Long before Apple executives took the stage in June to kick off this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, there were rumors swirling around that the company was planning on talking about a lot of stuff, including some key changes to its major software platforms and unveiling new hardware.
And then, just before the keynote happened, the rumor mill switched gears and painted a picture that suggested the company would be focusing primarily on software. That turned out to be the case, as we saw major changes for iOS 12, macOS Mojave, and Apple’s other popular platforms for its smartwatch and set-top box. Sure enough, we didn’t get a single hardware announcement from Apple at this year’s WWDC.
Which was probably a disappointment for quite a few out there.
But of course, the rumor mill just switched gears and now the outlook is on September. Apple got its software announcements out of the way –even if there will be more in September, too– and now the company can put some focus on new hardware. September serving as a hardware launch event makes sense for that reason. We are going to see new iPhones, new iPad Pro models, and probably new MacBook models.
And while the iPhone is obviously going to eat up the lion’s share of attention, and net Apple the most money after the new models go on sale, I think a lot of attention is going to be paid to the new MacBook lineup. Because while there are a lot of people out there who are wanting to see an upgrade to the MacBook Air (finally getting a Retina display, maybe), I think even more people are waiting to see if Apple is going to “fix” their keyboard situation.
Apple has already addressed this issue in a very Apple way. The company hasn’t actually come out and said they messed up with the butterfly design of its keyboards in the MacBook and MacBook Pro models, but it did launch a repair program for those keyboards, addressing the fact that “a small percentage” of units suffer from a variety of issues.
The keyboard issue has managed to reach peak awareness, but Apple is probably right in its “small percentage” talk. I know a few people who don’t have any issues with their keyboards, and are shocked that I have issues. But that’s how this works, typically. What seems like a global problem is really just amplified because of the internet.
And that’s why September is going to be so interesting. The fact that Apple has launched a repair program for its MacBook lineup, and its newest MacBook Pro models, is a huge step in the right direction. Apple knows there is a problem, but is it widespread enough to fix it? And by fix it I mean actually change the design of the keyboard. Because unless Apple has figured out a “third time’s a charm” situation for the butterfly keyboard, I would imagine a lot of folks that are suffering the issues with the first- and second-generation keyboards want a new design altogether.
For me, personally, I don’t think I could trust a third-generation butterfly keyboard. Especially considering that the second-generation design I’m using only started to fail after several months of usage. It wasn’t anything that could be caught in a review at launch.
I have been seeing a lot of people who I know use Macs, whether it’s because they’re developers or simply prefer the ecosystem, going out of their way to check out Windows machines. For example, Marco Arment recently stopped by a Microsoft store and shared some thoughts. Basically, the Huawei Matebook X (what is being called “the best Windows PC right now”) won his praise, and he even added that “if this ran macOS, I’d buy it in a second”.
That statement has caught my attention a lot lately, even if it isn’t particularly new. And I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking at a lot of different Windows devices lately. Double checking to see if the apps I use every day on my MacBook are available on Windows 10 (most are, thankfully). And while I almost picked up a Surface Laptop in cobalt blue a couple of weeks ago while it was on sale, I couldn’t go through with it. Even if I don’t like the keyboard on my MacBook, I don’t want to stop using macOS. So — I’m stuck.
But I wanted to get your feedback. See where you’re at with the possibility. With Apple rumored to launch new MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models later this year, do you think Apple will change the keyboard design? And, if so, will you be upgrading? On the other side of the coin, if Apple doesn’t change anything about the keyboard –or even adopts a third-generation butterfly design– is switching to Windows 10 even a consideration for you?