Since my first Apple computer the Power Mac G4 Cube, I’ve been using Apple products for nearly two decades and have enjoyed them – mostly. But in 2015, the introduction of the butterfly switch keyboard design really pushed the limits of what I was willing to put up with. Thankfully with the announcement of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020), it appears Apple is going back to what works – a scissor-switch.
The New 13-inch MacBook Pro
Before I go into my tirade about the butterfly keyboard, you’re probably here because this article is partly about the new 13-inch MacBook Pro. If that’s what brought you here, here’s what you can expect from Apple’s latest bread-and-butter laptop.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro (MBP) now sports a 10th generation Comet Lake Intel quad-core processors with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.1GHz and best of all, storage is now cheaper. The new 13-inch MBP starts with a 256GB SSD option upgradeable to a 4TB SSD (for a whopping $1200-sheesh). But what’s truly noteworthy of this release is what you won’t find in this model – a butterfly keyboard. Instead, Apple’s switched to the Magic Keyboard – one with a traditional scissor switch mechanism.
No Love For The Butterfly
As someone that spends a great deal of my day typing words on a screen a good, accurate, comfortable, and reliable keyboard is everything. When first announced in the 2015 MacBook, Apple’s butterfly keyboard design was met with first, skepticism and shortly after when announced it would be replacing the keyboard on the MacBook Pro line, outright hatred. And it wasn’t without merit, the butterfly keyboard was notorious for failing due to dust and debris getting caught beneath the keys. It resulted in a keyboard replacement recall for an undisclosed number of users and in 2017 a refresh that introduced a thin silicone layer that supposedly prevented or minimized the likelihood of having the same problem.
Having to switch from my 2015 MacBook Pro to my current 2017 model, I can anecdotally add that this was not the case. My laptop’s keyboard was “fixed” twice and still suffers from the stuck keys and a non-responsive spacebar from time to time. Sure, my homemade fix – a can of compressed air – mostly works but I shouldn’t have to work this hard. It’s the antithesis of Apple’s design ethos, the very thing that’s kept me buying product all these years.
Now it all seems to be in the past, for Apple at least. I’m sure I’m not alone on this one but good riddance. The new MBP seems like a very capable workhorse laptop for most users. Photographers, video editors, creators in general, will have plenty of options on building the best configuration for their purposes.
Add the fact that MacBooks are quite reliable and you are unlikely to encounter problems with its performance that calls for fixing it, and you have a reason to consider using the device.
Studios will very likely buy these in bulk but for the journalists, the writers, those of us who dedicate their livelihoods to the scissor-switch – rejoice. Our time is now.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro is available for pre-order now and it starts at $1299.