Fixing the MacBook Pro ➝

Marco Arment, encouraging Apple to bring scissor keyswitches to the MacBook Pro keyboard:

The Magic Keyboard’s scissor switches feel similar, but with a bit more travel, and all of the reliability and resilience of previous keyboard generations. They’re a much better, more reliable, and more repairable balance of thinness and typing feel likely to appeal to far more people — even those who like the butterfly keyboards.

The Magic Keyboard only needs one change to be perfect for the MacBook Pro: returning to the “inverted-T” arrow-key arrangement by making the left- and right-arrow keys half-height again. This arrangement is much more natural and less error-prone because we can align our fingers by feeling the “T” shape, a crucial affordance for such frequently used keys that are so far from the home row.

I’ve been a huge fan of the Magic Keyboard since I picked one up earlier this year in my quest for Lightning everything. It feels great to type on, offers just the right amount of key travel, and produces a satisfying clicking sound when typing. This is the keyboard that should be in Apple’s laptops. And I’ll echo Marco’s caveat, the arrow keys should return to the “inverted-T” configuration. I love the Magic Keyboard, but I often feel lost when I’m trying to find a specific arrow key.

I agree with just about everything in Marco’s piece, but if Apple only listens to one of his suggestions, the keyboard is the most important. If I was in the market for a new Mac laptop, I could deal with the Touch Bar, I would probably enjoy the USB-C ports, and the charger is perfectly acceptable. The keyboard, though, would likely be a deal breaker for me.

I’m one of the few that has completely rebuilt my computing workflow on iOS, though. I have a Mac Mini in our office closet that functions as our home server and a MacBook Air that gets dusted off every month or two for some oddball tasks, but the vast majority of my computing takes place on iOS. However, not everyone has that luxury. The tasks I need to perform are just fine on iOS, but some things just aren’t possible on an iPhone or iPad yet — software development being one of the big ones.

If I absolutely needed to use a Mac to get my work done, I’d probably end up buying an iMac and sacrificing portability in favor of a keyboard I’ll actually enjoy using. Apple has historically had the best laptop keyboards on the market and that should still be the case.