John Gruber’s first impressions of Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro

The new Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook.
The new Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:

The keyboard: We got it all: a return of scissor key mechanisms in lieu of butterfly switches, a return of the inverted-T arrow key arrangement, and a hardware Escape key. Apple stated explicitly that their inspiration for this keyboard is the Magic Keyboard that ships with iMacs… Calling it the “Magic Keyboard” threads the impossible marketing needle they needed to thread: it concedes everything while confessing nothing. Apple has always had a great keyboard that could fit in a MacBook — it just hasn’t been in a MacBook the last three years…

I expected Apple to do this — to correct the mistakes of the previous keyboard. But I feared that they wouldn’t, out of stubborn pride or just plain bad taste in keyboard design. It is a bit frustrating that it took them three years to do it, but they did it. This is what their modern MacBook keyboards should have been like all along.

MacDailyNews Take: The 16-inch MacBook Pro is better in every way – a bit more weight and thickness in exchange for better battery life is a trade we’d make any day (to a point; a point we’re nowhere near) – but the biggest improvement (even more than its gorgeous display) is its keyboard which is once again, as it should be and as it never shouldn’t have been, THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS.


  1. I feel like there is something wrong with me. I’ve enjoyed the butterfly keyboard for the last two plus years. I’m looking forward to trying the new one. Having switched back and forth between models this last six months, I really got a chance to try both.

  2. Apple knew how to make the best keyboard my old fingers ever typed across – the Pismo PowerBook, about 1999-2000. That keyboard is great. The worst keyboard is on my old 1997 Kanga. I go way back to 1986 with Macs. Y’all boys weren’t here then.

    1. My first Mac laptop keyboard was the original TiBook. Never had any issues with it. I still love my 2012 13″ MBP. I’ve typed over a million words on that one in nearly five years.

      Worst overall Mac keyboard was the POS that came with my 1994 PowerMac 7100/66. I loved Mac keyboards up to that point but that one was junk!

      1. Ha! My school got a ][+ in 1982 so you only beat me by a year 🙂

        Never tried to type on it aside from shooting deer in “Oregon Trail” and typing RUN and LOAD and CATALOG.

      2. The price for me is the biggest thing. For the same cost you get an inch more screen, double the ssd space in the base unit. That is exactly the direction Apple need to go. Well done.
        Shame that my current 15” mbp is so good. Especially after Apple changed the keyboard (and top surface and battery). That sucker is going to last a few more years.

    2. I go back to the 70’s with my first Apple being an Apple II+. Favorite keyboard was an IBM Selectric typewriter. Used to do Keypunch cards for my Dad at OSU when he was a professor there. I love mechanical keyboards and hate my soft and flat 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard. Have a 16” on order and looking forward to seeing how that one works.

  3. Heavier and thicker. No Pro Motion display. Larger physical size. Expensive.

    I like the improvements but it just feels like they need to move on from Intel and completely rearchitect and redesign the laptop.

    1. Compared to the immediate predecessors with questionable keyboards, sure.

      But compared to my mid-2015 15″ MBP with excellent keyboard… the 16″ is lighter and thinner (slightly smaller in every dimension, actually). Base cost is less than what it cost to upgrade RAM and storage to the same amounts.

      It’s a win for me.

  4. It does remove all the faults Ives imposed on the design as well fixed the keyboard.
    If you are tied to MacOS its adequate and what you should have been given years ago except for Apple stubbornness and we know better attitude. If you can use Windows you can save $500–$750.

    Arguably the best true enough.

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