Apple may finally ditch the controversial MacBook keyboard that's been causing issues for years

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderThe next MacBook Air may be getting a new keyboard.
  • Apple is planning to move away from the butterfly keyboard mechanism found on its latest laptops after customers have reported issues with it for years, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
  • Apple will instead use a scissor switch mechanism, which should offer improved durability and longer key travel than the current butterfly mechanism.
  • This new keyboard is expected to appear on a new MacBook Air this year and a MacBook Pro in 2020.
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Apple is planning to axe the controversial butterfly keyboard that has been causing issues for consumers for years in favour of a new design, according to a recent report from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. It’s expected to debut on a new MacBook Air this year and a refreshed MacBook Pro in 2020.

The report, which was obtained by 9to5Mac and MacRumors, indicates Apple will implement a new keyboard design based on a scissor switch instead of the current butterfly mechanism. Its keys will be reinforced with glass fibre and the keyboard will offer better durability and longer key travel than the current butterfly version, says Kuo. As such, he predicts that the butterfly keyboard “may finally disappear in the long term.”

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.


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Kuo’s projections, although not perfect, are generally regarded as being among the most accurate. He correctly predicted last October, for example, that Apple was preparing to launch a new version of the iPad mini, although he wasn’t specific about the timing. He also said new AirPods would come in late 2018 or the first quarter of 2019, and Apple ended up launching its newest AirPods in March.

Customers have reported issues with Apple’s butterfly keyboard since 2015, following the launch of the first-generation 12-inch MacBook. Some users have said certain keys would register two taps instead of one when pressed, while others have said keys won’t respond at all when pushed. Complaints initially began to surface on Apple’s support forums, but the issue has received more widespread attention in recent years.

Apple faced a class action lawsuit over its butterfly keyboard in 2018, and a petition to recall laptops with the butterfly keyboard and change the keyboard design was also started on Change.org. The company issued an apology to those who are still experiencing keyboard issues earlier this year after The Wall Street Journal published a column about the continued problems.

Apple recently released new versions of the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with an updated keyboard that it said should substantially reduce issues that customers have been experiencing. It also expanded its Keyboard Service Program to cover all Apple laptops with butterfly keyboards across the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro lines.

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