Disgruntled users are suing Apple over its ‘defective’ MacBook keyboard

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MacBook butterfly keyboard
The butterfly switch made MacBook keyboards thinner. It also reportedly broke them.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s MacBook butterfly switch keyboards are landing its makers in court, thanks to a new class action lawsuit which was filed in California court this Tuesday.

The class action suit alleges that Apple is selling a product that is known to be defective. In particular, it claims that the keyboard stops working as it should when dust and other particles begin to build up under the keys. As a result, customers can be made to pay out hundreds of dollars in repairs in cases where the laptop is no longer under Apple warranty.

Three plaintiffs are named in the case. All three — Remy Turner, Christopher Martin and Joey Baruch — bought 2016-era MacBook Pro laptops. All three have similar complaints about the way that their laptops stopped working as promised, with recurring problems that Apple appeared unable to fix correctly.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers are asserting that Apple breached express warranty, and violated the Magnuson-Moss and Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Acts, California Unfair Competition Law, and California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act. The lawsuit is seeking restitution, damages, and legal fees.

It’s so far the second class action lawsuit to be brought against Apple for the same issue. The first was filed earlier this month.

The problematic butterfly switch

Apple introduced its butterfly switch keyboards with the 2015 MacBook, before expanding this to the MacBook Pro as well. The name refers to the design of the switch which resembles a butterfly in place of the old scissor mechanism. The idea behind the switch is that it allows more even distribution pressure on the keys when a person is typing, while also being 30 percent thinner.

Unfortunately, it has been a source of consternation for many users who find that the keys are prone to getting stuck. One Change.org petition to recall all the laptops with this switch design has so far secured around 27,000 signatures. The keyboards have also been criticized by notable Apple pundits including Marco Arment and John Gruber.

In support documents, Apple has suggested that customers use compressed air to dislodge dirt or dust which may be trapped under the keys. However, many people have complained that this solution only (at best) temporarily alleviates the issue.

Source: Apple Insider