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MacBook Users Get Class-Action Suit Status For Apple’s Butterfly Keyboard Design

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A class-action suit against Apple for its fragile butterfly keyboard design is now certified by a US Judge. The suit covers anyone who bought an Apple MacBook with the butterfly keyboard in California, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan.


The suit also covers people who bought a MacBook model between 2015 and 2017; a MacBook Pro model between 2016 and 2019; or a MacBook Air between 2018 and 2019.


Judge Edward Davila had certified the case with seven subclasses on 8th March 2021 in California. However, the order had remained sealed until last week. The suit was first filed in 2018, three years after the introduction of the controversial butterfly switches to Apple laptops.

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The butterfly keyboard had a slimmer design than Apple’s previous keyboards. However, many users found out that the new keyboard design failed when even tiny particles of dust accumulated around the switches.


This resulted in keys feeling “sticky” and failing to register keypresses or registering multiple presses with a single hit. And although Apple tweaked its butterfly keyboard multiple times, it didn’t fix the issue. After continued complaints from its users, the company abandoned the switches in 2020.


The class-action suit against Apple states that it knew for years that its butterfly switches were defective. It also states that the company knew that the multiple changes weren’t fixing the real issue.


The suit cites internal communications inside Apple to support its case. This includes an executive who wrote that “no matter how much lipstick you try to put on this pig [referring to the butterfly keyboard] . . . it’s still ugly.”


The plaintiffs are accusing Apple of violating several laws across the seven states. the violations include; California’s Unfair Competition Law, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.


Apple in its response to the class action certification, says one consolidated suit shouldn’t cover multiple tweaks to the butterfly keyboard. However, the plaintiffs’ argument is that all the butterfly keyboards may have the same fundamental problems due to their shallow design and narrow gaps between keys. An argument that is now successful.


“None of the design differences that Apple points to changed the tight spaces between the keys, nor the low-travel aspect of the design,” the order reads.


The law firm behind the suit is inviting any US buyer of an affected MacBook to complete a survey here.



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