Apple MacBook Pro Laptops May Be Plagued by Defective Keyboards
Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe is investigating whether Apple’s new MacBook Pro computers contain a serious keyboard design defect that causes them to fail more frequently than previous models. Reports on numerous websites, blogs, and online forums indicate that the 2016 and 2017 models of the MacBook Pro may be plagued by stuck, unreliable, and unresponsive keys.
In 2016, Apple changed the design of the keyboards in its MacBook Pro laptops. It switched from using “scissor” switches to “butterfly” switches, which dramatically reduced the footprint of the keys and the amount of key travel. However, the new design also made it more likely that when dust or debris gets trapped underneath a key, it cannot escape—causing the key to become unresponsive or “stuck.”
The new design also cannot be easily replaced. With previous models of the MacBook Pro, an individual keycap could be safely removed and the key switch cleaned. But with the 2016 and 2017 models, customers must commonly have their entire top case replaced. If the computer is out of Apple’s one-year warranty, repair costs—even for a single “stuck” key—could run as much as $700.
New Keyboard Design Faces Widespread Criticism
Numerous Apple bloggers have criticized the company for the MacBook Pro’s problematic new keyboard design.
- “If these problems are remotely as common as they seem to be, this is an altogether defective product that should be recalled.” — Jason Snell, Six Colors
- “This keyboard has to be one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history. Everyone who buys a MacBook depends upon the keyboard and this keyboard is undependable.” — John Gruber, Daring Fireball
- “Butterfly keyswitches are a design failure that should be abandoned.” — Marco Arment, marco.org
In fact, AppleInsider recently reported that when a 2016 MacBook Pro needs warranty service, it is twice as likely to be for the keyboard as compared to the previous model. It noted that the “failure rate of the keyboard in the first year on the 2016 MacBook Pro is a ticking time bomb for users.”
One user who had repeated problems with a new MacBook Pro keyboard even created a song, called “I am Pressing the Spacebar and Nothing Is Happening,” mocking the unreliability of the new keyboard.
To date, over 15,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Apple to recall the MacBook Pro and replace the allegedly defective keyboard with a new, more reliable design. The petition claims that the problems are “widespread, consistent, and infuriating” for users.
The following MacBook Pro models, released on or after October 27, 2016, may be affected:
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
Participate in a Class Action
We are investigating whether the keyboards on these MacBook Pro models are defective. If purchasers received a laptop with a defective keyboard design, they may be entitled to a refund of their purchase price, the cost of past and future repairs, and injunctive relief for Apple to properly disclose the problem and extend the applicable warranties.
If you purchased one of the MacBook Pro models listed above and would like to help us investigate this issue—or would like to participate in a potential class-action lawsuit—please complete the form below for a free legal consultation.