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Apple faces lawsuit for faulty butterfly keyboards, may have to compensate affected Macbook owners

Apple is currently facing a class-action lawsuit in the US for its faulty butterfly keyboards it had introduced in 2015. The lawsuit claims that Apple did not solve the core problem for years despite knowing about the defective keyboards for years.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | March 24, 2021 | Updated 16:26 IST
(Picture: Apple)

Highlights

  • Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit in the US for the faulty butterfly keyboard it had introduced back in 2015.
  • Apple may have to compensate the affected MacBook owners if the class action lawsuit wins.
  • The lawsuit claims that Apple did not solve the problem with the butterfly keyboard despite knowing about the defective keyboards for years.

Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit in the US for its faulty butterfly keyboard it had introduced back in 2015. The lawsuit, filed back in 2018 by a group of Macbook owners, claims that Apple did not solve the key problem with the butterfly keyboard despite knowing about the defective keyboards for years. The plaintiffs have accused Apple of violating several laws across the seven states including California, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan.

The suit covers anyone who purchased an Apple MacBook with a butterfly keyboard in the above-mentioned states and includes people who bought a MacBook model dating between 2015 and 2017, a MacBook Pro model between 2016 and 2019, or a MacBook Air between 2018 and 2019.

"Thousands of consumers have experienced this defect. When the MacBook's butterfly keyboard fails, the keys stick and no longer register keystrokes. As a result, the user cannot type," one of the original lawsuits claimed at the time.
Apple may have to compensate the affected MacBook owners if the class action lawsuit wins. The lawsuit cites internal communications inside Apple, including an executive who referring to the butterfly keyboard wrote, "No matter how much lipstick you try to put on this pig it's still ugly."

Apple argued against class action certification stating that one lawsuit should not cover the tweaks it carried to other versions of the Macbook. However, the plaintiffs noted that none of the tweaked versions solved the problems of the keys with tight spaces and shallow design. "None of the design differences that Apple points to changed the tight spaces between the keys, nor the low-travel aspect of the design," the order reads.


While the switch to a butterfly-style keyboard helped Apple reduce the thickness of the laptop, it also affected the user experience. Most long-time Apple users hated the new keyboards, which also had reliability issues. The design of the butterfly keyboard was such that even small amounts of dust or debris rendered the keys non-responsive. Additionally, the design also did not allow users to remove individual keys, so if the keyboard malfunctioned, it required elaborate and expensive remedies. Some other complaints from users noted that the dust around the keyboards resulted in sticky keys and failed to register keypresses or registered multiple presses with one single hit.

Previously reports have noted that back in 2016, the company filed a patent for a dust-resistant butterfly keyboard, which suggests Apple knew of the issues and was planning to come out with a better keyboard. And if this is the case, Apple should have promptly warned consumers a couple of years ago. However, Apple finally sort of acknowledged the issue in 2019 when it released the 16-inch MacBook Pro that uses older scissor-style technology in its keyboard and finally abandoned the butterfly keyboard.


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