Petition update

iFixit 2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard Report + Implications for Bogus “Repair” Program

Matthew Taylor
San Francisco, CA, United States

Jul 20, 2018 — iFixit reports that Apple’s 2018 MacBook Pro models contain a thin, silicone membrane under the key caps, which is designed “to prevent debris from entering the butterfly [keyboard] mechanism,” an internal Apple support document declares. This is in direct contrast to Apple’s comment to The Verge that the new keyboard “wasn’t designed to solve those [reliability] issues” found in previous models.

Apple was not truthful in its on-the-record comments about the 2018 keyboard.

Whatever Apple’s goal in implementing the membrane, iFixit has demonstrated it is, at best, only a partial solution to the reliability problems. Although it reduces dust entry, iFixit says a grain of sand can still render a key inoperable. Only time will tell how much less unreliable the 2018 keyboards are, but this seems a band-aid on a broken leg. Apple must abandon the dead-end butterfly and return to the scissor switch keyboard design found in 2015 and earlier MBP models. Let’s hope that 2019 will see a fresh start, with MBPs that are truly designed for pros.

MacRumors further reports, “When asked if Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be permitted to replace second-generation keyboards on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with the new third-generation keyboards [with the silicone membrane], Apple said, no, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro.”

So, we will not be getting said membranes in replacement keyboards as part of Apple’s bogus “repair” program. Even if Apple provided the silicone membranes as part of the repair program, this would still not be a solution. In the petition, we asked for a redesigned keyboard that Just Works. iFixit has already demonstrated that these keyboards don’t work reliably even with the silicone membranes. The only solution to our woes is for Apple to offer a full refund for the entire purchase price of our machines.

The Apple I used to know and love – the one that genuinely cared about user experience – seems to be departed from this world. I am in mourning. At some point I may write an obituary... and/or, a list of constructive suggestions. I remember when the Mac was on the edge of death 21 years ago. Although the situation is not quite as dire as it was in 1997 – certainly, the iMac and iMac Pro are fantastic machines – something must be done about the laptops.

This is not an acceptable way to treat customers. For the first time as a loyal Apple user going back more than 35 years, I have a distinct sense that I am being shamelessly taken advantage of.

P.S. - How can Apple look itself in the mirror and continue to sell both the 2017 MacBook Pros and these new models, knowing full well that the keyboards have an unacceptably high failure rate? Perhaps not unacceptably high in Apple’s view, but unacceptably high to the large and growing number of us who have experienced these problems. How can Apple sell these machines without at least disclosing to customers the potential for stuck keys? Apple seems to be prioritizing profits over customer loyalty. This reeks of, at least for Mac laptop users, brand suicide.


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