Would you buy a new MacBook Pro today?
I suspect most people would be happy to buy the 16-Inch Macbook Pro, but would avoid the other models. For all of the advances in performance, battery capacity, and new screen technology, the 16-inch MacBook Pro had one key feature that every reviewer was careful to note. A working keyboard.
When will Tim Cook’s Apple offer a similar breakthrough feature to the rest of Apple’s laptop range?
For many people the MacBook Pro, and particularly the applications and services that run on their MacOS powered laptop, are ‘mission critical’ parts of their personal or business life. They can’t move to another platform. There may be other factors contributing to this lock-in as well, including Apple’s own add-on services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+ as well as the tight integration of the iPhone and iPad.
In short, switching away from the MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air is simply not an option.
Which means that the ongoing issues with the butterfly keyboard and its high failure rate continue to frustrate users. Although Apple has acknowledged the issue and offers a service program with a free repair or replacement keyboard (and an uncertain time estimate for repairs), Apple continues to sell new MacBook machines with the troublesome keyboard. As late as July 2019, Apple updated the popular 13-Inch MacBook Pro but retained the butterfly keyboard.
This approach started to change at the end of last year, as the new 16-Inch MacBook Pro arrived, and features a return to the scissor switch style keyboard used before 2015 – albeit labeled the ‘Magic Keyboard’.
Yet those who purchased the 13-inch MacBook Pro still have no option but to buy a laptop with a booby-trapped keyboard. With a new model expected at some point this year – WWDC 2020 in June is a likely but not guaranteed date – those looking for a replacement laptop are faced with spending top dollar on an inferior product.
A small thought experiment. Imagine if the iPhone had similar systemic issues issue with the touchscreen digitizer (e.g. that incorrectly calibrated inputs, fail to register inputs, or assuming there were double inputs). Imagine if this had started with the iPhone 6S and that Apple had tried a number of fixes and the best answer it could give you was ‘we’ll replace your screen for free if it breaks’?
Do you think Apple would be happy to put its customers through that?
Then why is it acceptable for customers of the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro to be put through that?
It’s traditional for companies to wait for new features and marketable technology to be added to a product before launching an updated product. It’s also traditional to offer customers the best experience possible. Apple has known of the keyboard issue for some time, and now has a solution. When the 16-inch MacBook Pro belatedly solved the problem, that was the moment or Apple to release an updated keyboard on the 13-Inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
It has been three months since the working keyboard debuted on the more expensive 16-Inch MacBook Pro. It’s well past the time for Apple to be offering that keyboard across the full MacBook range.
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