One of the plaintiffs, Zixuan Roa bought a new 15-inch MacBook Pro in January and had problems with the "B" key a month after purchase. Rao sought help from the Apple store in April. If this is indeed the case, Apple appears to have neglected to address the issue properly. What's more, the data indicates they're also trickier to fix.
Now, a class-action complaint has been filed.
In the time since The Outline first published its piece, AppleInsider conducted an investigation of Genius Bar locations and third-party fix shops showing that 2016 MacBook Pro keyboards were failing twice as much as older models.
As evidence of the widespread fault, the claimants pointed to a petition on Change.org demanding Apple replace the "defective" keyboard mechanism, which had attracted 19,425 signatures at time of writing.
"The keyboard features our second-generation butterfly mechanism - providing four times more key stability than a traditional scissor mechanism, along with greater comfort and responsiveness", the company wrote on its website. In fact, according to data the Apple Insider collated, keyboard failure rates have more than doubled since the new Butterfly design was introduced. It represents 2015 or later MacBook and 2016 or later MacBook Pro owners, and claims they are "defective" and prone to collecting dust and debris around the key mechanisms. Apple has not directly acknowledged the problem.
As typing is the keyboard's primary input for the laptops, the plaintiffs argue that when a keys become stuck on the MacBook or MacBook Pro the machines, which cost upwards of £1,249, become "unsuitable for its ordinary and intended use". "As a result of the defect, consumers who purchased a MacBook face a constant threat of non-responsive keys and accompanying keyboard failure", the complaint reads.
Both the plaintiffs are seeking damages and legal fees from the company. The number of people who signed this petition, which refers to, among others, the designer John Gruber, who called the keyboard "one of the biggest design mistakes in Apple's history", continues to grow, fueled by the news about the lawsuit. The cost of replacing an affected keyboard is in the $700 range, a ridiculous price, but an unavoidable one for Apple customers.