Users complain that new MacBook keyboards still die easy


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/16/users-complaint-that-new-macbo.html


#2

You can’t fit one of your funky keyboards in your travel kit?


#3

Not remotely, travel very light.


#4

I’m in the same boat and have been looking at the X1 as well. I had been looking the Dell XPS 15 but the discrepancies between the reviewer reviews and the user reviews gave me pause.


#5

Bummer. I don’t like the way keyboards have suffered as a result of Apple’s relentless (and by now way overdone) pursuit of thinner, lighter laptops but I can live with a less than perfect keyboard as long as the hardware is reliable.

I hope Apple can relearn how to build a decent keyboard before my current machine dies. (And this 2014 MBP does not have what I would call a great keyboard, but it works.) If they can’t figure it out, I’ll be jumping platforms for the first time since… ever.


#6

The Thinkpad X1 is a good choice. Even though IBM doesn’t make them anymore, Lenovo has done a good job in keeping the quality quite high.


#7

Was lucky enough to be given a 2014 Macbook Pro, and swore it would be Apple from here on out. But now these keyboards. My son has a pretty cool gaming laptop that way outperforms my MacBook for half the price, other than Windows being a pile of crap. Maybe I’ll go that direction when it’s time for a new machine.

Is it the lack of Steve Jobs that causes Apple to do things like this?


#8

The keyboard is always the first thing to go on my MacBooks. I always attributed it my early years on a manual typewriter (along with my propensity to furiously stab at the keys when I write) - didn’t realize it was a thing with the gear itself.


#9

It’s just the most recent couple years of Macbook keyboards that have had this problem - every 12" Macbook (no suffix) and the Macbook Pros made since 2016 with USB-C.

They re-engineered the keyboard to be thinner (because that’s what Apple does). The new keyboards are a) much more failure prone, and b) have almost no travel and an awful stiff feel to them.


#10

full touch-screen models; no keys, no mechanisms, no nooks and crannies, just a solid screen that displays virtual buttons.

This sounds more like a nightmare than anything. It’d be ergonomically uncomfortable and awkward. Physical keyboards are necessary up until the point to how we interact with an OS inherently changes (ie: fully conversational, brainwave input, gesture control + VR/AR integration, etc)


#11

That’ll be sure to piss me off - and then make me stab those keys even harder - it’s relentless cycle of destruction!


#12

Absolutely no problem w kbrd on our 13" function key MB’pro’ refurb
it is a serial number w the battery recall, just haven’t had time to give it up for a couple weeks for the swap

I also have a iPad Pro 12.9 and the size of the kbrd is quite nice even if it is all glass. Maybe put a haptic engine that makes a ‘click’ to give folks the haptic feedback of ‘OK that THERE is a button press’?
Then your fancy thin as paper nuMacBook can simply be two touchscreens with a hinge. Make it run both MacOS and iOS and pencil support and just take my money (can use BT kbrd in a pinch as well and then the whole nuMacBook can use all screen area for display -hinge?)

I’m not sure what USB-C gets a iPad other than a second monitor (wired? how gauche!) Maybe faster charging? Aren’t we going wireless everywhere with the AirPow… ooops? TB3 for external storage w a Pro+ iPad, ummmmm ok I guess? Better for video peeps mb.


#13

ThinkPads are fabulous. I won’t use any other laptop now. I wouldn’t recommend using Windows, however. You could try doing a Hackintosh (very fiddly) or better, install some Linux. ElementaryOS Linux is designed in part for Mac refugees: https://elementary.io/


#14

Well, Lenovo was the company building Thinkpads and affixing IBM logos to them in the first place.


#15

I’m curious about how light. I’ve been trying to travel lighter than I do, and I travel pretty light by most people’s standards, so if there’s a way to carry even less, I’m down.


#16

Yup. Thinkpads are cheerfully indestructible and refurbs are cheap as fuck. Put your OS of choice on there and whale on it till it eventually dies some years later, then repeat.


#17

Maybe, sort of. AFAIK Jobs was behind the start of the trend, since he was still very much involved when the MacBook Air came out and started the move to ultra-thin laptops. But it seems that Jony Ive is obsessed and doesn’t know when to stop trying to shave off another millimetre.

I have a full-featured computer with a good complement of ports. It’s 18mm (a tad less than 3/4 inch) thick and weighs 3 pounds. I’ve had it for about three years and I’m still amazed by how small and light it is. And even then, people were saying Apple had gone too far in the drive for thin/light, leading them to do things like dropping optical drives from pro models.

Seriously, in what world is this still too thick and heavy for a high-end laptop? The current version is a whopping 3mm thinner and a few grams lighter, not enough to make any practical difference, but apparently enough to force Apple to include a crappy keyboard.


#18

You can see the same thing happening with iPhones. “You can never be too tall or too thin.” Eventually, all you’re doing is making the phone more fragile, but at least you can put a thicker case on it to protect it.


#19

They’ve gone down in quality a lot. Dad bought one this past spring. Some borked security update or driver (whatever it was it was a Dell specific update/issue) bricked the thing. As he attempted to fix it several critical parts toasted. Dell refused a warantee fix. Then agreed to reimburse him for the repair if they determined it was a warantee issue while fixing it. He had to pay an out of pocket repair fee that exceeded the cost of a new laptop. Ship the thing off for 2 months. Then wait an additional month for reimbursal.

Even if many of their models we’re suddenly subject to bizarre failures and quality issues. Their customer service has gotten truely weird. Like its built exclusively for large contracts and can’t cope with individual consumers. I had to do a warentee replacement on my Monitor. Glue failure in the bezel allowed a bug in, and that bug promptly died. So simple, monitor was still under warentee. Its a known and acknowledged issue explicitly marked on their site as elligable for replacement. Hell I even bought the thing direct from Dell.

But Dell prints this thing called a “service tag” on everything. Basically a string of numbers for customer service purposes as a replacemrnt for using the serial number. But my monitor didn’t have one yet, they only started issuing them for consumer products 6 months after my monitor was manufactured. And you can’t even access the customer service submission forms online with out one. Trying to use the legacy serial number system, marked my monitor as a desktop system (without monitor) from 1998. So I tried the phone. Unfornately phone reps can’t proceed without a service tag either. Reps would ask me for it. I’d explain it didn’t exist. Managers would ask me for a corporate customer/account number. No matter how many time I explained it was a consumer purchase. Then attempt to look it up by serial number, and tell me they could not service a legacy desktop of that age. Despite being repeatedly told it was a recently built monitor.

I finally got some one on the line who wasn’t completely confused by this whole thing. And i was told I needed to use the web site to have a service tag issued. Which uses the serial number. Which read as an ancient desktop. Which they couldn’t issue a service tag for. Because it was a “legacy desktop”.

I ended up having to post to the forums and wait till the appropriate employee noticed the post. That took 2 weeks. It took him two more weeks to find a way to issue the service tag. After that it was relatively simple. They had a test to figure if it was a glue failure, submit photos of that and they dispatched a replacement no questions asked. Put the old monitor in the box from the new one and send it back. But it took a month or more just to figure out how to start that process.

So don’t.


#20

Yes, your posts echoes what i have been seeing. Reviewers get functional models because PR. So they give a glowing review. Users that are lucky to get a good unit also give glowing review. But far too many other people get units that are DOA or work oddly due to driver issues and get lost in the dell customer service cluster fuck.

For a decade (2003-2014ish) I used the dell XPS gen 3 tower. That thing was built like a brick and was easy to upgrade. I was so sad to realize how much the products and service had gone to hell in the interim.