Lawsuit Filed Against Apple For Reinvented MacBook Keyboard

Three years ago, a new MacBook with a butterfly keyboard was announced by Apple that was 40 percent thinner and outwardly four times more stable than the previous scissor mechanism that MacBooks showcased. This addition was done for more even distribution of pressure on each key. Not everyone loved this reinvention however back then, and now, Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over it.

In the Northern District Court of California, there was a complaint logded yesterday by the people over at AppleInsider where it was said that thousands of MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops produced back in 2015 and 2016 experienced failure due to dust or debris that made the machines useless. The complaint further states that there is a continuous failing by Apple to disclose to consumers that the MacBook is defective, including situations when customers bring their defective laptops into the ‘Genius Bar’ (the in-store support desk) at Apple stores requesting technical support.

Its not just a lack of disclosures that has been problematic, the complaint includes. Customers sometimes are in for a unpleasant surprise who think the issue will be covered by their warranties. As stated in the complaint: “Although every MacBook comes with a one-year written warranty, Apple  refuses to honor its obligations toward the warranty. Instead of fixing the problems occuring in the keyboard, Apple suggests MacBook owners to try self-help voluntary remedies which will not result in a permanent repair. When Apple does agree to attempt a warranty repair, the repair remains only temporary—a purportedly repaired MacBook fails again from the same keyboard problems. For customers outside of the warranty period, Apple denies warranty service, and directs consumers to engage in paid repairs, which costs between $400 and $700. The keyboard defect in the MacBook is considerably certain to demonstrate.”

ZIxuan Rao and Kyle Barbaro, are the two users who filed the complaint stating it's done more broadly “on behalf of all others similarly situated.” It was brought by Girard Gibbs, a San Francisco-based law firm that has battled with Apple several times in the past, including filing a class-action suit centered on the iPod’s “diminishing battery capacity.” (Apple appears to have made a settlement on that case)

Interestingly, AppleInsider appears to have provided the fodder for this new lawsuit, or some at least. Last month, the outlet gave a report on findings of its own voluntary investigation into the problem after hearing enough anecdotes to support a deep dive. It says that after collecting service data for the initial year of release for years 2014, 2015, 2016 MacBook Pros, it came to a conclusion that —  excluding Touch Bar failures — 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard has been failing its users twice as often in the first year of use as that of 2014 or 2015 MacBook Pro models.

AppleInsider says it got its data from “Classified Apple Genius Bars in the U.S.” which it has worked with for several years, including third-party repair shops authorized by Apple.

The investigation clearly stuck with MacBook owners, because soon after, more than 17,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding that all keyboards with butterfly effect provided by Apple must be recalled.

That petition — which cites among others, John Gruber, the highly regarded writer and UI designer who has called the keyboard “one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history” —  continues to attain steam, fueled possibly by news of the lawsuit. As of this writing, roughly 18,000 people have provided their signature.

Source: TechCrunch