Published: Sun, June 24, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Kristin Zimmerman

Apple launches service program to address MacBook keyboard woes

Apple launches service program to address MacBook keyboard woes

Out-of-warranty repairs can cost $700 (roughly Rs. 47,500), requiring an upper case replacement.

Anyone affected by the issue who has already paid to have their keyboard fixed is eligible for a refund, Apple said. It slowly became known that the new butterfly style keys which showed up on the latest models of the MacBook and the MacBook Pro were faulty since once they let in dust and debris inside, there was no way for it to get out. However, as Apple has yet update its 2017 MacBook and MacBook Pro models, it means Apple is continuing to sell models that could be affected by at least one of three issues it has identified. Service is free of charge for four years after the first retail sale of the computer.

In its never-ending quest to deliver the thinnest possible laptop, Apple completely redesigned the MacBook keyboard in a 12-inch model that launched in 2015.

Apple did not immediately return a request from this reporter for comments on whether repairs may now be done on site at stores to shorten the time customers must be without their computers; whether the keyboard design has changed such that a fix may eliminate the problem rather than prop up a faulty design; or whether Apple anticipates releasing updated hardware that is not so prone to failure at any point in the future. The so-called "butterfly" keys allowed for a much lower-profile keyboard with reduced travel distance when pressed.

The announcement that the "butterfly" keyboards would be repaired follows a federal class-action lawsuit filed against MacBook or Macbook Pro for the defect last month in Northern California.

The problem, caused by a faulty butterfly key switch mechanism, caused numerous laptops' owners to experience keys that stuck, or failed to function as intended. While opinion was split over whether the keys gave as pleasing a stroke-feel as Apple suggested, more worrying were the growing number of people claiming their keyboards had exhibited faults.

And, please, continue keeping the issue quiet so that Apple can keep receiving its industry-best brand reliability award from Consumer Reports, whose scores are based exclusively on owner feedback. Users can alternatively mail their laptops to the Apple Repair Center.

Apple said the problems involved only a "small percentage" of laptop keyboards.

"The type of service will be determined after the keyboard is examined and may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard", Apple notes.

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