Apple just released an update to the MacBook Pro line. This one has a new keyboard to replace the much-maligned butterfly design that debuted back in the Jony Ive era. Thinner and lighter is out. Thicker and heavier is in.
The new MacBook Pro features a 16-inch True Tone display, faster CPU and better thermal dynamics, massive storage options up to 4TB SSD, up to 64GB RAM, improved graphics, but Touch ID instead of Face ID.
Oh, and a newly older keyboard.
I know. That shouldn’t make any sense but it does. The butterfly design is gone in the 16-inch model, and it was replaced with a replica of Apple’s less-than-highly-acclaimed Magic Keyboard from the iMac line.
Apple went backwards; back to the past to get back in line with a future where MacBook Pro owners don’t complain as much.
Here’s the problem. I’m in line for a 13-inch-ish MacBook Pro; a size I consider the best form factor ever. I did not want to buy the butterfly keyboard model, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the only one with the new old Magic Keyboard.
When will Apple release a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a new keyboard?
I’m already a year behind in my Mac notebook upgrade cycle because I did not want to get caught with the old butterfly design keyboard.
Is that wrong?
PED asked the question:
How did Apple manage to sell millions of user-hostile butterfly keyboards?
It didn’t. Apple managed to sell tens of millions of the butterfly keyboards. They were only user-hostile if they broke. Apple sells over 20-million Macs a year. The butterfly keyboard has been out– now in its third generation– for four years.
Tens of millions of keyboards that threatened to tarnish Apple and did tarnish the Mac.
Adding to that direction of “How Did Apple Manage…” is Ben Thompson’s perspective on Apple as a monopoly in Integration and Monopoly.
Apple did something that was shockingly momentous: it released a new laptop with what appears to be a user-friendly keyboard, both in terms of how it works and how often it works. I say shockingly because it is pretty incredible that such a should-be-mundane feature was momentous.
It was a new Mac with a new keyboard. Momentous, indeed. And monopolistic. That monopoly on the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, AirPods, et al is why Apple sometimes fails to deliver the goods expected.
Apple didn’t commit some sort of crime here. At the same time, it is hard to imagine the butterfly keyboard persisting for four-and-a-half years and counting if the company faced any sort of competition.
Because Apple sits outside the mainstream technology industry, yet still manages to lead by example in design and customer love, the company sets itself up for occasional disasters.
Macs with the butterfly keyboard are foremost in mind now, but Apple did much the same thing with the infamous trash can Mac Pro. Apple has a tin ear and listens in an echo chamber where every sound must be good even when it is terrible.
Now you know Apple has a better keyboard on the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Will you buy a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the infamous and much-maligned butterfly design keyboard?