Apple dumps problematic butterfly keyboard on all-new 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.

Wilson Rothman for The Wall Street Journal:

Apple introduced a 16-inch MacBook Pro on Wednesday, marking a new screen size as well as a departure from the problematic “butterfly” keyboard that triggered customer complaints and drove the company to offer an extended repair program.

The issue at the center of the keyboard debacle was the mechanism under the keys. In 2015, Apple began using a butterfly mechanism to replace the previous “scissor” mechanism, which is an industry standard. This enabled a thinner laptop design, though reliability problems — including duplicate or missed key presses — continued for years… Multiple lawsuits were filed against Apple over keyboard defects, which were among several recent hardware missteps that tarnished Apple’s reputation.

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro has a new scissor-mechanism keyboard that Apple says is based on designs found on older MacBook keyboards and the Magic Keyboard bundled with current iMacs… In a side-by-side comparison with the butterfly keyboard, the new keyboard is noticeably quieter and more cushioned. As a fairly violent typist, I find the new keyboard to cushion the blows more ably. Compared with that earlier scissor-style keyboard, the new keys feel steadier, but definitely less squishy.

MacDailyNews Take: The whole Butterfly Era was a series of unfortunate events that Apple is smartly putting in the rearview mirror. They can’t come out and say it, likely for legal reasons, and certainly for marketing reasons as they are still selling models with butterfly keyboards that are, in their latest iteration, actually quite nice and about which we’ve heard nothing negative about reliability (just complaints about feel and keycap travel from some who are used to different keyboards). Apple will almost certainly phase out the butterfly keyboards over time as they upgrade the smaller MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.

We’ve got arrival dates for our 16-inch MacBook Pro orders that all carry the same range: November 27 – December 2. These are build-to-order units, not standard configs, so some time is to be expected. Has anyone built and ordered similar 16-inch MacBook Pro unit(s) — 2.4GHz Intel Core i9, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB GDDR6 memory, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, in Space Gray — and received a different arrival date range?


  1. Buying a build-to-order Mac might actually speed up the delivery. I ordered a build-to-order 2017 iMac on the day it was released. The order acknowledgment said it would be shipped in 14 days. Two business day later, I checked my order status for fun and discovered it was out for delivery! I guess they had to pull my computer out of the queue to adapt it, and that sped up the shipping.

  2. This may seem like a minor thing, but it’s not: there hasn’t been much of a single progression under Cook that hasn’t needed to be modified in some way. Either he is incompetent, or he is too big a pussycat to dictate to his millennial engineers and designers. Regardless, his time at the helm has been an incredible disappointment.

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