Complaints about the durability of Apple’s recent MacBook keyboards are nothing new, but Apple’s third-generation butterfly keyboard was expected to remedy lingering issues with sticky keys. Joanna Stern’s latest column in the WSJ explores the infamous keyboard problem, however, and suggests we’re not out of the woods yet. Included in the piece is an Apple spokesperson statement acknowledging ongoing issues.
Notably, the statement also includes an apology to customers who do experience keyboard issues:
“We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry. The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.”
The durability of Apple’s MacBook keyboards have been a concern since the 12-inch MacBook introduced the butterfly key switch style in 2015, although issues really started to surface the following year when the MacBook Pro adopted the new keyboard design.
Apple has since modified the butterfly keyboard design twice. The latest third-gen design is the biggest change, touting a quieter typing experience, but an unseen layer beneath the key caps is also expected to prevent dust from making keys stiffen during regular use. Apple admits this internally, but doesn’t publicly discuss the purpose.
Apple’s latest MacBook Pro and MacBook Air use this new keyboard design. Both the 12-inch MacBook and the non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro each ship with the older butterfly keyboard style.
Apple does have a keyboard repair program, although the third-gen butterfly keyboard is not included in the program to date. The program also only serves to service affected keyboards at no charge for up to four years from their purchase date, but replacement keyboards are just as likely to be affected by durability issues.
Check on Joanna Stern’s creative coverage of the issue at The Wall Street Journal. Using a 2018 MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and still experiencing sticky keys? Let us know in the comments.
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