Among laptop computers, performance-wise, Apple’s MacBook Pro series will easily hold its own against all contemporary comers. But not all tech devices are flawless, and the MBPs, especially since 2015, are no exception. That had been the year that Apple introduced a new mechanism for its laptop keyboards, the butterfly mechanism. Users of the laptop series have been plagued with bouts of poor response and even lack of response, greatly offsetting the butterfly keyboard’s “quiet” touch advantage. Despite Apple offering a dedicated repair service for this problem, it has persisted across new MBP models. According to latest rumors, the tech giant has had enough and is moving on from butterflies.
The Verge tells us that computer analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has caught wind of plans by Apple to dispense with the problematic butterfly keyboard in their next MacBook Pro release. The dirt-prone mechanism will apparently be replaced by a scissor-switch keyboard system, which further minimizes the spaces in which dust particles can enter underneath the keys to later mess up input. Even better, the laptop keys themselves will be reinforced by glass fiber elements. According to Kuo, a MacBook Air that Apple will release later this year will debut the scissor-switch keyboard after the butterfly’s retirement.
Kuo goes on to elaborate on the advantages Apple saw in the scissor-switch mechanism that may have inspired them to do away with the butterfly keyboard. For one thing, it has a “longer key travel” that will have a better feel for users when typing. Furthermore, it is far more affordable manufacturing-wise than the butterfly, even if it is still more expensive to produce than the average laptop keyboard. And while the scissor-switch mechanism occupies more space than the ultra-thin butterfly keys, the difference in thickness will be negligible that users cannot tell the difference.
As already stated, the earliest possible introduction of the scissor-switch keyboard for Apple laptops is with the MacBook Air that is supposed to come out this late 2019. MacBook Pro users will be disappointed to learn that the September-release 16-inch MBP and the rumored 13-inch version will still be packing the now-reviled butterfly keyboard. The next MacBook Pro that might have scissor switches might be the model coming out in 2020. Ming-Chi Kuo notes that the new keyboard will be made for integration into upcoming Apple devices by Sunrex, a component manufacturer based in Taiwan.
Image: Philip Elmer-DeWitt’s Apple 3.0