- Apple released new MacBook Pros with several updates.
- One of the updates include a third generation butterfly keyboard that Apple says is “quieter.”
- While a quieter keyboard is a welcome update, Apple didn’t mention whether the third generation butterfly keyboard was more reliable than the previous generations.
- Users reported several problems with previous generations of butterfly keyboards.
Apple released brand new MacBook Pro laptops on Thursday with a slew of important updates, including current generation processors, an even better display, a higher RAM option, and new graphics chips in the 15-inch models.
One of the updates on the new MacBook Pro models is Apple’s third-generation butterfly keyboard, which the company says is “quieter” than the previous keyboards on older MacBook Pros.
It’s a welcome update, as the butterfly keyboards on the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros could deliver an unusually loud typing experience, which several users complained about. The loud keyboard was one of the first things I noticed when I started using my 2016 MacBook Pro.
But Apple hasn’t promised the new keyboards will offer any additional reliability over its previous generation butterfly keyboard. Plenty of people – including myself – experienced keys that stopped registering and repeating keys after just a single press when using the older version of the keyboard design.
The issue was problematic. Apple’s butterfly keys are more difficult to remove for cleaning than standard keys if the issue was caused by dust. And if cleaning didn’t work, the repairs often involved replacing the entire top case, the area where the keyboard rests, which also included replacing the laptop’s battery. In some cases, the entire logic board needed to be replaced, which includes the processor, RAM, and storage.
Out of warranty and without AppleCare+, a repair for a single key could cost several hundreds of dollars.
The company eventually addressed the issue with its Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro, where it offers free keyboard repairs for four years as of the date of purchase of a MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop. The program also offers refunds for anyone who paid for key repairs before the program was announced.
The program certainly helps, but it doesn’t detract from the growing concern that Apple’s butterfly keyboard is flawed in a pretty major way, and affected users would still need to bring their laptops in for repairs more often than if a higher percentage of the keyboards were reliable. If parts need to be replaced, the repair could take several days, which means several days without a laptop. It also doesn’t cover those who plan to keep their laptops for more than four years.
So far, Apple hasn’t updated its keyboard program to include the new 2018 lineup of MacBook Pro. The program only supports the 2015-2017 MacBooks, and the 2016-2017 MacBook Pro.
We’ll have to wait and see if 2018 MacBook Pro owners report similar issues as 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro keyboards.