Apple is evaluating new keyboard mechanisms to make thinner MacBooks

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 49
    bsimpsen said:
    arlor said:
    Short key travel and lack of wrist elevation both reduce comfort and the latter is a well-studied cause of repetitive stress problems.
    ...

    I have a 2018 MacBook Pro as well as an iMac Pro and find both keyboards comfortable to use. They do not offer the tactile feedback of old Apple mechanical keyboards, but they also don't aggravate my RSI. I recently spent an afternoon at an old Apple Extended Keyboard, which I'd always thought was the best I've ever used. Within minutes, though my fingers were delighted by the feel, the rest of my arm began to revolt. I can't go back again.

    Everybody's situation is different and I do not recommend my particular ergonomics to anyone, yet I find Apple's march towards thinness to work well for me.
    I understand how wrist placement and movement is key to good ergonomics.

    I don't understand what this has to do with the depth of key travel on a keyboard.

    What's the difference between the 2012 and 2017 MacBook Pros in terms of wrist placement?  I just don't see it.
  • Reply 22 of 49
    bsimpsen said:
    arlor said:
    Short key travel and lack of wrist elevation both reduce comfort and the latter is a well-studied cause of repetitive stress problems.
    ...

    I have a 2018 MacBook Pro as well as an iMac Pro and find both keyboards comfortable to use. They do not offer the tactile feedback of old Apple mechanical keyboards, but they also don't aggravate my RSI. I recently spent an afternoon at an old Apple Extended Keyboard, which I'd always thought was the best I've ever used. Within minutes, though my fingers were delighted by the feel, the rest of my arm began to revolt. I can't go back again.

    Everybody's situation is different and I do not recommend my particular ergonomics to anyone, yet I find Apple's march towards thinness to work well for me.
    I understand how wrist placement and movement is key to good ergonomics.

    I don't understand what this has to do with the depth of key travel on a keyboard.

    What's the difference between the 2012 and 2017 MacBook Pros in terms of wrist placement?  I just don't see it.
    On any fixed surface, the thinner the keyboard, the smaller the wrist extension. While my keyboard tray (with adjustable palm/wrist rest) makes keyboard thickness a non-issue, that's not the case for laptops. Even now, if I'm going to use my MacBook Pro for extended periods, I'll place a shim in front of it to lift my forearms. My ideal laptop keyboard would have a thickness of zero... or less.

    It's not a matter of seeing it, it's a matter of feeling it. I was similarly skeptical of the Magic Mouse... until I used it. Don't extrapolate my experience to yours.

    ETA: On other news, Apple once again holds the top spot in consumer satisfaction for its Macs. Surely keyboards are a part of this assessment.
    edited September 2019 Rayz2016
  • Reply 23 of 49
    Apple is like an insane person with a razor shaving more and more until they cut their own throats. Instead of removing the keyboard, how about adding a touch screen? If Apple ever did that, they would have a big spike in sales. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 24 of 49
    thttht Posts: 4,501member
    I like the keyboard on my 2018 MBP15. No issues personally, but I’m not a keyboard connoisseur like everyone on the Internet is. In a way, a keyboard is a kind of wearable, ie, clothing, and is subject to user preferences, and people on the Internet are blind to other people being different. 

    If the keyboard was more reliable, I don’t think it would be the topic of conversation that it has been for the past 4 years. 

    I also think the laptops being thinner and lighter will be a feature Apple’s mass market customers will like. Somewhere between 10 to 12 mm to 3 lb for a MBP15 is probably the practical minimum.

    Mind that, I think a 10 mm laptop can be designed to have 5 mm of key travel if desired, and Apple, who has a pretty big leg up with their ARM SoCs (those GB5 scores are crazy), is one of the few companies with the assets to do it. But they obviously think differently on what constitutes a good key press. 
  • Reply 25 of 49
    bsimpsen said:
    On any fixed surface, the thinner the keyboard, the smaller the wrist extension. While my keyboard tray (with adjustable palm/wrist rest) makes keyboard thickness a non-issue, that's not the case for laptops. Even now, if I'm going to use my MacBook Pro for extended periods, I'll place a shim in front of it to lift my forearms. My ideal laptop keyboard would have a thickness of zero... or less.

    It's not a matter of seeing it, it's a matter of feeling it. I was similarly skeptical of the Magic Mouse... until I used it. Don't extrapolate my experience to yours.

    ETA: On other news, Apple once again holds the top spot in consumer satisfaction for its Macs. Surely keyboards are a part of this assessment.
    You may be right but I don't do enough typing on either of my laptop keyboards to say one way or the other.

    As for consumer satisfaction, my wife tells me she likes the first generation MacBook keyboard so I'm sure some people are fine with it.  Still, I question whether the people with the greatest gratification with the MacBook/Air/Pro really do that much typing and are more inclined to use the trackpad much more.
  • Reply 26 of 49
    Some companies never learn. Hubris will be the downfall of this company. How many millions has Apple lost because of the butterfly debacle? I know, it's walking around change in Tim Cook's pocket, but it still can't be insignificant.
    javacowboy
  • Reply 27 of 49
    Some companies never learn. Hubris will be the downfall of this company. How many millions has Apple lost because of the butterfly debacle? I know, it's walking around change in Tim Cook's pocket, but it still can't be insignificant.
    Maybe things will change with Jony Ive's departure?
    AI_lias
  • Reply 28 of 49
    Oh great. 

    Here’s a suggestion, Apple: just spray paint a new keyboard on to the bottom half of the laptop. Can’t be much worse than what MacBook Pro and the Air currently have! And you can make it lighter/thinner...

    /rolleyes 
    edited September 2019 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 29 of 49
    I’m starting to hate Apple. Their obsession with thinness and minimalism is pathological.

    Give me back the years when Apple made robust products and tested (and used) their own software before releasing it. Now they can’t even be bothered to check to make sure new “features” aren’t conflicting with existing ones... or even recognizing who their actual customers are.
  • Reply 30 of 49
    Oh, and while you’re at it, Apple, please triple the size of that handsome, amazingly functional, super-helpful Touch Bar! Can’t get enough of it...

    /rolleyes 
    javacowboymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 31 of 49
    Apple jumped the shark with its obsession with thinness long ago, favoring form over function. I am at a loss why it continues with this faulty mindset. And with keyboard? The butterfly keyboard has been an abysmal failure if reliability and longevity are your thing.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 32 of 49
    Rajka said:
    Apple jumped the shark with its obsession with thinness long ago, favoring form over function. I am at a loss why it continues with this faulty mindset. And with keyboard? The butterfly keyboard has been an abysmal failure if reliability and longevity are your thing.
    The weird thing is, thinner has not meant significantly lighter with the new MBPs (compared to the last gen of aluminum ones). 
    edited September 2019 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 33 of 49
    I can slim the four-word phrase "Apple's obsession with thinness" down to two words: "digital anorexia." This conveys both the underlying problem AND the collateral damage it causes.
  • Reply 34 of 49
    dysamoria said:
    I’m starting to hate Apple. Their obsession with thinness and minimalism is pathological.

    Give me back the years when Apple made robust products and tested (and used) their own software before releasing it. Now they can’t even be bothered to check to make sure new “features” aren’t conflicting with existing ones... or even recognizing who their actual customers are.
    Pretty sure they do know who their customers are, and it’s not people like you with a 10 yo Mac who have been complaining for years while the rest of us move along with our lives and keep purchasing Macs. 
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 35 of 49
    anomeanome Posts: 1,482member
    I can't wait for the pundit-o-sphere to get a hold of this one...oh, wait, it kind of already has.

    I don't have a problem with my 2016 MBP keyboard, although I have heard (endlessly) that others do. The key complaint seems to be that the travel isn't deep enough, so I don't know whether investing in a technology that makes it shallower is wise. Is this only destined for the MacBook Adjectiveless? That might make some commentators more forgiving, but I expect either way that there will be much wailing and gnashing of dentures.
  • Reply 36 of 49
    In 2017 I bought a brand new, 2015 era Macbook Pro to replace my 2012 model primarily because I hated how big the trackpad had grown, I liked having ports and an SSD card slot, I liked the keyboard and I had no use for the Touch Bar.

    I can only say I hope it lasts a long time, because Apple just seems to be going further and further in the wrong direction with the MacBook Pro.

    What's interesting to me is that my wife's old 2011 MacBook Air, which I inherited and use for traveling sometimes, had a perfectly good keyboard and was thin as hell.

    I'm not sure what Apple is thinking but I wish they'd go back to the 2015 design and iterate from that or just stuff with the latest and greatest innards like they did with the iPhone SE.

    I've been using Apple's since the mid 90's and never have a felt more abandoned by their general direction than I do at this point.
  • Reply 37 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,299member
    Oh, and while you’re at it, Apple, please triple the size of that handsome, amazingly functional, super-helpful Touch Bar! Can’t get enough of it...

    /rolleyes 
    I like the Touch Bar, and I know others who also like it.
    roundaboutnowanome
  • Reply 38 of 49
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Rajka said:
    Apple jumped the shark with its obsession with thinness long ago, favoring form over function. I am at a loss why it continues with this faulty mindset. And with keyboard? The butterfly keyboard has been an abysmal failure if reliability and longevity are your thing.
    Here’s the problem: no one here knows the percentage of users who are affected. What we have here is anecdotal echo whining, what we lack is hard figures. 

    The fact that Apple has continued with the same basic design with occasional tweaks indicates that the problem isn’t as big as people line to believe, if indeed it’s a problem at all. 

    Top in user satisfaction doesn’t happen with a broken keyboard. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 39 of 49
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    bsimpsen said:
    bsimpsen said:
    arlor said:
    Short key travel and lack of wrist elevation both reduce comfort and the latter is a well-studied cause of repetitive stress problems.
    ...

    I have a 2018 MacBook Pro as well as an iMac Pro and find both keyboards comfortable to use. They do not offer the tactile feedback of old Apple mechanical keyboards, but they also don't aggravate my RSI. I recently spent an afternoon at an old Apple Extended Keyboard, which I'd always thought was the best I've ever used. Within minutes, though my fingers were delighted by the feel, the rest of my arm began to revolt. I can't go back again.

    Everybody's situation is different and I do not recommend my particular ergonomics to anyone, yet I find Apple's march towards thinness to work well for me.
    I understand how wrist placement and movement is key to good ergonomics.

    I don't understand what this has to do with the depth of key travel on a keyboard.

    What's the difference between the 2012 and 2017 MacBook Pros in terms of wrist placement?  I just don't see it.
    On any fixed surface, the thinner the keyboard, the smaller the wrist extension. While my keyboard tray (with adjustable palm/wrist rest) makes keyboard thickness a non-issue, that's not the case for laptops. Even now, if I'm going to use my MacBook Pro for extended periods, I'll place a shim in front of it to lift my forearms. My ideal laptop keyboard would have a thickness of zero... or less.

    It's not a matter of seeing it, it's a matter of feeling it. I was similarly skeptical of the Magic Mouse... until I used it. Don't extrapolate my experience to yours.

    ETA: On other news, Apple once again holds the top spot in consumer satisfaction for its Macs. Surely keyboards are a part of this assessment.
    The latest Apple keyboard is the best one I’ve ever used, but I suspect the reason is that I can touch type. Once I got out of the habit of stabbing the keys, I improved accuracy and comfort. 

    As you said earlier, wrist position is key. The flat keyboard leads to a neutral wrist position and greater comfort. 

    For me, the old Apple keyboard with its alpine slope profile was a disaster. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 40 of 49
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,194member
    neilm said:
    Reducing the size of a component is no bad thing in a portable — witness the latest iPhones, where room has been found to allow higher battery capacity for longer run time. 
    Yes, by making them thicker, they magically found more room for bigger batteries. Whoddathunkit.


    donjuan said:
    Crap keyboards are here to stay.
    Sadly, this is too true. I've got an old 2007 MacBook with a great key board. And I've got a 12" MacBook with a crap keyboard. No keys, just on/off switches. I really don't see how travel can be reduced any more than this, and no way could it improve typing speed.

     I've got a cheap, rattle-y Logictech keyboard that is so much better than current MacBooks of any flavor. And it's not that the Logi is at all good, the Mac keyboards are bad.

    Apple wants the MacBooks to be razor thin so they can get past TSA and in a pinch, be used as a weapon like Oddjob's bowler.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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