$50 million to solve Apple’s butterfly keyboard disaster

The novel about the keyboard failures of MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air released between 2015 and 2019, adds a new chapter. Will it be the last? It’s that Apple offered to pay $50 million to settle a class action brought by customers who suffered repeated inconvenience from the butterfly mechanism.

The Cupertino company filed the potential settlement in federal court in San Jose, Calif., and is now awaiting a judge’s approval. However, Apple insists that the allegations raised by the plaintiffs are not true, and that the compensation offer will not be approved by a judge. is not an “admission of guilt or fault”.

According to customers who sued Apple, the company knew that keyboards with butterfly mechanisms were prone to failure but has decided not to disclose this information and to continue its implementation in different versions of its laptops.

The document submitted by Apple explains that the proposed settlement is not valid for all affected US customers, but only for those who reside in one of these seven states: California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Washington.

With regard to the affected models, the compensation covers the following models:

  • MacBook 2015, 2016, and 2017 12-inch MacBooks.
  • Macbook Air 13 inch 2018 and 2019.
  • Macbook Pro 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro introduced in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Apple wants to end the controversy over its laptop keyboards

The $50 million that Apple is offering to pay to end this controversy won’t make the plaintiffs rich. Perhaps this will enrich their lawyers, but we will come back to that later.

As explained by Reuters the legal representatives of the customers concerned are awaiting payments from between 50 and 395 USD depending on the case. The lowest compensation would be for people who were forced to change individual keys on their laptops.

Whereas the maximum payments would be collected by those who changed jobs the full keyboard on more than one occasion. Replacement keyboards still had the same issues. On the other hand, those who only replaced the entire keyboard once would enter a sort of intermediate stage, for which they could receive around $125.

But, as we said, if the judge approves Apple’s proposed settlement, the real winners will be the attorneys who filed the lawsuit. Firms Girard Sharp LLP and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP could get into the pocket up to $15 million for their work. This amount would be taken from the $50 million that Apple would have to pay, leaving only $35 million to be distributed among affected customers.

It remains to be seen if Cupertino’s proposed settlement finally gets the green light from the courts. Let’s not forget that Apple abandoned the butterfly keyboard mechanism in 2020, to make way for the return of the scissor system.

Such a modification proved to be extremely beneficial for the firm led by Tim Cook. In 2020 and 2021, its warranty expenses fell significantly compared to previous years. And the change in keyboard type is believed to have played a crucial role in this, reducing the likelihood of failure and the need to remove the entire top case of MacBooks for replacement.

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