Apple MacBook ‘butterfly’ keyboard issues prompt class-action suit

Two laptop users have filed a federal class action lawsuit against Apple over the defective MacBook Pro (above) and MacBook "butterfly" keyboards. Photo courtesy of Apple

May 13 (UPI) — A federal class action lawsuit was filed against Apple over the defective MacBook or MacBook Pro “butterfly” keyboards.

Plaintiffs ZiXuan Rao and Kyle Barbados filed the 44-page suit Friday in Northern California’s U.S. District Court “on behalf of all others similarly situated” who bought a computer with “a constant threat of nonresponsive keys and accompanying keyboard failure.”

The suit also accuses Apple of failing to alert consumers about the issue.

Apple did not respond to the complaint, according to CNET.

Problems with the keyboard have been reported in blog posts and on social media. In a Change.org petition, the posting said “it’s time” for Apple to recall “every MacBook Pro released since Late 2016, and replace the keyboards on all of them with new, redesigned keyboards that just work.”

In 2015, Apple introduced the “butterfly” keyboard for the MacBook that replaced the traditional “scissor” mechanism below each key in an effort to be more stable, responsive and comfortable. The MacBook Pro debuted in 2016 with the new keyboard.

“The keyboard features our second-generation butterfly mechanism — providing four times more key stability than a traditional scissor mechanism, along with greater comfort and responsiveness,” the company wrote on its website. And the spacious Force Touch trackpad gives your fingers plenty of room to gesture and click.”

But for some users, the keyboard isn’t flawless. Apple had to replace not only an unresponsive key, but a substantial part of their MacBook for free while under warranty. Others had to foot the entire $700 bill if it was out of warranty.

Girard Gibbs LLP, which is representing the plaintiffs, wrote on its website: “Because typing is the primary purpose of laptops, over time, consumers have become more and more frustrated with the keyboard defect.

Last month, AppleInsider, in data from Genius Bar locations and authorized third-party shops, found 2016 MacBook Pro’s keyboard failed roughly twice as often in its first year of use than 2014 and 2015 MacBook Pro models with scissor-type switches.

In June, Apple posted how to clean the keyboard using a can of compressed air.

The lawsuit asks that Apple be compelled to “provide adequate disclosure of the defective nature of the MacBooks” and “return to Plaintiffs and Class members all costs attributable to remedying or replacing defective MacBook laptops, including but not limited to economic losses from the purchase of replacement laptops.”

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