Jon Porter–The Verge:
Apple is planning to ditch the controversial butterfly keyboard used in its MacBooks since 2015, according to a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. 9to5Mac notes that Apple will reportedly move to a new scissor-switch design, which will use glass fiber to reinforce its keys. According to Kuo’s report, the first laptop to get the new keyboard will be a new MacBook Air model due out this year, followed by a new MacBook Pro in 2020. “We predict that the butterfly keyboard may finally disappear in the long term,” Kuo says.
It’s about time.
I’d held off buying a replacement for my seven-year-old MacBook Pro until the ill-regarded 2016-2017 keyboard design was tweaked for 2018. The new machine was, overall, excellent, but the tweaks didn’t solve my and others’ primary issue with the keyboard: it’s not so much a reliability problem for me as it is one of incessant annoyance.
The keyboard’s reduced key travel imparted by the butterfly switch mechanism makes it “clicky,” and the reduced key size and pitch make it hard to maintain accuracy. The lack of an inverted-T arrangement among the arrow keys makes it difficult to locate them without looking, and an easily mis-triggered soft escape key rounds out my complaints. In short, this keyboard is as lacking in design grace as the rest of the machine excels. As Steve Jobs famously stated, “design is how it works.”
I’m looking forward to reading how the newer keyboard design works later this year. If it improves functionality and reliability I’ll be in for a replacement MacBook Pro some time in 2020.
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