Apple hit with class action suit over MacBook, MacBook Pro keyboard failures

The second-generation butterfly switches on the Apple MacBook. Image Apple

Barbaro and Rao assert that Apple must have known the keyboards were "defective" by the time they reached the public, since complaints started mounting soon after the original 12-inch MacBook launched in 2015.

One of the plaintiffs, Zixuan Roa bought a new 15-inch MacBook Pro in January and had problems with the "B" key a month after purchase. After attempting to clean out the key on his own, Rao ultimately sought help from the Apple store in April. Initially, Apple fix centers claimed that the issues with the keyboard were due to dust getting under the keyboard. For users out of warranty, the top case costs $350 for the MacBook, and $700 for the MacBook Pro, according to The Outline's Casey Johnson, who claimed "The New MacBook Keyboard is Ruining My Life". This is a serious problem if accurate, and Apple should ideally bear responsibility for its failures.

Unfortunately for Apple, the curious case of the failing MacBook Pro and MacBook keyboards is refusing to go away.

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over the design of its MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards which, consumers complain, has keys that are prone to becoming stuck. The company fixed the problem, but the solution only lasted a few weeks before the space bar died again. The issues have been widespread enough, more than 18,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding a recall of MacBooks with the butterfly keyboard. Apple's reinterpretation of the design switched to two hinges, cutting depth but also, the company promised, making for a more stable button.


The second-generation butterfly switches on the Apple MacBook. According to some customers, Apple not just replaced the unresponsive key, but also had to replace a large part of their computer.

Plaintiffs are accusing Apple of breach of the implied warranty, a breach of the covenant of good faith, a breach of the express warranty, fraudulent concealment, a violation of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and the Magnuson-Moss Consumer Warranty Act, the violation of California's Unfair Competition Law as well as the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

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. In terms of replacement, the demand includes the reimbursement for buying a replacement laptop.

Apple officially advises users with the affected MacBook models to blast their keyboards with compressed air.

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