With the fast-paced, highly competitive nature of technology today, companies are sometimes so eager to get a new product out on the shelves before their competitor that they don’t always take the time to work out all the kinks before the big reveal. Such was allegedly the case when Apple introduced their new butterfly keyboard in 2015.
The keyboard looks much like any other keyboard on the surface, but underneath the keys is a new butterfly mechanism, which Apple claimed would make for a more responsive and comfortable keystroke than the previously standard scissors design. The new design also takes up less space, so Apple could either make room for other things or just make a sleeker laptop. At the same time, Apple claimed the new design would be exponentially more stable than previous designs.
Despite that assertion, consumer complaints about the new keyboard started popping up almost as soon as it hit the shelves. Customers have regularly complained about keys getting stuck and becoming unusable, while others claim they hear high-pitched sounds when pressing keys on their new and not-so-improved keyboard.
Problems with the butterfly keyboard are so common that more than 20,000 consumers have signed a petition on Change.org calling on Apple to replace the allegedly defective keyboard.
If the petition is unsuccessful, the consumer class action lawsuit that was recently filed against Apple might have more luck getting the tech giant reimburse its customers.
The consumer lawsuit was filed in the Northern District Court of California and is seeking to represent thousands of consumers who have allegedly suffered as a result of the new keyboard’s alleged design flaws. The class-action lawsuit was filed by two lead plaintiffs, Zixuan Rao and Kyle Barbara.
Rao bought a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a butterfly keyboard in early 2018, but one of the keys soon started to malfunction. When he took it to an Apple store, representatives were allegedly unable to fix the problem but offered to ship the computer to their Repair Center. Rao decided against that course of action since it would have meant going a week without his computer.
Barbaro bought a 2016 MacBook Pro, only to have his caps lock key and space bar stopped working. Apple was able to fix it, but the space bar again stopped working, by which time, Barbaro’s computer was out of warranty and Apple told him that he would have to pay $700 for them to fix the key.
The consumer lawsuit alleges Apple breached its warranty (both express and implied), violated the Song-Beverly and Magnuson-Moss Consumer Acts, as well as California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law. It further alleges Apple knew about the keyboard’s defects and actively worked to prevent consumers from finding out about them.
The lawsuit is asking for damages, legal fees, and for Apple to repair or replace faulty units for its customers free of charge. It is also asking for Apple to publicly acknowledge that its butterfly keyboard has design problems.
Anyone that has a MacBook Pro, made after 2015, with the butterfly keyboard, can join the class action lawsuit. If the Change.org petition is any indication, there appear to be more than 20,000 potential class members.
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