An ingenious article by Joanna Stern in the WSJ again lifted the hare a few days ago: the keyboard of her new MacBook Air had been broken, and that seemed to show that the problem with the keyboards of Apple’s laptops was still more present than the company itself wanted to recognize.
Apple released a statement quickly apologizing and indicating that only “a small number of users” were affected, but criticism is coming everywhere , and do so from the sectors most akin to the company. Some experts like John Gruber describe these keyboards as “the worst product in the history of Apple”, and the cases of users with this type of conflicts seems to be more important than the Cupertino company wants to recognize.
It is difficult to validate those problems, but the criticisms do not stop appearing , perhaps maginified after the appearance of several notorious cases like the one in The Wall Street Journal. In the Basecamp company, most employees make use of MacBook Pro 13 of 2018 or of MacBook Air of 2016, and in an internal survey they answered to indicate if they had had problems with their keyboards.
These results showed that 30% of the 47 employees with MacBook were affected, and that the new models of 2018 with the third generation of the butterfly keyboards were not free of the problem : six of the thirteen computers of this type (almost the half) they had a keyboard with some kind of problem.
David Heinemer Hansson, the head of the internal survey, launched the question on Twitter and received thousands of responses showing how only 37% of respondents had a MacBook of 2018 or later with no problems on the keyboard. The data of the survey are not validated and therefore it is difficult to believe in such high figures : that 6 out of 10 users are affected by the problem seems a priori exaggerated.
Or it might not be, of course. All kinds of forums are full of criticism and comments, and Reddit is a good example . There a user who claims to work as ‘genius’ in Apple’s technical service indicated that ” about half of the Mac repairs are for the butterfly keyboards”.
The criticism in the media specialized keyboard that debuted on the MacBook in 2015 have been frequent , and journalists who work with MacBook have spoken often of these problems in media such as The Outline .
That article ended up in fact ending in a program of repair and replacement of keyboards that Apple launched in June 2018 and that reminded the problem with the batteries of the iPhone 6 .
These problems have caused more than criticism in forums or complaints more or less public in the media: in California a group of users have made a joint demand for this problem in which for example it is stated that ” Apple knew that the Macbook was defective before or at the time he began selling the affected models to the public . ” About 36,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding Apple a solution to the problem, but again it is impossible to know how many of them are really affected by the problem (or if there are more).
IFixit experts analyzed the latest generation of butterfly keyboards integrated in the latest MacBook in their different variants and found that the modifications effectively helped prevent dust from entering and causing problems.
Meanwhile, even some famous analysts such as the aforementioned John Gruber, who in many cases praises Apple’s products, was merciless. He considered those keyboards ” the worst products in Apple’s history – MacBooks should have the best keyboards in the industry – instead they are the worst – they are causing lasting damage to the reputation of the MacBook brand.” Others like Marco Arment also criticized Apple’s decision regarding that keyboard technology.
And yet, that so many criticisms are piling up does not help the image of products that until recently were impeccable , especially for their loyal users. Now even they rebel, and that’s a bad sign for an Apple that in terms of hardware – the case of the canceled AirPower confirms it – no longer seems like before.