The Space Bar on My MacBook Pro Doesn’t Register Presses Properly

November 19, 2018 · 09:54

I recently had a problem with my Control key which I finally fixed by taking out the vacuum cleaner and sucking substantial debris1 out from under it. Today, the Space bar will not register keystrokes on its right half.

(A few minutes later.)

Seems to be working fine again, after thoroughly vacuuming it at max power.

I am not happy with this keyboard and I refuse to buy another MacBook until they fix this issue with a completely new design — silicon condoms membranes are not enough.

  1. A speck of dust.

My Replaced MacBook Pro’s Keyboard Is Having Issues Again

September 28, 2018 · 12:24

I had my 2016 MacBook Pro Escape’s keyboard replaced in April 2018, because some of the keys were expanding under heat, making them “sticky”, e.g. when using it in the sun.

I’m extremely happy to report that today my Control key has gone on strike and will only work when it feels like it should, which translates to registering maybe one in ten presses.

This keyboard is great to type on, when it works, but it’s generally a disaster.

Two Keyboards at a Bar →

June 27, 2018 · 11:06

Michael Lopp, writing on Rands in Repose:

The bar is full. Two keyboards sit at the bar: APPLE EXTENDED II and MACBOOK PRO. The front door opens, TOUCHBAR looks around, sees the two keyboards at the bar, grins, and heads their direction. Skipping.

APPLE EXTENDED II sits at the bar nursing a Macallan 18. Next to him is MACBOOK PRO who has not taken a sip of his glass of water.

Enter at your own peril. Laughter guaranteed.

via Daring Fireball

2016 MacBook Pro Butterfly Keyboards Failing Twice as Frequently as Older Models →

April 30, 2018 · 23:20

Mike Wuerthele, writing for AppleInsider:

Following anecdotal reports of a keyboard more prone to failure than in previous years, AppleInsider has collected service data for the first year of release of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 MacBook Pros, with an additional slightly shorter data set for the 2017 model year given that it hasn’t been available for a year yet.

Not including any Touch Bar failures, the 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard is failing twice as often in the first year of use as the 2014 or 2015 MacBook Pro models, and the 2017 is better, but not by a lot.

I have had an issue with my 2016 13” MacBook Pro, which is described by Apple as a “popping sound”. I contacted Apple Support and sent them a video, and they immediately set up an appointment with my closest AASP to fix the issue. They fixed it in 24 hours by replacing the whole top case, which includes the keyboard, battery, and speakers. The “popping sound” happens when the keyboard gets too warm and some keys start making a different sound. They also feel marginally stickier when pressed.

The new keyboard feels and sounds different — it’s quieter and a bit stiffer. I’m not sure if this is the same one as in the 2017 model, but I hope it stays fixed. Since this is a problem with the design and the fix is very expensive, I expect Apple to support their users indefinitely (or at least 5-6 years) — we already paid a lot for the MacBook Pro and we should not pay more for design mistakes.

Despite this being a frustrating issue, Apple Support and my AASP were stellar in helping me out.

Rama Works M60-A Keyboard →

April 30, 2018 · 10:25

The M60-A represents the benchmark and equilibrium between function and design for us at Rama Works. The gently exaggerated design of the frame is not understated, but rather provocative. Inspiration and evolution from previous models are evident in the beautifully articulated design and the well defined aesthetic, the fingerprint of our ‘Industrial Modern’ designs. The M60-A offers a unique contender in the traditional 60% form factor.

The attention to detail in this design is quite amazing. If not for its considerable height and lack of arrow keys, I would be ordering it right now.

Jason Snell on His iPad Setup →

April 20, 2018 · 10:59

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

A reader on Twitter suggested I buy this iPad stand on Amazon, and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s surprisingly sturdy. The base that approximates the foot of an iMac is metal, not plastic. A hinge lets me pivot the iPad up and down and likewise doesn’t feel cheap. And the clip mechanism—the stand comes with clips for large and small iPads—is strong enough to hold my iPad without any worry of it sliding out. Best of all, the thing rotates, so I can use my iPad in portrait (for more words on the screen) or landscape (for use with Split View) as I see fit […]

I found what I think is the exact same model of stand that Jason is using, but available on in Europe — it’s under a different name though. I will be ordering this stand later today and hope it’s not a cheap knock-off.

[…] I replaced the Mini Tactile Pro with the Matias Laptop Pro, a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard with a silver-and-black style that fits in pretty well with my iPad and its stand. Until I find something better—let’s face it, I appear to be collecting mechanical keyboards—this is my preferred writing environment when I’m away from my desk. At least until my kids come home from school, at which point I have to go back into my office and close the door.

I’ve been tempted to buy a mechanical keyboard for my Hackintosh for a number of years now, but the WASD V2 that I want, with custom keys, is a bit too expensive to ship to Europe from USA. It doesn’t have Bluetooth either, so I couldn’t use it with my iPad Pro. Jason has tempted me to get the Matias, but it’s over 150 GBP to have it shipped to Poland from the UK — I’ll leave it on my wish list for now and continue using my Apple Wireless Keyboard in the meantime.

Dell’s ‘Maglev’ Keyboard →

January 10, 2018 · 16:05

Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge:

Among the most interesting quirks is the laptop’s keyboard: though it looks and feels just like typical Dell keyboard, it’s built using a brand-new mechanism that relies on magnets. The keys are still physically held in place at their corners, but there are now magnets beneath them to provide feedback. By controlling the strength of their repulsion, Dell can create a deeper, clickier feeling for the keys than their 0.7mm travel would normally allow.

The new “maglev” keyboard felt perfectly normal, at least during my brief use of it. I wouldn’t say it’s among the best keyboards I’ve ever typed on, but I didn’t feel any issues related to key travel, either.

This sounds like something Apple should have implemented instead of their new failure-prone butterfly switches. I am however curious how much vertical space this ‘Maglev’ implementation takes up, in comparison to the latter.

The Butterfly Effect (On The New MacBooks & MacBook Pros) →

October 18, 2017 · 09:17

Casey Johnston:

Perhaps it’s true that less dirt gets under butterfly switched-keys. But therein lies the problem — when dirt does get in, it cannot get out. A piece of dust is capable of rendering a butterfly switch nonfunctional. The key won’t click, and it won’t register whatever command it’s supposed to be typing. It’s effectively dead until someone can either shake loose the debris trapped under it or blow at the upside-down keyboard Nintendo-cartridge style. Meanwhile, Apple quietly put up a page with instructions expressly to try and help people with dead butterfly switch keys.

The problem with dead keys is that, unless you can stop what you’re doing mid-paper or report or email or game and have a physical tiff with your computer, the temptation to just slam a little harder on those delicate keys to get the N or B or period you need until you reach a stopping place is high. But there is no logical at-home remedy for the consumer; when one key on a butterfly switched-keyboard becomes nonfunctional, unless you can dislodge whatever dust or crumb is messing it up without being able to physically access it, the keyboard is effectively broken. If you remove the key to try and clean under it, you stand a high chance of breaking it permanently, but if you leave it there and continue to have to pound the key to type one measly letter, you also might break it permanently. A single piece of dust can literally fuck you over.

My 2016 MacBook Pro Escape keys like to get sticky when I’m hammering away at the keyboard in the sun, probably due to the key caps expanding from the heat.

This is bad design.

“Full Size” Keyboard on 10.5″ iPad Pro →

June 12, 2017 · 13:19

Dieter Bohn:

I was all set to complain that increasing the size from 9.7 to 10.5 was not a big enough jump to justify requiring people to buy new keyboards and accessories. Then I started typing on the on-screen keyboard and on the new hardware Smart Keyboard. Even though I’m dubious about Apple’s claim that the software keyboard is “full size,” I find the slight size increase makes touch typing much easier. It’s still a little cramped, but it’s much easier to bounce between this and a real keyboard now.

I currently switch between a Magic Keyboard, a MacBook Pro (late 2016), and the 12.9″ iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard. I don’t have any major issues doing so. The curious thing is that since getting the MacBook Pro, I now find the Magic Keyboard’s key travel to be too long — I actually prefer the shorter throw now.

I have the new 10.5″ iPad Pro on order — it will replace my 12.9″ — but I’m still hesitating about getting the Smart Keyboard for it. I just don’t like cramped ones…

John Siracusa on Apple’s Butterfly Mechanism Keyboards →

May 26, 2017 · 14:11

John Siracusa on (episode 223):

I do not like thinking about these keyboards. Almost makes me long for a non-moving iPhone 7 home button style keyboard where nothing actually moves.

Looking at the iPhone, Apple steadily worked over the years to eliminate the physical Home button, waiting until all the pieces were in place (Taptic Engine) to finally do it. I’m a fan. But a whole physical keyboard?

I have been using the MacBook Pro Escape since it premiered and while the keyboard is mostly fine, I do share Marco Arment’s thoughts in regard to its reliability — heat (using it in the sun) is definitely an issue. While the keyboards in the previous models were perhaps more flimsy and mushy, they didn’t have any reliability issues (that I know of). Nothing widespread at least…

This is what Apple has to say about the butterfly mechanism on their MacBook page:

Traditional keyboards use a scissor mechanism, which tends to wobble around the edges. This creates a lack of precision when you strike anywhere except the center of the key. We needed to reduce key wobbling for a keyboard this thin; otherwise, striking a key off-center could result in the keycap hitting bottom before a keystroke registers. So we designed a unique butterfly mechanism, which is wider than the scissor mechanism and has a single assembly made from a stiffer material — allowing for a more stable, responsive key that takes up less vertical space. This innovative design improves stability, uniformity, and control — no matter where you press on the key.

They say less on the late 2016 MacBook Pro page:

The keyboard has been redesigned to include our new, second-generation butterfly mechanism — meticulously refined for greater comfort and responsiveness.

While I do like the feel of the new keyboard, it does have a design flaw — heat causes the keys to stick or clack even louder than normal when pressed. The following steps are what I imagine Apple’s thought process for eliminating the problem could be.

  1. Eliminate reliable but mushy keyboard — replace with butterfly mechanism series “because thinness.”
  2. Find no solution to sticky keys over next few years. Lose a lot of money on replacements and warranty repairs.
  3. “Hey guys! We solved this problem already, in the iPhone!”
  4. Add improved Taptic Engine. Replace current keyboard with a new one, with unmoveable keys.
  5. Profit?

The next step will surely be just a glass surface with keys displayed on it, right?

P.S. I truly hope none of the above comes about in my lifetime — I’m worried that it will, sooner than we expect it too though. Keep your eyes peeled when watching The Fate of the Furious / Fast & Furious 8 and you’ll know what I mean.

Microsoft Buys SwiftKey for $250 Million →

February 3, 2016 · 09:29

Tim Bradshaw and Murad Ahmed for the Financial Times:

Microsoft is paying about $250m to acquire London-based Swiftkey, maker of a predictive keyboard powered by artificial intelligence that is installed on hundreds of millions of smartphones, according to people familiar with the deal.

Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock, who founded the company in 2008 when both were in their 20s, will each make upwards of $30m from the buyout, which is set to be announced this week.

I have been a SwiftKey user on Android for many years and while the keyboard layout has its own issues, it has one absolutely genius function: the ability to choose two primary languages. This means that the keyboard will auto discover which one we are currently typing in and autocorrect as necessary — there is no need to change the language at all.

I really hope Apple adds this feature to iOS soon — I really miss it, switching between keyboards dozens of times per day. I’m not alone — Federico Viticci also sees this as a problem. The thing is… the technology to overcome this already exists. Please Apple, add it to your to-do list.

Microsoft Is Bringing Its Windows Phone Keyboard to iOS →

January 16, 2016 · 12:53

Tom Warren:

One of my favorite features in Windows Phone is its truly excellent keyboard. It’s far more accurate and easy to use than the default iOS keyboard and many Android alternatives, but you’ve had to use Windows Phone to take advantage of it so far. Microsoft is planning to make its Word Flow keyboard available on other platforms, starting with iOS.

The problem with iOS third-party keyboards is that they mostly suck due to the system’s restrictions. And they’re usually even worse for foreign languages.

The iPad Pro Smart Keyboard vs. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Type Cover

December 25, 2015 · 17:16

I’ve wanted to write about so many things during these past few weeks, but I never could find the time to get into them. One of those on hold have been my thoughts and first impressions of the Surface Pro 4, which I had on loan for a few weeks. It coincided with the time when I bought my iPad Pro. A few of the more interesting aspects of the two are the keyboards, hardware design and ergonomics of Apple’s and Microsoft’s products.

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Thoughts on the iPad Pro On-Screen Keyboard

December 14, 2015 · 14:51

Since getting my iPad Pro a few weeks ago, I’ve been writing on it a lot, using mostly the software keyboard, but also helping myself out with an external one. I bought an Origami Workstation a few years ago, and since it’s in perfect working order, as is the Apple Wireless Keyboard it contains, I’ve been using that combo quite often. This might change when my Smart Keyboard finally arrives, but in the meantime, I’ve been thinking about the iOS 9 on-screen keyboard a lot.

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