Apple’s Butterfly Keyboard Fiasco Leads to a $50M Settlement

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Apple has been resolved a class action lawsuit over the controversial butterfly keyboards found on some MacBook models, agreeing to pay $ 50 million to customers affected by the unreliable typing surface.

The lawsuit claimed that Apple knew of possible problems with their keyboards, but still sold devices that use the keyboards. The deal has not yet been approved by a judge, but once it is, customers who have purchased MacBooks with butterfly keyboards in seven U.S. states between 2015 and 2019 would be eligible for payments between $ 50 and $ 395.

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Apple’s butterfly keyboards used a very thin switch, the mechanism underneath each key that records a keystroke. The company debuted the butterfly keyboard in 2015 on the fourth-generation MacBook. In reviewing the laptop for WIRED, David Pierce gave it an 8/10 rating and called it the “future of computers.” (Forgive us, we didn’t know what it would be.)

The butterfly keys were almost flush with the body of the laptop and had very little scrolling when you pressed them. Its compact size helped Apple shave a few millimeters deep in their MacBooks. Unfortunately, this ultra-thin design also meant that the keys were prone to breaking or just not typing properly. Something as small as a few chunks of dust could get under the keys and make them inoperable.

The move to butterfly keys was a design decision that lived up to the tenure of former Apple design director Jony Ive, when the company’s design philosophy had a slim, sleek beauty. above all. (Sometimes even functionality.) Apple made a number of bold and controversial moves with its MacBooks during this time. It removed many of the ports, forcing many users to resort to transporting dongles. The fourth-generation MacBook also introduced Apple’s touch bar, a feature that has been primarily slandered despite offering some useful accessibility features.

Still, it was the butterfly keyboards that caused the most anger. Complaints about delicate keyboards immediately began to appear. The keys fell almost twice as fast as on previous Apple laptops. And fixing a broken key was a headache. Even small repairs could have required replacing the entire keyboard, which cost customers hundreds of dollars for the service. Apple received two class action lawsuits in the same month of 2018. Not willing to give up just the design, the company modified the keyboards of its 2018 Mac models to include a membrane under the keys that would prevent part of the dust. passing. Finally, Apple offered extended extended repairs for MacBooks with damaged butterfly keys.

Finally, after nearly five years of costly repairs, technical tweaks, and presumably countless furious MacBook launches across the rooms, Apple abandoned its enraged butterfly keyboards. It was one of about three good things that happened in 2020. Since then, Apple seems to have reigned in its aesthetic ambitions, finally returning to computer constructions that make sense for most users.

But $ 50 million is a big change for Apple. In 2020, Apple accepted a $ 500 million deal in a class action lawsuit after admitting it had been deliberately slowing down older iPhones and another $ 113 million deal later that year over the same issue. When the money for the butterfly costume is distributed, each person involved in the class action will receive a payment. Estimated highs are $ 50 if you replaced keys, $ 125 if you replaced one keyboard, or $ 395 if you replaced multiple keyboards.

Whether it’s paying $ 50 million or $ 500 million, Apple has not acknowledged any crime. (The company also did not respond to a request for comment.)

Eligible MacBook owners who have purchased their computers in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, or Washington, DC will be able to claim compensation once the agreement is approved.

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