The butterfly keyboard on Apple’s latest MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook laptops has been a controversy magnet. Apple gave up on the tradition chicklet design, which it has earlier popularized, to make way for a lot more shallow keyboard.
Apple enthusiasts criticized the design when it launched, and so far it looks like they might have had a point. Many users have now echoed the problem with the new keyboard, saying keys are more prone to getting stuck and thus become unresponsive, like a jammed button, which needs to be wiggled back into place. But due to the shallow key travel of only 0.5mm, there is not much room to unjam the key.
Infuriated by this defect, long-time Apple user Matthew Taylor has launched a Change.org petition, appealing to Apple to recall all MacBook Pro models and replace the keyboard. Taylor, notes NotebookCheck, has been using Apple computers since the 80s and has relied on them for publishing more than 50 books.
But Taylor is miffed with the feeling of not being able to work at all due to these occasionally malfunctioning thin-profile keyboards. The keyboard has evidently not been accepted all that well as Apple might have anticipated. The petition by Taylor has now received more than 8,244 signatures at the time of writing.
The problem here is the unreliability of keyboard which many users have had problems with within the first year of purchase. Renowned Apple blogger John Gruber wrote that Apple needs to re-evaluate its priorities and find a suitable fix for the problematic and glitchy keyboard.
Apple Needs to Get Serious
Apple has somewhat of a ludicrous solution to the problem. It wants you to clean your MacBook Pro’s keyboard and blames dust for the discomfort. There is even a detailed tutorial about to how to go about blowing the problems away – kind of literally – and it does not look easy.
The bigger question is whether Apple will use this petition to actually start a recall and thereby listen to consumer feedback. The most likely result of this could be that Apple would replace damaged keyboards, free of cost, just as it has done for iPhone batteries and other parts.
Six months ago, I switched from an HP Windows Ultrabook to a 2017 MacBook Pro. Even before purchasing the laptop, I came across many users claiming that the keyboard is not very satisfying. From my own experience, I found it easier to train my fingers to type on this keyboard. The shallow keys allowed me to type more accurately and at a higher speed and I continue to adore the keyboard.
But, there are times when a specific key on the keyboard becomes unresponsive for a short duration. I can feel that something has stuffed the tiny gap between the key and frame, making it difficult to push the key all the way down. This is mostly accompanied by a feeling of panic and anxiety about the life of the keyboard. Finally, I find myself frantically nudging the key to get it to work. So yes, it is troublesome for sure.
As far as cleaning is concerned, nothing but compressed air actually works – which is Apple’s solution for the problem. While dust is visible in the tiny gap between the key and the keyboard frame, you can’t clean it very easily without compressed air.
I hope Apple looks into the problem and finds a solution without trading off the great typing experience of the keyboard.