First, lets discuss in regards to the information. We have finished this as soon as earlier than, however let’s recap the findings from April, and replace the numbers with a full 12 months of knowledge from the 2017 MacBook Professional
All information has been collected from a collection of Apple Genius Bars within the U.S. that now we have been working with for a number of years, in addition to Apple-authorized third-party restore retailers.
The 2014 MacBook Professional mannequin 12 months noticed 2120 service occasions within the first 12 months, with 118 associated to keyboard points necessitating an higher case substitute —5.6 % of all MacBook Professionals serviced within the first 12 months. The 2015 has 1904 service tickets, with 114 referring to the keyboard, making 6.zero %.
The 2 numbers are very comparable, which is to be anticipated. The keyboards had been basically unchanged because the 2012 Retina MacBook Professional, and may have failure charges comparable to one another.
Apple launched the brand new keyboard with the MacBook, and moved the design to the 2016 MacBook Professional. Within the first 12 months of the 2016 MacBook Professional, our information gathered 1402 guarantee occasions, with 165 associated to solely the keyboard and never together with the Contact Bar —11.eight %.
As we talked about, we now have a full 12 months of knowledge. Because the MacBook Professional launch in June 2017, our information set has grown to 1369 captured service occasions within the first 12 months of availability with 112 associated to keyboard points additionally not together with any Contact Bar points, very barely rising the share to eight.2 %.
Failure charges over time throughout all 4 fashions are comparatively static, with no considerable improve or lower in occasions reported at any time after the surveyed first 12 months. Percentages of failures had been comparable between the third-party approved retailers, and the Genius Bar information.
For the 2014 MacBook Professional, of the 118 repairs, eight got here again for a second go-around on the restore inside 90 days. With the 2015, 6 did. None got here again for a 3rd time.
Relating to the 2016 MacBook Professional, of the 165 keyboard repairs, 51 got here again once more as soon as, and of these 51, 10 extra got here again for a 3rd time in that first 12 months. The 2017 fared higher on this regard, with 19 of the 112 coming again as soon as, and four of these coming again for a 3rd time in the identical timeframe.
The impact of the restore program
We would talked about that there was a reasonably static failure fee throughout all the timespan. Nonetheless, what we weren’t anticipating is nearly the identical fee of service on keyboards after the restore program was issued on June 22 —and no improve within the 2016 mannequin’s fee.
Resetting the counter to solely incorporate the keyboard restore program, the chances as an entire of the service calls are basically unchanged —at the very least for now.
Within the three weeks because the program was launched, there have been 83 2016 MacBook Professional service incidents captured in complete, with 10 of them being keyboards —about the identical because the pre-service share.
The 2017 mannequin has seen 110 service occasions captured because the restore program launch. Of these, 7 had been keyboard repairs —once more, about the identical because the pre-service program fee. Not one of the machines we have captured information on have gone again for a second restore after a restore below the brand new program.
In each restore swimming pools, no machines repaired below this system have come again for service a second time. It hasn’t been that lengthy, although, so there isn’t any actual conclusion to attract from that information factors as of but.
If the restore program was inflicting a flood of service requests due to pent-up demand for restore, we might have seen an uptick in each service occasions per 30 days, and the keyboard repairs as a share of the overall service calls. At current, each numbers are just about equivalent.
Like we stated, it has solely been three weeks because the restore program launched. We acknowledge that the info set is small because the restore program, however we’re persevering with to control it.
General, the overall variety of service calls is decrease for each the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Professional, versus the older fashions, even together with the keyboard failures. Provided that the volumes of MacBook Professionals bought over time are fairly static, this factors to a extra dependable pc total —which is nice contemplating that there are not any user-replaceable elements.
Additionally, clearly, there’s some form of change between the keyboard initially within the 2016 MacBook Professional, and the one that’s getting used to restore the older machine with it normal within the 2017 MacBook Professional.
However, what these adjustments are, Apple is not saying. Plus, they seem to haven’t made any extra enhancements within the 2018 MacBook Professional keyboard, given current statements —or the dearth thereof.
Wait, no additional reliability enhancements within the present keyboard?
The keyboard is the brand new machines is completely different. It has been re-engineered to offer the customers a quieter typing expertise, which Apple has informed us is the primary consumer grievance in regards to the machine.
Apple hasn’t stated something instantly about keyboard reliability enhancements within the third technology butterfly keyboard. When requested instantly, they both verbally dance across the matter like AppleInsider‘s sources, politely defer saying that the difficulty solely impacts a small share of customers, and in uncommon situations say nothing has been modified.
We had been informed by a supply inside Apple company not approved to talk for the corporate that “CNet’s account might be not proper.” However, we had been rebuffed once we pressed for extra data. Definitely, the assertion just isn’t a robust declaration that there are fixes.
Enchancment within the keyboards used for restore, however nonetheless might be higher
Because the MacBook Professional 2017 launched, the restore service information may be very clear that the keyboards had been completely different. They actually are on the skin, from a marking perspective, with the symbols on the management and choice keys differing from earlier.
Repaired keyboard on a 2016 13-inch MacBook Professional
It was steered to us that customers could not know in regards to the keyboard restore program and are both dwelling with it, or trashing a machine due to it. Data on this system just isn’t laborious to search out, and a Google search simply on “MacBook Professional Keyboard” finds Apple’s web page on it within the first few outcomes —so we actually do not buy that argument.
To unravel that individual challenge, in case you may even name it that, there’s a repair. Apple is aware of who owns the machines. We would have favored a mass-email to the entire 2016 and 2017 MacBook Professional homeowners telling them that this system exists.
Moreover, with the 2018 MacBook Professional launch, we might have favored specific affirmation that there are keyboard enhancements past quieter typing, even when framed as a response to buyer considerations. One thing like “whereas the failures are solely affecting a really small share of shoppers, we’re doing the suitable factor and have made additional enhancements” with the de rigueur advertising communicate after it.
However, we did not get that. And we most likely will not.
Three months later
Once we first revealed the numbers, there was no answer to the issue apart from an costly restore for machines out of guarantee costing customers proper round $480 for a complete higher case meeting. Two months after our report, Apple launched the service program offering not simply free repairs for it, however refunds to repairs already made. It’s an sufficient answer to a nasty scenario.
It seems that they’re utilizing improved keyboards in this system —and will have been for a while —even when that redesign just isn’t fairly as much as the decrease failure fee on the sooner mannequin.
We’re glad for this system, and the improved keyboards throughout the board that began getting used sooner or later for the repairs. However, we’re nonetheless not blissful that it’s a downside in any respect.
A few of this challenge is a notion one, exacerbated by the Apple echo chamber. Apple’s “small share of customers” troubled by the issue nonetheless provides as much as tens of 1000’s of complaints and repair calls. That is then amplified by social media —which is the principle cause why we collected the laborious information within the first place, to see if there was truly a problem value discussing.
It turns on the market was an issue, and is value discussing. And, it’s one worthy of a restore program. However, it’s not an “epic fail” or every other declaratives that we have seen currently. Headlines like “The brand new MacBook Professional keyboard is ruining my life” stay hyperbole out of proportion to the precise challenge.
Whereas different venues are lamenting the dearth of laborious information, we will verify that the keyboard failures are certainly technically a “small share.” On the identical time, the 2016 mannequin generated double the service requires the keyboard itself, fully obscuring the truth that the machine is extra dependable total than predecessors.
Couple the echo chamber impact with the polarizing nature of different adjustments made within the MacBook Professional like USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, and the Touch Bar, and it makes a nasty scenario worse from a PR perspective.
From a consumer perspective, for now, AppleInsider recommends that in case you’ve bought the issue, go get it fastened. It is free, in spite of everything. Should you’re getting it finished with the myriad of outlets that we’re working with, we’ll depend it.
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