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Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple will ditch the butterfly-switch keyboard for something that actually works, starting with the 2019 MacBook Air

Apple could adopt the scissor switch keyboard mechanism in upcoming MacBooks. (Source: iFixit)
Apple could adopt the scissor switch keyboard mechanism in upcoming MacBooks. (Source: iFixit)
A new report by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicates that Apple might ditch the troublesome butterfly-switch keyboard mechanism on upcoming MacBooks in favor of the scissor-switch. Kuo expects the MacBook Air refresh this year to sport the new switch type followed by the MacBook Pro models next year.

Pre-2015 MacBook owners who have been holding off their upgrades due to faulty keyboards on newer models finally have a reason to cheer up. Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is now predicting that Apple will finally do away with the butterfly-switch mechanism for a new scissor-switch keyboard. The butterfly-switch keyboard mechanism on the MacBook has become a perennial issue for Apple with the Cupertino-giant even being sued for faulty butterfly-switch keyboards. 

The transition to the scissor-switch keyboard is first expected to be seen when the refreshed MacBook Air launches later this year. Kuo's report says,

There have been successful developments in the new scissor keyboard. The new keyboard could improve the typing experience by offering longer key travel and durability by adopting glass fiber to reinforce the keys' structure.

We believe the partially refreshed MacBook Pro models will also adopt a new scissor keyboard in 2020; shipments of MacBook models equipped with a new scissor keyboard will grow 500–700% YoY in 2020. Though the butterfly keyboard is still thinner than the new scissor keyboard, we think most users can't tell the difference. Furthermore, the new scissor keyboard could offer a better user experience and benefit Apple's profits; therefore, we predict that the butterfly keyboard may finally disappear in the long term."

While we could see a scissor switch keyboard in the MacBook Air this year, the MacBook Pro is only expected to sport it in 2020. Kuo also mentions that the new keyboards will be made by Taiwanese firm Sunrex instead of Wistron and is slated for mass production next year. 

Apple received a lot of flak in the recent past related to instances of failed butterfly keyboards. Even the third-gen butterfly mechanism, which had a silicone barrier to prevent debris ingress, showed signs of keys not actuating with the company having had to initiate repairs at local Apple Stores to minimize downtime.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 07 > Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple will ditch the butterfly-switch keyboard for something that actually works, starting with the 2019 MacBook Air
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-07- 5 (Update: 2019-07- 5)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.