Apple’s butterfly keyboard has been a contentious issue since its introduction in 2015. The design, intended to make Apple’s laptops slimmer and sleeker, unfortunately didn’t stand up to everyday use. Issues like stuck keys caused by crumbs, dust, or dirt were common complaints among users. Despite several attempts to resolve the problem, it wasn’t until the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s release in 2019 that Apple reverted to the more reliable “scissor switch” design, phasing out the butterfly keyboard entirely with the launch of a redesigned 13-inch MacBook Pro a few months later.
The controversy culminated in a lawsuit, and now, a $50 million settlement approved by US District Court Judge Edward Davila. The lawsuit alleged that the butterfly keyboard was defective, and that Apple failed to rectify the problem adequately. Notably, Apple’s settlement does not include an admission of wrongdoing, but it does agree to reimburse some users up to $395 to cover their repair costs.
The legal process wasn’t without its challenges. Six objectors argued that the settlement wasn’t fair to MacBook owners who hadn’t repaired their failed keyboards and thus wouldn’t receive any cash. Furthermore, they contended that the $125 offered to those who had paid for a single replacement wasn’t sufficient to cover repair costs. However, Judge Davila dismissed these objections, stating that a mere desire for more money wasn’t sufficient grounds to deny the settlement’s approval.
Finally, there’s some good news for the 86,000 individuals who filed claims: they will soon receive their settlements. The eligibility for compensation was extended to anyone who filed a verifiable claim by the March deadline.The butterfly keyboard saga offers a potent reminder of the importance of product testing and user feedback. While Apple’s intent to innovate and push the boundaries of design is commendable, this episode demonstrates that such innovations must not come at the cost of functionality or user experience. With the final approval of the settlement, this chapter in Apple’s history comes to a close, hopefully paving the way for more reliable and user-friendly designs in the future.