Apple Might Start Ditching Its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Laptop Keyboards Later This Year

Photo: iFixit

There hasn’t been an Apple product as universally maligned and hated as the company’s low profile butterfly keyboards since the Newton PDA. Introduced in 2015 to help MacBooks achieve thinner designs, even Gizmodo staffers have had keys on their laptops that broke, or inexplicably just stopped working.

As a result, the company expanded its Keyboard Service Program to fix any problems, and even upgraded the keyboard’s materials; but 2019 could actually see Apple finally switch to a better scissor switch design.

Apple Finally Did The Right Thing (Sort Of)

About a week ago, the “a” key on my MacBook Pro broke. Once flat and useful, the poor little guy now looks like a mini ski slope and barely works. Several of my friends have similar keyboard problems on their overpriced laptops. So it felt like a relief earlier today when Apple announced an expansion of Keyboard Service Program. Now, the company will repair pretty much any MacBook Pro with the problematic “butterfly mechanism” for free. Apple even announced a design upgrade that will hopefully ensure new keyboards don’t break. Good job, Apple.

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According to a recent report by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company will introduce a new scissor switch style keyboard design later this year. It will be reinforced with glass fibres that will not only improve durability but will also extend key travel, which has been another major complaint with the butterfly style switches.

In layman’s terms: Pounding away on the new keyboard design should offer a much better tactile experience.

Kuo also points out that while the scissor switch design will still be more expensive than what most laptop makers are using, it will be actually cheaper than the butterfly design, so seemingly a win-win solution for Apple.

The bad news is that Ming-Chi Kuo also claims the new keyboard design will only be introduced on a new MacBook Air later this year, and not the 16-inch MacBook Pro that many suspect Apple will announce in spring. The MacBook Pro line supposedly won’t see the new scissor switch keyboards included until 2020, eventually replacing the butterfly keyboards altogether.

So if you’ve been holding off on upgrading your MacBook, you might want to hold out even longer now — if you can.

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