With its MacBook keyboards in the spotlight thanks to a bruise by Joanna Stern in The Wall Street Journal Apple today admitted that a "small number" of its customers still has reliability issues and fails to use the keys third generation of the butterfly keyboard of the company.
"We know that a small number of users are having problems with their third-generation butterfly keyboard, and we're sorry," an Apple spokesman said in a statement to Stern. "The vast majority of Mac notebook customers have had positive experiences with the new keyboard."
Casey Johnston of The Outline brought the dubious reliability of Apple's redesigned laptop keyboards to bear and brought them together in 201
. Apple responded to the criticism and silently added a rubber membrane to its third version of the keyboard, which was supposed to keep out the dust and other particles that had somehow made keys completely useless on previous models. The company never publicly admitted that it was there for that purpose, but a leaked service document confirmed it as well. Apple introduced an extended repair program for all keyboard types of the butterfly switch keyboard before the "fix" was implemented. (MacBook Pro models released from 2018 are not suitable for this program – as is the revised MacBook Air.)
iFixit noted that the Apple solution represents an improvement in debris repellency, but it was like particles at all but perfect sand can still get through and block the butterfly mechanism. But even with the third-generation keyboard, there are still reports of important problems. Stern wrote her column without the letters E and R to illustrate how annoying the problem is. John Gruber of Daring Fireball similarly held no blows when combined with the story of Journal . He said, "I consider these keyboards to be the worst products in Apple history. MacBooks should have the best keyboards in the industry. instead they are the worst. They sustainably damage the reputation of the MacBook brand. "
Apple's apology is at least a realization that this is still a problem, even though the company is trying to give the impression that it's not a big deal. That's not good enough. Apple will have to make some legitimate changes to the design in the coming months to finally distance itself from this narrative and, as Gruber said, the sinking reputation of its laptop keyboards. These are premium devices with keyboards that are not up to date.