I’ve been using Apple’s new MacBook Pro for a few hours, and I can already tell that its new keyboard makes a huge difference

Image
  • Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with the company’s new Magic Keyboard, which represents a big improvement over the older controversial butterfly keyboard.
  • Following years of customer complaints about the now defunct butterfly keyboard, the Magic Keyboard feels much more comfortable to type on.
  • It offers deeper key travel, which makes each tap feel more satisfying compared with the flatter and stiffer butterfly keyboard.
  • Otherwise, there isn’t much that’s different on the new MacBook Pro compared with its predecessor.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple finally updated its 13-inch MacBook Pro with the much-improved keyboard that recently made its way to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, 2020 MacBook Air, and even the new iPad Pro. It’s a long overdue update that’s excellent news for anyone in the market for a new Apple laptop, following years of customer complaints about the now defunct butterfly keyboard.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t bring many improvements beyond the keyboard, save for the option to upgrade to Intel’s newest processors at the higher price point, and more storage at the base level. It starts at $US1,300 and is already available to order through Apple’s website.

More than anything else, the refresh feels like an effort by Apple to make the new Magic Keyboard standard across Apple’s laptop lineup, effectively addressing what had become the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s biggest drawback compared with the company’s other notebooks.

I recently switched from an older 2017-era MacBook Pro with the controversial butterfly keyboard to Apple’s latest 13-inch model. As I’ve written in the past when covering the MacBook Air and larger Pro, the new keyboard makes a huge difference.

The Magic Keyboard uses a new scissor mechanism that provides 1mm of key travel, unlike the company’s older keyboard. What that means for the keyboard’s performance is a typing experience that feels much more comfortable and satisfying compared with the older design.

The Magic Keyboard actually has some depth to it unlike the flatter butterfly keyboard, meaning the new version provides more feedback when pressing each key. The butterfly keyboard feels stiff and shallow in comparison, not to mention it’s noticeably louder compared to the Magic Keyboard.

It may not sound like a make-or-break change. But considering the keyboard is the primary method of input for a laptop, you’ll want to find a laptop with one that you actually enjoy typing on.

Apple 13 inch MacBook Pro (2020) keyboard

More importantly, aside from providing a better overall typing experience, the Magic Keyboard feels more reliable than its predecessor. Since Apple launched the flatter keyboard in 2015, many customers and reviewers have complained about the keyboard malfunctioning.

Some users have said the keys won’t respond when tapped, while others have said keys will respond twice when only tapped once. Apple launched a repair program to address such issues for affected customers free of charge.

But at a time when the majority of Apple’s stores around the world remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, purchasing a laptop with a risk-prone keyboard feels like a hazard. Replacing the smaller-sized MacBook Pro’s butterfly keyboard with the new Magic one addresses that concern, and it may have come at the best possible time.

Still, it feels like Apple saved much of its more exciting new additions for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. That laptop comes with a larger display with thinner bezels framing the screen, slightly longer battery life, Apple’s excellent new six-speaker audio system, and studio quality microphones.

The 13-inch Macbook Pro feels like an incremental update ahead of something bigger. After all, Apple is rumoured to be developing a new 14-inch MacBook Pro and new laptops with micro-LED display technology, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo as reported by 9to5Mac. That switch to mini-LED should bring richer contrast to Apple’s laptop screens compared with the current display panels the company uses.

The approach that Apple has taken with the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a solid one that I hope it continues with the smaller version in the future. Rather than adding new features that are nice to have but not necessary (like the Touch Bar, which is still a mainstay on Apple’s Pro laptops), Apple focused on making meaningful improvements to existing features like the speakers, microphones, and the screen.

Right now, there isn’t much that differentiates the 13-inch MacBook Pro from the less expensive $US1,000 MacBook Air, other than its Touch Bar and quad-core processor at the base level. Regardless, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is at least a sign that the butterfly keyboard is finally gone for good, which is probably the best MacBook update to come in years.