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It often seems like it doesn’t, for a couple reason. Firstly, because it usually doesn’t come right out and say “we’re listening”—at least not specifically. But more visibly, because the actions that result from that listening generally take a pretty long time to come to fruition.
The old metaphor for something that’s slow to change is "turning a battleship," but Apple is so big at this point that it’s more like turning a flotilla of aircraft carriers that have been lashed together as a floating city. In the middle of a glacier.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro released this week points to the fact that Apple can bring its ships around, eventually. And even when they do get on a new heading, it might not be exactly the one that all of its users are looking for. But there are certainly enough significant changes in this latest update to indicate that the company is looking to keep its customers, especially its most vocal ones, happy.
The first Mac to feature the butterfly keyboard was the 12-inch MacBook, back in 2015. It wasn’t long after that the first complaints about it started to surface, and Apple took several cracks at revamping the mechanism. First with a second-generation keyboard that slightly tweaked the switches themselves, and later with a third generation that added a silicone membrane to supposedly prevent dust from getting in.
Ultimately, none of those fixes quieted the complaints, which ended up leading to a much bigger problem: perception. Even if the keyboard problems were limited to a small percentage of users, the outspoken nature of the complaints and failures to acknowledge them (beyond the tacit admission inherent in the repeated updating of the keyboard mechanism) resulted in trust being broken between the company and its users. In the end, Apple could have rolled out a redesigned butterfly keyboard that really did fix all the problems—but as long as it had a butterfly mechanism, it wouldn’t have mattered.
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