Well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple will do away with its much-maligned butterfly keyboard mechanism in future MacBook models, starting with an updated MacBook Air later this year.
In a report shared by MacRumors, Kuo tells his readers that Apple will replace the butterfly keyboard mechanism with a new design based on scissor switches. The new design should offer better key travel and durability that the butterfly keyboard design. Durability will be improved by “adopting glass fiber to reinforce the keys’ structure”
Kuo sees Apple using the new scissor switch keyboard in the MacBook Pro, but not until 2020.
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.
Kuo says the new replacement keyboard will be supplied by specialist laptop keyboard maker Sunrex rather than current butterfly keyboard maker Wistron.
Apple’s butterfly keyboards have shown a tendency to fail, due to small particles small particles of material, such as food crumbs, becoming caught in the switches. In 2018, Apple released new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models that use an updated butterfly keyboard that places a thin silicone barrier behind each key, which is designed to prevent dust and other debris from getting behind the keys.
However, the keyboard design has still proven to be prone to failures, and Apple announced a repair program in March.