- The Apple blogger John Gruber called Apple’s butterfly keyboards on its later Maclaptops“the worst products in Apple history” on Wednesday in his Daring Fireball blog.
- Gruber was reacting to a new Wall Street Journal article, written with the latest version of Apple’s butterfly keyboard, that has so many typos as a result of the faulty keyboard that it’s almost illegible.
- Apple on Wednesday issued its first apology to MacBook owners facing keyboard issues.
The Apple blogger John Gruber called Apple’s butterfly keyboards “the worst products in Apple history” on Wednesday in his Daring Fireball blog.
“MacBooks should have the best keyboards in the industry; instead they’re the worst,” he said. “They’re doing lasting harm to the reputation of the MacBook brand.”
Gruber was reacting to a Wall Street Journal article written with a malfunctioning third-generation butterfly keyboard on a 2018 MacBook Air and published without correcting the resulting typos.
Spoiler alert: The piece is almost illegible because of all the typos, highlighting how bad Apple’s butterfly keyboard can be.
I wrote a similar article almost a year ago with my refurbished 2016 MacBook Pro that came with a second-generation butterfly keyboard that refused to type the letter G unless I pressed very hard on the key. The letter is missing in almost every word it’s in, making the piece hard to read.
I wrote it on a replacement butterfly keyboard – a repair performed by Apple under warranty – after the original faulty keyboard on my MacBook Pro showed similar problems, like keystrokes that refused to register or, when they did, registered as double strokes. After a second repair, I haven’t experienced any problems … so far.
For people who rely on computers for a living, Apple’s keyboard can be a problem. The issue was linked to dust and debris, and the company initially suggested people use compressed air to clean out their keyboards.
When cleaning didn’t work, the company addressed the problem in June with a free keyboard-repair program. And it was supposedly addressed on a hardware level with the third-generation butterfly keyboards – the same generation used to write the Journal article – with a thin film seemingly to prevent dust and debris from affecting keys. Apple made no mention of the film’s purpose, but it showed up in past Apple patents.
On Wednesday, Apple issued its first apology to MacBook users experiencing problems with their keyboards. The company told Business Insider that people who are still having keyboard issues should get in contact with Apple Support, its customer-service hotline.
Apple’s butterfly keyboard isn’t its most popular innovation. It was designed to allow for the ultraslim design of Apple’s Mac laptops, which are beautifully thin. But it has clearly come at a price.
Some Mac users have complained that Apple’s butterfly keyboard is uncomfortable to type on, as the keys have very little “travel,” the distance it takes to press them down. I can attest that it’s not as comfortable as a regular keyboard, but it’s not a deal-breaker in my opinion.
Others have complained that the butterfly keyboard is loud. I can attest that it’s much louder than previous non-butterfly Mac laptop keyboards, or most other laptop keyboards.
But not every Mac user with a butterfly keyboard experiences issues like missing keystrokes or phantom double keystrokes. Apple said in its apology that “the vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.”
My colleague Ben Gilbert, who bought a 2018 MacBook Air when it was released in November, hasn’t experienced any issues with his butterfly keyboard. Furthermore, Ben says he likes the shallow travel on his MacBook Air’s keyboard, as it lets him type faster. As for the loud typing, Ben said: “I don’t find it loud. I find it clicky.”
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