In early 2015, Apple introduced a new a 12-inch MacBook into the market, which was much thinner than its predecessors in part to the use of Butterfly switches, with which Apple claimed to have "reinvented" the keyboard. The company would later go on to create a second generation of the Butterfly technology and used it in the MacBook Pro 2016 and 2017 laptops.
But it seems as though the second iteration of the keyboard may not have been much of an upgrade, as a high number of users have had to take their laptops, especially the 2016 models of the MacBook Pro, to repair due to problems with the keyboard.
A report by AppleInsider, which takes a look at the numbers provided by Apple's Genius Bars as well as other authorized third-party repair shops, shows that the number of users who have had to take their laptop to repair due to keyboard problems spiked with the 2016 models.
The report looks at the numbers concerning MacBook Pro models since 2014, and claims that, for the 2014 MacBook Pro, 2,120 users took the device to be repaired in the first year, 118 of which were related to keyboard problems, which represents 5.6% of all repairs done in the first year for that device. The 2015 MacBook Pro performed similarly, with 1,904 users filing a service ticket, out of which 114 were related to the keyboard, which means 6% of the repairs in the first year were related to the keyboard.
The 2016 MacBook Pro is where things took a turn for the worst. Though the total number of repairs went down to 1,402, there were 165 service tickets related exclusively to the keyboard, excluding the Touch Bar. This means that for the 2016 model, 11.8% of all repairs done in the first year were on the keyboard, almost double of what was reported in previous models. Though it hasn't been a full year since the release of the 2017 MacBook Pro, the report suggests that there has been some improvement, with 8.1% of repairs currently being related to the keyboard.
But the bad news for Apple doesn't end there, as the numbers look bleak when it comes to how many devices had to go back to repair after they had been serviced. For the 2014 MacBook Pro, out of the 118 devices initially repaired, 8 had to go back a second time. For the 2015 model, it was 6 out of 114.
However, with the 2016 MacBook Pro, out of the 165 repairs done on the keyboard, 51 (nearly a third) of devices had to go back and a second time and 10 of those had to go for a third round, which hadn't happened at all for the previous models. In this aspect too, some improvements were made in 2017, as just 17 out of 94 repaired keyboards had to be repaired a second time, while 3 have had to go a third time.
Though this is an improvement over the 2016 model, it's still significantly worse compared to pre-Butterfly models of the MacBook Pro. It remains to be seen how Apple will design its keyboards going forward, and if these issues will be addressed.