Apple introduced a new keyboard design with its 2015 MacBooks, based on a “butterfly mechanism” that allowed for much thinner keys, and therefore a thinner laptop overall. However, the keyboard was not well received, and as such after three failed iterations of the butterfly keyboard, Apple will return to a classic scissor-style mechanism in its MacBooks from this year onward.
That’s according to trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, anyway, who is usually on the money with these reports.
While some users weren’t a fan of the butterfly keyboard’s low action feel for typing, a more important issue is that the mechanism is easily broken. Keyboard issues ranging from sticking or completely inactive keys to buttons that routinely register two presses instead of one have been worryingly common in the MacBook these past few years, to the point that Apple publicly admitted its mistake and offered free repairs to those affected.
It’s not often Apple takes criticism to heart, but with the most recent addition of a silicone membrane beneath each key not really helping to avoid dust and debris messing with the mechanism, it looks as though the company has admitted defeat.
Instead, we’re likely to see a return to a variation of the old scissor keyboard before long. Kuo expect the 2019 MacBook Air update to be the first computer to feature the new keyboard, with the MacBook Pro series following suit next year. That would mean the all-new 16-inch Macbook expected later this year may not feature the new scissor keyboard – though the timings on either report could be slightly out.
Either way, if you’re thinking of upgrading your laptop any time soon, it might be worth holding on a little longer!