Keying into reputational damage
Good news, everyone! Apple might have fixed the problem with the reliability of its keyboards!
Bad news, everyone. Maybe not.
You see, rather than bring the old keyboards back, or launch a completely new design, Apple’s new MacBook Pros (announced yesterday, on sale now) merely tweak the problematic design that has caused users to find some keys would double-type characters, or stop working entirely.
“The MacBook Pro keyboard mechanism has had a materials change… Apple says that this new keyboard mechanism composition will substantially reduce the double-type/no-type issue.”
“Substantially reduce?” Hmm…
And Apple clearly isn’t certain the problem is fixed because it’s also launched a new programme that will see faulty keyboards replaced for free, whether they’re in or out of warranty.
Now, Apple claims the problem with faulty keyboards affects a small percentage of users, but many people I know with recent Mac laptops have experienced it, and the media is filled with reports, so even if it’s a small percentage of users, its still a big number of users.
‘The problem might be resolved but if not we’ll fix your keyboard for free’ isn’t massively reassuring if you rely on your computer for work. Taking it in for repair is still big inconvenience when you have a big report to finish, or 1,000 emails to get through.
In a few months, we should have a bearing on whether or not Apple’s keyboard issue is over for good. But for now, buying a MacBook Pro will still be a concern for many, er, pros, and that’s not good for Apple’s reputation.
It seems a little crass to ask 'Would Steve Jobs let this happen?’ years after his death, especially when the Tim Cook era has been so successful. But really, he wouldn’t have let this happen, would he?