Apple Reportedly Ditching MacBook’s Infamous Butterfly Keyboard Design

Posted on July 4, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, Hardware with 40 Comments

Apple might finally give up with the MacBook’s controversial butterfly keyboard design. The keyboard design, first launched on the MacBook a few years ago, have gone through a lot of changes since the initial changes. Apple’s been trying to avoid admitting to the design flaws, but it has continued to be a problem for Apple and its MacBooks.

And after multiple iterations, Apple might finally give up with the butterfly keyboard design.

According to a new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), Apple is working on a new scissor switch keyboard design for its MacBooks. Kuo says Apple is working on a new scissor switch keyboard design that uses glass fiber to reinforce the keys on the keyboard. The new design will offer longer key travel and durability, but the whole design would be slightly thicker than the butterfly keyboard design. The difference will still be harder to notice by users, though.

The new scissor switch keyboard design could even be cheaper for Apple to manufacture than the butterfly keyboard.

Apple is expected to first introduce the new scissor switch keyboard design on the MacBook Air 2019, followed by the MacBook Pro in 2020. It’s still early to tell whether the new scissor switch keyboard design will actually work out for Apple, but to be honest Apple users will take anything that’s better than all the iterations of the butterfly keyboard.

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Comments (40)

40 responses to “Apple Reportedly Ditching MacBook’s Infamous Butterfly Keyboard Design”

  1. longhorn

    Nice to see Apple stepping down from the Ive-ory tower. Show us some great design again. Things that last. Things that can be repaired. Things that would make someone want to buy Apple products because of the hardware.

    And make Apple products accessible to normal people. With Tim Cook the Apple tax is at an all time high. Let there be competition again.

  2. Mav Pen


    I can agree with other things- fine with the touch bar because it's not really that bigger deal and can be truly useful, happy with USB-C ports because it's a great spec and dongles aren't a big deal, losing magsafe was annoying but it wasn't a big deal.

    In return we got a great design, beautiful screen, awesome speakers, even bigger touchpads with what I still argue is the best OS to use at this time for the majority of people.

    BUT the keyboard was the game changer. I own three generations of MacBook Pro's with these keyboards and they are all, for want of a better word, crap. Uncomfortable to type on, I've had to use compressed air to fix them at least four times now, one of them had to be sent back to apple for service, all for naught.

    At least they're not going to carry on with this madness anymore. Big Clap.

    • SenorGravy

      In reply to Mav_Pen: Couldn't disagree more. USB-C only is a huge deal as there aren't very many accessories that take advantage of this connection. Apple should have included at least 1 USB-A connection. I really miss Magsafe. No, it wasn't integral to the operation of the device, but it sure was nice to have when you needed it.

      I have a 2016MacBook Pro and a new iPhone XS MAX , both made by the same company to work together, and they can't connect out of the box. WTF.

      Hell, I even miss the light up logo. But that's just me. I guess.

      • jchampeau

        In reply to SenorGravy:

        It isn't just you. I'm nostalgic for the light-up logo. It was always entertaining to look at the audience shots at Microsoft events and see all the Apple logos.

      • Mav Pen

        In reply to SenorGravy:

        I miss the light up logo too :(

        As for USB-C, we're eventually going to have to move toward the new standard so I'm glad they are forcing it. I've been fine since I bought the lightning to USB-C cable, and all of my devices can now connect through USB-C. Hassle free, quite happy with it, and the single combo dongle that Apple makes (HDMI + USB A + USB C -> USB-C) is perfect for travelling.

        Magsafe was nice, but I'll take being able to plug the computer in on either side over that any day :)

        Still, that light up logo though... :(

  3. Stooks

    It is a start. However lots of issues to fix.

    Thicker for better throttle management on the “Pro” versions. A real port selection with a SD card reader and HDMI.

    Get rid of that Touch Bar and I would love to see MagSafe come back. At least RAM that can be upgraded and M.2 SSD would be a bonus.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Stooks:

      So, basically you're suggesting the 5th generation MacBook Pro should undo every "innovation" they've done in the last decade and essentially be a reissue of the 2nd generation MacBook Pro from 2008 but with a refresh of the screen, storage and chipset to modern specs.

      Oddly, that seems to correspond to undoing every change approved by Tim Cook. Coincidence, I'm sure.

      • Stooks

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Yes pretty much. I made a huge mistake giving up my 2013 15inch Macbook Pro at work when they refreshed it with a 2017 model late in December of 2017.

        There is nothing I like about the 2017. Well I guess it looks nice if Laptops can look nice from an industrial design perspective.

        What I don't like...

        Too thin, fans rail when doing anything CPU intensive.

        If intensive enough the 85watt power brick can't keep the battery charged.

        Touchbar is flimsy and useless. Feels super cheap on a $3000+ laptop.

        Ports, I own at least $200 worth of dongles. I use NOTHING that actually has a native USB-C port. HDMI is used in every conference room at my company and I have to brink a dongle. I am network engineer, try using a USB-A dongle > Keyspan USB-Serial > Serial to console port cable.....and have none of come un-plugged, what a joke. Or every time I pull the SD card out of my Canon DSLR I have to find USB-C to SD dongle to download photos.

        MagSafe, probably the best invention Apple ever put on a laptop. Every laptop, even Windows laptops, should use this and anyone that has jerked a laptop off of a surface while charging would understand this. Lots of people at work bring bent USB-C cords to the help desk for replacements.

        • ejuly

          In reply to Stooks:

          Wow this sounds like a lot of tech people I know and manage. They are stuck in a certain time period and nothing before or after is any good. Being at retirement age I will not miss folks who make comments like yours.

          • skane2600

            In reply to ejuly:

            Then there are those who embrace anything new without regard to whether they represent a better approach or a step backward in usefulness. Usually after 10 years or more experience this tendency fades but apparently not always.

          • Stooks

            In reply to ejuly:

            Lol. Go through each of my points and explain how my 2017 is better than my 2013.

            They were basically both loaded. I7 16gig of RAM, 1TB SSD.

            Yes the 2017 probably has a faster M.2 SSD only noticeable in benchmarks for me. Probably a more power efficient CPU.

            That said I used the ports without dongles. The MagSafe was great. The missing touchbar did not impact me and the keyboard was way better and actually worked after 4 years on my 2013. Never had as much fan/throttling either.

            New does not not equal better all the time. I am glad it did not take me until retirement age to figure that out.

        • warren

          In reply to Stooks:

          You didn't even mention:

          The Touch Bar gets hot to the touch, especially under the spot where you slide your finger to adjust the volume

          The chassis gets VERY cold in winter weather.... uncomfortably so

          The ESC key is not aligned with the left-hand side of the keyboard. Only modern keyboard I've ever seen where ESC isn't above tilde

          There is no longer a light that shows how much battery is left; you have to turn the whole machine on to find out. On my old Mac laptops, I could just press the button on the side to see how it was doing, without pulling it out of my bag

          The Siri button can't be disabled, so you'll be accidentally hitting it every so often (DO YOU WANT TO ENABLE ASK SIRI) when you mean to hit mute

          And there is still no face recognition! Every other high-end laptop has Windows Hello, and FaceID is excellent on iOS.... plus there's plenty of space on that giant bezel.... what's the hold up?

  4. saint4eva

    Please, Apple should abandon this useless keyboard.

  5. yaddamaster

    I switched to a macbook at work and it's the single worst computer I've ever used. And that includes some seriously crappy Dell's.

    Yes, it's pretty. But the keyboard is utter and total crap. Absolute crap. The Surface Pro keyboard is 3x better. Heck, it's infinitely better since the Mac's is completely non-functional.

  6. rbwatson0

    Apple will continue to claim there was nothing wrong with the butterfly design, just that they're moving on to something better!

    • zybch

      In reply to rbwatson0:

      Does seem to be an oft repeated pattern...

      Its the main reason I don't buy apple IT gear now. A company that keeps making stupid mistakes that everyone else solved years ago, because of the relentless drive to squeeze a 5mm design into a 3mm casing again and again and again.

  7. birju009

     Apple reportedly shifting to new keyboard design in 2019/2020… ... Apple Reportedly Ditching MacBook's Infamous Butterfly Keyboard ...

  8. Vladimir Carli

    With a new keyboard + game streaming next year may be a good time to go back to a MacBook Pro... let’s see

  9. Tony Barrett

    Great - Apple move on, and design a new keyboard that actually works (maybe!). What about all the people who've bought these 'wonderful' and 'expensive' devices though - they're essentially left with a laptop whose keyboard could stop working at any time. Apple should do the honest thing, and admit the design problem and offer a replacement (or at least good trade in) for existing owners with affected MacBooks. They can afford it!

  10. blackcomb

    MacBooks will be useful again.

  11. TallGuySE

    I’d like to upgrade my 2017 15” MBP to the 2019 version. But I’ve been lucky not to have any keyboard issues so far, and this model doesn’t have the T2 chip which can cause crashes.

    Both problems may be less frequent than it seems from all the noise. But if redesigns are on the horizon, I can wait a little longer.

    • wright_is

      In reply to TallGuySE:

      My daughter also has a first generation butterfly keyboard MacBook Pro 13" and, touch wood, she hasn't had any problems so far... But it is still one of the worst keyboards I've ever used.

      • will

        In reply to wright_is:

        For me it is one of the fastest keyboards I have ever used. Unfortunately when you have a keyboard that creates such a dynamic love/hate relationship it still means it is not good. If they they keep the ease of speed, with a little more travel and reliably they might have a winning combo.

  12. skane2600

    Hopefully the new design will work well, but wasn't the pre-butterfly design well received? Putting emphasis on thinness over fundamental functionality still seems wrong-headed to me. Hopefully they'll test the new keyboard thoroughly and confirm that it is at least as effective as the old-fashioned one.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to skane2600:

      Yep. It's not new as much as a return to what they had before their "brave" butterfly innovation and the "not admitting a fault but better" replacement butterfly and the "still not admitting a fault but better" butterfly replacement for the butterfly replacement.

      I guess now that Ive is gone they can trade off making something a fraction of a mm thicker for that previously unimportant need of actually working.

  13. jimchamplin

    Thank fuck.

    They don't need to make everything thinner. Instead they should now start reversing the trend. Make a truly professional machine with swappable battery, and easily servicable everything.

    Just forget thin and be cool instead.

    Cool > thin.

  14. dontbe evil

    but but apple is the best /s

  15. SenorGravy

    Crazy thought-

    Just bring back the 2015 MACBOOK PRO keyboard. It was among the best in class. How much thicker would it have made it? Sometimes it's frustrating how Apple almost seems to go out of it's way to create problems.

  16. will

    I would guess this will also be showing up in a new Magic Keyboard 2 wireless keyboard.

  17. MikeGalos

    Hopefully this will be in time for the keyboards on the Mac Pro and they won't just charge $1,000 for the "Pro" keyboard that actually works.

  18. wright_is

    And only 4 days after Ive left the building... Coincidence?

  19. zybch

    As key travel seems to be such a sticking point, I ownder why they don't use the same fake click generating linear actuator they use for the no-moving-parts-at-all touchpads.

    Have a small ammount of travel but only generate the tactile 'click' when a pressure threshold is reached like the touchpad does.

    As for their history of manufacturing and selling pretty but dreadfully faulty designs and never owning up?

    How many times do people have to be subjected to that pattern before they wake up I wonder.

    My Time Capsule died swiftly. It rapidly overheated and suicided thanks to a temp threshold set wayyyy too high, a fan that just moved the hot air around the inside of the enclosure that had no external vents, and a catastrophically hot internal power supply when an external one was undeniably preferable in a unit marketed as the best way to protect users' data.

    Apple's response - nothing. Posts in their forums were removed, the users were blamed (not quite 'you're holding it wrong' but close) and the product kept on being sold and wrecking customer's files, with even newer models failing for the exact same reason.

    After losing irreplaceable data on the device they promised would keep everything safe, I never bought another non phone/tablet apple device since. And after such boneheaded moves that always pushed function to be subservient to the form, its no wonder we keep seeing completely solved problems from other manufacturers cropping up with apple. Butterfly keyboards, external phone antennas, leaking liquid-cooled power supplies, bendable phones, macbook GPUs overheating, etc etc etc.

    Almost ALL thanks to the functional design being compromised by their industrial aesthetics and the stupid thinner thinner thinner mantra that still rules that company and means that almost all of their computer products run far hotter than they should.

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