Apple said it would pay $50 million to settle a case alleging that the company knew about faulty butterfly keyboards on several models of MacBooks. With the settlement, Apple has avoided any embarrassment in one of the most infamous cases that affected hundreds of thousands of MacBook users.
Reuters has reported that the settlement agreement has yet to go through the process where a judge will approve it. However, if approval comes through, customers can expect to pay a maximum of $300 to $395 if they replace multiple keyboards, $125 if they replace just one, and $50 if they only replace keycaps. CNBC said. In addition to compensation to clients, law firms fighting the lawsuit can claim up to $15 million in legal fees.
Why is Apple still paying?
Back in 2015, Apple was almost convinced of its then-new MacBook models that came with a redesigned keyboard that used so-called “butterfly” keys. They replaced the traditional scissor-based keys on MacBooks because they were sleeker and could fit into the laptop’s shallow cases. Apple said it can reduce the thickness of the MacBook by about 40 percent by using butterfly keys. But that rose-colored dream turned into a nightmare.
Almost every MacBook user reported problems with the butterfly keyboard. In real-world use, the keys were sticky and sometimes unresponsive. And because the gap between the keys and the keys in the laptop’s panel was so small, any crumb or dust could cause the keys to stop responding altogether. This resulted in typos being more frequent.
In the next few generations of MacBook models, Apple tried to fix the butterfly mechanism. It managed to rectify a few issues here and there. It taught users how to clean up debris, launched a service program for users affected by the issue, and later made design changes. But the main issue of key viscosity still persisted. Faulty keyboards kept appearing as recently as the 2019 MacBook, which includes both the Pro and Air. Apple lists all models in the settlement documents.
Meanwhile, Apple faced several class-action lawsuits in the US. While most of the lawsuits claimed compensation, one accused Apple of knowing but hiding the keyboard issues. Apple is now paying $50 million to settle that lawsuit.
Apple gave affected customers of MacBook models with Butterfly Keys free key repair for four years. But it also offered replacements to several customers, as noted in the lawsuit.
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