Apple just released a new MacBook Pro with faster Intel Inside, a higher price tag, a better 16-inch display, and long battery life, and what is everyone talking about? The keyboard. It’s time to get over Apple’s keyboard saga.
A Trust Thing
A highly visible trend from the Sir Jony Ive era at Apple was thinner, lighter, faster. All that took precedence over the pragmatism of longer battery life. Ive is gone, so iPhones come a bit thicker and heavier but with much longer battery life.
Thinner, lighter, faster was a disease that infected the Mac, too, and the most visible aspect of that era was the notorious and infamous butterfly keyboard which wandered through three iterations before Apple dumped it and moved on with the new– slightly thicker and heavier– 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Look, I get it. We all have our favorite components of modern techno-gadgets. President Trump likes the Home button on his iPhone more than Face ID. Times change. Sooner or later we need to move on. Apple moved on from the butterfly keyboard design but it took years of public scandal and design honcho Jony Ive’s departure to bring pragmatism back to Apple.
Apple has a new keyboard design to replace the last three designs that came with more problems than praise.
John Gruber explains what happened:
Calling it the “Magic Keyboard” threads the impossible marketing needle they needed to thread: it concedes everything while confessing nothing. Apple has always had a great keyboard that could fit in a MacBook — it just hasn’t been in a MacBook the last three years.
Time will tell whether the new MacBook Pro keyboard is the one for the future but the new keyboard hasn’t stopped anyone from complaining about Apple.
I’m a “victim” of the butterfly keyboard issue, and I get why Apple fans are still complaining, even though Apple fixed the problem (both with my personal keyboard and by making a new keyboard). It comes down to trust. We’ve been burned by Apple and are still hurting. We don’t trust that Apple truly is doing what’s in our best interest.
That’s the problem and that might be the single most reason Apple went with a new keyboard design on the new MacBook Pro.
It was trust, right? Apple was losing trust.
We decided that while we were advancing the butterfly keyboard, we would also — specifically for our pro customer — go back and really talk to many pro customers about what they most want in a keyboard and did a bunch of research.
Uh-huh. Sure. Right.
Apple did not have to go far to determine the butterfly keyboard design came with a huge set of flaws; keys that stuck, keys that didn’t work, keys that collected dust and debris, keys that were expensive to repair, keys that could not be used on thousands of blog posts grumbling about Apple’s keyboard disaster.
I’m willing to bet that Apple may have had tens of thousands of broken keyboards and upset customers to study.
The team took the time to do the work to investigate, research, explore and reinvent.
Hence, the new keyboard design. What about the butterfly design that reigns as Jony Ive’s departing legacy at Apple?
It felt more firm and flat under your finger — some people really like that, but other people weren’t really happy with that.
We got sort of a mixed reaction.
Right. Hate, anger, and derision make up a mixed reaction.
OK, let’s move on. The new keyboard will be judged– as all keyboards are– on its own merit. Trust comes to those who deserve it.