Casey Johnston, writing for The Outline:
I was in the Grand Central Station Apple Store for a third time in
a year, watching a progress bar slowly creep across my computer’s
black screen as my Genius multi-tasked helping another customer
with her iPad. My computer was getting its third diagnostic test
in 45 minutes. The problem was not that its logic board was
failing, that its battery was dying, or that its camera didn’t
respond. There were no mysteriously faulty inner workings. It was
the spacebar. It was broken. And not even physically broken — it
still moved and acted normally. But every time I pressed it once,
it spaced twice.
“Maybe it’s a piece of dust,” the Genius had offered. The previous
times I’d been to the Apple Store for the same computer with the
same problem — a misbehaving keyboard — Geniuses had said to me
these exact same nonchalant words, and I had been stunned into
silence, the first time because it seemed so improbable to blame
such a core problem on such a small thing, and the second time
because I couldn’t believe the first time I was hearing this line
that it was not a fluke. But this time, the third time, I was
ready. “Hold on,” I said. “If a single piece of dust lays the
whole computer out, don’t you think that’s kind of a problem?”
The reliability of the new MacBook/Pro keyboards seems like a huge problem. A piece of fucking dust? Say what you want about the feel (and sound) of these new keyboards, the one thing that must be true for any good keyboard is that it has to be reliable. Like totally reliable. So reliable that it’s confusing when something does go wrong. That’s how Apple laptop keyboards have always been, dating back to the earliest days of the PowerBooks. There’ve been some I didn’t enjoy — the squishy-feeling iBook G3 keyboard comes to mind — but they’ve always been reliable.
I find these keyboards — specifically, the tales of woe about keys getting stuck or ceasing to work properly — a deeply worrisome sign about Apple’s priorities today.
★ Tuesday, 17 October 2017