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Kuo Confirms Apple Will Use New Scissor-Switch Keyboard in Future MacBooks

Tim Hardwick, writing at MacRumors:

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will do away with its controversial butterfly mechanism keyboard in future MacBooks, beginning with a refreshed MacBook Air later this year.

In a report obtained by MacRumors, Kuo says Apple will instead use a new keyboard design based on scissor switches, which should provide better key travel and durability than the more failure-prone butterfly keyboard.

The news here isn’t about the return to scissor-switch keyboards with more travel — word spread on that a few months ago. It’s an open secret. The news is that it might ship first on an updated Air — until now, word was that it would first appear on the upcoming 16-inch edge-to-edge display MacBook Pro that will replace the current 15-inch models. It sounds like that 16-inch MBP won’t be coming until 2020 — which makes some sense because Apple did just refresh the 15-inch models. And if the new Air is on an annual update schedule, it should be set for October.

Update: A friend wrote to me: “That this leaked after Ive’s departure is no coincidence.” A few DF readers have emailed with the same thought.

That’s not a crazy idea, but you have to consider the source. Given that today’s report came from Ming-Chi Kuo, I’d say no way.

Whether sanctioned (by Apple PR as strategy) or unsanctioned (by, say, a rogue member of the MacBook team who blames Ive for the butterfly keyboard fiasco), I think it’s very unlikely to have been leaked to Kuo. Kuo obviously has some good sources, but it’s been very clear to me for years that they’re all in the Asian supply chain, none in Cupertino.

The leaks from Cupertino pinning responsibility for the keyboards on Ive — and also saying that new scissor-switch keyboards with more travel are in the works — came months ago. They were just done quietly.

Friday, 5 July 2019