Editorial: Reporting about the MacBook Pro is failing at a faster rate than the butterfly ...

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
In April 2015, Apple introduced its new Retina Display MacBook with a new "butterfly" keyboard design. Some critics didn't like its shorter key travel, but complaints really began to snowball as its mechanism was adopted across Apple's other notebook models. Today it's regarded by some as a major problem, but journalists describing the problem don't seem to really know what that problem actually is, and are misleading users with their reports based on fact-free claims.

Butterfly MacBook Pro Keyboard
The butterfly keyboard helped MacBook Pros get thinner, but did it destroy reliability? The numbers say no.


Yesterday, Apple announced an improved MacBook Pro keyboard design alongside the expansion of free support for anyone experiencing problems with MacBook keyboards. AppleInsider prepared a FAQ for users on the new machines.

MacBook users have clearly been inconvenienced by keyboard issues for those repair programs to exist, and AppleInsider has long maintained that Apple must address keyboard issues buyers have experienced, and continue to improve upon its polarizing keyboard design.

However, many journalists and other observers have seemed to prefer to describe the situation as if Apple were purposely creating or unnecessarily extending a problem rather than incrementally improving its products and the service supporting them.

Some publications even appear to have been working to create a mythology that recent MacBook keyboards were almost maliciously broken by design, with the only solution being an entirely new keyboard that magically never has any problems-- something they can claim Apple is withholding from its users due to some bizarre imagined mix of incompetence, sloth, and arrogance.

Apple's unsolvable butterfly problem reaches the Gate

Tom Warren of the Verge tweeted that "Apple is trying to fix its broken MacBook keyboard design again," but like most reports taking aim at Apple's butterfly keyboard, there was no effort made to quantify the issue. There isn't data showing the MacBook keyboard is "broken." Instead, it remains a nebulous complaint that is suggested to be an industry-worst failure rate without any real data supporting that.

To anyone who has ever worked on a hardware product, or in any aspect of product design, the idea that "an entirely new design" could exist without introducing any problems is wildly ignorant. For any mechanical system, there's some potential for failure. The question is: what rate of failure is reasonable to occur on a premium notebook device, and how does its reliability compare with alternatives.

In that context, Dieter Bohn of the Verge similarly tweeted, "you know I'm starting to think there might be something not quite right with the overall design of recent MacBook Pros" when referencing Apple's free program to fix display cable issues in 2016 models.


Dieter Bohn of the Verge: the folding screen is good, but 'the overall design' of Macbooks isn't


This is particularly curious coming from the person who sought to favorably review Samsung's Galaxy Fold as a 'promising conceptual device' while ignoring its literally show-stopping design flaws on day two. It didn't matter if it worked, or if it was statistically relevant, it mattered because Samsung deserved respect for trying something new. Bohn has also lovingly reviewed products from Google that were straight up bad, purely defective by design, and subsequently total commercial flops-- but again, he offered Google respect for trying.

Apple, however, is accorded no respect despite going well beyond "trying." MacBooks are the most popular premium notebook brand, and Mac sales are maintaining record heights despite a surrounding collapse in PC shipments and pricing globally and new growth in iPad sales. MacBook popularity continues even as Apple has introduced features commonly castigated by the media, ranging from the butterfly keyboard to Touch Bar and legacy-free USB-C ports. Why are these claims being made without numbers to back them up? And if there's a clear problem with Apple's keyboards, what is the solution for the butterfly mechanism?

The pitchfork mob butterfly solution

Videoblogging for the Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern was lauded by Apple critics when she dressed up as a butterfly to mock Apple over reports of keyboard problems on its MacBooks, demanding to know, "should $1,200 MacBooks be breaking due to dust and debris!? Absolutely not!"

Stern specifically insisted that Apple needed to stop using the butterfly mechanism, without any actual data to support that idea. But MacBook keyboards also had key failures and other issues before the introduction of the butterfly mechanism in 2015-- in fact, our data shows they were actually less reliable than today's MacBook Pros.

Butterfly Wall Street Journal theatrics
The Wall Street Journal is preferring theatrics to data-driven reporting


Just weeks later when reporting on Samsung, Stern didn't put on a costume, nor did she compare the $1,980 price of the Galaxy Fold to Apple's notebooks, nor wonder out loud if debris should ever cause damage to an expensive device. Instead, she presented, without comment, Samsung's official statement minimizing its problems as being "a few reports" from "a limited number of Galaxy Fold samples." And that occurred just after Stern's mocking of Apple's statement that "a small number of users were having issues" with the MacBook keyboard, a device that shipped to tens of millions of production users, not a few hundred influencers.

While she did earlier point out that dirty MacBook keyboards can be resolved with a can of air, or even using "Unshakey" a software utility designed to ignore repeating keys, that came shortly before recommending that users switch to a Microsoft Surface Book, a product with a known-poor reliability record. Last year, Consumer Reports called out Surface for "poor predicted reliability in comparison with laptops from other brands." Data matters.

A variety of other observers have similarly made general data-free comments along the lines of calling the butterfly keyboard a "repeatedly flawed design," while demanding to know why Apple hasn't fixed things or returned to its older 2015 keyboards. But we do have data on why Apple moved to the new keyboard, and why "reverting" makes no sense.

The "unsolvable" media narrative surrounding MacBook butterfly keyboards generates huge discussions on blogs among people who are not MacBook users. It has become the new iPhone 4 AntennaGate or iPhone 6 BendGate: a reason to take joy in a problem that's not clearly even a problem for most users, and also one that's not at all unique to Apple, even if the media narrative frames it as if it were.

Bendgate
Apple's critics worked to establish a media narrative that iPhone 6 was excessively fragile in ways other phones weren't. That was false, and data proved it.


Windows writer Ed Bott even tweeted that "The butterfly keyboard is Apple's Windows Vista, a reputation-destroying slow-motion train wreck." But over a decade ago, Bott was a staunch defender of Windows Vista, and long maintained that the criticism surrounding it was mistaken and overblown.

In 2008, at a time when Vista was clearly not seeing the adoption Microsoft had intended, Bott defended it from what he called "Vista bashing" and wrote that "all that the Windows Vista architecture needs is time and a hardware replacement cycle or two," which sounds like a pretty simple solution for what he now depicts as a "train wreck."

So which is it? Is the MacBooks' butterfly keyboard a disastrous train wreck that can only be solved by turning the clock back to 2015 keyboards, or is it a wildly inflated dramatic crisis fueled into a fire by Apple haters? Surely numbers should help us find out if Apple's MacBooks are very successful products savagely maligned by the media the way iPhone 4 and iPhone 6 were, or if they are commercially insignificant boondoggle-train wreck flops like the Galaxy Fold, Surface Book, or Windows Vista.

The numbers behind the butterfly

A variety of observers have demanded to know what Apple's product failure rates are. Kif Leswing of CNBC issued a tweet storm that began with "Apple reiterated to me today that the vast majority of MacBook customers are happy and haven't had issues with the keyboard," adding that, "but to me, anecdotally, it feels like it's happening to everyone. I personally had to get my 2017 MacBook Pro fixed. When I wrote a story about it I got over 100 reader emails."

Apple reiterated to me today that the vast majority of MacBook customers are happy and haven't had issues with the keyboard. https://t.co/mCva6djLhe

-- kif (@kifleswing)


Leswing also acknowledged, "the crazy thing is that Apple KNOWS what percentage of users are facing this problem. It has a dept called EFFA or Early Field Failure Analysis that looks into this kind of stuff and gets hard answers for decision-makers at the company."

Apple quite clearly has tons of data about the millions of Macs it has sold since 2015 using butterfly keyboards. It's in Apple's interest to avoid problems with components and designs that are known to be problematic. Repairs are an annoying inconvenience for users, but they directly impact Apple's support costs. Replacing the top case keyboard assembly can involve a $700 part on top of consuming Apple Store support resources, totally erasing the profitability of a MacBook. Anyone who thinks Apple isn't addressing keyboard issues is flatly ignorant about how the company works.

Apple is wildly aggressive in making design changes in its products to minimize repairs and product failures. In fact, there's evidence supporting the idea that one of the main reasons the company removed headphone jacks from iPhone 6s involved the fact that the headphone jack had been a leading cause of hardware failures and repairs on iPhones-- a problem that vanished when Apple began touting AirPods as a superior solution to wired headphones.

Apple's internal data is confidential for a variety of obvious reasons, but Apple's data isn't the only set of numbers available to evaluate the extent of MacBook keyboard issues. We don't have to rely on anecdotes or fact-free assumptions.

AppleInsider has been tracking MacBook keyboard failure rates since 2016, and we've collected real-world data ranging all the way back to the 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina Display. As we reported earlier this year, given about the same number of MacBook Pro sales year-over-year, the total number of service calls were lower for both the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro in their first years of service, compared to earlier models, even when including keyboard failures.

The number of Macs sold each year has not changed dramatically, indicating the new models are more reliable computers overall, despite having no user-replaceable parts and including the issues some users have had with keyboards sticking or double typing, whether related to dirt, misuse, or a component failure in the keyboard design.

Additionally, we found that keyboard failure percentages for 2016 and 2017 "butterfly" MacBooks specifically were unchanged from the first year and beyond, and there has been no surge of people seeking repairs after Apple launched its keyboard repair program, despite significant media reports concerning problems with the butterfly keyboard and publicizing the repair program.

Since the 2017 MacBook Pro launched with a revised butterfly design, repair service data is very clear that the keyboards it used were better from a reliability standpoint. Failure rates on 2018 MacBook keyboards have also been lower than on the initial crop from 2016, but about the same as they were with 2017 MacBooks. Last year's refresh added a membrane to the keyboard mechanism, but Apple did not claim at the time that its revised design was a solution to keyboard issues, but rather was intended for a quieter typing experience.

This year, Apple has specifically addressed keyboard reliability on MacBook Pro models with a statement that it is using new materials to further enhance the reliability of its keyboard. So while Apple is making continuous improvements to its machines, it has only specifically mentioned efforts to enhance the reliability of its butterfly keyboard in 2017 and this year. Data shows that users' keyboard issues are not actually a statistically larger problem than they were previously, and that Apple's previous efforts to address issues that did exist have indeed worked.

That should increase confidence that Apple's latest MacBook Pro models will be reliable machines. They are already at the top in reliability compared to earlier MacBook models, and what problems they do have are responsively addressed by the company's efforts to stand up behind its products with ongoing support.

Why Butterfly

Efforts to vilify the concept of the butterfly mechanism without involving any data beyond that imagined up after reading through user complaints is a strange tactic for journalists who are expected to support their writing with facts and ground their reporting in reality.

There are clear reasons why Apple developed the butterfly-mechanism keyboard and then spread it across the MacBook Pro line and then its new MacBook Air last fall. Apple initially extolled the new design as a significant feature designed to help reduce the weight and thickness of its portable Macs while providing more accurate typing and a nicer looking keyboard with superior backlighting. The new keyboard design enhanced the energy efficiency of backlighting while solving a light leakage problem in earlier designs by using individual LEDs for each key, rather than a defuser or fiber optics to redirect the light to illuminate key labels.

The scissor keyboards in use prior to 2015 have a taller key mechanism that collapses down on single side when pressed, resulting in a raised, jiggly feel of individual keycaps. The newer butterfly mechanism works using a shallow displacement with a single depression assembly crafted from stiffer materials. The sides bend in unison when typed. In addition to accommodating a thinner body, the new keys were also designed to be larger with less of a margin between them. The result was a more accurate keyboard with larger targets and less key wobble.

The traditional scissor-switch keyboards used in earlier MacBook models simply wouldn't work on the new 2015 MacBook: its key assembly was 40% thinner than previous designs, with the entire machine less than 0.52 inches thick at its deepest point. Delivering such a radical new case design with the existing keyboard would have resulted in keycaps wobbling and bottoming out without registering a typing stroke.

Butterfly Keyboard
Apple created a new key mechanism, and not without reason


The "problem" isn't the name or functionality of the keyboard mechanism, it's the thinness of the machine. But that thinness and lightness in weight are core attractions of Apple's ultra-mobile MacBook design, and have proven to be popular, statistically, on new MacBook Pro models. There's no shortage of people offering their options about whether Macs should be heavy and thick, but if ultralight MacBooks weren't making tons of money Apple wouldn't be selling them.

And, if large and thick MacBooks were hot sellers, Apple would also know this. After all, several years ago Apple was building enormous 17-inch MacBook Pros that were bulky and heavy. Even if the 16-inch MacBook Pro rumor is true, it's not going to be that much bigger, and probably no thicker than the existing 15-inch MacBook Pro is now.

The glass beyond the butterfly

The only devices Apple sells without some rate of keyboard failures are devices that don't have physical keys at all. In fact, nearly a billion people are regularly taping away at iPhone and iPad keyboards that are just an illusion of keys on glass. There's nothing to break.

Writers, including journalists, wordsmiths, and code developers, who have grown accustomed to the '90s model of notebook computers generally agree that typing on a virtual glass keyboard is not preferable to a responsive physical keyboard. The preference of typing on physical keys is changing however, along with the physicality of computers themselves.

The trend toward mobility has moved PCs from desktop machines attached to typewriter-like keyboards to increasingly light and thin machines with less keyboard travel. The leap to virtual keyboards began years ago with iPhone and has continued on iPads for a decade.



New MacBook Pro models now feature Touch Bar, a virtual, dynamic keyboard accessory that some users experienced with physical keyboards do not like. But back in 2007 it was also popular to revile iPhone for lacking a physical "QWERTY" keyboard. For users who love long-travel keyboards, perhaps a 2015 MacBook Pro is the best system for them. However, there is pretty clearly a trend toward light and thin that is winning out over the "typewriter-like" experience. And that trend, driven by what people are actually buying, rather than just chatting about, is what shapes Apple's design decisions.

Unlike opinions, Apple's product plans are very data-driven.
lolliver
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    Just like Apple doesn't give specific data, the claims made in this article are very sparse on detail, so its hard to take them seriously. I'm inclined to believe it, but people also put up with keyboard issues without complaining or trying to get it serviced -- that hurts reputation even if Apple has limited numbers on that. Also, Apple might not want to dig up previous reports and talk extensively about all the failures no matter how low the percentage.

    The problem here is that people didn't like the feel of the new keyboards or the progression towards less and less responsiveness (something remedied a bit in the second butterfly iteration) and when there were reliability issues on top of that, and long delays for super expensive repairs, it was too easy to vilify the design of the keys and demand change. It didn't really matter how many there were. 
    edited May 22 elijahgdws-21STnTENDERBITSddawson100muthuk_vanalingamRideOnTime
  • Reply 2 of 71
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 989member
    I'm not entirely sure claiming the media "doesn't know what the problem is" is quite correct. Nor have I seen the media claiming "Apple [is] purposely creating or unnecessarily extending a problem." Care to reference the latter DED? And not a reference to one of your own articles on AI, that's not a primary source. If the media was claiming this, anyone with a sane mind would soon come to the conclusion that the report was wrong, because why would Apple create defective products on purpose only to offer free repairs later on at their own expense? I absolutely agree that on some issues such as bendgate the media claims problems are much worse than they appear. They were quite happy to jump on Samsung's Fold though when it died in a few days.

    In any case t
    he keyboard isn't operating as it should, it's failing, and until recently, Apple was charging for repairs. That's all the media really needs to know to report that there's a problem. The media and indeed Samsung itself don't really seem to know why the Galaxy Fold screen is failing, doesn't mean they shouldn't report on it, or that their reports are wrong. In fact Apple themselves don't really seem to know what's wrong with the butterfly keyboard design, otherwise the attempted fixes thus far would have worked. And anecdotal evidence is that the fixes help, but don't solve the issue completely.

    I got a new i9 27" iMac a few days ago and I really like the keyboard, but I was quite skeptical before. It appears to be the butterfly type, but seemingly with a tad more travel than the MacBooks. It is definitely noisier than the older scissor one, and feels more "notchy" which I like. I am still a bit concerned about it failing though.
  • Reply 3 of 71
    This article brings out some very valid criticism of the news media extreme bias. 

    However, IMO the reality is this keyboard we a change for no good reason other than as few mm. How is it that Apple, the paragon of environmentalism went from a keyboard on the iBooks that could be swapped out in seconds and keys replaced singly to a non replaceable keyboard that costs $700 to repair (out of warranty prior to the repair program) and requires throwing out most of the bottom case and some components?

    The keyboard up through the 2015 was the best IMO and while more challenging to replace could be. 
    muthuk_vanalingamkestral
  • Reply 4 of 71
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,152member
    Another long winded “editorial” that when you boil it down is nothing more than whining about media coverage of Apple.
    ddawson100bigtds1STnTENDERBITSneilmelijahgRideOnTimechemenginbigpicsn2itivguykestral
  • Reply 5 of 71
    soundvisionsoundvision Posts: 165member
    elijahg said:
    I'm not entirely sure claiming the media "doesn't know what the problem is" is quite correct. Nor have I seen the media claiming "Apple [is] purposely creating or unnecessarily extending a problem." Care to reference the latter DED? And not a reference to one of your own articles on AI, that's not a primary source. If the media was claiming this, anyone with a sane mind would soon come to the conclusion that the report was wrong, because why would Apple create defective products on purpose only to offer free repairs later on at their own expense? I absolutely agree that on some issues such as bendgate the media claims problems are much worse than they appear. They were quite happy to jump on Samsung's Fold though when it died in a few days.

    In any case the keyboard isn't operating as it should, it's failing, and until recently, Apple was charging for repairs. That's all the media really needs to know to report that there's a problem. The media and indeed Samsung itself don't really seem to know why the Galaxy Fold screen is failing, doesn't mean they shouldn't report on it, or that their reports are wrong. In fact Apple themselves don't really seem to know what's wrong with the butterfly keyboard design, otherwise the attempted fixes thus far would have worked. And anecdotal evidence is that the fixes help, but don't solve the issue completely.

    I got a new i9 27" iMac a few days ago and I really like the keyboard, but I was quite skeptical before. It appears to be the butterfly type, but seemingly with a tad more travel than the MacBooks. It is definitely noisier than the older scissor one, and feels more "notchy" which I like. I am still a bit concerned about it failing though.
    Desktop keyboards are still the scissor mechanism and are not butterfly. I think the desktop keyboards are just perfect when it comes to travel distance. I don't mind the keyboard on the new MacBook Pros, actually have gotten used to them, but I have had to get my keyboard repaired on my new 2018 MacBook Pro. Apple gave me a new computer so they could investigate mine a bit further.
  • Reply 6 of 71
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 238member
    I have one of these keyboards, and have since I got my MBP in late 2016. The keyboard has been replaced three times. I'm probably more messy than normal (eat next to the computer, and use it outside on coffee shop patios) and I use my keyboard about 8 hours a day, five days a week. However, my previous 2011 MBP did not have keyboard issues, nor did any of the notebooks I had before that.

    Here's my theory on the keyboard:
    1. Lots of people with the issue just live with it, without taking it to Apple. Lots of these issue come and go, and waiting for a replacement is often more of an inconvenience than dealing with a bad key or two, especially if you have an external keyboard you can use most of the time.
    2. Some people don't use the keyboard as much or mostly use the computer hooked up to an external monitor and keyboard, so they don't have this issue (no use = no problem), or they don't notice it during the brief times when they do use the keyboard.
    3. Some people just use a can of compressed air to fix the issue rather than bringing it in to Apple.

    Also, there's no visibility into how Apple calculates these things. Are they counting all Apple Store visits, even when the issue is fixed with compressed air? A "vast majority" doesn't have a meaning much beyond "much more than half". Is 80% a vast majority? How about 90%? How is the "vast majority" calculated? By survey? By actual keyboard replacements? I'm not saying that Apple needs to share this information; just that we don't really know what's going on from Apple, and they're the only ones with access to the information.

    muthuk_vanalingamelijahgbigpics
  • Reply 8 of 71
    All the same types of complaints that people level at the butterfly mechanism keyboards are replicated by PC laptops that don't use it. Simple internet searches prove it. None of the major PC brands for laptops provide any numbers on how often those types of duplicate keyboard failures occur either, similar to Apple. Considering those two facts, it's not all that convincing to treat butterfly failures as if they're somehow out of line with the rest of the industry. The keyboard is one of the most heavily used external pieces of hardware on any brand of laptop, so it makes sense that it could be one of the more common areas of repair in terms of percentages. Anecdotally, I've had more than one scissor keyboard fail for a desktop Mac, both at work and in home use.
    thtStrangeDayscorrectionsJWSC
  • Reply 9 of 71
    arlorarlor Posts: 502member
    1. Is the keyboard a problem? Lots of people think so, and Apple has apologized and offered remedies for three generations now. 

    2. Does the media pay disproportionate attention to Apple's problems? They probably pay more attention to Apple's problems than to those of other companies, but Apple is by many measures the most successful consumer electronics company ever.*

    3. Does the media pay disproportionate attention to Apple's problems? They probably do, but a disproportionate share of reviewers and journalists as well as other opinion leaders use Apple products. 

    Numbers 2 and 3 are good problems to have, and they naturally result in more media attention to problems like 1. 

    * Also, the tu quoque defense is not a good look, and anyway I'm not fully convinced that Samsung's foldgate or exploding batteries got much less attention than Apple's problems. Exploding batteries are *still* the only product problem that results in a warning every time you get on a plane. 
    muthuk_vanalingambigpicselijahg
  • Reply 10 of 71
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 726member
    dws-2 said:
    I have one of these keyboards, and have since I got my MBP in late 2016. The keyboard has been replaced three times. I'm probably more messy than normal (eat next to the computer, and use it outside on coffee shop patios) and I use my keyboard about 8 hours a day, five days a week. However, my previous 2011 MBP did not have keyboard issues, nor did any of the notebooks I had before that.

    Here's my theory on the keyboard:
    1. Lots of people with the issue just live with it, without taking it to Apple. Lots of these issue come and go, and waiting for a replacement is often more of an inconvenience than dealing with a bad key or two, especially if you have an external keyboard you can use most of the time.
    2. Some people don't use the keyboard as much or mostly use the computer hooked up to an external monitor and keyboard, so they don't have this issue (no use = no problem), or they don't notice it during the brief times when they do use the keyboard.
    3. Some people just use a can of compressed air to fix the issue rather than bringing it in to Apple.

    Also, there's no visibility into how Apple calculates these things. Are they counting all Apple Store visits, even when the issue is fixed with compressed air? A "vast majority" doesn't have a meaning much beyond "much more than half". Is 80% a vast majority? How about 90%? How is the "vast majority" calculated? By survey? By actual keyboard replacements? I'm not saying that Apple needs to share this information; just that we don't really know what's going on from Apple, and they're the only ones with access to the information.

    I fall into the first category. I never had a problem with Mac keyboards for 30 years, until I got my 2016 MacBook Pro. It’s annoying—the keyboard doubles some letters, especially the “B,” and then the software auto-corrects, sometimes well, sometimes terribly. But everything I’ve read has seemed to indicate that a replacement would take significant time (more than an hour or two) and perhaps just replace the keyboard with another just as prone to failure, so I haven’t done anything about it and have therefore not been included in any of the official statistics. 
    muthuk_vanalingamkestral
  • Reply 11 of 71
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 508member
    This is an interesting article, given that Apple Insider's previous coverage of this subject included the claim, "AppleInsider found out in April 2018 the failure rates were double that of previous mechanisms." I have written in response to the prior AI coverage that the statement is based on flawed statistical analysis. The supposed 'doubling' is based on the wrong denominator, and results in a misleading claim. AI's Mike Wuerthele, an author of the previous coverage, is on record as disagreeing with my critique, and I assume he still is, which is what kind of makes the headline for this article kind of surprising. AI's original coverage of the issue surely had an impact on the many articles that followed, written by people who did not do any original statistical analysis and probably didn't check AI's math behind the claim, either.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 12 of 71
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 173member
    dws-2 said:
    I have one of these keyboards, and have since I got my MBP in late 2016. The keyboard has been replaced three times. I'm probably more messy than normal (eat next to the computer, and use it outside on coffee shop patios) and I use my keyboard about 8 hours a day, five days a week. However, my previous 2011 MBP did not have keyboard issues, nor did any of the notebooks I had before that.

    Here's my theory on the keyboard:
    1. Lots of people with the issue just live with it, without taking it to Apple. Lots of these issue come and go, and waiting for a replacement is often more of an inconvenience than dealing with a bad key or two, especially if you have an external keyboard you can use most of the time.
    2. Some people don't use the keyboard as much or mostly use the computer hooked up to an external monitor and keyboard, so they don't have this issue (no use = no problem), or they don't notice it during the brief times when they do use the keyboard.
    3. Some people just use a can of compressed air to fix the issue rather than bringing it in to Apple.

    Also, there's no visibility into how Apple calculates these things. Are they counting all Apple Store visits, even when the issue is fixed with compressed air? A "vast majority" doesn't have a meaning much beyond "much more than half". Is 80% a vast majority? How about 90%? How is the "vast majority" calculated? By survey? By actual keyboard replacements? I'm not saying that Apple needs to share this information; just that we don't really know what's going on from Apple, and they're the only ones with access to the information.

    I fall into the first category. I never had a problem with Mac keyboards for 30 years, until I got my 2016 MacBook Pro. It’s annoying—the keyboard doubles some letters, especially the “B,” and then the software auto-corrects, sometimes well, sometimes terribly. But everything I’ve read has seemed to indicate that a replacement would take significant time (more than an hour or two) and perhaps just replace the keyboard with another just as prone to failure, so I haven’t done anything about it and have therefore not been included in any of the official statistics. 
    Interesting... my 2016 was fine and though I was lucky... then suddenly I was seeing double "B"s on occasion... though it was me getting bad at typing... now I've confirmed it's the keyboard... but it's not consistent and I know if I go to the Apple Store I'm sure I can't reproduce it on a regular basis...

    Makes coding in Xcode a real pain... I avoid using Bs in method/property names... :/
    RideOnTimeretrogusto
  • Reply 13 of 71
    Another long winded “editorial” that when you boil it down is nothing more than whining about media coverage of Apple.
    DED seems to oscillate between two frequencies: persecution and schadenfreude.  Either the world is being unfairly mean to 'the precious' or the enemies of 'the precious' are having troubles so let's celebrate.  My dude's opinions are about as nuanced as stop sign, and as predictable as day following night.  I think if he made an even half-hearted effort to separate his 'wheat' from his copious amounts of 'chaff' his points would have more clarity.  'Til then we get... well, stuff like this.



    edited May 22 rogifan_newmuthuk_vanalingamstompyelijahgRideOnTimebigpicsn2itivguy
  • Reply 14 of 71
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,140member
    2012 MacBook Pro (Non Retina DVD Drive version), had it for 6 years with no issue. 2017 MacBook Pro Non Touch Bar, two keyboard replacements since purchase in May 2018, also issue with the display where you get lots of artefacts on the screen when it is open at a certain angle.

    It's not just a story, it's a shit design.
    muthuk_vanalingamMplsPelijahgraybokestral
  • Reply 15 of 71
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,372member
    Just like Apple doesn't give specific data, the claims made in this article are very sparse on detail, so its hard to take them seriously. I'm inclined to believe it, but people also put up with keyboard issues without complaining or trying to get it serviced -- that hurts reputation even if Apple has limited numbers on that. Also, Apple might not want to dig up previous reports and talk extensively about all the failures no matter how low the percentage.

    The problem here is that people didn't like the feel of the new keyboards or the progression towards less and less responsiveness (something remedied a bit in the second butterfly iteration) and when there were reliability issues on top of that, and long delays for super expensive repairs, it was too easy to vilify the design of the keys and demand change. It didn't really matter how many there were. 
    So you are suspicious of data we reviewed, and the data that you know runs the largest data driven operation on the planet, but you are fully confident in talking about what "people believe," and don't need to back up any of your claims with any sort of data. 

    StrangeDaysJWSC
  • Reply 16 of 71
    swineoneswineone Posts: 7member
    Count me in as someone who has the problem on a 2018 MacBook Pro, hasn't notified Apple, and in fact (compounded by a bunch of other things) will no longer be an Apple customer from now on -- this 2018 MacBook Pro will be the last Apple product I will have purchased. I'm sorry, but when I shell out $4000 for a computer, I fully expect not to need to service it a little after half a year. Will look at the competition from now on. Apple's insistence on this flawed keyboard cost me as their customer -- and of course, will also cost them in terms of iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, services, etc. sales. Oh, and did I mention my wife as well? And the dozens of people who I converted to Apple products and will be hearing only bad things about them from me from now on? The writing is on the wall -- Apple needs to change course and start listening to customers on certain key areas such as repairability, reliability, etc. or they''ll be dead in a decade at most. This coming from a former rabid Apple fanboy.
    elijahgmuthuk_vanalingamkestral
  • Reply 17 of 71
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,297member
    This article brings out some very valid criticism of the news media extreme bias. 

    However, IMO the reality is this keyboard we a change for no good reason  
    Incorrect. Go back and watch the event video where Schiller introduced it. There is a good reason, such as being able to depress the key cap from the any portion, especially on the edge, and have it depress. You may not care personally, but it's a good reason.
    JWSCfastasleeplolliver
  • Reply 18 of 71
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,297member

    Another long winded “editorial” that when you boil it down is nothing more than whining about media coverage of Apple.
    And like clockwork, DED's most vocal, yet obsessed, hate-fan rushes to the article to read it and make the same old comment -- "I hate DED columns! When's the next one?"

    If you truly didn't value this editorial column, you wouldn't obsessively see it, click it, read it, comment on it. Sounds like you're quite the consumer of AI's editorial column product. 

    I agree with DED and find it pleasing to read -- pro-trolls like Joanna Stern are hacks. She engages in gimmicky props and whatnot to attract clickbait on Apple topics, while at the same time giving Samsung a pass without nary a critical word, let alone smarmy column.
    jdb8167roundaboutnowpscooter63kruegdudeJWSCfastasleeplolliver
  • Reply 19 of 71
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,297member

    Another long winded “editorial” that when you boil it down is nothing more than whining about media coverage of Apple.
    DED seems to oscillate between two frequencies: persecution and schadenfreude.  Either the world is being unfairly mean to 'the precious' or the enemies of 'the precious' are having troubles so let's celebrate.  
    And yet, the eternally butthurt continue to read them...and complain about having to read them. smh.

    Nah. DED is one of the few writers who gets Apple, and points out the wildly absurd general reporting. He is in small company, including PED, Horace, and the Macalope. These guys get it. The Verge and ex-Verge hacks of the world do not. But they sure do love clickbait, which is why they also report on Apple as often as possible, but in a negative light either due to ignorance or intention.
    jdb8167roundaboutnowlolliver
  • Reply 20 of 71
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,297member
    swineone said:
    Count me in as someone who has the problem on a 2018 MacBook Pro, hasn't notified Apple, and in fact (compounded by a bunch of other things) will no longer be an Apple customer from now on -- this 2018 MacBook Pro will be the last Apple product I will have purchased. I'm sorry, but when I shell out $4000 for a computer, I fully expect not to need to service it a little after half a year. Will look at the competition from now on. Apple's insistence on this flawed keyboard cost me as their customer -- and of course, will also cost them in terms of iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, services, etc. sales. Oh, and did I mention my wife as well? And the dozens of people who I converted to Apple products and will be hearing only bad things about them from me from now on? The writing is on the wall -- Apple needs to change course and start listening to customers on certain key areas such as repairability, reliability, etc. or they''ll be dead in a decade at most. This coming from a former rabid Apple fanboy.
    So you're claiming no other PC manufacturer has ever had defective units, even on new machines? Riiight. Enjoy your Dell, and your android knockoffs. And supporting your wife's, and the dozen of people you represent. Sounds like a party.

    Cool story bro.
    fastasleeplolliver
Sign In or Register to comment.