The new keys were designed to be compatible with MacBook's shallower cases and were announced in 2015 with great fanfare.
The company claimed it shaved 40% thickness off each key by replacing traditional scissor switches with 'butterfly' mechanisms. Problems emerged.
It is possible that even very small amounts of dust or crumbs could damage butterfly keyboards in real-world use.
After the MacBook keyboard was improved in late 2019, customers filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Jose alleging the company concealed the weakness of its butterfly keys. A Reuters filing says Apple has settled the case for $50 million without admitting wrongdoing.
According to CNBC, if the preliminary agreement is approved, customers may receive up to $300 to $395 if they replace multiple keyboards, $125 if they replace one keyboard, and $50 if they replace keycaps.
There are $15 million in legal fees available from the $50 million windfall for Girard Sharp LLP and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner and Donaldson-Smith LLP.
Customers in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington who purchased MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and most MacBook Pros between 2015 and 2019.
Apple offered owners whose keys had been damaged by debris a service program following the release of the butterfly keyboards.
Between 2015 and 2019, Apple only changed the mechanism by adding a membrane, which is billed as a way to make the keyboard quieter.
AppleInsider found that butterfly keys were twice as likely to fail within a year than scissor-style keys on the first generation of MacBook Pro models.
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