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Apple Has Been Gaslighting Us for Years

The company says it created a new Magic Keyboard for the 16-inch MacBook Pro because it’s ‘listening,’ but customers have been complaining for years

Owen Williams
OneZero
Published in
3 min readNov 15, 2019

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The new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Credit: picture alliance/Getty

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro debuted earlier this week with an unexpected key feature: a working keyboard.

Ever since 2016, when the “redesigned” MacBook Pro first shipped, users have complained that its butterfly keyboard is flaky and failure-prone. Mere food crumbs or specks of dust could apparently render a $3,000 computer all but useless. The keys slowly died, one-by-one, requiring a time-consuming repair before the keyboard was usable again.

Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller, told the Independent that these sorts of customer complaints factored into Apple’s decision to make what it calls a “new Magic Keyboard” for the recently announced MacBook Pro. The new laptop model incorporates the scissor-switch design of Apple’s stand-alone Magic Keyboard. Schiller said that “customers don’t realize the power they have — to influence our direction and what we do with their feedback.” However, he stopped short of admitting fault, or offering an apology.

But Schiller should have apologized, because Apple has been gaslighting us about its terrible keyboard for years (as is its custom when things go wrong).

The company has repeatedly insisted that nothing is wrong, maintaining as recently as March that only a small number of users were affected. Instead of admitting fault, Apple quietly launched a service program that offered customers free keyboard repairs. Internal documents obtained by MacRumors also show it added a fix for the keyboard’s dust problem to a model it released last year, without acknowledging that it had done so. And earlier this year, Apple went so far as to announce that its refreshed MacBook models had “fixed” the keyboard issue while launching a replacement program alongside the brand new computer at the same time.

Some people who rely on their laptops for work have opted to put up with the broken keyboard, or carry around an external keyboard, until…

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Owen Williams
OneZero

Fascinated by how code and design is shaping the world. I write about the why behind tech news. Design Manager in Tech. https://twitter.com/ow