When Apple released its 16-inch MacBook Pro last week, it wasn’t a huge surprise that the new model came with a much more reliable keyboard design — a design in fact that is basically a return to Apple’s older “scissor switch” style keys found on its pre-2015 MacBooks.
Apple’s choice to use butterfly keyboards in its MacBooks turned out to have been a failed four-year experiment in trying to create ultra-slim MacBook Pros that became a textbook example of the dangers of prioritizing form too much over function. Despite early problems with the butterfly keyboards, however, and even angry users armed with torches and pitchforks, Apple stubbornly refused to change direction, and it took until last year before the company acknowledged the issue.
Now, despite continuing to use the butterfly keyboard even in this year’s models — a move that’s so controversial that Apple is offering free repair programs as new MacBooks go on sale — Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro is the company’s first tacit admission that the butterfly keyboard was, in fact, a big mistake. Of course, Apple is never going to come out and say this in so many words, but the redesign of the new MacBook Pro speaks for itself, and by every report the 16-inch MacBook Pro is simply the first of a wholesale switch to the new keyboard design, and as Apple updates its other MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models, they will all eventually see a move to the scissor switch design.
Coming Soon to the 13-inch MacBook Pro
While the 16-inch MacBook Pro is an impressive powerhouse of a machine, it’s fair to say that it’s too much for many users, who either don’t need the raw horsepower that it delivers (and the price that comes with it), or simply prefer the smaller form factor found in Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. What everybody does want, however, is a good, reliable keyboard.
The good news is that if Apple’s butterfly keyboard problems have been scaring you away from purchasing a new MacBook Pro, it looks like you won’t have much longer to wait — according to a new report by DigiTimes, shared by MacRumors, Apple is planning to release a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a scissor switch keyboard “in the first half of 2020.”
According to the report, Apple isn’t planning on making any other major changes to the design of the smaller MacBook Pro, which is said to retain a 13.3-inch display, rather than getting bumped up to 14 inches, although that possibility still can’t be entirely ruled out. It’s also unclear if the 13-inch MacBook Pro would even follow the keyboard layout change that came to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, with its distinct physical Escape key and inserted-T arrow key layout.
Of course, DigiTimes doesn’t have the most reliable track record when it comes to Apple predictions, although the publication did accurately predict the impending launch of the 16-inch MacBook Pro last month. Plus, the timeline isn’t all that surprising, considering that the much more reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has already predicted that Apple will be transitioning its entire MacBook lineup to the scissor switch keyboards next year, so a prediction of early 2020 doesn’t seem that far-fetched. In the very least, DigiTimes has a 50 percent chance of being right.