Apple’s new 2018 MacBook Pro models now available with revised butterfly keyboards, much faster performance possible

“Today, Apple begins shipping the new 2018 refresh of the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro. The new machines are not major redesigns, but they offer configurations with 8th-generation Intel processors and more cores than before—a maximum of six cores on the 15-inch model (compared to four in last year’s models) and four in the 13-inch model (compared to two),” Samuel Axon writes for Ars Technica. “The laptops also borrow some features from the iMac Pro and the iPad Pro—the T2 chip and True Tone, respectively—and feature a revised butterfly keyboard, the third generation of the design Apple introduced in 2016 (the revision is a little more significant this time around). Apart from those tweaks to the keyboard, the basic design of the MacBook Pro is unchanged. The specs, though, get a noteworthy bump.”

“The butterfly keyboard design Apple introduced in 2016 has been divisive. Some people really like it, claiming it has fast travel and a sturdy, responsive feel to it. Others feel it’s uncomfortable to type on. We haven’t seen a keyboard this polarizing in a long time; it’s a point of passionate disagreement even among Ars Technica reviews staff,” Axon writes. “Further, some users experienced keyboard failures, particularly in the 2016 model. Small tweaks to the design in 2017 models reportedly reduced the failure rate. Apple claims the problem is not that widespread, but it nevertheless recently began offering service for the keyboard at no cost in a repair program. This newly revised keyboard is another iterative step in that design, although Apple hasn’t made any claims about the new keyboard’s comparative durability.”

“The new keyboard has the same dimensions and look as its two predecessors, but the keys feel just a little bit different. They’re quieter, for one thing. They have a softer, less click-y feel that is a little closer to the pre-2016 models’ chiclet keys,” Axon writes. “We found the new keyboard to be a little nicer to type on, but it’s not a radical difference. It’s unlikely to convert the detractors, but it’s a welcome iteration for those who liked or didn’t mind the previous butterfly keyboards.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Time will tell on Apple’s newest notebook keyboards. Hopefully, the third time’s the charm!

SEE ALSO:
MacBook Pro (2018): First look, listen, and feel! – July 12, 2018
What power users say about Apple’s new 2018 MacBook Pros – July 12, 2018
Apple unveils new MacBook Pro models with faster performance and new features for pros – July 12, 2018

7 Comments

  1. I wonder if the non-touchpad MBPs will get the updated keyboard also. Seems kind of crazy to keep shipping Macs with keyboards that they have basically admitted are defective. But if these are getting updated, Apple probably won’t publicize it much since that would give people less reason to buy the pricey models.

  2. Would love to know; Is the new & improved keyboard [“There is a new keyboard. Or rather, newish. It’s a 3rd generation Butterfly and Dome switch set up.”] what Apple’s ultimately using to replace the defective keyboards on the previous generations?

    1. Well, based on the article, I would guess that Apple initially replaced like-with-like on the 2016 models. After tweaking the keyboard design for the 2017 models, I would assume that Apple switched to the revised keyboard design for replacements. Going forward, it seems logical that Apple will eventually switch to the 2018 keyboard revision for replacements once the stock of 2017 keyboards is exhausted.

      That seems logical to me, anyway.

  3. Meet the new butterfly, same as the old butterfly (with a tweek or two)…
    The butterfly design is the failure – start over.

    Naming something ‘pro’ that doesn’t have true colors… Not Pro

    1. Yes, I’d be willing to bet a hamburger that the only real difference in the 3rd Gen Butterfly is that they dimensionally increased the gaps a bit more (again).

      That doesn’t solve the root cause (the butterfly design), but merely delays how long it will go before it fails …

      1. If you are only willing to bet a hamburger, then what is your opinion really worth? About $4. Furthermore, how do you know that the change (that you speculate) won’t materially improve the failure situation which, according to Apple, is not that widespread, anyway.

        Have you personally experienced a keyboard problem?

        When you get solid data on the design changes to the third generation butterfly keyboard, then I will be interested in learning more. Until then, speculation and pessimism are cheap.

        1. First, “bet a hamburger” is merely an expression – its really more of an honor bet than a monetary worth.

          Second, from a design standpoint, this one is reportedly backwards-compatible to the 2nd Gen, and since the butterfly aspect of the design has remained, its contribution towards ‘Root Cause’ has not been eliminated. And just like Porsche with their IMS failures, only Apple knows the true failure rate … and they’re not sharing their data. Nevertheless, _enough_ reports have trickled out to indicate that this was a relatively huge shift in reliability.

          Third, fallacy alert on personal experience. I’ve also not personally experienced a bullet-in-bore malfunction with my firearms, but that didn’t stop my employer from paying me to analyze their causality at work and sending a big bunch of us out onto the manufacturing floor to fix the problem. Nevertheless, the UI feel of my MBP’s 2nd Gen is hands down the worst keyboard I’ve used since the ancient Timex-Sinclair. And this has been made even more apparent with an employer-provided Dell 72xx something laptop – – same size/weight, better specs, LOWER price, more ports, better keyboard. Sure, its probably 2mm thicker, but that’s not really a perceptible difference AFAIC.

          Fourth, I agree that the issue is unresolved on if the 3rd Gen really fixes things much until there’s data. But once again, Apple isn’t going to go publish a comparative reliability analysis in Open Literature, both you and I are only going to have the ‘rumor mill’ to rely on, for good and bad: just as there probably won’t be quantitative evidence for me to say “I told you so”, you’re not going to have it to see “see, all problems solved!”.

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