Update Nov. 13, 2019: The 16-inch MacBook Pro released today is the first in years without the Butterfly keyboard. And the head of Apple marketing talks about redesigning this notebook keyboard in an interview.
The upgraded MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models released today are faster and better looking. However, they still include the keyboard that sent so many of their predecessors to the repair shop.
A rumored redesign apparently hasn’t happened yet.
A warning to buyers of the 2019 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
These notebooks are not yet even in customer’s hands and Apple already added them to its Keyboard Service Program, which provides free repairs for devices with its problematic “butterfly” keyboard.
The company says that only “a small percentage” of the keyboards included in this program have problems with repeating keys, non-responsive keys or sticky keys. But there are enough that Apple has to offer free repairs to laptops going back to 2015.
As part of this program, devices with the flawed design will apparently be covered for keyboard problems even after their 12-month warranty expires.
Butterflies are beautiful but fragile
Apple MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models starting in 2015 all use the butterfly design. Thinner than the “scissor” design it replaced, the butterfly keyboard lets Apple make its laptops more slender.
However, the mechanism under each key can become fouled by tiny pieces of grit. Sometimes bursts of pressurized air can dislodge the particles. But other times, techs must replace individual keys. In the worst cases, Apple must swap out the entire keyboard.
This service costs nothing for any device in Apple’s Keyboard Service Program for MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
A recent rumor said the 2019 MacBook Air would include a redesigned keyboard, but it didn’t appear in the model introduced today.