Published in News

Apple ponies up for poor keyboard design

by on05 January 2023

A butterfly flaps its wings, and Apple's reputation drops down the loo

Fruity cargo-cult Apple has started making payments to users who were unfortunate enough to buy one of its MacBooks with the god-awful butterfly keyboard.

Users who had to replace either individual keycaps or the whole keyboard, may be eligible to claim part of a $50 million settlement reached after a class-action lawsuit. The law firm handling the settlement has been emailing class members since mid-December but users have to get their claim in fast as the deadline is 6 March.

Claims can be submitted via the website, which says that the settlement class includes “all persons and entities in the United States” who purchased a butterfly-equipped MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro between 2015 and 2019.

There are three main class members. The first includes anyone that had to replace their keyboard (aka, got a “topcase replacement”) more than once. This group should get their payment automatically, but should confirm their mailing address for their $395 (max) payment.

The other two groups — which include anyone who replaced their whole keyboard or individual keycaps and found this didn’t resolve their issues — will need to submit a claim form. You can get up to $125 for replacing a keyboard, and up to $50 for keycaps. Settlement payments are only available if your repair was carried out by Apple or one of its authorised service providers within four years of purchase.

In 2015, when Apple replaced the traditional scissor-switch keyboard mechanism in the MacBook with a new slimline butterfly version. The Tame Apple Press said it was wonderful and users bought on that basis. However, the keyboard had serious reliability issues, where keys could become unresponsive or sticky if seemingly the smallest amount of dust got under the keys. Basically it had been designed by someone who assumed you bought Apple gear to look at and show others. You were not expected to use it for any great length of time.

Apple ditched the keyboard in 2020 as the number of users who had to get individual keys or even their entire MacBook keyboards replaced mounted. Multiple lawsuits were filed over the issues, and a class action suit was certified in 2021. Apple agreed to a $50 million settlement in July last year, and a judge approved the settlement in November.

Last modified on 05 January 2023
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