continuously narrowed down. When does "very low failure numbers" become unacceptable and "any failure" substituted? Yes, everyone wants zero failures and perfect quality, i.e., absolute perfection. But there's a cost to be paid for the pursuit of absolute perfection, whether with products or with people. The law of diminishing return tells us that the pursuit of absolute perfection will ultimately drain your resources and leave you forever miserable. 
    That's definitely a possibility along with all the others. It is equally speculative but doesn't entertain one option: what if it is a design flaw and reliability estimates were unrealistic?

    Also it doesn't tackle the opposing angle. If there is no design flaw, why not simply explain exactly why the warranty extension was put in place (the cause of the problem the keyboards could suffer)? After all, only a small percentage of users will be affected anyway due to observed failure rates possibly being below their calculated thresholds.

    The longer things go without an explanation, the more theories we will see.

    We can't really demand an explanation (although I imagine a class action might) but the lack of one won't make things better for them.

  • Reply 23 of 25
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,733member
    So I just listened to John Gruber's podcast ( where he talks about the keyboard issue. It's interesting, as he emphatically states "This is completely and utterly unsubstantiated, but I'll pass it along. This is the kind of thing I would never write on daring fireball, but I'll pass it along..." John Gruber got an e-mail from somebody who knows somebody at Apple...

    That's about as weak and unsubstantiated as you can get without simply making up random facts. It may be true, but it's really hard to put much stock in it.

  • Reply 24 of 25
    majorslmajorsl Posts: 119unconfirmed, member
    nunzy said:
    This is not a big deal. Apple said that only a tiny percentage of MacBook have a problem.
    Ah yes, because a corporation beholden to shareholders always admits to more then a tiny percentage of a product that is faulty, and then issues a repair program for the same tiny percentage.  In the short time we've had them, my university is running at about a 25% failure rate on these, way more than we've had with any Mac in recent memory.
  • Reply 25 of 25
    I think everyone should already know that even if Apple says this wasn’t a big problem, it is. 

    Im hoping the new membranes will keep my new 13 inch quad happy. As it stands I’m seriously considering keeping my existing pro as a on the go machine and leaving my new one in clam shell mode on my desk.

    I shouldn’t need to as I have Apple care ... still. 

    That said Apple like a lot of companies like to avoid putting redesigned parts in old machines. I know when I had an iBook G3 it had to have its logic board replaced 4 times. After that my mom (I was a first year in college at the time) threatened to grow wings of fire and fly to the Apple Call centre and devour the manager there, and his kin. They then agreed to let me pay the difference for a PowerBook. 

    I suspect in cases where the keyboard keeps failing they will probably flat out replace the computer. But that would be handled on a case by case basis. 
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