Apple plans to get rid of the controversial butterfly keyboard used in its MacBooks since 2015, according to a new report by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. 9to5Mac notes that Apple is reportedly moving to a new scissor switch design that will use fiberglass to reinforce its keys. According to the Kuo report, the first laptop to get the new keyboard will be a new model of MacBook Air that will come out this year, followed by a new MacBook Pro in 2020. “We predict that the butterfly keyboard will finally disappear in the long term” Kuo said.
Despite adjusting the design of its butterfly keyboards with each subsequent MacBook, Apple has struggled to overcome keyboard problems, which can cause the keys to act erratically or completely, since dust and other particles find their way into the keyboard mechanism. The company apologized for keyboard reliability issues.
Kuo cites a couple of different reasons why Apple is changing keyboard layouts. In addition to being more durable thanks to the fiberglass reinforcement, MacRumors mentions it saying that the new keyboard “could improve the writing experience by offering a longer key trip”. Kuo also says that the design of the butterfly switch is expensive for the company due to its low yields. However, although the new design of the scissor switch will be cheaper, according to Kuo, it will not be as cheap as an average laptop keyboard.
Despite its problems, the butterfly keyboard has the advantage of being very thin, which is important when space is so important in a modern laptop. Although Kuo admits that the new switch design, which will be built by the Taiwan-based manufacturer Sunrex, is probably thicker, he says that “most users cannot tell the difference.”
Unfortunately, the report suggests that the new keyboard will not reach the 16-inch MacBook Pro this year, which is expected to be announced in September. Nor would it in the updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro that has also been rumoured.