Apple’s universally-loathed butterfly keys used in most of the current MacBook Pro and MacBook Air ranges are set to be phased out in the coming months according to famed - and eerily accurate - analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a recent note to investors, Kuo claims Apple is planning to release new variants of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with conventional scissor-switch keyboards in the coming months.
In the note, obtained by Mac Rumours, Kuo claims that supply chain issues caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 should ease up by the end of March, allowing Apple to mass-produce new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models for release by the end of Q2 2020.
He also confirms the return to the scissor mechanism with the upcoming laptops, which if true, should be music to the ears of millions of MacBook users around the world.
It’s welcome news, but is it really a surprise? We think not; Apple already replaced the butterfly mechanism with a scissor mechanism on the new 16in MacBook Pro, released late last year, and the feedback from reviewers and consumers alike was overwhelmingly positive, so it was only a matter of time before Apple rolled out the change to the rest of the collection.
The butterfly keyboard was originally introduced back in 2015, and was designed to aid the continual shrinking of Apple’s laptop range. The issue is that the mechanism is too small, and as owners have been reporting since, it’s all too easy for them to get clogged up with dust and debris and either cause multiple presses of the same key or stop the key input altogether.
Apple tried to improve on the design with every new iteration of laptop, introducing a rubber membrane on later models with the aim of intercepting the dust, but owners still complained about the reliability of their keyboards.
Dust and debris can’t be that much of an issue, right? It is in Apple’s case; the small profile of the butterfly switches mean they’re extremely thin and delicate, making them almost impossible to clean or repair. Apple did try to remedy the situation, introducing a keyboard replacement program for affected owners back in 2018, but it’s still not ideal. What if you don’t live anywhere near an Apple Store to take it to?
The good news is that the long-lived problems with the butterfly switch look to be put to bed soon, and although it won’t have an effect on existing models of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, it’ll hopefully stop new users from experiencing the same issues.
For more on what to expect from the upcoming Pro laptop, take a look at the latest MacBook Pro 2020 rumours.