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11 things you need to know in tech today

Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, March 28, 2019!

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1. Apple apologizes for its (terrible) MacBrook Pro and Air keyboards

The Wall Street Journal tore strips off Apple yesterday for its controversial MacBook keyboards, in an amazing interactive.

MacBook Pro keyboard

The problem:

  • For reasons that can’t really be explained, Apple’s recent laptops and notebooks have the worst keyboards in the industry.
  • A new thin-style keyboard called a butterfly keyboard debuted with the 12-inch MacBook back in 2015.
  • The tiny butterfly switches for each key allowed the company to shave further millimeters off the overall design in the quest for thinness.
  • But since then, the keyboards have been under question.
  • Many users report failures – keys not working or stuck keys.
  • Apple has released two rounds of improvement, culminating in a third-generation keyboard for 2018’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, which includes a plastic membrane to keep out dirt, dust, and grit.

Apple has made some concessions acknowledging their keyboard mess:

  • The company opened a special service program offering free repairs of affected 2015-2017 MacBook and 2016-2017 MacBook Pro models with first- and second-generation butterfly keyboards.

But as Joanna Stern shows, with considerable and understandable exasperation, third-generation keyboards are not fixed:

WSJ keyboard column

Apple, surprisingly, went further than acknowledging a limited issue and actually apologized:

  • We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry. The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.
  • Once again, just like from Facebook last week, any extremely large company that admits a “small number” users could mean as many as 200-600m users.
  • In any case, Stern’s report was described as devastating. It is, and it’s brilliant in its execution as well.
  • There’s a final plea to Apple: “stop prioritizing thinness over usability.”
  • (I don’t own a MacBook to really give you the nitty gritty (pun intended) because the Dell XPS is a thing of beauty, but I expect Adam in the podcast to have a quality rant about this later today!)

2. More Xiaomi folding phone glimpses

The Xiaomi foldable phone has surfaced again in new video, showing off its dual-fold design:

Xiaomi folding phone

  • We see the foldable phone going from a tablet to phone form factor…
  • And that’s about all!
  • Still no price, no availability, no more real info at all, but the fold is undeniably cool to see.
  • Full video and more scraps of info here.

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