Apple will pay up to $395 to people in $50 million MacBook butterfly keyboard settlement

A court has granted preliminary approval to a $50 million settlement concluding the MacBook “butterfly” keyboard class-action lawsuit against Apple. The lawsuit alleged that issues with the company’s infamous butterfly keyboard could result in characters typed being repeated unexpectedly or keys not responding in a consistent manner, among other problems. Apple will pay up to $395 to each successful claimant.

Apple's "butterfly" keyboard
Apple’s “butterfly” keyboard

Andrew Cunningham for Ars Technica:

According to Macworld, there will be three tiers of payouts: $50 to people who had individual keycaps replaced, $125 to people who had one keyboard replacement, and $395 to people who had to go in for two or more replacements.

For those unfamiliar, MacBooks introduced between 2015 and 2019 used a new low-profile keyboard with a “butterfly” switch mechanism that saved space but also resulted in firmer keys that moved less than they did before… as time passed, it became clear that butterfly-switch keyboards also failed at a higher rate than the scissor-switch designs. These problems persisted despite at least four major revisions to the butterfly-switch mechanism.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s new Magic Keyboard with a traditional scissor mechanism replaced the company’s butterfly mechanism fiasco. It debuted in the 16-inch MacBook Pro in late 2019, followed by the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro in early 2020. All of Apple’s current MacBook products ship with the Magic Keyboard which is about 0.5mm thicker than the lawsuit-worthy “butterfly” keyboard models.

We’ve had to endure years of inferior keyboards in order to shave off half a millimeter about which no one not named Jony gave a rat’s ass.MacDailyNews, April 2, 2019

Hey, Jony: Enough with the thin. Everything is thin enough. Sometimes too thin. Thinner isn’t the answer to everything, nor is thinness intrinsic to good design. We’d gladly take a bit more robustness and battery life over more unnecessary thinness, thanks.MacDailyNews, June 25, 2018

The law of diminishing returns can also be applied to industrial design. Apple’s eternal quest for thinness eventually runs into issues such as bulging camera assemblies, battery capacity, strength (breakability), etc. – is Apple’s quest for thinness now bordering on the quixotic? So, is it “you can never be too thin” or is it “thin enough is thin enough?”MacDailyNews, December 21, 2015

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