When Spreading Your Wings Fails: Apple and The Butterfly Keyboard

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When Spreading Your Wings Fails: Apple and The Butterfly Keyboard

Apple became the monolith they are today by way of innovation.  The computer as we know it today may not exist if it wasn’t for Apple opening the doors for computers to become affordable.

While Apple may not be the innovative company that they once were, they still try to innovate every once in a while.  Sometimes, these innovations work, such as their Lightning port.  Other times, these innovations end up becoming the butt of every Apple joke imaginable, and this is where I must mention the butterfly keyboard.

  1. Good Idea on Paper, Bad Idea on a Laptop

In mid-2015, Apple announced that their new MacBooks would utilize a keyboard made specifically for the MacBooks. 

Most keyboards are built using a scissor mechanism, with the components under the key resembling an open pair of scissors.  This mechanism allowed keyboards to have a satisfying press while keeping out debris.

However, Apple loves making their products thinner.  Don’t believe me?  Ask the iPad Pro, which is just a bit too thin for it’s own good.  Anyways, Apple designed their new MacBook keyboards to keep their satisfying press while being thin and nice-looking.

On paper, this sounds like a win-win!  Execution is everything, though, and Apple didn’t deliver with their “butterfly” keyboard mechanism, with the components under the key resembling the spread wings of a butterfly.

While thinner and, admittedly, nice to touch, the butterfly keyboard suffers one major weakness: debris.

Since the butterfly keyboard is not resistant to debris, the keys can easily become stuck or damaged.  Many, many complaints have surfaced about the butterfly keyboard from owners of recent MacBooks, and while Apple claims that the 2019 models fixed the issue, you can’t blame consumers for being a bit suspicious.

Apple must have realized their mistakes in 2018 though, as Apple decided to release a keyboard replacement program that year.  Would it hurt them to revert to scissor keyboards?  No, but Apple likes to keep things thin, like I mentioned earlier.

  1. Making Way for A New Keyboard

While Apple has been stubborn about reverting back to the scissor keyboard, it seems that the butterfly keyboard may be on it’s way out.  According to recent reports, Apple is dumping the butterfly keyboard in the bin.

If this is the case, what type of keyboard will Apple go back to?  Scissor keyboards?  A new type of keyboard?

That was a trick question, because it’s actually a bit of A and a bit of B.  According to the insider that leaked this info, Apple will be using a scissor-style mechanism for the keyboard.  However, Apple will be using glass fiber to reinforce the keys, theoretically creating a more durable and long-lasting keyboard.

As long as the keyboard doesn’t spaz out every time I dust my room, I think we’ll be in business.

According to the insider, the keyboard will be introduced in the new MacBook Air coming out this year, quickly followed by the 2020 MacBook Pro.

Of course, going back to a scissor keyboard will come at a cost of the laptops being just a bit thicker, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s ok.  After all, I think MacBooks appreciate having some space to cool down.

If this insider is truly the insider he says he is, I wonder if this new keyboard will be better-functioning than the butterfly keyboard.  Sure, a scissor keyboard is designed to repel debris, but Apple is still putting an innovative spin on this new keyboard, so there is room for failure.  Though, I put as much faith in Apple as I do my iPhone VPN, so I trust them to make a decent keyboard.  Especially for the price that MacBooks sell out, good lord.

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