Much ink has been typed about the current keyboard on Apple’s MacBook line. While I haven’t owned a current generation laptop with the butterfly keyboard of any type for longer than a week part of the reason why I haven’t jumped into the new laptops is the keyboard.
When I tested out the MacBook Air, one of the things I actually really liked about the system was the way the keyboard felt. The low travel of the keys didn’t bother me at all, in fact, it made it feel like I was typing faster than normal. I especially liked the stability that the keys brought with it. I actually missed the feel when I went back to my 2013 MacBook Pro
Besides the MacBook Air’s keyboard, I’ve really enjoyed using the keyboard on the iPad Pro Smart Folio Keyboard. I think the stability and the feel of the keyboard is great. I’m not sure what type of buttons they have underneath the surface, but it feels good. Plus, the keys are encased inside the material so you don’t have to worry about something getting underneath the keys.
I’ve also had the Magic Keyboard 2 for a week now and I love typing on it. The keys do feel a little bit wobbly compared to the MacBook Air and the Smart Keyboard Folio. Still, I feel like I fly when typing on it.
Finding a keyboard that feels good to you is one of the most important things about picking a computer. It’s one of the main ways that you interact with the system so you want one you can feel comfortable on. Sure, everyone can get used to a new keyboard feel, but really if you don’t enjoy using the device, it’s difficult to get anything done.
The Keyboard Problem
So if I liked the keyboard, what’s the problem? The problem if you haven’t heard, stems from Apple’s butterfly keyboard on it’s MacBook line.
It starts with feel. Not everyone likes the feeling of the butterfly keys. Some find the shallow depth of the keypress just wrong. Again, this could be something that you could get over with use. If you’re paying thousands of dollars for these machines though, shouldn’t you enjoy the
The bigger issue with these butterfly keyboards is reliability. Since the very first version of the butterfly keys, these keyboards have failed. Dust and grime seem to get under the keys more than any other keyboard in history and once that dust settles under a key, there’s no telling what will happen. Some people report that the key doesn’t work anymore while others get a stuck key that repeats the letter on the screen.
For three years, Apple would repair these keyboards, but at a cost to the owner since they had to take the top of the laptop off to replace it. Finally, last year there was enough of an issue that Apple started to finally repair these for free. They have also iterated on these keyboards as well. We are currently on the third generation of the butterfly keyboard.
And they are still breaking.
Now, I’m all for trying to fix something that’s broken but I think Apple is out of time here.
I don’t think I can really recommend to anyone to get a MacBook of any type right now without the caveat that the keyboard might break and you’ll be without a laptop for a while.
These keyboards are hurting Apple’s brand more than anything. All the reviewers are pretty much saying the same thing about the keyboards, and even if you like the feel and key travel, there’s too much that could go wrong with them. Apple needs to find a fix that is going to last or change keyboard types.
Do I know how to fix them? Not at all, I’m not an engineer. I do know that other companies are making laptops that are as slim or even slimmer than Apple and their keyboards aren’t breaking. I know that it’s possible to get around this, but is Apple too proud to stick it out?
So with everything said, if you are looking to buy an Apple laptop, be warned. There will be people who will never see any problems on their keyboards, but the number of people with problems seems to be growing and growing.
The good news is that there is a MacBook redesign rumored to be coming this year. Hopefully, it will bring with it a new keyboard. Maybe one closer to the Magic Keyboard 2, or at least one that is more reliable.
Have you had issues with your butterfly keyboard? What would you like to see in a new laptop? Let me know in the comments.