Scissor-switch keyboards tipped for 13-inch MacBook Pro in 2020

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2020
Apple's updated scissor-switch keyboard for the 16-inch MacBook Pro could make an appearance in its smaller counterpart, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, with a report claiming the mechanism could land on the model during the first half of 2020.




The recently-launched 16-inch MacBook Pro's headline feature may have been the larger display, but the keyboard has garnered a considerable amount of attention due to its changed mechanism. Apple switched from using its butterfly mechanism to a scissor-switch style version it uses on the Magic Keyboard for desktop Macs, as well as in older MacBook Pro releases.

It is claimed by industry sources of DigiTimes that Apple is preparing to update the 13-inch MacBook Pro in a number of ways, but chiefly it would use the scissor-switch mechanism instead of butterfly. The report, spotted by MacRumors, also suggested the display would stay at 13.3 inches rather than upgrading to 14 inches, though that is still a possibility, while Wistron and Global Lighting Technologies are identified as likely suppliers for the keyboards.

The timing of the supposed update in the first half of 2020 is somewhat close to a prediction from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in late October, who suggested the mechanism would be used in an unidentified MacBook in the second or early third quarter of 2020. Kuo first suggested Apple would move away from butterfly switches in a late July report, with the 16-inch model the first to benefit before others in the MacBook Pro line, then eventually the MacBook Air.

So far, reviews for the new keyboard are favorable, with the keys generally quieter than their butterfly equivalent in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. There is also more actuation, with the new model offering a millimeter of travel versus the 0.6mm to 0.7mm on the 2016-style keyboard.

An initial teardown of the keys indicated there was a lot of extra space inside the switch mechanism, which means it is less likely to be affected by debris, as well as having more strength in the clips attaching the thicker keycaps in place.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    anomeanome Posts: 1,461member
    Not exactly a surprising development. New designs often filter through to other versions at the next iteration.
    razorpit1983
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Would it fit in the Air?
    TeeJoroni1983
  • Reply 3 of 21
    Wonder if previous models could be retrofitted? 
  • Reply 4 of 21
    I would bet hard on them increasing the screen size of the 13" Pro. Apple tends to make chassis changes about once every 3-4 years. Seems very unlikely that they'd change the keyboard next year, and then the screen the year after that; and less unlikely that they'd just stick with the current screen until 2024.

    > would it fit in the Air
    Quite likely.

    But I wonder if, when they get to the Air, they might opt instead to keep the screen the same size and instead make the chassis smaller (but retain same battery thanks to whatever magic they just came up with). Any differentiation between the Air and the 13" Pro is good for the lineup, and it would fill that skinny little void that the 12" Macbook used to occupy. I'd certainly prefer that to a larger-screen-Air.
    edited November 2019 1983
  • Reply 5 of 21
    omasouomasou Posts: 207member
    TeeJoroni said:
    Wonder if previous models could be retrofitted? 
    No the keyboard is part of the top case.
    razorpit
  • Reply 6 of 21
    omasouomasou Posts: 207member
    I have a late 2016 MBP, yes the original keyboard was a bit noisy/clackity. In 2019, Apple replaced the entire top case including keyboard b/c of a problem I had w/the touchpad. That one was quieter and nicer and I never had an issue with it and don't get all of the hate for the later butterfly keyboards.

    In the Apple store yesterday I compared the newer MBP 16" keyboard w/the MBP 13" keyboard and yes it has a more travel but beyond that I personally don't find it a huge improvement. In fact, the keys are now thicker and though they look fine on my magic keyboard aesthetically they look kind of clunky an out of place on a MBP.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 7 of 21
    can’t wait for this. hope it comes real soon. been holding off on a new macbook because of the keyboard issues. glad that that’s all in the past now with the new 16”.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,102member
    I imagine a lot of 13 inch MBP buyers are holding off now. 
    I sort of regret getting the  Miss entropys a base MBP and an MBA last month.
    you would only buy a 13 MBP now if you had no choice. Otherwise wait.
    edited November 2019 commentzillaavon b7canukstorm
  • Reply 9 of 21
    The 16" is a real winner for professionals.

    I think it's pretty obvious that the 13" (14") is going to go under the same revisions as the 16" that just replaced the entire 15" line at the same price point, minus the dGPU.

    Not sure what will happen down the line with the Air but I would expect the same across the entire line of notebooks and even the iMac (mic, speakers, etc).


    caladanian
  • Reply 10 of 21

    entropys said:
    I imagine a lot of 13 inch MBP buyers are holding off now. 
    I sort of regret getting the  Miss entropys a base MBP and an MBA last month.
    you would only buy a 13 MBP now if you had no choice. Otherwise wait.
    Compare to the 16" the 13" is now overpriced on base specs alone not including all of the other upgrades like the speakers, mic, battery, cooling, esc key, keyboard.

    They either need to give the 13" the same makeover or drop the price and include the new keyboard and esc key.

    13" - 4-core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD = $2,499
    16" - 6-core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD with dGPU 5300M 4GB = $2,399
    edited November 2019 caladanian
  • Reply 11 of 21

    Eric_WVGG said:
    I would bet hard on them increasing the screen size of the 13" Pro. Apple tends to make chassis changes about once every 3-4 years. Seems very unlikely that they'd change the keyboard next year, and then the screen the year after that; and less unlikely that they'd just stick with the current screen until 2024.

    > would it fit in the Air
    Quite likely.

    But I wonder if, when they get to the Air, they might opt instead to keep the screen the same size and instead make the chassis smaller (but retain same battery thanks to whatever magic they just came up with). Any differentiation between the Air and the 13" Pro is good for the lineup, and it would fill that skinny little void that the 12" Macbook used to occupy. I'd certainly prefer that to a larger-screen-Air.
    I could be wrong but the chassis has changed in size or materials almost every year. It might only be mm but it's a change. The last major redesign was late 2008.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    hm? That's definitely wrong. 
  • Reply 13 of 21
    I think a 15 inch MacBook Air would be nice for people who don’t n high specs but want a bigger screen!!
    canukstormMplsP
  • Reply 14 of 21
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,895member
    I definitely think the rumoured upgrade should include a 14" screen in a 13" frame.

    Better base specs at a lower price would be the icing on the cake for such a machine and the rumoured release date would fit very well with the also rumoured spring SE.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    I remember when my ideal Mac notebook was a 12" PowerBook. Then it became a 13" MacBook Pro, and has been the 15" MacBook Pro for 4 or 5 models now. When I decide to buy again it will be the 16" MacBook Pro.

    I was curious about my gradual increase in size (while maintaining a notebook and not desiring a tablet) so I looked ate the specs for all my old Macs in MacTracker. It looks like weight is the primary constant. That 12" PB was 4.6 lb, the 13" MBP was 4.5", the 15" MBPs were between 4.46 and 4.02 lb, and this 16" MBP is 4.3 lb, which should be fine despite going up a little.

    Thickness also came down when I went to a larger display so perhaps it's also about portability there, too, even though volume was probably still increased overall device thinner profile and lower weight.
    Eric_WVGG
  • Reply 16 of 21
    avon b7 said:
    I definitely think the rumoured upgrade should include a 14" screen in a 13" frame.

    Better base specs at a lower price would be the icing on the cake for such a machine and the rumoured release date would fit very well with the also rumoured spring SE.
    That's exactly what they did with the 16". They up'd it to 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM while maintaining the same price points. If that happens with the 14" that would likely cap the i7 quad-core 512/16 at the 256/8GB price of $2099 or $1799 for the 2.4 MHz i5 model.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,102member

    I was curious about my gradual increase in size (while maintaining a notebook and not desiring a tablet) so I looked ate the specs for all my old Macs in MacTracker. 


    It’s your eyes you old dude you!

  • Reply 18 of 21
    Soli said:
    I remember when my ideal Mac notebook was a 12" PowerBook. Then it became a 13" MacBook Pro, and has been the 15" MacBook Pro for 4 or 5 models now. When I decide to buy again it will be the 16" MacBook Pro.

    I was curious about my gradual increase in size (while maintaining a notebook and not desiring a tablet) so I looked ate the specs for all my old Macs in MacTracker. It looks like weight is the primary constant. That 12" PB was 4.6 lb, the 13" MBP was 4.5", the 15" MBPs were between 4.46 and 4.02 lb, and this 16" MBP is 4.3 lb, which should be fine despite going up a little.

    Thickness also came down when I went to a larger display so perhaps it's also about portability there, too, even though volume was probably still increased overall device thinner profile and lower weight.
    That is amazing -- the 16" MBP is lighter than the old 12" PB. This is why engineering endeavors to make components thinner and lighter are a net benefit, despite the peanut gallery bemoaning for thicker devices of yesteryear.
    tht
  • Reply 19 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,244member
    Mike149 said:
    I think a 15 inch MacBook Air would be nice for people who don’t n high specs but want a bigger screen!!
    Yes! I’d be willing to bet there’s a huge market for people who want a larger screen but don’t need a ‘pro’ machine with top specs. Honestly, very few people need the power of the 16” MBP. 
  • Reply 20 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,244member

    Soli said:
    I remember when my ideal Mac notebook was a 12" PowerBook. Then it became a 13" MacBook Pro, and has been the 15" MacBook Pro for 4 or 5 models now. When I decide to buy again it will be the 16" MacBook Pro.

    I was curious about my gradual increase in size (while maintaining a notebook and not desiring a tablet) so I looked ate the specs for all my old Macs in MacTracker. It looks like weight is the primary constant. That 12" PB was 4.6 lb, the 13" MBP was 4.5", the 15" MBPs were between 4.46 and 4.02 lb, and this 16" MBP is 4.3 lb, which should be fine despite going up a little.

    Thickness also came down when I went to a larger display so perhaps it's also about portability there, too, even though volume was probably still increased overall device thinner profile and lower weight.
    That is amazing -- the 16" MBP is lighter than the old 12" PB. This is why engineering endeavors to make components thinner and lighter are a net benefit, despite the peanut gallery bemoaning for thicker devices of yesteryear.
    It is amazing. Honestly, most of Apple’s engineering is amazing - just look at the evolution of the iPhone. 

    I don’t think people are longing for the thicker, heavier devices of yesteryear. I think they are lamenting the loss of certain features/benefits that the older machines had 
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