Change is coming to Apple’s MacBook controversial keyboard

Apple has been using its ‘butterfly’ keyboard in its MacBooks since 2015 but according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a 9to5Mac article, the company is planning on switching to a scissor-switch design for its forthcoming MacBook Air later this year and its MacBook Pro in 2020. Kuo predicts that the butterfly keyboard eventually will completely disappear over time.

Moving to using a scissor-switch design, Apple will be using glass fiber to reinforce its keys. Over the years Apple has had various complaints and technical difficulties with the butterfly keyboard and has struggled with perfecting the keyboard in spite of the many tweaking it has done to fix each problem with each subsequent production of the MackBook over the last four years.

One of the biggest problems has been dust or fine particles getting into the keyboard and causing keys to act erratically or even to completely stop working. It seems that most complaints have been with its third generation of keyboards. Even though Apple last year tried to solve the dust particle problem by including a thin silicone barrier behind each key to help avert dust and crumbs it still was given to failures.

Apple has apologized for the inconvenience and even set up an extended repairs program. Another problem has been the meltdown of the battery because the keyboard is so thin which was made possible with the butterfly design. And when batteries overheated the only fix was to replace it with a new one, which would eventually over time overheat again.

Kuo says that Apple is making the switch to scissor-switch designin its new keyboards for the MacBook Air and Macbook Pro because of the lower cost. The butterfly keyboard design has been expensive for Apple to manufacture due to its low yields. Going back to the scissor-switch designwill improve the user’s typing experience and hopefully resolve the battery problems because of a slightly thicker keyboard. 

The positive side of the butterfly keyboard is that its slim and more durable. However, these positives are irrelevant if one can’t use it. Kuo says the scissor-switch designwill increase the thickness of the MacBook but most users won’t be able to tell the difference.  The new scissor-switch designed keyboards will be put together by Sunrex, a Taiwanese manufacture.

Kuo’s report cites that the new scissor-switch designed keyboards most likely won’t make it into this year’s 16-in MackBook Pro expected in September nor the updated version of MackBook Pro’s 13-inch version.