16-inch MacBook Pro might be first to get new scissor keyboard

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MacBook Keyboard
The keyboard in the newest MacBooks have the same problem as earlier ones.
Photo: Apple

One of the worst problems with the MacBook Pro and other Apple notebooks is finally going to get fixed this year.

Apple reportedly will move away from its controversial butterfly keyboard in favor of a more reliable design. And according to the best Apple analyst in the game, the new keyboard will come to the 16-inch MacBook Pro first.

Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst for TF International Securities in Asia, claims Apple will use a new scissor mechanism in the keyboards. Kuo says the 16-inch MacBook Pro will come out with the new keyboard during the last quarter of 2019, according to MacRumors. Apple reportedly will not complete the full switchover to the new scissor keyboards on the entire MacBook Pro line until 2020.

Scissors beats butterfly

If you’ve been thinking about buying a new MacBook Pro in 2019 but can’t afford the rumored $3,000 price tag of the upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro, you probably should wait. Apple’s flawed butterfly keyboard design sparked a recall petition because the keys frequently stick or become unresponsive. Apple now offers free repairs for all MacBook models that use the butterfly keyboard design, including the MacBook Pros that just came out this month.

The slow rollout of Apple's new scissor keyboard is coming
The slow rollout of the scissor keyboards is coming.
Photo: TF International Securities

Switching to the new keyboards will save Apple money, too. The butterfly keyboards cost more to manufacture than scissors keyboards. Apple’s not skimping on materials, though. The company allegedly plans to pay between $25 and $30 for keyboard components — much more than the average price of $8 to $12. Sunrex supposedly will supply the keyboards.

The new report contradicts Kuo’s letter to investors earlier this month that predicted the 2019 MacBook Air would use a scissor keyboard. Based on a chart in today’s report, it looks like that will no longer be the case. That would make the 16-inch MacBook Pro the first and only Apple laptop with the new keyboard in 2019.

The updated keyboard would bring longer key travel (along with increased durability). So it makes sense that it would be easier to cram into Apple’s biggest MacBook Pro first instead of the tiny MacBook Air.