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Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro (apple.com)
682 points by minimaxir 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 458 comments



It's illuminating how predictable Apple is in these matters. The subhead of a month-old article on one of the class-action lawsuits filed over this issue:

"Apple faulty product flowchart: Deny --> Get sued --> Admit --> Initiate repair program" [0]

The next step is for the class-action suits to wither on the vine because Apple can say it's providing relief.

[0]: https://www.techspot.com/news/74772-apple-facing-second-clas...


From Fight Club: Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.


The cynicism required for that quote to work as intended doesn't really carry over to stuck keys...

I also like to point out that the quote may have ended up supporting the behavior it criticises instead of limiting it. By spreading the idea that such behavior is actually common, it may have legitimized it.

I have no evidence to support this, but I refuse to believe such behavior, especially in the explicit form alleged by Fight Club, is anything but rare. "Corporations are people" (my friend) also implies that people make all those decisions, and individual morality does play a role.

I do have personally witnessed several instances where employees have insisted on moral behavior even when it was detrimental to the bottom line.


Corporation are people does not imply anything about actions they take in these instances. Also just because you have a couple of examples about moral behaviour does not make it a norm.


The problem isn't doing the math, it's only doing the math based on the company's incentives.

If it were instead: multiply by the average cost to society, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one., then this is probably the best you can do (if you're a utilitarian)

On the other hand, society does have a responsibility to make sure the incentives on the company reflect what is actually important.


We do, that is when we decide to buy stuff from someone else.


And all my Magsafe bricks around the house won't help Apple selling me a new MacBook in the future.


Just went through this and donglegate. The one saving grace is I can now charge my Android phone from my laptop charger and the cable is removable and USB. Now I just need to get rid of my other 40 microUSB devices. Course now I'm worried about voltage regulation and plugging in something and zapping it but I'm assuming USB-C has safeguards in place. As in plugging my headphones into my laptop charger brick via USB-C, etc.

I think we might finally hit a point in time where everything starts to be USB powered and not proprietary cables plugging into bricks (ha yeah right).


Can't plug an iPhone into it though.. and unless they've switched it up since I bought mine you get a USB-A to lightning cable, so you can't plug it into the laptop either without a dongle. :)


Eventually the wireless charger of the next iPhone (the one without any external connection) and watch will be USB powered.


Forgot about that. Hilarious. It charges FAST.


We do exactly that when the judges decide on the monetary amount of fines. So, in the end, I don't see a problem with these calculations from a utilitarian perspective.


The average out of court settlement should reflect the cost to society.

Unfortunately, if the corporation has better lawyers, it often doesn't.


What is the cost to society of a letter sticking on a keyboard, or repeating?


If that renders the laptop unusable, the cost to repair out of warranty is $700. That's a pretty good starting point.


A couple years ago I was working as an independent contractor and my Macbook started having problems. I ended up needing help from local Apple repair folks. It cost me maybe two days of billable hours.

I wouldn't expect Apple to reimburse me for lost work; that's a risk I take when I buy and depend on a computer. But that risk certainly makes me take risks like "your keyboard may stop working and take a week to ship off and repair" into considering when buying something. I wouldn't buy one of these models with notoriously fragile keyboards.


One could also buy a usb keyboard for $10. I know it’s less ideal but it’s not like the computer is worthless if the keyboard is busted.


What is the point of a low weight laptop if you're going to be lugging an external keyboard around.


Sure. But one could also buy a less expensive laptop than a Macbook and get a reliable keyboard. "It still sorta works" is not what I'd want to hear from the company that calls its devices "magical" and sells them at a premium.


[flagged]


People not being able to work due to faulty work equipment has a non-zero cost to the economy.


So Joe Q. Random dying or getting maimed in an avoidable car crash is a 'cost to society' but your laptop not working is not?

"Cost to society" is a term where I suspect various people will assign various different meanings to it.

Either we all explain what that term is supposed to mean, or, we use a different term.

In this case, I'm pretty sure the comment which started with the cost to society (speaking about the idea that an out-of-court settlement should reflect 'the cost to society') clearly meant: Take the # of laptops failing and becoming unusable due to the problems with the butterfly keyboard design, minus all people who get them fixed within 1 year warranty, and multiply it by $700, which is what owners of these laptops have to pay apple to get it fixed out of warranty.

The point that was presumably being made is that the out of court settlement should be similar enough to the internal (to apple) cost of apple's repair program, or possibly even this $700*affected number. The idea being, if it isn't, apple will simply settle out of court because it's cheaper for them to do this.

There's really no need to bring some sort of comparison between random car drivers and users of 'hippie' laptops into it, that seems unduly presumptuous of you.


> Some yuppie whose keyboard doesn’t work right doesn’t represent society at all.

Are they not a member of society?

I must admit that I find it easy to pigeonhole people into these straw-man categories too, but making the leap from "I really don't get it" to "These people have no intrinsic value, thus we can completely disregard their well-being" is a giant step towards collective madness.


But society is made of people! And calling a customer "yuppie" doesn't sound respectful...


> Some yuppie whose keyboard doesn’t work right doesn’t represent society at all.

Even if you don't like someone (to the point of using uncalled derogatory terms), they're still a part of the society.


Said yuppie would have spent that $700 on a brand-new hand-made saddle ('with ecological naturally cured Yak leather from the Himalayas') for his fixie bike which would have provided the proverbial drop which made the Yak-saddle-startup succeed in its venture, starting a business which would have lasted for many generations and which would have created a market for Yak leather which would have improved the lot of Yak farmers in the Himalayas who would have realised the way they're treated by their overlords from China was not up to snuff, starting a popular revolution which would eventually gain support from the Chinese population who would pressure their own overlords for more democracy, ending up with the democratisation of both China as well as its former vassal states.

But no, this will not come to pass because of Apple's cruddy keyboards.

That cost of society is what was meant.


Just use Yakster -- Yak Saddle as a Service. They come to your house and swap it out for a fresh one every two weeks. Highly recommended.


I personally prefer Yacky, the Yak-saddle-cleaner-service which tracks the microflora on your saddle and keeps it in check using locally sourced nettle water, this being much better for the environment. As far as I know Yakster just swaps saddles between bikes anyway so it is a bit of a sham, really.


I'm sure the idea is correct, but I find it weird that it kind of implies that every single person who's unit is defective will sue; I'm sure it's not 5%


In the case of fight club they were talking about automobile recalls. As the defects likely would result in fatalities I would imagine a large portion of those effected would sue. This is especially the case if auto or life insurance policies are effected.

In the case of Apple Keyboards, I doubt the rate is as high.


Uhh well the "average out-of-court settlement, C" can just account for that. But it's also just a quote from a movie, so, like... it probably doesn't matter that much haha.


Except I've heard near copies of the exact line inside major corporations.


It's famous for more than just the movie.[1]

[1](https://users.wfu.edu/palmitar/Law&Valuation/Papers/1999/Leg...)


Coming soon to a self-driving robot near you.


By whom and in what context?


Every actuary ever.


Then repair with the same substandard part that ends up failing again later. e.g. 2011 Macbook Pro with the GPU problem.

I've got such a 2011 Macbook Pro, and it had a logic board replacement to fix the GPU problem in late 2014 and now that logic board has failed with the same problem.


Mine failed 4 times. Otherwise perfectly good computer, even faster than my 2017 model with the same specs, now sitting on my shelf useless


They didn't replace it after the 3rd failure? The third time I called about repairing my Core 2 Duo MacBook, they just let me pick out a brand new model for free.


My 3rd failure happened during the recall that they were forced to implement from the class-action lawsuit. My 4th failure happened 3 months later - after the recall legally ended..

So one big FU from Apple to Me. Thank you Apple.


The program only covers "4 years after the first retail sale of the unit." All Apple has to do is kick the can down the road until then.


I had a failing MacBook Pro PSU which Apple refushed to replace because it was out of warrantee. I was told that I should instead buy a new one.

I found asking for an official Apple estimate of working lifetime was enough get them to post me a replacement with no further questions asked.

In the UK under law you can expect a reasonable working lifetime for anything you buy. Manufacturers can’t really refuse tell you what that is and refuse to replace/repair the product at the same time.

My suspicion is that Apple don’t want state upfront, your new laptop is only going to last 2 or 3 years (MTF) and then will probably go kaput because that would change the way people assess the value of new purchases.

If something is a consumable and is going to wear out you should expect that to be clearly stated.

Worth a try anyway.


Four years seems like a reasonable amount of time to cover an issue. If it fails after that, it’s time to buy a new computer anyway.


> it’s time to buy a new computer anyway.

Why if your older computer is working fine and you are happy with it?


Don’t buy a new computer then...


That is my point.


And my point was that 4 years is completely acceptable amount of coverage. If you want to keep your computer longer, by all means, but you shouldn't expect repairs to be covered forever.


> but you shouldn't expect repairs to be covered forever.

or you could design your products so that if it breaks, its easier for the user to repair it themselves instead of advocating for throwing it in the trash and buying a new product.


Vote with your wallet and buy a ThinkPad?


I have a Thinkpad from work and a MagSafe MacBook at home. I wanted to love the Thinkpad so I don’t have to even entertain the possibility of being ripped off buying a new MacBook in the next couple of years. It’s a great pc laptop, better than most I’ve used. But it’s not in the same league as my old MacBook. A lot of the problem is how the hardware works under windows - it just doesn’t quite ‘click’. It feels disjointed and it’s really not enjoyable to use. I’ve only had it for a few months so it may grow on me. But the trackpad is really bad, like all other pc laptops I’ve tried. How on earth did they (Microsoft? Lenovo?) decide dragging a single finger on the trackpad could sometimes be a drag, rather than moving the pointer? Did anyone actually test it and decide it was good? Or just ‘good enough’?


I personally prefer they continue to design for thinness and lightness vs. easy repairability, but to each their own.


That is because you dont have to deal with all the waste that is generated with all those broken devices, some third world country has to though.


I believe Apple is at the forefront of manufacturing devices that are readily recyclable.

Pretty sure System 76 will sell you some ugly box that you can fix and hold on to forever.


The resale value for a Mac after 4 years can easily be 50% of the original price. With this issue; not so much.


That's sad, it means that it takes 4 years for Mac's to double in quality.


Oh hell. I've had the GPU replacement a couple of years back on my MBP Late-2011. That machine might be the Ship of Theseus by now, but it still holds up.

Here's me not looking forward to another failure.


My 2011 MacBook Pro failed with a dead GPU in the store as they were returning it to me with a brand new logic board. The level of QA on that batch of GPUs was astoundingly bad.


Same here, apple replacing the logicboard with another one having the same design flaw of course did not _fix_ the problem.


me too. And after the first "repair", it started running really hot.


Except the didn’t (and usually don’t) actually deny - they just don’t say anything publicly until they have a plan


You may prefer this earlier prediction of events, then: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apple-faces-class-actio...

We are now around step 15b.


"geniuses" are instructed in every case (holding it wrong, battery expanding, gpu defects, bending touch IC, etc) to lie to customers, and never mention recalls.


To be fair, that is pretty much all retail though. Never admit liability unless forced to do so, and then you better have permission and explicit instructions as to how from higher-ups lest there be a "reckoning."


So they actually did deny.


Even if they’re trained to do this, they definitely don’t do it universally. The last time I brought mine in for keyboard problems, the genius pointed out that there were four other people there with the same problem at that exact moment, and then mentioned that with the rate they see them, it seemed like a pretty significant design flaw.


Support that claim, please.


I'm not very fond of Apple products and generally avoid them, but this is definitely a benefit of going with product from such a visible company sold in such large numbers.

When things go wrong, EVERYONE knows, and they can't just hide it. They have to do something about it. This is in stark contrast with some Android phones, eg: Nexus/Pixel, which while popular, and will make the news when something goes sour, don't generate enough noise for Google to really do anything about it aside token efforts.


Next in line: microscratches on the iPhone X screen.


Is the iPhone X actually more prone to scratching than other Gorilla Glass 5 phones? I've had the X for about four months, and while the screen is pretty scratched up (I refuse to use a screen protector) it doesn't look much worse than my older phones looked.


Anecdotal of course, but i've owned almost every iphone that's launched(skipped the 7 and the 3gs) and i haven't ever scratched my screen, no protectors. Exact same treatment: always a case with a lip, since the 4

My X has a couple HUGE scratches and a ton of tiny ones. I've examined friends phones and it's the same deal. My roommate still has my old 6S, not a single scratch on it and it's almost a launch day device. So nearly 3 years of service now.

It's definitely a variation from the glass they've used in the past. Even my iphone 1 didn't have any scratches...


Anecdotal of course, but I've owned every phone that's launched (well, one phone per generation of course), never with any screen protectors, and I've gotten nothing more than a few minor scratches in the past.

The screen on my X, which I use heavily and every single day since launch, is virtually pristine. Inspecting it right now I can find 2 micro-scratches (both on the edge), and that's it. If anything, this screen has held up better than previous ones.


I'm in the exact same boat. Better treatment than I've given to an iPhone 6s and iPhone 5, and despite neither of those phones ever having had any visible scratches, my iPhone X is COVERED in microscratches. And to be clear, always used a case with a lip, always placed in pocket without any other items.


Is it possible that the X is also seeing fewer cracked screens? I imagine there's a correlation between hardness of the glass and tendency to crack.


There's always been a balancing act with Gorilla Glass, there's been at least one version (I think it was Gorilla Glass 2 or 3) of the product that had noticeably less scratch resistance than it's predecessor while providing better durability against cracking - wouldn't surprise me if we see a repeat with Gorilla Glass 5.


Adding another data point here -- my iPhone X screen is full of small scratches. It's really noticeable.


Are they deep or possibly just coating on the glass?


Definitely in the glass, and several are very deep.

Because of where i live and when the phone launched, it literally hasn't even been around sand yet because the weathers been awful


I believe the iPhone 1 didn't have an oleophobic coating, which I think is what normally gets scratched. IIRC it was just plain glass, which is a lot harder to scratch.


Much much worse in my experience: iPhone X scratches easily.

That said I would add that I deliberated a lot over whether the X was worth it, and looking back now over the best part of a year I can say a resounding “yes”. I was really worried that iteration one of a new product was going to suck, but the only fault I’ve noticed is the glass scratching easily. Apart from that, I feel that Apple really nailed the iPhone X, one of their all-time best designs.


I really wish I could say the same. The face recognition almost always works but fails when I need or want it the most. I don’t mind if it fails in an elevator but while I’m half awake in bed it’s incredibly annoying. Anecdotal but I wish I had the fingerprint reader again.


Funny enough it's the opposite for me. TouchID would always fail at the most inopportune times - when I'm sweaty or it's humid and I just want to unlock this damn thing. FaceID fails when it doesn't really matter, I'm in bed and just checking morning email or something. Also the solution for FaceID not working is usually simple - just lift your head. When TouchID wouldn't work it was a lost cause and I'd have to resort to entering my long-ass password.


I had less issues with TouchID on my iPhone 6 than I've had on my iPhone 7 for whatever reason. My hands get pretty oily for whatever reason, the sensor on the iPhone 7 is a lot more picky and I regularly find myself either needing to wipe the home button and my hands down or just sucking it up and entering my passcode.

I'd really like to use a longer passphrase to protect my phone, especially now that iOS 12 has the USB locking feature to protect against threads like greykey - but it's a huge pain in the ass to enter a sufficiently long or complex password or passphrase on a touchscreen keyboard so I haven't bothered due to the aforementioned TouchID issues. I'm actually kind of looking forward to upgrading this year and giving FaceID a go, it's annoying that I have to trade the option of using TouchID for it but all the anecdotal evidence I've found presents a more consistent experience.


The ideal solution for me would be to have both FaceID and TouchID -- but at the back of the phone, like the Pixel.

FaceID works great when I'm at my work desk and have the phone on a charging stand. I can just glance at the phone and it unlocks to show my notifications.

Otherwise, I just want to be able to pick up the phone (from the bedside, from my pocket, etc) and have it already unlocked by the time I look at the screen.


I wash my hands a lot so I don’t think I really had that issue very much. I tried not to touch my phone when I was sweaty without using a towel first. And I have the good fortune to not have a lot of humidity. So maybe I had an idealized experience for touchid and you have an idealized face for faceid. Ha.

I do lift my head but maybe it’s something else I’m doing. I’ll try different angles or maybe open my eyes wider. I just feel like this kind of experimentation kind of flies in the face of the Apple experience that I thought I was paying for.


As with sibling - Touch ID was useless to me for some reason, it hardly ever worked, but face recognition is almost perfect (except when wearing sunglasses).


If you had bought a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL instead, do you think you would have struggled? How much is sunk cost fallacy at play here?


I can't objectively answer, but I have played with previous Google Android devices and I generally think Google's design is awful, and the products feel cheap. The Pixel as a device looks a lot better, but I think Google's design is so universally terrible that I would never switch to them.

More generally, I would rather pay extra for a product that isn't based on advertising.


I am not the person you asked, but I might be able to give some input. My “credentials”: I have owned many many phones because of my job, and currently still use 3 smartphones on a daily basis: two Android phones and one iPhone. Cost is not at play in my case, so there is also no sunk cost.

I wrote up something, but I feel that it is both below the standards of HN, and not something I would want to publicly attach my personal name to. I’d be happy to send it to you if you’d like.


Yep definitely something up with the screen on the X, mine is covered in small scratches. Not noticeable except in sunlight so not too bothered, but it is a bit annoying. Other than that I agree it’s a brilliant device. Will probably get the screen replaced under Applecare at some point (maybe wait until I inevitably drop and break it one day, lol)


It’s not the glass material, it’s one of the coatings, probably the oleophobic one, that is showing micro scratches, and it’s a lot worse and the launchday devices


This seems very surprising to me. I'm running a ~$200 Moto G4 for a year and a half now and it has no visible scratches. I don't use either a case or a screen protector and I never have for any of my phones. In fact it looks basically exactly the same as the day I bought it. Sounds like a glass screen just is not worth it for me, no matter the number of apes.


Just took a good look over 2-and-something-years-old ZenFone 2. I've only noticed some very light scratches upon a careful inspection, only when looking at the display surface at angle where it had reflected daylight. Dust specks are way more noticeable.

I don't use any protectors, I put the phone in my packet together with my keys, my cat tries to chew on it every time he sees it lying on the bed (I don't know why), and otherwise handle it quite recklessly.

The only way I really got cracks is when phone fell out of my hands, face-down on a gravel. Happened on a second month after the purchase, had to replace the display (but still decided I don't want a protector film)

Now, reading about the scratches I wonder how bad it is with iPhone X.


Weird. My X is scratch free with no protector. Never even heard of this issue.


Same here


Same here also. This thread has me looking at my iPhoneX for all of these micro scratches and I can't find any. I do not use a case either.


It's more prone than my Pixel 2. I have both an iPhone X and a Pixel 2 in the same brand and style of case. They both only go in my left pocket, which only holds my phones (keys go in the right). I got them both at roughly the same time, but the Pixel 2 looks brand new (once I wipe the fingerprints and case-edge dust off) and the iPhone X has quite a few scratches near the bottom edge.


I don't have an X, but my 8 Plus (which I'm assuming uses the same glass and coatings) is, at only nine months old, scratched worse than any iPhone I've owned yet (this is my fourth iPhone; I upgrade about every two years).

I don't know that I'd really call them "microscratches", either-- they're pretty prominent, and one runs fairly deep.


Just to add to this, my 8 (not plus) is the same. It’s also the only one I’ve used a case on, and in a short time is more scratched than any previous iPhone I’ve had.


I’m facing the same issue with the 8 plus, I’ve never had a phone in this condition in 3x the time I’ve owned this one.


Anecdotal, but I’ve never had micro scratches in my other screens shortly after purchase, but have on the iPhone X within a week or two. And I’ve owned at minimum two of every previous generation and haven’t had issues on an 8 or 8+ screen either (yes, I own over 50 iOS devices).


"pretty scratched up"?? I don't use screen protectors and my Pixel2 screen look brand new other than fingerprints.

Do you keep the phone in the same pocket as your keys? I make sure to keep them separate.


Facing the same problem with iPad Pro 2017. Thought it was just built-in obsolescence, because I had previous iPad 3 for 5 Years with no issues.


Same glass is on iPhone 8 too(


> I refuse to use a screen protector

Why? At least use a glass screen protector if it's the feel.


Because anything put on a screen makes it look like shit to me. I didn't pay that much money on a top of the line phone only to make it look like a low-end one.

I don't understand people with screen protectors. Unless they plan on reselling it.

BTW, I think people with iPhone X but with a screen protector are making a fundamental signaling mistake: you show to people that you can't really afford the phone.


I don't own an iPhone X but I'm fairly certainly there are X owners who don't care about using the device as a signaling mechanism.


I use a leather case and plastic screen protector (7 Plus) not because I care about resale value, but rather because I don't want to coddle my electronics; I want them to be fairly durable. The way I see it, the dividend from the trend of maximally thin phones is the ability to put them in a robust leather case without them becoming too bulky.

My anecdotal experience has been that a plastic screen protector greatly reduces the likelihood of screen breakage, presumably because the soft plastic can absorb some amount of impact force. I've never ever broken a screen, and I drop my phone fairly often.

I also prefer the finger-feel of the Belkin plastic screen protector. And I enjoy replacing the protector every 6 months or so and walking out of the store with an absolutely perfect, scratch-free screen.

(I tried the Belkin glass screen protector once; it cracked within a month. And I disliked the finger-feel.)


Yeah, sorry, all of us iPhone 6+ owners with broken NAND BGAs are in line ahead of you.


Having owned the 3GS, 4, 6+, 7+, and now X the only one that ever had scratches on its screen was the 6+, and that was just one small scratch that was only visible in the reflection at certain angles. The X has held up great so far.


I was surprised to read this comment, because I was just recently feeling pleased about how pristine my iPhone X still looks after 7 months. I carry it in my jeans pocket, sans case, all the time.

Examining the phone very closely under a bright light, I was able to find a handful of tiny scratches on the iPhone X display. I cannot see them in normal use at all; the phone basically still looks brand new.

In comparison, my previous phone was a jet black iPhone 7 Plus, and the display got three very visible scratches in one year of use. The back, of course, was full of micro scratches, but that was expected.


It’s a tradeoff between being breakable and scratching more easily. I don’t think that’s a flaw, that’s a design decision.


The 8 Plus also scratches much easier than earlier iPhones


Sometime computer technician here. I've replaced a few keyboards on some of the earlier affected models. This is tedious, time-consuming repair with a lot of small screws.

Here's a photo of the screws with a grain of uncooked rice for scale: https://imgur.com/gallery/En32MFP (image safe for work)

For most of my repairs, it worked out more cost-effective to purchase a new MacBook top with keyboard attached, and just transfer the logic board, than spend time unscrewing, fitting the keyboard and refitting the masses of tiny screws.

On labour/consultancy alone, I suspect this will be an expensive per-case recall.


Among my many hats, I do some official Apple work.

What you are talking about is not allowed for work done under Apple.

The top case is one part which cannot be disassembled so far as they are concerned. It contains the main part of the shell, the keyboard, the trackpad, and the battery. A failure in any part of it is to be serviced by a complete replacement of the top case.

It is not an exceptionally expensive component, but it is a significant amount of labor. The top case is pretty much the "base" that all other components are attached to. Which means you take everything else out (logic board, display, fans, vent, etc) and move it to the new one.

Also, the touch ID bit is a bitch to move.


Maybe something like this will finally force Apple to start making their laptops more serviceable.

After being an Apple user since 2006, I’ve just switched to a Thinkpad for my home machine. Compared to a MacBook Air, the X series is only 1mm thicker, but smaller in all other dimensions, including weight. Yet I can upgrade the storage and memory, and replace parts myself that fail (the battery can be swapped while it’s running). It also has a full array of ports including USB type A & C, HDMI, headphone jack, SD card slot (the latest version has replaced the Ethernet port with a dongle).

Admitidely they don’t look as nice, but I’m not really a design sensitive person.


How is the trackpad? I intentionally bought a MacBook Pro late 2015 version just before they went out of stock because I actually like all those “old” ports, the old keyboard and so on.

I’d prefer to stay on os/x because Linux is still tedious in the way that you have to configure it to make it tolerable and windows had gone from great (7) to something that annoys me on a daily basis (10).

But I’m mainly scared of the mouse. The MacBook trackpad is damn near magical and I’m not sure I could ever use a laptop with a trackpad that didn’t come close to it. The price point and the design choices on the MacBook line as well as it’s price point (price can be mitigated by buying older versions like I did) have made me consider other options, thinkpads being the main competitor. But how is the trackpad?


A coworker got himself a T470p (I think), the trackpad hardware is fine, albeit a bit small for my taste; the problem to me is more about how it is leveraged by the software (OS) side of things: both Linux DEs and Windows make visual feedback of multitouch gestures feel weird somehow. Maybe that's a habit of mine being used to macOS though. I'm not overly fond of the trackpoint, but that's a nice option and it's right on the home row next to HJKL. I hate how the B letter is offset though, kinda ridiculous but I find it a real eyesore and an aesthetic failure somehow.


I have a t460p for software development, which is basically the same machine as that t470p, and absolutely love it. It has workstation-class performance with the quad core i7, 32 gb ram and dedicated nvidia graphics, all of which can run full blast without throttling. But if I use it moderately it still has all day battery life.

I almost never use the trackpad, preferring a mouse. I don’t like them even on macbooks (I also have a macbook air for casual use). But it’s definitely worse than macbooks.

I never noticed the offset b, but now that you’ve pointed it out to me it’s going to bug me. Thanks. I do like the keyboard better than the air’s keyboard. I haven’t used the new mb pro’s keyboard to any extent so can’t compare, but I like a bit of key travel so probably would still prefer the lenovo.


Afaik Linux DEs treat gestures as hotkeys, hence the weirdness - you can't do them as gradually as with osx, it's all or nothing.a


I'm in the same boat. Got a second hand 2015 model like new because of screen and topcase repair program. At work I'm forced to use a Dell with Linux. I like that I can configure everything about Linux to reduce the difference to my Mac workflow (key shortcuts etc). But I hatr that I must configure almost everything to get to a basic workable environment. As for trackpads on the Dell, I avoid using it as it makes me cry compared to my macbook's also the keyboard just sucks, backspace and other keys not registering reliably.


That’s interesting to hear. I’m using a cheap HP running Ubuntu supplied by my current job. I was considering switching to an XPS13 for my personal machine.

What’s currently keeping me on my late 2013 MBP for the moment is poor default behaviour of desktop Linux.

Like the Bluetooth forgetting the state it was left in on every reboot.

Or something, I don’t know what, constantly reversing horizontal trackpad scroll direction (but leaving vertical alone). Or blanking the screen after 20s of inactivity regardless of the screen/power settings in Gnome.

I know that I’ll eventually get that stuff under control but it’s weird it doesn’t work out of the box without a trip to Stack Overflow.


Being an real mouse person, the trackpad is usually good enough (using Thinkpads since 2006), however when I don't have it around, I happen to be more heavy stick mouse user than the trackpad.

I really miss its ergonomics when using other brands.


I'm more interested in what the TrackPoint is like.


It takes time to get used to. But it is sooo worth it - I don't need to ever move my hands off the keyboard. I still prefer standalone mouse (but I'm still gamer, so nothing can beat speed & accuracy of dedicated mouse for me), but even when I have plugged it in I sometimes use trackpoint to keep hands on the keyboard. In cramped places (bus, train) I work without problems, and I wonder how awkward would it be with using standard touchpad with laptop in your lap - too close to your stomach, so not much space for hands. Also I don't ever have problems with accidental touching of touchpad - it is simply disabled.

Problem is, there are not many notebooks with trackpoint :/

Btw I can't talk about newest models, but this thing does not change much.


Yep I’ve got a 2013 MBP I’m too scared to upgrade at the moment. I’ve been weening myself off it and into a Windows 10 desktop recently this solving both problems.

Plus the desktop is second hand enterprise stuff and cost virtually nothing which was a pleasant surprise.


> Maybe something like this will finally force Apple to start making their laptops more serviceable.

I am afraid they will just increase the already huge margins, to account for similar cases in the future.


I'm pretty sure they charge based on what the market will bear rather than what it costs them to manufacture and service. If they have been effective at this it means there is no room for increases.

In other words if customers would accept higher prices then Apple would have already increased the prices.


They won't. So you can stop having that fear. There's no evidence whatsoever that they'd even consider that.


Off-topic, but what is the point of having a mini ethernet port if you still need a dongle anyway? USB ethernet adapters are cheap. They could just kill the port and save some pennies.


To have a fixed MAC address for the enterprise where it matters.


Spoof the adapter's MAC?


Apple can also just swap out the complete part and then ship the broken one to China to be disassembled and repaired cheaply.


Afaik this is what they do. Apple service centers need to return broken parts to Apple after 'repair'. Apple can then recycle/refurbish these parts of they seem fit. But they probably won't discount the customer for the benefit they receive from this approach.


> image safe for work

Is there any reason to expect an image of some screws and a grain of rice not to be safe for work? Genuinely curious. Like, what else would possibly be in that image? I think in general we expect all images on HN to be safe for work. And if they are not then people warn about that. Were there any NSFW images that you came across when searching for this one?


imgur.com hosts quite a few NSFW images. A company's firewall might be blocking images coming from there.


^^ This. I've had two instances where I'd used Imgur for image grabbing of screenshots and they turned out to be on the same page as NSFW images, which was out of my control.

That photo I took with the screws was ~3 years ago, my image hosting has changed since.


You get the sweats easily, I usually undress completely while unscrewing MacBook keyboards. It's a dirty business.


For any MacBook (Air/Pro) since they've been "unibody" (introduced in 2008), Apple's keyboard repair is (almost?) always a whole new "top case". More is moved than just the logic board — display, speakers, storage — but the keyboard itself isn't removed at the shop or repair depot. Now presumably they use all those bad top cases as refurb parts to some degree, so someone removes the keyboard . . .


For the older scissor keys, you can get replacement keycaps from ebay, and install them with a bit of fidgeting yourself. So even if Apple doesn't replace individual keys, you can do it yourself, and fix a broken keyboard for around 15€.

With the new butterfly keys that is apparently no longer possible.


Apple and Apple service providers can get replacement keycaps from Apple and replace keycaps, even for the butterfly keyboards. The linked article even says, "The type of service [...] may involve the replacement of one or more keys". The butterfly ones are more complicated to replace.

But this only helps with some kinds of key issues where the keycap or scissor mechanism is the problem, like sticking or rubbing keys (and dirty keys). It usually doesn't help with issues like no key response or wrong letter being typed. In this case the keyboard, and therefore the top case, would need to be replaced.


A few years ago I brought a 2011 Macbook Air to an Apple authorized repair shop, and they told me they could only replace the entire keyboard. So if they started replacing individual keys, that must be something new, I've never heard about that.

Everything I've read suggests that they only replace the entire keyboard, or in the case of the new Macbook, the entire top half of the computer.

I've also read that the scissor switch breaks when you try to remove the keycap, so I'm not sure how replacing individual keys would work.


I've replaced many Mac keycaps. All the "chicklet" style, starting with the white plastic MacBooks, can be replaced. (I don't know about the silver MBPs keys before that.) I honestly don't remember when key cap sets became available. Possibly after the retina MBPs came out, which use the same keycaps as the Airs. With the white MacBooks, with their infamous palmrest cracking issue, there were always extra top cases around to take a key from. This is still what is usually offered, at no cost, to someone who needs a key or a few, if they're off warranty.

The big thing is the keycaps and scissor aren't designed to be removed, unlike other parts of the machine, so you will break a large fraction of the ones you try to remove, and those will need to be replaced with a new key and/or scissor. And they're small and fiddly to replace. So there's a difference between replacing 1, 2 or 3 missing or wonky keys and half the keyboard. Many shops would probably only want to replace the whole top case after a certain threshold due to the time and work involved. If the keys are sticky it's different too, since the keycap, scissor plus the part of the top case below and around the key would need to be cleaned to get it moving well. With more than a few keys this starts to be a lot of work.

The butterfly keyboards don't have replaceable mechanisms, and the keycap's tabs are so small that they are not meant to be put back on, but instead always replaced.


OK, this sounds reasonable. In my case, there was a single broken key on the keyboard (either the cap or the scissor was broken, I ended up replacing both with a used key from ebay), and the Apple authorized service provider told me they could only replace the whole keyboard. Good to hear that this is not an actual Apple policy, because it seems ridiculous.


What's a source of MacBook tops?

Why do you transfer the logic board? Do you need to obtain a new logic board (as part of the "top", and trash the original machine's logic board? )

As I recall (no pun intended) from past recalls, a logic board change is $300 itself (but that includes some redundancy if you are already doing a service call to change another part of the device)


On the new MacBook Pros, and probably the MacBooks too, the chips that make up the SSD are soldered onto the logic board. The logic board change swap is required for the customer to keep their data.


The SSD is part of the motherboard for MBPs with Touch Bar, both 15- and 13-inch, and MacBooks. The 13-inch without the Touch Bar, internally a very different design, does still have a separate SSD.


This is very welcome news to me, and I've seen it nowhere else. Do you have a canonical source for it? How about the RAM?


The SSD is socketed but proprietary, using a non-standard connector and an Apple-designed controller chip. The RAM is soldered.

https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Function...


My canonical source is my eyes, having opened up all three types ;-)

But the sibling comment has pictures and is right about the ram.


I'd assume "transfer the logic board" means that the user's original board moves to the new case. Sort of like how a head transplant is equivalent to a body transplant.


Correct.


This is the general trend in Apple in making almost everything difficult to service directly to make case more easily manufactured lighter. Course when something goes wrong...


Now the keyboards are riveted on from what I understand making it even more difficult.


I've been putting off buying a new laptop over concerns about the keyboard and overall fragileness. I was debating ditching Mac for the first time in like 15years. This makes me more likely to choose Mac since they are admitting it's a problem and they'll fix it out of warranty without question.

My big concern was getting the extended warranty and then having it break just outside the warranty period leaving me stuck with a big repair bill.

Personally I still think they should make a 32Gig Memory MacBook Pro, that's built like a tank, maybe it weighs 5+ pounds, who cares, people who want a light fragile comp can just get the non-Pro model.

edit: updated "4 pounds" to "5+ pounds" since apparently it's already 4.5 pounds


There's a non-zero chance that starting this program now means the next release of the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines is going to have another keyboard redesign. I don't mean that to sound conspiratorial, but this is an admission of a problem that's attracted a lot of attention over the last ~12 months that they've been conspicuously silent on, and this makes me suspect that they at least think they've gotten the bugs worked out. (Said bugs are apparently dust mites.)

I'd like to see at least one MacBook Pro model that at least threw the SD slot and HDMI port back in. And, sure, USB-A, but I suspect that ship has sailed no matter how much of a mess USB-C objectively is. Of course, I'd like to just see the MBP models all switch to the Magic Keyboard design even though it will -- gasp! -- make the machine a millimeter thicker...


It would be very un-Apple-like to backtrack on USB (much as I'd like them to), but reintroducing HDMI and SD wouldn't be a backtrack.

The difference is that one could reasonably assert that the industry will eventually migrate away from USB-A (even if the timeframe for that is highly debatable). But there is no case at all to be made for moving away from HDMI or SD – the idea of using USB-C ports instead of HDMI on TVs and projectors is only in its earliest proposals, and there is nothing on the camera industry's horizon to replace SD cards with any kind of USB-C compatible media.

USB-A may be superseded (if only technically) by USB-C, but HDMI and SD have no current successor.


Why cant USB-C be a successor for HDMI?


Cable length is an issue. A fifty feet HDMI cable at Monoprice is less than 25 USD. A similar USB 3.0 cable needs to be active and costs 100 USD. My mind boggles at the thought of a 50ft USB C cable.


I can't imagine many people are buying fifty feet cables.


The only reason HDMI still exists over the vastly superior DisplayPort is the cable length. The DP standard, if memory serves, limits the cable to 3 metres / 10 feet so the max cheap passive cable you can buy on Amazon is obviously 15 feet. Meanwhile, the HDMI standard has no cable length limit but in practice 50 ft is the longest passive you can buy.


I'd say the only reason HDMI still exists is because everything has HDMI built in. The best standard doesn't always win, the most prolific one does.


When DP came out in 2008 it already supported 4K and HDMI didn't.


I don't see how that's in any way an argument against "the best standards don't always win".


Every conference room with a projector on the ceiling needs a long cable.


A USB Type-C to HDMI cable using HDMI alt mode works with a passive cable (and supports ARC, CEC, etc.), but is limited to HDMI 1.4b.


This discussion was about replacing HDMI with USB C -- I presumed on both ends. Switching USB C to HDMI alt mode and then running a HDMI cable is not replacing HDMI with USB C. Let's not even mention I am unaware of any product switching USB C to HDMI alt mode. All the available USB C to HDMI converters are using DisplayPort alt mode and an active converter, packed in one IC.


Good point, although I assume the price would fall in the coming years.


10gbps, 60W USB C-USB C cables are not even available at more than 6ft. It's too complicated a standard for that. You'd need fiber and USB-fiber extenders steadfastly refuse to come down in price even at 5gbps and I haven't even seen a 10/20gbps.


Interesting, I did not know it would be complicated.


USB C cables are built from micro coax assemblies https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1057/0966/files/JUCX01-Str... in order to make even this short distance viable.


To the designers at Apple any sort of hole is like a disease that needs to be fix.


Only, not. There are still four USB-C ports in the 15" Pro.


It's the pro machine though. It should have ports.

Four is down from 7 holes on the Macbook Pro 2015. (Magsafe, 2x usb a, 2x thunderbolt, SD, HDMI).


I like USB-C. It's cut down on the number of things I plug in and out of the computer by half.


I personally think this issue is overblown in terms of frequency in the internet outrage echo chamber. So so many of these devices among the people I work with professionally, not a single failure out of anyone I’ve ever met. Yet, reading Apple posts online, you would think every MacBook Pro sold has a failing keyboard.


This issue is not overblown. I've used nothing but Macs since 2001, and am now at the third company I've worked at that maintains a substantial fleet of Macbooks. This most recent keyboard debacle is the worst thing that ever happened to the Macbook platform.

Literally every single MBP in our office has failed, some of them more than once. The failure mode is always the same: the keyboard gets flaky, then you lose a key for a couple hours until you manage to finagle it back into working, then you lose 1-2 more keys and they never work properly again. The only fix is to turn it over to Apple for several days, which means you can't count on a single MBP per employee, because at any given moment --- with near certainty --- someone's laptop will be taken out for several days.

On the plus side, it's a little bit like Chaos Monkey for backups, since you always know you're probably just a day or two away from needing to swap machines.

It sounds like a minor thing, I get it! "Sticking keys, oh no!" The problem is: you can't type. The only way to be typing again on your machine is to have it sent away for several days. That's a disaster.


All the modifier keys on the left side of my MBP 2017 are starting to get flaky. I have to press them longer and harder to get them to register and they often register a key up while they key is still down. I’m dreading finding a service center and being without a machine for who knows how long while I’m doing the digital nomad thing.

Between this and the mostly useless touch bar I’d gladly take a MBP 2015 design with an updated CPU any day. I get that Apple likes to take chances on new ideas and that often pays off spectacularly for them but not this time.


I brought my MBP (late 2016) in for repair because 2 keys‘ notches had broken off - thank god they could replace the keys on the spot, and also cleaned the whole keyboard with pressurized air. I must say, the thorough cleaning did restore most of the problematic keys back to normal. They only forgot the / key which is a bit annoying, but I might just buy a pressurized air can for a couple Euros and fix that myself.


I wonder if it could be prone to happenening to laptops ordered from a particular manufacturing center, or from a certain timeframe?

I work at a 300+ person company full of 2016/2017 macbooks and personally own a 2017 macbook pro, and I've not witnessed a single problem from that sample size.


Just like your sibling comment finds my claim (on a substantially smaller number of laptops) hard to believe, I find your claim impossible to believe. So either you're right and it's somehow regionalized, or people just aren't reporting the problem.

The latter wouldn't surprise me! Lots of people use external keyboards, or just deal with the petty frustration of having to hit certain keys much harder or backspace out the repeats.


For what it's worth, we have about a dozen Mac laptops with the new keyboard in my office and none have keyboard problems (I've asked).

It's obviously a serious issue because Apple has created a special program for it. But, it also seems obvious that only some machines are affected, for whatever reason. Maybe some people just type harder than others.


My laptop makes a case for the opposite. I hardly ever use the built in keyboard on my mbp 2017, but some of my keys are not functioning properly. A colleague of mine has a similar but worse case and had to return it about half a year ago. In total we have three of the mbp's in this office that qualify to be serviced.

Perhaps it's the dusty office? We are located in a old ship hangar.


> regionalized

What if it’s just climate? Dust and humidity are regionalized. Companies in drier, less dusty, less “sticky” climates might see few to no sticky keyboards.


Or their office is just located in a haunted old sawmill that was previously attached to an abattoir.


There have been three generations of the new keyboard already, it's quite feasible you both have different versions.

You might also find different working environments have an effect, is their aircon filtering more dust?


> is their aircon filtering more dust?

Wait, this laptop portable machine can only be used in environments with filtered air?

This "you're holding it wrong" shit is weird.


we’re trying to narrow down why some people have issues and some don’t, not make excuses for it.

In my office we have no issues across about 20 2016 and 2016 models.


I didn't say or imply that.


I wonder if it is like some of the automobile airbag failures and recalls--latitude matters since problems turn out aggravated by heat/humidity.


Yes, you are absolutely right that I may not know of situations, and I definitely meant my experience to be anecdotal, not scientific.

I am not even trying to downplay the fact that it's happening a lot; It just seems so strange to read so many people on hacker news talking about extremely high rates of failure in their sample size, when neither myself nor anyone I've talked to has experienced it.


I read most of the problems are about the 2016 model and not the 2017 model. It could be that people have different versions of the keyboard.


Pedantic note: No matter the failure rate, the expected number of required laptops will always be greater than the number of employees who need one.

The important question, given N employees, is: "How large can N get before we need N+2 MBPs to reliably keep everyone computing?"


Generally it's not like you can just swap someone's machine out without any downtime.


> Literally every single MBP in our office has failed

I respect you and your posts generally, but I can guarantee that’s a hyperbolic statement if sample size is greater than maybe a small handful.


It’s precise and factual, and several people have had they’re laptops replaced more than once. It is not hyperbole.


My sample size is 1 and I’ve witnessed this exact failure mode.

This computer is far and away the worst machine I’ve had in my professional career.


That settles it then! We have now proven that the amount of devices that fail is 100% with an uncertainty of about 100%.


You could just give them real keyboards to use. Except macbooks don't have any usable ports these days...


There’s literally a MacBook available with 4 ports. Just because there’s one with a single port doesn’t mean all of them only have one.


Like it or not, USB-C ports don't qualify as usable.


Apple unofficially / officially said the failure rate was less then 5%. There was later some investigative work by a few Apple media that repair at Apple Retail and third party to confirm that figure. Failure ( Or Repair Rate ) or roughly 3 - 4%.

You see, that is the problem. I expect Keyboard failure to be LESS then 0.03% - 0.04%. Thanks to Apple, people finally realise how important the keyboard is, especially in these days and age, where Mac / PC are more for professional and business / work usage. 4% Repair meant 4 in every 100 Mac, even 0.04% is 4 in every 10,000. For Keyboard!

For every IBM / Lenovo, Dell, HP single Keyboard failure I have seen in the past decade of my professional career, there is like 10 MacBook Keyboard failed in the past 2-3 years. It doesn't mean other brand don't fail, but they are much less often, 5 times cheaper to repair, and many had three year warranty included. While All Mac only comes with a single year warranty.

I wish Apple bump the price by a small percentage, and include at least 2 years warranty, or even Apple Care by default. ( I know in EU this is included already ) We don't upgrade our Mac every 2 - 3 years any more. They have much longer life time. This will hopefully force Apple to think about design that is easier to repair for themselves, and much higher reliability so they do less repair.


It’s included in New Zealand too, due to the consumer guarantees act, a fantastic piece of legislation. Possibly summarising to the point of error “a purchase should last as long as a reasonable person would expect”.


That’s great, but I do I get from that to a number that I as a business (to know my obligations) or I as a consumer (to know my rights) can use?

Does every instance need to be tested in court? Seems ripe for unpredictable outcomes.


I don’t know the answer to that. Electronics like phones seem to get a minimum of 2 years and extended warranties are generally not worth buying here, though some do extend for 10+ years.


> While All Mac only comes with a single year warranty. > I wish Apple bump the price by a small percentage, and include at least 2 years warranty, or even Apple Care by default.

Unlikely to happen. People seem to love shelling out extra for AppleCare+ just like how they love to tip. They think they're getting a lot of extra bonus value because of it but really it's just like most extended warranties only this time it's for an expesive product that's not expected to last (in relation to its price).


Go to another country, like Australia https://www.apple.com/au/legal/statutory-warranty/

How long does Apple provide warranty for devices in Australia?

> A reasonable period from date of delivery until the failure becomes apparent

> Without limiting consumers’ rights, Apple will provide its own remedies equivalent to those remedies in the consumer guarantee provisions of the Australian Consumer Law at any time within 24 months of the date of purchase. For the avoidance of doubt, Apple acknowledges that the Australian Consumer Law may provide for remedies beyond 24 months for a number of its products.


I'm in Australia and the statutory warranty doesn't specify 24 months - it can be longer (whatever the customer thinks is reasonable and is willing to push on).

The 24 months that Apple provides is really a minimum as far as the law is concerned. For expensive "high quality" products such as the MacBook Pro, it's fair to expect that coverage should last longer than the 24 months that Apple tries to impose.

https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/11/most-electronics-store...

https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/3znx69/manufactu...

https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/consumer-rights-and-advic...

Contrary to popular belief, 2 years is not a hard limit and claiming such is borderline "illegal". See in particular the video (or transcript) within the last link there.


Which is exactly what Apple says in its first and last line.

> For the avoidance of doubt, Apple acknowledges that the Australian Consumer Law may provide for remedies beyond 24 months for a number of its products

There's no doubt that saying there is a 24-month hard limit is illegal. Nothing borderline about it.

I worked at the Genius Bar in Sydney while Apple was going through all this trouble with the ACCC and they really stepped up their game in a big way, especially compared to other retailers in the country.


So based on your second hand observations?

Not overblown at all. I sold my MacBook Pro and stopped using Macs all together after my third trip in two months to the "genius" bar due to sticking keys.

I think a few hours of wasted time for something so basic and fundamental as being able use your keyboard more than justifies some "outrage."


One of the keys on my MacBook Air keyboard broke about 6 months ago. The busted key made it unusable as a laptop, and I don't need/want a desktop (aka attach it to a keyboard & monitor). Authorized Apple repairs were a few hudred bucks. I was strongly considering buying another Mac, but that seemed like such a waste over a single busted key. I decided to try one of those aftermarket key repair kits, and it actually worked. I spent less than $20 to fix it. I'm glad I tried! If I hadn't been able to fix it, I would have been super vocal about how I had to trash my laptop over a busted key on a keyboard, so I can understand why people who sound upset.


I’m in the same boat. Despite owning 10+ of the affected models directly and working in firms with thousands of affected models, i’ve never heard / seen the problem first hand. I didn’t doubt it’s happening, but wondered how my network has been so lucky. Glad to see Apple acknowledge it, just hope it doesn’t mean a worse keyboard is on the horizon, as I really love the current style.


I have personally had my keyboard fixed 4 times and across my company it's been nearly a dozen. It's a huge pain to have to be out of computer for that repair time and deal with it in the first place. It's a huge problem.


It's anecdotal but everyone I work with who has a new mbp has had at least one keyboard failure...


I don't know if adding another post will convince you. But for what it's worth, I'm also a long time Mac user, and this new MacBook has had multiple keyboard failures, just as tptacek describes. I've had about 5 different keys fail on me, each time for a few days, until a didn't key takes their place.


The failure rate may be low, but anecdotally it's significantly higher than previous models.


It seems very much like a usage issue. My friends that take their macbooks to the coffee shop, traveling, use it on the train, etc. all have had keyboard issues.

I work from home with an external keyboard and monitor and honestly might as well have a desktop for all the MBP leaves my room (and ancedatally) others with a similar usage pattern aren't having the issues.


So people who actually use the keyboard tend to have more issues with said keyboard. Shocking.


I actually use it very very rarely, and still my B key is borked.

Believe me, these keyboards are just terrible.


While this is incredibly anecdotal (e.g., a sample of one), I use my "MacBook Escape" (the non-touchbar 13") at home and in coffee shops and have not had a problem. I've also had two touchbar MBPs at two different jobs and so far have had no issues, although they tend to remain closed except for meetings.


We use Escapes almost exclusively, and all of them have failed. Mine failed 3 times; in protest, I haven't taken it in for a 3rd repair, but rather switched back to a '15-15".


Yikes. I may have just been lucky with mine, then. (I'd pretend I've just been extremely careful, but that is totally not true.)


Do you think it is the coffee shop usage that keeps it problem free?


Yeah, this is what it has been in our experience as well. They seem to fail pretty predictably after a lot of heavy usage, but many laptops don't reach that.


Right, the people that are using their notebook keyboards end up with issues and those that don't...don't


> Personally I still think they should make a 32Gig Memory MacBook Pro

I agree with this sentiment. The last upgrade I got at work was very lackluster - I went from a 4-year-old MacBook Pro to a brand new one. I still have the same amount of RAM, and the work I do isn't usually processor constrained. It's functionally no different from what it replaced.

I do like the TouchBar and Touch ID though.


They'll almost certainly do it once intel gets it's act together and ships CNL


What do you like about the TouchBar?


Honestly, I’m still not fully over the “new/shiny” phase, so I think that’s the main reason I like it right now.

I can see some useful things about it. Deleting messages in Mail.app is a tap on the TouchBar vs Cmd-Delete, which is a bit of a wash. Switching months in Calendar.app is quicker and easier with the TouchBar. Access to the formatting options in Word and Outlook is nice.

On the downside though, I spend a lot of time (at work) with the computer plugged into two monitors and a USB keyboard. In this situation, the TouchBar is basically useless so that really limits how much it will get integrated into regular use.


> This makes me more likely to choose Mac since they are admitting it's a problem and they'll fix it out of warranty without question.

Only within 4 years after sale. If I spend more than $2000 on a laptop, I expect it to last 7 years minimum.


For what it’s worth, my 15” MacBook Pro touchbar has had bad keyboard problems, and Apple Genius Bar has been very helpful in resolving, aside from the annoyance of my having made 3 trips to the Apple store for keyboard issues. At my last visit, Apple decided to replace my top case for free to fix the keyboard (which they should have done from the start, but whatev) AND the genius decided to go ahead and have them replace my display because it was marred up pretty bad. All out of warranty and all for free. Prior to this last visit, I (like you) was thinking “no way am I spending $2400 on another Apple laptop” if the quality isn’t there, without a beefier warranty. Gladly, Apple stepped up. Everything else about the laptop is excellent, I even like the new keyboard feel, but a Pro computer must be a workhorse and stand up to vigorous typing 6+ hrs a day. I know other people have been burned where maybe I was fortunate, but at least my experience has been relatively rosy. (I’ll be honest though, The touch bar is dumb and Apple should have given it more thought and functionality before rolling it out. I would do without it if it didn’t otherwise require me to buy a nerfed laptop)


Many would agree with you, but Steve Jobs was always committed to putting OK functionality that fits inside the best form. Maybe one day Apple will change to allow best functionality in an OK form (where "OK" was "insanely great just 10 years ago. ) It's likely be >4lb though: today's 15" MBP is 4.5lbs.


I do iOS development and using XCode with Macs with 8G Ram is so slow it's borderline unusable.

It just feels like 16G Ram (the max for mac laptops) is going to be too slow in a couple years or so.


That was what I was wondering about when I bought my Macbook Pro in 2015 - but I'm still using it. I have to run 2 VMs plus Xcode before the RAM becomes a noticeable problem, and even then it's perfectly usable in practice. (Switching between VMs is not instant, but the very fast SSD means I'm not waiting for too long.) I think a quad core CPU would be a much more useful upgrade than more RAM.

And come to think of it, it was also what I was wondering when I bought my desktop PC in 2012, and I'm still using that, too.

I'm not saying it's unreasonable or foolish to be concerned - far from it, given that the RAM can't be upgraded - but I still do wonder when the tipping point for this will actually be reached in practice. During my formative years, you were doing well to get 3 years out of a PC, and now here I am with a laptop that's that old, figuring it will last at least a couple more years...


It almost sounds as if you'd be more productive if you spent the time and effort to set up a Hackintosh with 32GB+ of RAM?


They will have a new machine for you to buy in 2 years time where the SSD doubles up as RAM and VRAM meaning you will have a gigabyte of RAM. Furthermore, since they will have an ARM chip in them by then you will be glad to see the back of your x86 legacy machine.


I suspect you would have said the same thing two years ago.


I'd be okay with a larger/heavier machine. The last gen retina display is IMO the best combination of size and power. Given they've been able to cram more performance into the thinner current gen, I imagine getting 32gb and adequate battery life in a slightly thicker form factor is doable.


No, it's 4.02 pounds. This isn't hard to look up.

https://support.apple.com/kb/SP756?locale=en_US


I feel like you could easily get something like that in the form factor of the 3rd generation (pre-touch bar) MacBook Pro, which was under 5 pounds.


The quality at Apple, in both software and hardware, has obviously declined in the past couple years as their supply chain has come under strain.

In the past three years:

my MacBook has had replaced

- The screen

- The battery

- The keyboard

My iPad had it's screen replaced, and my iPhone had its battery replaced.

None of these are covered under AppleCare, they've all been replaced under individual recall programs.

Sure, they have fixed each issue for free, so that's fine, but for what is supposed to be the most dependable consumer hardware on the market, it's rather surprising.


in the past couple years

Anecdotally, the most reliable Macs I've owned have been the new ones.

The least reliable Mac I've ever had was a 17" PowerBook. I got more than my money's worth out of AppleCare with that one.

Ordinarily, I'd go off about cheap Chinese build quality, but the Chinese will build to any spec and quality you are willing to pay for. Also, according to Coconut Identity, the machine was built in Ireland.


> Anecdotally, the most reliable Macs I've owned have been the new ones.

That's because they're not old enough yet to develop problems. Reliability can only be determined after some time has passed.


2016 MacBook Pro

2015 iMac

2014 MacBook

2011 MacBook Air

2009 MacBook

2005 iBook

2005 PowerBook

Plus an iLamp I can't properly estimate the year on. All chugging along. Let me know when to expect my MTBF.


> Let me know when to expect my MTBF.

That's not how it works. MTBF is a statistical thing it doesn't say anything about a particular device. Just like smoking can give you lungcancer and your 95 year old uncle smoking 3 packs a day is not evidence to the contrary.


What is an iLamp?


A little overzealous with the downvotes? I also didn't know what an iLamp is.



I am guessing the G4 iMac w/ articulating display?


iMac G4 maybe?


Obviously since you’ve had no problem everyone else is wrong. Maybe you’ll be on Apple’s next billboard campaign with Jeremiah Cohick.


The least reliable, worst Mac I’ve ever owned is the cylindrical Mac Pro.

Cost 6k and made in the USA.

I hate it with the intensity of a thousand suns. It is absolute trash (and we bought two :( Even worse than the v1 MacBook Air I stupidly bought.

The best Mac I owned was some old iMac 24” that lasted something like 7 years. We kept passing it down the family until the screen resolution wasn’t good enough anymore.


Wow, my 2013 Pro is the only Mac ive owned that’s never had a problem, and it runs 24/7. Mine was the $3000 model - issues with the different GPU perchance?

(I’m sure it will break the second I get home now that I said this)


The v1 Air was terrible, the hinges crumbled before your eyes and the battery warped so much it affected the keyboard.


The newest Macbooks are more reliable than older models according to data Apple Insider got from Apple stores [1].

[1] https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/04/30/2016-macbook-pro-...


Which is weird, since this kind of nuts-and-bolts stuff was supposed to be Tim Cook’s wheelhouse. The whole argument for him becoming CEO was that he might not have Steve Jobs’ product genius, but you could at least be sure the trains would run on time.

What happened?


He started measuring success in dollars saved and stock price increased, instead of customer satisfaction and tech cool.

Mr. Jobs famously said that Apple will do it's own thing, and the stock holders can come along for the ride, or get out. Mr. Cook's attitude seems to be more akin to a traditional industrial-era CEO, and not someone trying to further technology, the way his predecessor did.


I'm not sure you're basing your statements on anything but conjecture, but Cook has repeatedly stated the opposite:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40525409/why-apple-is-the-worlds...


The best train conductor knows best how to get a train somewhere at a specific time. If said conductor wanted to save some money on keyboards at the expense of quality because he thought it was in Apple's best interest, I wouldn't be shocked. Just because you understand Ops doesn't mean that you necessarily want to produce the highest quality at the expense of all other things.


And Apple has never been closer to being worth $1 trillion in market value.


My 2012 MBPr had every part replaced at least once, and a few (screen, keyboard and top of main body) replaced twice, fortunately all during the 3-year AppleCare.

A consistent problem in my 2010, 2012 and 2017 MBP's is reliable (i.e. not crashing) switching between the discrete and integrated GPU's. It was the death of the '10 after 2 logic boards, caused 1 logic board replacement on '12, and now on my '17 I still see regular (every couple weeks) spiral-into-non-responsiveness and core dumps exactly when those switches happen. I wish MacOS could still force to integrated GPU, I'd rather have slow graphics than give up battery life.


> 2012 MBPr had every part replaced at least once

Same here. First the display ghosting issue, then a couple logic board swaps for GPU issues. Then the I/O board for USB issues. The top case for a trackpad problem, and then when I swapped the battery they had to replace the bottom case as well. By the end I think it was all new parts aside from the SSD.

> I wish MacOS could still force to integrated GPU

I use the free gfxCardStatus app to accomplish this


I didn't have this problem on the 2012 model but i definitely do now on the 2016 one.


You never owned a G3 iBook or the original polycarbonite MacBook.

The previous generation aluminum MacBook Pro and AirBook tanks are the anomaly - not the other way around.


You can’t make statements about quality without having statistics. Otherwise it’s just meaningless anecdotes.

The problem here is that it is an awful keyboard design that should’ve been discovered before they shipped it. But I wouldn’t consider the MacBooks poor quality.


> You can’t make statements about quality without having statistics. Otherwise it’s just meaningless anecdotes.

But you can:

> But I wouldn’t consider the MacBooks poor quality.


Without reliable available statistics the only thing left for consumers are anecdotes.


Even if they are the only thing left, it doesn't mean you should have a high level of confidence in the conclusions you make based off of them. (In fact, you almost certainly shouldn't...)


I've had 2 in the past 2 years. (2016 and 2017 models) First one had to have the display replaced. Both had weird display artifacts when I pushed a lot of pixels over display port-to-USB C (2 external monitors)

My previous machine, a late 2013 model, lasted 3 years or so without any real issues.

Obviously mine is a meaningless anecdote as well, but fitting a common pattern.


What is the common pattern?


That recent macbooks are shit. Obviously.


Apple's hardware quality has been iffy for a very long time. The difference is that they tend to willingly replace parts that are known to fail.


This is akin to how representative democracy is a bad form of government, but better than all the others that have been tried. Consumer reports has consistently noted that Apple laptops require the least frequency of service compared to any other brand.

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/laptops/LaptopReliabilit...


> Sure, they have fixed each issue for free, so that's fine

And how much time did it cost? I suppose like me, you have a backup computer to go to?


To me, this speaks to the incredible layers of protection Apple has in making sure their hardware consumers have as good of an experience as possible, even when they have unexpected issues. I really think some people would choose Apple solely because Apple would do these repairs for free, in a way that is the least amount of hassle to the consumer. (i.e, you can have a real conversation with a real person.)

Otherwise, do people generally think that other computer manufacturers have't had issues, or that Apple is purposefully trying to have a lower quality product? Are people away of the amount of reliability testing that Apple does in house? It's easy to point an ignorant finger at them, but we're better than that. Where's the data?

If anything, the closest thing we have to data right now is what they say on their website: a small number of laptops have a malfunctioning keyboard. Is it even legal for them to say that if it really were most of them?


This is a ridiculous take. I have a MacBook 12” that had key problems. I went to the Apple store and they wanted to charge me $570 to fix it. I got a replacement key online for $13 and did it myself. Charging $570 to fix your own mistakes is not taking great care of your customers.


I totally agree that sometimes they do ask for high fees for repairs --- you still get to talk to a person though, and I definitely know a good number of people who didn't have to pay for their mistakes. (Even things that were definitely their fault, and they didn't have accidental coverage)


And yet, now you can go get a free repair for that machine. Does that change your opinion? It should.


> If anything, the closest thing we have to data right now is what they say on their website: a small number of laptops have a malfunctioning keyboard. Is it even legal for them to say that if it really were most of them?

Is it legal to say that? It’s not a legal document so I would imagine so. I think it’s extremely misleading though. It’s clearly a defect in the keyboard itself or else Apple wouldn’t have issued a recall. It could just be that the people who haven’t been impacted have yet to get a crumb or spec of dust under a key.

My family and I have owned around 15 Macs over the last 20 years, and the 2016 MacBook Pro is by FAR the worst Apple computer I have ever owned. I can’t even think of another one that could even compete for that title.

Everyone I have spoken to who has a butterfly style MacBook (Pro) has also had problems with their keyboard.

My guess is that percentage wise when you compare the total number they have sold with the number that came in for repair it works out to a small percent, but that could also be because people live with the problem and don’t want to pay for a repair or give up their computer to Apple for a week to have it repaired.

I lived with my busted keyboard for about a year before finally bringing it in around a month ago to have it repaired.

Also keep in mind that a lot of people assume when technology is not working how they expect it to that it is something THEY are doing wrong (vs. a fault in the product or design) and they may be embarrassed to admit it or bring it in for repair.


It seems to me like if a company makes claims that aren't true, then that is sometimes illegal --- that's what I meant by that statement. I don't think it's a matter of if something is a "legal document" so much as if their claims are legally binding, but I'm also not a lawyer. (But hence why I asked).

I 100% agree that the total number they have for repair could be small for other reasons, but it's fair to say that we just don't know. I certainly know people who hate the touchpad, but not everyone I know has had issues with the butterfly style keyboard. So again, some form of data, but still inconclusive.

Also, regardless, sorry you had to go through the shitty keyboard =/. I hope whatever other computer you consider in the future is better. FWIW, I'm also debating whether the current generation of Macbooks is something I'm interested in, and I'm still not sure.


Thanks. I’m sorry too. I really hope the next generation is better.

My biggest worry is that they will “fix” the keyboard problem by extending the touchbar to the entire keyboard area and renaming it the “Touch Board”.


I switched to Linux on Lenovo because of the problems I've had from the latest MBP.

You might expect problems from a 500-euros laptop, but not that your keyboard will stop functioning correctly after 2 months on a 1799-eur laptop.

Also, I brought my laptop at the Apple store thrice, and it broke again every single time. Last time, the logic board died, along with the SSD that is soldered to it and all data on it.

Repairs might be free, but who pays for the lost time and inconvenience of not having a computer? How much should one spend so that a laptop keeps typing after a few weeks?

My MBP lasted 5 months. Then I sold it for 1000EUR and sweared I'd never give Apple another dime.

Ironically, a 300-eur laptop with a regular keyboard that I was using as a substitute has been working great for years.


Sorry you had the bad experience, but do you think this is the average experience someone has with Apple products?

I also agree that you have to put in a decent effort to get things fixed, but you have to compare Apple to what the experience is like with other companies. I've definitely had situations that were very difficult to deal with over the phone, and situations where I had to send my laptop in for weeks in order for it to get fixed. What is the current standard for non-Apple computers, as far as getting things repaired?

(FWIW, I am also considering linux on lenovo)


Judging by the constant, intense crowding at the Genius Bar in my town I would say so


No, I don't think it's the average experience.

What's your point though?


My point is that you likely have a biased view, as understandably you had an especially-bad experience, and that's the experience that's being highlighted for everyone to see.


Enough people had the same experience to allow for a class action.

Do you want me to tell someone else's experience?


They _always_ say a "small number".


I am also fine with assuming we don't really have data on the issue, but "knowing friends that agree with me" isn't really a reason to think you are definitely right.


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