Would you be open to a keyboard with non-traveling keys?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Maybe/ Not Sure


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groove-agent

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 13, 2006
1,229
1,045
I personally still own a 2008, 2012, and 2015 15" MBP. I refuse to purchase a 2016-2018 for obvious reasons but of course have typed on them. When you look at their keyboards chronologically, you can see the action (height/ key press travel) slowly getting lower and lower.

In addition to Apple's unsolicited quest for thinness, I have a feeling that Apple is slowly trying to acclimatize us to the idea of having non-traveling keys. Possibly with the next big revision (allegedly 2021) we might see some sort of LCD chicklet with haptic integration. It would be weird, but not unlike typing on our iPad and iPhone screens. As long as there is some way of touch typing without looking down, I'd be fine with it. I can see a few advantages:

* non mechanical keys aren't as vulnerable to dust, dirt, and maybe even liquids
* LCD keys could be changed to custom key layouts, languages, operating systems
* no travel keys could mean a savings of space to add a bigger battery (for example)

 

CaCohen0509

macrumors regular
Jan 2, 2010
184
8
I use my 2013 rMBP everyday and I'm still in love with the keyboard, 0 problems from then till now. I can only suspect that the people who disliked apples butterfly keyboard Gen 1-3 would HATE something like this. I have been holding out, hoping that apple would realize they've made a huge mistake with these keyboards and go back to a traditional style keyboard.

APPLE IF YOU ARE READING THIS. PLEASE, I WANT TO BUY A NEW MACBOOK PRO. PUT A REGULAR KEYBOARD BACK IN YOUR PRO MACHINE.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,505
6,010
Absolutely not. A keyboard without depressable keys is unusable and would be a deal breaker. And since Apple is obsessed with fine tuning and ergonomy there is no way they will do something as dumb as that. Funny fact though that Apple just filed a patent for solid keyboard that does have keys with travel ;)
 

throAU

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2012
6,738
4,374
Perth, Western Australia
If i wanted a no travel keyboard then i'd use the on screen one on my ipad. I think even apple surely knows that feedback is required and thus the smart keyboard for the ipad.
 

multitudes

macrumors newbie
Feb 12, 2019
6
6
I have still a 2010 MBP. Keyboard works still great! the machine is still fast enough thanks to maxed out RAM and SSD drive. Mojave is not supported however and since I am doing some developing I will need a replacement soon. The thought of buying an actual MacBook Pro wit a buggy keyboard scares me... I am considering a mini right now.
 
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Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,049
927
Canada
I have still a 2010 MBP. Keyboard works still great! the machine is still fast enough thanks to maxed out RAM and SSD drive. Mojave is not supported however and since I am doing some developing I will need a replacement soon. The thought of buying an actual MacBook Pro wit a buggy keyboard scares me... I am considering a mini right now.
The Mac mini is the most flexible choice right now. You can upgrade the RAM and you can choose your display, your keyboard and your mouse/trackpad.

It would be interesting to see if a company could make a briefcase-laptop with a battery where you can just dock the Mac mini and have a thick (very) old-school laptop/portable setup with a real keyboard. Yes it would look ridiculous, but it would be a lot sturdier than the current MacBooks. Even without a battery, it would be easier and safer to carry around than an iMac. Think "portable desktop".
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,505
6,010
I would like to see Apple make the laptop a bit thicker to give us back the bullet proof keyboards we used to have.

I would like them to keep the MBP as thin as it is and make a keyboard that's more reliable than any of previous ones. And the earlier keyboard was hardly bulletproof — keys were relatively easy to break. I've seen plenty of broken Apple keyboards (both laptops and external).
 
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Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,757
15,227
Jacksonville, Florida
I would like them to keep the MBP as thin as it is and make a keyboard that's more reliable than any of previous ones. And the earlier keyboard was hardly bulletproof — keys were relatively easy to break. I've seen plenty of broken Apple keyboards (both laptops and external).

Can't disagree . . . . does not matter to me as I moved back to a Thinkpad.
 
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Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2016
422
358
There are very few things I could think of that Apple could do to make the MBP keyboard situation even worse. Well, something that looks like the picture above is one of them.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,072
34,162
Boston
Can't disagree . . . . does not matter to me as I moved back to a Thinkpad.
Same here, but it was apple's obsession with thinness that drove them to develop a flawed keyboard and no amount of membranes is going to help. I've fully moved off the platform, and while I still own an iMac I don't see myself coming back. Tim Cook's penny pinching ways have ruined the experience and quality imo.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2017
4,702
5,193
In a word, no. Absolute, non negotiable deal breaker for me. In fact if apple don't move back towards a common sense solution on typing, like many others I'm probably going to be forced off the platform once the 2015 machines are no longer viable/ lose OS support. Indeed, I will probably have to make a decision before then, and the XPS 15 is looking mighty tempting despite it's own set of problems.
 

ascender

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2005
3,395
1,317
I’d be open to it, but I’d have to try it first - I’ve no doubt its the future, but not for some time yet.

The thing to bear in mind is that there will be future generations of tech professionals who have grown up with a glass keyboard as their primary (and sometimes only) method of input. So it would be mad to think that we won’t see this sort of product at some point.

And when it comes, it could be great, it could be rubbish. Who knows.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,186
7,119
I've been a Mac user since 1987. 32 years.

In 3 decades, I haven't gone near Windows much (well, ok, once in a while I use CrossOver to run a program that isn't available for the Mac).

BUT... if Apple decides to get rid of a traditional keyboard on their laptops ... my NEXT laptop will be Windows, or Linux, or... something else, NOT a Mac...
 

campleh

macrumors newbie
Mar 31, 2019
4
1
I wonder how non-travelling keys would work with regard to things like NVRAM resets. Also, it seems like it would make gaming almost impossible.
 
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LogicalApex

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2015
528
496
Absolutely not. This would feel horrible and be a usability nightmare.

I could see replacing plastic keys with small individual screens of eInk or something to make the keys "dynamic" so you could change them on the fly. But I even question the value of that heavily. As you'd be required to constantly look at the keys to know what they are in any given context.
 
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Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,328
2,032
Lincoln, UK
Hopefully Apple will replace the keyboard with a new system. They have patented having proximity sensors to know when keys have been pressed instead of switches, which has the potential to be more reliable. The patent mentioned something about magnets, and there are lots of ideas around magnetically levitated keys. Hopefully the polarity can be reversed. Flat keys for a thin closed laptop, but raised keys for a nice typing experience.
 

groove-agent

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 13, 2006
1,229
1,045
In a word, no. Absolute, non negotiable deal breaker for me. In fact if apple don't move back towards a common sense solution on typing, like many others I'm probably going to be forced off the platform once the 2015 machines are no longer viable/ lose OS support. Indeed, I will probably have to make a decision before then, and the XPS 15 is looking mighty tempting despite it's own set of problems.

I have an XPS15 and love it. I was even able to hackintosh it. I still prefer a genuine MBP though. If I wasn't existing in the Apple ecosystem, I would probably go Dell, or maybe Razer.
[doublepost=1554933460][/doublepost]
I wonder how non-travelling keys would work with regard to things like NVRAM resets. Also, it seems like it would make gaming almost impossible.

That's a good point. Who wants to hover their fingers *above* the keyboard for extended lengths of time. It would have to have some sort of pressure sensitivity.
 
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spacebro

Suspended
Oct 1, 2015
552
480
I saw typing speed increases when moving to the 0.064" travel distance of the original magic keyboard. Then another speed increase after moving to the 0.032" travel distance of the magic keyboard 2, although this took longer to get used to. At this point I think I would benefit from a 0.020 or 0.025" travel distance but less than that they would have to do some haptic magic to make it work.

I am at 60% typing speed on the iPad soft keyboard. This speed decrease is due to missing home key indicators and due to not feeling the edge of the keys. This speed decrease is not a big deal to me, most often I am using a computer I am not actually typing, so a 40% decrease in typing speed would barely affect my overall work speed. I would be ok with a soft keyboard on the MacBook Pro because for serious work I would have it docked to a real screen and use a real keyboard. If they are able to add textures or do something so I can type 80% as fast, that would be perfect. The soft keyboard would be a tradeoff for thinness and portability I think it would be worth it. Just keep it docked to do real work where you can use the best keyboard of all time the magic keyboard 2.
 

EEzycade

macrumors regular
Jun 29, 2018
206
210
Mesa, Arizona
I want find out what people's thoughts are regarding future MacBook keyboards. Lots of people have strong feelings. I for one don't think I could ever use a keyboard with no travel. Also, and I'm in the minority here, I do enjoy the typing experience on my 2018 MBP. Although, I'm terrified that the keyboard will break anytime because of a speck of dust.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,049
927
Canada
Never mind a glass/touch keyboard, I've already bought a used 2011 MacBook Air instead of a brand-new 2018 MacBook Air because of the butterfly keyboards.
 

pshufd

macrumors 68020
Oct 24, 2013
2,318
7,018
New Hampshire
I've tried the 2016-2017-2018 keyboards and have a working 2008, non-working 2011, 2014 and 2015 and soon to be a second 2015. I can use the keyboards on any of these but the 2008 is my favorite. But I spend the vast majority of the time using an external keyboard and I prefer mechanical keys with a lot of travel and a lot of noise. If they went non-travel? I'd probably bring an external keyboard along with me to use it. Or just stick with my 2015s.
 
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