All posts in “Keyboard”

Angry MacBook users file class action lawsuit against Apple over defective keyboards

The MacBook Pro's flat keyboard is one of the most disliked keyboards of all time.
The MacBook Pro’s flat keyboard is one of the most disliked keyboards of all time.

Image: lili sams/mashable

Apple’s silence over issues related to its allegedly flawed MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards just got a whole lot more deafening.

On Friday, a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple in the Northern District Court of California over the defective keyboards, according to AppleInsider.

According to the suit, filed by plaintiffs ZiXuan Rao and Kyle Barbados and “on behalf of all others similarly situated,” Apple refuses to acknowledge the “butterfly switch” keyboards built into its MacBooks and MacBook Pros are flawed by design.

Per the lawsuit:

Apple knew that the MacBook is defective at or before the time it began selling the affected models to the public. Complaints of keyboard failures began to come in shortly after the 2015 MacBook was launched. Despite awareness of the keyboard defect, Apple equipped future model MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops with the butterfly keyboard, and continued selling these laptops to consumers at premium prices.

Apple failed to disclose that the keyboard is defective, and this information would have been important to Plaintiffs’ decision to purchase a MacBook:

Apple failed and continues to fail to disclose to consumers that the MacBook is defective, including when consumers bring their failed laptops into the “Genius Bar” (the in-store support desk) at Apple stores to request technical support.

You can find the full lawsuit claim embedded below:

The flatter keyboards were first introduced on the 12-inch MacBook in 2015 and the reception to them has been split down the middle. Some people love they larger keys, which have less travel, and others, like myself, prefer the bouncier keys on the MacBook Air and old MacBook Pros.

Most recently, the keyboards have garnered attention for their failure rate. Specifically, keyboards are breaking down because specks of dust can get trapped underneath the keys, rendering them un-pressable. 

The Outline was one of the first publications to help bring attention to these keyboards. An AppleInsider investigation then revealed some troubling data showing 2016 MacBook Pro keyboards were failing twice as frequently as older versions.

It goes without saying that customers are furious over Apple’s silence on the matter. A Change.org petition has collected over 18,000 signatures demanding that Apple recall the MacBook Pro with busted keyboard and replace it with another type.

With a lawsuit filed, the pressure is on for Apple to respond. The company has a few options: It can either recall the laptops or extend its warranty service to offer free repairs to all users with the defective product.

All eyes will be on Apple to remedy the issues. It’s not acceptable for computers that cost $1,299 and more to have keyboards that break because of small amounts of dust. It’ll be very telling to see how Apple plans to address the keyboard in future MacBook designs. 

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f85849%2f4c3d821a 4790 4fb4 aee7 9a0f2276af73

The ONE Smart Keyboard Pro lets you tickle the ivories with ease

While the ONE Smart Keyboard Pro doesn’t have a sweet demo tune nor can it play barking dog Jingle Bells without some help, it can teach you or your kids how to play piano. The elegant keyboard has 88 weighted keys that simulate a true mechanical piano and connects to your phone so you can learn to play at your own pace.

The Keyboard Pro costs $799 and is essentially a compact teaching keyboard. It can connect to your iOS or Android devices via an oddly shaped USB B cable and once it’s paired with the app you can run through simple songs – think Greensleeves – and more complex sheet music. This keyboard is weighted but not progressively which means that each key offers the same resistance, a consideration that might be important to some more experienced players. Further, you can connect a USB cable and connect the keyboard to your computer to use it as a MIDI controller.

Again, this is a very austere keyboard. It doesn’t do much aside from teach you how to play which, in the end, is what most of us need. Because it doesn’t have the expansive bells and whistles of a Casio and because most of the smarts are in the app itself, it’s a bit of a hard sell for most people. However, if you’re looking to learn, the ONE works.

This larger and more complete version of the One Smart Keyboard offers quality workmanship and design. The entire system is surprisingly sparse with nothing but a power button and volume on the front of the keyboard. There is an input for a sustain pedal as well as a few output jacks for headphones and that’s about it. Don’t expect to pick out instruments or pitch shift with this keyboard. Once you fire up the app you have access to teaching exercises and games that let you follow along on the LED-lit keyboard as you run through songs and scales. Finally, you can buy sheet music for $3.99 or so that you can learn to play on the ONE. There is also free sheet music available for those who want to play a little classical.

I found the entire system to be quite usable and my kids, once they figured out how to slow down the music, jumped right in learning little songs. Nothing can quite teach you how to play piano like a human teacher – there aren’t enough smarts in this app to make adjustments based on your skill – but it’s the electronic equivalent of buying a Teach Yourself Piano book and sitting down in front of grandma’s old upright. I’m especially pleased with the quality of the keyboard. I’ve already had a few MIDI keyboards over the years including models from Casio and Yamaha and this one is on par with those. The teaching feature is the main draw here, as I noted before, because there is little else you can do with this keyboard right out of the box. However, if that’s what you’re looking for in a keyboard and you don’t want to sample bodily noises so you can play Farting Clair De Lune at the school talent show, this might be the model for you.

Azio’s Retro Classic typewriter-inspired Bluetooth keyboard is a luxurious treat


Maybe you’re sitting at a MacBook or other modern PC right now, typing away in near silence on a keyboard that provides no real satisfying response to your human fingers. Maybe, once in the distant past, you remember when keyboards offered something in return: A “click clack” that stood as an auditory proof of productivity.

If you miss that and want it back, the new Azio Luxury Retro Classic keyboard with Bluetooth is a fantastic option, and one that’s relatively affordable compared to some of the more extravagant typewriter-inspired keyboards out there – but with all of the same charm, and a mechanical typing action that you’ll love if you’re a fan of really pounding those keys.

The $219.99 ($189.99 if you don’t need wireless connectivity) accessory comes with a lot in the box you won’t get from comparably priced premium keyboards, including replaceable keycaps for both Mac and PC, as well as backlighting, and genuine metal, wood and leather finished surfaces. The wireless version works in both wired and Bluetooth configurations, and the 6,000 mAh battery on board can last for up to two months between charges.

The keyboard uses USB-C for charging, with a cable included (braided, no less) and it just works out of the box with both macOS and Windows thanks to the convenient mode switch at the back and the aforementioned interchangeable key caps (no tools required, either – just pull them off and push on the replacements.

In addition to the lovely material accents, and the Azio mechanical switches, which are indeed clicky and offer just the right amount of resistance for me, the Retro Classic also has typing angle adjustability thanks to screw down feet that can add a fair amount of lift if you find that more comfortable as a typist.

The keyboards also feel like they’re built to withstand a lot of typing – or a nuclear apocalypse, whichever comes first. They’re heavy, and that plus the rubberized anti-slip pads will keep them firmly rooted on your desk. This isn’t the keyboard you’ll want to take with you when you travel, however.

If you want something that’s as much desk decoration as it is functional tool, and you’re a big fan of mechanical keyboards (as I am, savoring each clack of this review on the Azio), then this is a prime option. Retro keyboards are getting easier to find, but Azio’s model has the best balance of price, versatility and quality of the ones I’ve come across thus far.

Black Friday Deals: get $100 off a Razer gaming bundle at Walmart

Calling all hardcore gamers: Black Friday is here for you, too. Walmart is offering the 5-star Razer gaming bundle for $99—that’s $100 off the original price of $199.

If you haven’t yet joined the cult of Razer, you don’t know what you’re missing. In the words of Mashable‘s Ray Wong, the scrappy PC gaming company “conquered PC accessories and even sells some of the sleekest and best gaming laptops ever created.” 

This bundle includes the Cynosa Pro Keyboard with membrane keys, the ergonomic DeathAdder mouse with Hyperresponse buttons, Kraken Essential headset designed for extended wear, and fray-resistant Goliathus mouse pad. 

Razer gaming gear is some of the best in the biz, which means it tends to be expensive. Take advantage of this deal while you can. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or the PC gamer in your life, this bundle is sure to up your game (no pun intended.)

As more Black Friday sales drop, the Mashable Deals team will be scouring the internet to find you the best prices on our favorite products. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated.

Turn almost anything into a gamepad or keyboard with MagicKey

You're the inventor now.
You’re the inventor now.

Image: sunfounder

If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, the gifts at the top of your annual Christmas and Hanukkah lists likely included the OG Nintendo Gameboy, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers action figures, a Furby, and — of course — Beanie Babies. Well, meet the gadget that’s about to nab the highest spot on your adult self’s holiday wishlist: SunFounder’s MagicKey 3-in-1 DIY MIDI Gamepad Keyboard.

Based on the Atmel ATmega32U4, a low-power microcontroller, this multifunction, expertly crafted board is able to turn anything conductive into the keys that operate your functional plaything. Got an orange or a couple empty soda cans lying around your house? You can use the MagicKey’s MIDI function to build a compact system that does things like play music or control your favorite video game. With the board’s buttons, the 15 included alligator clips, or the pin headers all available for use as your inputs, you’ve got so many options with which to toy around.

[embedded content]

Best of all, you don’t need to be some kind of tech whiz to play with the MagicKey. Simply use the visual programming language software to change your keys’ value and apply it to your inventions.

Be sure to let your Secret Santa know that the MagicKey Keyboard is on sale for a limited time in the Mashable Shop for only $32.99 — a savings of 17%.