back to article Remember Apple's disastrous butterfly keyboards? These lawsuits against the iGiant just formed a super class action

Lawsuits alleging Apple knowingly sold laptops with its defective butterfly keyboard mechanism will go ahead as a single class action. In an uncharacteristic move for the iGiant, it favored form over function when it introduced the keyboard design in 2015 for its MacBook line. The keys are shallower and flatter than usual, and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People still bought them

    Apple may have knowingly continued to sell its laptops with the shoddy mechanism, but why the hell did people knowingly continue to buy them?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People still bought them

      You only have to look at the Apple forums. There are people asking if the new M1 macbook runs Boot Camp, in order to install (intel/x86 based) Windows 10.

    2. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: People still bought them

      Because the problem took quite a while for the design flaw to become widely known. And it's not something that affected all machines.

      As for myself, my keyboard started playing up a few months after I bought it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: People still bought them

        The article states the keyboards were on sale from 2015 to 2019. Surely after the first 12 months you would be hard pressed to claim ignorance as the issue was widely reported by then.

    3. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: People still bought them

      You know Apple is no longer a tech giant, and is more of a cult? And when it becomes a cult, they can do pretty much what they like, short of telling people to eat apple sauce and commit suicide en masse.

      Sorry, I mean you know Apple are so popular they can do what the feck they like and people will still buy it?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The keyboard jams when crap gets into the key mechanisms

    Apple sounds pretty damn good to me, with each petty lawsuit. Is that it? Is that the worst thing Apple's suffer from? The keys don't work if you get crud behind them? Maybe put down the donut when you're working!

    Over in Android tablet land, I have a company that displays a '*black* X on a *green* circle' notification icon, as a *white* X on a *white* circle icon. White on white!

    Worse, with a home screen picture, a normal snap on a sunny day with bright sky at the top of the picture, its a *white* X on a *white* circle on a *white* background! That is the perfect zero score there, zero amount of information is visible from a status line that is supposed to convey information.

    A perfect 1 score would be, if all of the information on that status line was readable and understandable, a zero is Google's 'Material Design'. That status bar is information important enough to be on screen at all time, yet lost in white on white on white because a programmer only uses the transparency channel of the icon to draw it. You can't even outline it with a black edge to keep it visible, because black is thrown away.

    I think if Google designed a keyboard the keys would be totally non-functional, they would be a drawing of a nice aesthetic keyboard, not an actual keyboard with keys. Reviewers would pretend the "Google Pixel Keyboard" is good because its *pure* Google, but then nobody, including them, would buy that incompetent crap with their own money, and it wouldn't sell. Just like *pure* Google Pixel products don't sell.

    Count yourselves lucky, Apple users.

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account

      Re: The keyboard jams when crap gets into the key mechanisms

      Sorry but after wandering out from under your bridge did get lost and ended up here? Did you mean to go to your lawyer to file a class action against Google?

    2. Loyal Commenter

      Re: The keyboard jams when crap gets into the key mechanisms

      Everyone knows status icons are displayed as white in the Android task bar. If an app developer failed to do even the cursory testing that would have indicated this, whose fault is it? Clue: not the OS.

      As for "If I set the background to be white, I can't see the white things in front of it" - whose fault is that? (hint: might be the person setting the background)

      Guess what? It used to be the case in Windows (I don't know if it still is, because I don't waste my time doing the electronic equivalent of navel-gazing and sit there fiddling with personalisation) that you could set all the customisable bits of the OS to the same colour. A lime green window, with a lime green title bar, and lime green text, lime green scroll bar, etc. etc. Only an idiot would actually do such a thing and then claim it was the fault of the OS. I have a strong inkling that you may not agree, for fear of self-incrimination.

      To me, Apple sounds far from "pretty damn good". Overpriced hardware with built-in obsolescence, hard to repair, phones which have a 50% chance of having a broken screen at any time, judging from the number of smashed iPhone screens I've seen on people's desks. Ecosystem lock-in, hardware you can't even put your own software on until it has been "approved" by the manufacturer. Shops that look like recruitment centres for a cult religion, with "geniuses" that probably put their underpants on backwards half the time. I could go on.

      Sure, other companies aren't great either, but standing up for Apple by attacking Google is a pure straw-man argument. "Yes your honour, my client murdered the victim, but look over there, Fred West murdered more".

      The fact of the matter here, is that Apple knew their keyboard design was shoddy, and it's pretty reasonable to assume that in normal usage, the odd crumb is going to fall into a keyboard. It's not a huge stretch to assume that crumbs aren't going to stop your keyboard from working, especially since keyboards have been around longer than the computers that use them.

      1. Kettle3D

        Re: The keyboard jams when crap gets into the key mechanisms

        > A lime green window, with a lime green title bar, and lime green text, lime green scroll bar

        Surprisingly easy to do on Linux...

  3. David 132 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well played Katyanna

    FTFA: "In an uncharacteristic move for the iGiant, it favored form over function..."

    Well, that made me snort out my evening beer. Well played. I'm not sure that humor could get any dryer, other than with vast quantities of industrial dessicant.

    1. stungebag

      Re: Well played Katyanna

      I've still got one of those horrible hemisperical one-button mouses somewhere. Absolutely horrible to use, but look! What a clean design. Then there's my iMac. If you need to spend ten minutes working out where they've hidden the bloody on/off switch you've got form trumping function.

    2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Well played Katyanna

      Apple have a long history of less-than-perfect mice.

      As soon as two-button mice were supported in the Mac OS back in the mid-nineties, I went out and got myself a third party two-button mouse and used that instead. While Apple's teardrop mouse was easy to hold & comfortable, having to press down on the control key to get the contextual menus was an Apple tax I was not prepared to pay.

      Still, it has to be said, Apple once made superb keyboards. Some years ago, I found a NIB Apple Extended Keyboard II and I snapped it up. Together with the Wombat from BigMessOWires, it is a mostly usable (and loud) keyboard.

      After the AEK IIs were no longer available with Macs, I got my keyboard & mice from Microsoft. Input devices is something the Hardware Division of Microsoft do well and they run nicely on both my old macs and modern hardware.

  4. NeilPost Silver badge

    Need another class action against their IP68 water-resistance bullshit too on iPhones.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward

      Anything classified as IP68 water-resistant is met with much scepticism by me.

      I just view it as a marketing gimmick.

      Only way to get full water/dust/sand resistance is to put the device in a plastic baggie and seal it up properly.

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    How on earth can people think any keyboard with near zero travel is a thing? It's worse than a touch screen that has actual zero travel, as is presents itself as a mechanism with tactile travel, but doesn't. It's lying, which breaks the number one rule of interface design - DON'T LIE.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Yeah but, rules are meant to be broken, right ?

      Besides, you're typing it wrong.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, was already terrible for typing on the venerable ZX81, decades ago, so probably not better indeed, on a 2 kUSD Mac !

      1. Anonymous South African Coward

        Maybe Apple should've gone for the rubber keyboard (as used on the Speccy). No chance of anything getting in behind any key...

  6. DJV Silver badge

    "Apple was not immediately available for comment"

    Really? How unusual! </sarcasm>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Apple was not immediately available for comment"

      It's more a subtle reference that Apple might be having trouble typing a reply.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How many cents will each Apple user get if this wins? Numerous millions will go to the lawyers, and Apple wont even notice a rounding error on their books.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Peanuts

      My thoughts exactly. The only ones who can rejoice here are the lawyers. What are the users going to get out of this ?

      Can you shove a standard, functional, keyboard into a space designed for a flat butterfly keyboard ?

      Or is Apple going to have to replace all those laptops entirely ?

      That would be a solution for the users, and Apple can afford it.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Peanuts

      It shouldn't be compensation. If they are found guilty, they should be forced to rectify the faulty devices - or replace them. Cf. Whirlpool tumble dryer recall.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Peanuts

        They already do rectify and/or replace them.

        1. Aitor 1

          Re: Peanuts

          No they don't.. they replace them if on warranty for the same faulty ones!!

          After warranty, good luck sir!!

          And there are more issues.. the glass also gets damaged if you take your laptop with you.. I assume that way it is thinner...

        2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: Peanuts

          Per my analogy: Your kitchen's burnt down? Oh well, here's another dryer with the same fault. This new one's not caught fire yet. If it does, we'll replace that, too.

          These are not faulty parts. It's alleged to be a faulty design. Now I'm open to the idea that punters "knew" what they were getting and on that basis have to suck it up. But if the keyboard is found not to be fit for purpose, then Apple should have to rework the models to have a better keyboard or provide equivalent (or better) spec replacements.

  8. Pangasinan Philippines


    Apple was immediately available for comment.

    . . . .

    and? . . . .

  9. tip pc Silver badge

    Can i sue other companies for crappy design?

    I have a late 2016 MacBook Pro with said crappy keyboard. It really is bad.

    I had to take it to the apple store last year as keys where stuck etc and they shipped it off to replace the battery and keyboard so I have a new battery too.

    It was a crummy design, but apple aren’t the only ones to have sold crappy designed products. Lots of Microsoft hardware fits that description as well as disappointments from every hardware manufacturer if you care to look.

    Can I sue volvo for that horrid 340 GLE I had, or vw for the cam belt disintegrating on the polo?

    1. ICL1900-G3

      Re: Can i sue other companies for crappy design?

      Probably not. Maybe reading reviews before buying the 340 would have made sense, and a spot of maintenance on the Polo. Cam belts wear out. Who could have predicted that?

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Can i sue other companies for crappy design?

        The 340 was a DAF with a Volvo badge on it anyway. This has no relevance to our discussion but I thought I’d mention it regardless.

    2. 9Rune5

      Re: Can i sue other companies for crappy design?

      If you buy something that normally lasts for maybe a decade (or more) and part of it fails after a couple of months, and then the replacement also fails... etc...

      Then yeah, I say 'sue!'.

      However, when you buy a 30 year old car, then I do not think you can expect much. Or when you buy a VW, famously known for fudging their numbers a lot. Or when you buy a French car.

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Can i sue other companies for crappy design?

        "However, when you buy a 30 year old car, then I do not think you can expect much. Or when you buy a VW, famously known for fudging their numbers a lot. Or when you buy a French car."

        It's funny how people think every thing is all about the now and present.

        My Volvo 340 GLE was made in 1990 and came into my ownership in 1995.

        it wasn't that old, at the time and was an absolute abomination. Every car i've owned since has been far superior, even the howlers.

        The Polo was from 1985, and i owned from ~1998. it had a fsh and i had had it serviced & was told by VW the cam belt had been recently changed by VW. It always started first time every time apart from that last time!!! In stark contrast to the Volvo that would frequently decide not to start or to shut the engine off, stranding me in precarious places frequently.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Companies who manufacture products, love planned obsolescence

    Is it any surprise that a perfectly designed 'no moving parts' smart phone, they will try and make it a folding smart phone

    Alot of these companies should be charged with crimes against humanity, because of some of the shit they produce

    In the grand scheme of things, its all junk

    1. Anonymous South African Coward

      Speaking of folding smart phones, I'm waiting and watching with interest for the first complaint to come in regarding a borked screen...

      We will not have long to wait.

  12. User McUser

    Who was that for anyways?

    By which I mean, who keeps demanding thinner and thinner laptops?

    To be clear, I don't miss the giant "luggables" from the 1980s/1990s but there is a point of diminishing returns and we crossed that line at least a decade ago.

    IMHO, if it can't have a full-sized Ethernet (RJ45) port then it's too thin.

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