I had the opportunity to spend some time typing on the new MacBook Pro Keyboard. As someone that uses the iMac Magic Keyboard on a daily basis, I can report that it feels identical, with slightly less travel. The initial tear down reports they are built exactly the same. That’s good news on the reliability front. I beat up on my iMac keyboard often and I’ve never had a problem. I was perfectly comfortable typing on the new laptop keyboard and I fully expect Apple to be moving this new laptop Magic Keyboard down the line soon.
A few interesting bits stand out for me in the responses to the release of this new MacBook Pro Keyboard. First, is the general fixation on it. It seems nearly all the initial reviews are centered around this new Keyboard. iFixit related it to Stockholm syndrome. I disagree. I think the reason for this reaction is closer to the boiling frog. As, year after year, the broken keyboard stories kept piling up and Apple kept making more MacBooks with the latest butterfly keyboard iteration, all of our frogs got well and cooked. A real turning point for me has been the way so many of our MPU guests start out their interview with a recitation of the number of keyboard repairs they’ve needed. The fact that this new keyboard is using a tried-and-tested keyboard released a lot of tension about Apple and the way they make things. But not without a cost.
My second observation is that most of the reporting about the new keyboard has been qualified by some variety of, “I really like this change, but we’ll have to wait and see if it is more reliable.” If you look at MacBook reviews in years past, before the butterfly keyboard, there are no such qualifications. This whole mess over the butterfly keyboard has cost Apple a degree of trust and it is going to take some time for them to recover. Not only that, we still aren’t out of the woods here because a lot of the butterfly keyboard Macs are still in circulation and many are still being sold. This bad keyboard reputation is going to linger for years as those butterfly keyboard machines remain in circulation.
All that said, given that these new keyboards are built the same way the iMac Magic Keyboard is put together, I fully expect them to be just as reliable. If you are in the market for a laptop that is anything but the big MacBook Pro, I’d encourage you to hold off until the new keyboard makes it to your machine of choice.