Regarding its faulty MacBook keyboards, Apple settles a class action lawsuit for $50 million

Payments should soon start after the U.S. Federal court’s approval of Apple’s $50 million class-action settlement for consumer claims relating to the butterfly keyboard design used in some generations of the MacBook notebooks.

The Butterfly Keyboard Settlement Payments from Apple are Imminent

Kyle Barbaro and Zixuan Rao, two MacBook users, launched a class-action lawsuit against Apple in May 2018 over the company’s butterfly keyboard, which had been a feature of the MacBook and MacBook Pro editions of the computer starting in 2015.

While Apple promoted the new design as « much more precise, and accurate » and said it was « four times more stable than that scissor mechanism » to enable it to make thinner devices, the device users complained that the keyboards were prone to dust and other debris, making them fail.

The complaint claims that because of the keyboards’ poor design, the keys would occasionally stick, cease recording keystrokes, or register double keystrokes at random. A additional charge made in the complaint was that Apple did not provide consumers with enough support for repairs and troubleshooting.

Although the butterfly keyboard saw a number of modifications between 2015 and 2019, none were able to fully address the issues faced by MacBook users.

The tech giant provided free keyboard replacements for all impacted customers in response to the lawsuit, but this wasn’t the ideal solution because the broken keyboards were merely replaced with new, identical ones that were guaranteed to malfunction in the same way.

In 2019, the tech business eventually went back to a more traditional keyboard style named the « Magic Keyboard. »

In relation to the legal dispute, Apple consented to a $ 50 million settlement for all participants in the class action case, which only involved customers from California, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan.

« Fair, Adequate, and Reasonable »

The Butterfly Keyboard settlement agreement distributes the compensation into three categories and permits Apple to deny any wrongdoing. The biggest rewards, between $300 and $395, will go to those who received at least two top case replacements. This is the first category.

Users who had one or more keycap replacements fall into the second group and will receive reimbursements of $50 or less, while those who just had one top casing repair fall into the third category and will receive payouts of $125.

The U.S. District Judge Edward Davila’s authorizing decision indicated that payments will be granted to all claims submitted by March, totaling more than 86,000 claims. Additionally, it was decided that $15 million, or 30% of the $50 million, be paid to the lawyer as legal expenses.

Before the settlement was approved, it faced objections, one of which argued that the $125 reimbursement for one of the class member groups was insufficient because keyboard repairs can cost upwards of $300.

However, Judge Davila described the settlement as « fair, adequate, and reasonable » and added:

“The possibility that a better settlement may have been reached — or that the benefits provided under the settlement will not make class members ‘whole’ — are insufficient grounds to deny approval.”

Davila also rejected a challenge that claimed it was unreasonable to withhold compensation from MacBook users who had keyboard issues but did not get them fixed, writing that « while not all who were purportedly injured will receive compensation, the settlement compromise benefits a significant number of individuals. »

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