A class action lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday takes Apple to task over an allegedly flawed keyboard design deployed in MacBook models from 2015, claiming the company knew about the defect at or before the product’s launch.
Lodged in the Northern District Court of California, the complaint levels multiple claims targeting MacBook models manufactured from 2015 and MacBook Pro models produced from 2016. Both laptops feature the company’s butterfly keyboard mechanism, an ultra low-profile switch advertised as both more responsive and robust than traditional scissor-type components.
According to the filing, “thousands” of MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have experienced some type of failure with Apple’s butterfly keyboard, thus rendering the machine useless. Specifically, the suit claims the design is such that small amounts of dust or debris impede normal switch behavior, causing keystrokes to go unregistered.
In extreme cases, the key fails, forcing owners to take their laptop in for service at a Genius Bar or authorized Apple repair facility, a trip that could cost hundreds of dollars if the machine is out of warranty.
One named plaintiff, Zixuan Rao, purchased a new 15-inch MacBook Pro in January and began to experience problems with the laptop’s “B” key about a month later. After attempting to clean out the key
Last month, an AppleInsider investigation into the issue, collecting data from Genius Bar locations and authorized third-party shops to find the 2016 MacBook Pro’s keyboard failed roughly twice as often in its first year of use as 2014 and 2015 MacBook Pro models with scissor-type switches. Current 2017 model year versions fair a bit better, though the model has not been available for a full year.
Plaintiffs seek damages, legal fees and demand Apple not only acknowledge the keyboard design flaw, but pay to remedy or replace defective units. The latter demand includes reimbursement for the purchase of replacement laptops.