Stern is already experiencing key failures on her new MacBook Air, which was redesigned late last year. That’s a relatively short span of time to begin seeing hardware failures on a brand-new piece of hardware. Stern rather interestingly highlighted her frustrations by typing her column without the letters “E” or “R” just to show how annoying the problem is when trying to use the keyboard. There’s a toggle switch for each in-article to add the letters back to the text to see how it should look. For added effect, you can also toggle a “double E” switch, which simulates a sticky key symptom affecting users.
Apple introduced a slightly updated second-generation butterfly keyboard design that did nothing to resolve the issues affecting users. The company eventually instituted an expensive keyboard replacement program for 2015-2017 MacBooks and 2016-2017 MacBook Pros (which was free of charge to affected users). Then, the company introduced a third-generation butterfly keyboard with a silicon membrane that was supposedly meant to protect the key mechanism and prevent future failures. It was thought that this would be the silver bullet for MacBook/MacBook Pro keyboards. The 2018 MacBook Air uses the third-generation keyboard.
Stern reached out to Apple about the keyboard woes, and once again, the company acknowledged that there is indeed a problem. But in typical Apple fashion, the company sought to downplay any widespread concerns.
We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry. The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.
Apple’s MacBook computers are by no means cheap machines, and high-spec models can run into the thousands of dollars – a 15-inch MacBook Pro will all the trimming is $6,649. For Apple to continue to be stymied by keyboard problems, which is likely due to its never-ending quest of making its computers thinner, is simply maddening at this point.