WSJ - Joanna Stern’s personal experience with MacBook Pro’s short-travel butterfly keyboard.
Great video link of her review, in Joanna’s characteristically sardonic style.
John Gruber’s comment at https://daringfireball.net -
“I consider these keyboards the worst products in Apple history. MacBooks should have the best keyboards in the industry; instead they’re the worst. They’re doing lasting harm to the reputation of the MacBook brand.”
Even with Apple’s extraordinary resources - 4 years into shipping them, MBP keyboards still have foibles.
It’s a vivid example of why keyboards are nontrivial, and why it matters to get the details right.
The MacBook’s issues also illustrate why we designed TextBlade very differently -
TextBlade’s keys are full travel - 2.0 mm. That’s 3X better than a MacBook Pro.
If you ever have spills or get debris inside, TextBlade keys are fully removable and cleanable.
Full travel and cleanability are TextBlade design choices specifically aimed to prevent the kind of troubles now seen with the MacBook’s built-in keyboard.
An earlier report explaining the problem, and a partial fix, that turned out not to settle it. See below -
Apple is a fantastic company, with stand-up values. They’ll figure out how to make this right for their customers. Every company can have an issue with design or build problems, and Apple does better than the great majority of their peers. They obviously care deeply about doing right by customers.
But for the biggest player to be humbled by a much simpler keyboard design - classical metal click dome switches, protected by a 3 lb metal case - this is sobering.
Unike TextBlade, the MBP keyboard is not cordless, not multi-touch, not frameless nor 1.5oz, not magnetic thrust, nor boundary-programmable. It doesn’t have 4 computers reading your intent, just rows of switches. Technologically, the MBP butterfly board is a far more conservative step than TextBlade.
Yet look at the depth of user frustration when small (but crushing) glitches present, when Apple worked valiantly to do something even a little bit new and different. And this is by the premier brand in industry.
This is a fresh vindication that perhaps we were not super-dumb to proceed carefully and methodically.
Especially for ground-breaking new technology, from a new company - it is not crazy to test the hell out of it with hundreds of real customers. That’s what we’ve done in treg, and it definitely works.
The key learning may be distilled to this -
The unique thing about keyboards is that we rely on them so much, and we are so sensitive to how they work and feel. We hold them to a much higher standard. Making them truly better is harder than any of us imagined. This was true for us, for our customers, and even for Apple.
The good news is that when you stick with it, and do all this crazy diligence to test it more than others do - customers really love using it. There are no shortcuts to pulling this off. Not even for the biggest in industry. That’s the method to our madness, and that’s why the thing we’ll ship to all of you is different, and better.