Macbook keyboard (butterfly) vs Magic Keyboard (Scissor) - which is better?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by the8thark, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. the8thark, Oct 13, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015

    the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011

    Can someone explain this for us all please.

    In the first instance Apple say the scissor mechanism is no good, so we invented a butterfly mechanism for you. That makes sense. But in the second instance Apple say please buy our improved scissor mechanism keyboard.

    Is the butterfly mechanism good for a notebook but not for a standalone keyboard or did Apple make a bad design choice with the Macbook? Or is Apple drip feeding us the keyboard upgrades so next year we will all buy the Apple Magic Keyboard 2 with butterfly mechanism?

    What's up with this? Can someone please explain it?
  2. 3568358 macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2015
    United States
    Apple is stating that keyboards in laptops use the scissor mechanism.

    This does not include old mechanical keyboards with the very thick buttons (basically any desktop computer keyboard, although some new desktop keyboard designs are now using the new slim scissor mechanism).

    The keyboards being mentioned by Apple are laptop keyboards, the Apple wireless keyboard, the Apple non-wireless keyboard. All of these use the scissor mechanism.

    They're stating that the design of the scissor mechanism is unstable and flimsy due to the single-sided design of the plastic arms underneath the keys. It's like walking with one crutch.

    They have reinvented the mechanism, simple, by adding in another arm on the opposing side of the key, to create a more firm feel. Hitting hitting is more precise, because the key will be pushed down ALL the way, entirely. It's like walking with TWO crutches!!!

    With the scissor mechanism, if you hit the corner of a key, it may not push the key in correctly, therefore not typing the letter. The key will just wobble. Compare this to the new BUTTERFLY MECHANISM that Apple created, so if you miss a key, and hit the corner, the key is more precise, and will push in entirely, even if you don't push the exact middle of the key down.

    Apple created the butterfly mechanism, a firm, precise, accurate, quality keyboard mechanism that will enhance your typing.
  3. urkel, Oct 13, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015

    urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    It's actually very simple. Apple no longer knows how to control their own story.

    The reason it was so easy to believe in Steve Jobs' Apple is because their story always made sense. You want to do this, you go and buy that. This is why Jobs is so highly respected as a salesman. But the company nowadays is becoming a series of events written by different authors and mashed up into book form. There's no linear thread or coherent narrative. Its just a bunch of cool things stacked together.

    3D Touch vs Force Touch - Both do the same thing but actually do it in slightly different ways and so now the function of "press harder" has two creepy names

    Creatives vs Consumers - Apple pretty much dismantled its "Pro Creative" hardware and software divisions in favor of "Consumer Friendly" (iPhone) stuff. So it's "goodbye Aperture and don't wait up for frequent updates to those Music/Video tools." But suddenly the iPad Pro was designed without an audience so now Apple is pretending "We created this hardware for Creatives bcuz we luv u!"

    Hard Drives vs SSD. They say SSD is the future and we need to get used to these small proprietary storage drives. But then on the iMac, where they have room for standard cheaper SSD drives, they load them with spinning disks?!?

    4K vs No-K - iPhone 6S 4K. "Check". iMac 4K. "Check". AppleTV 4K. " Nobody needs 4K because it's not ready for mainstream"

    Butterfly vs Scissor Keyboards - For many many years Apple had the best "thin" keyboard out there. We were all happy. But then they wanted thinner and are trying to convince us that the old keyboards sucked and this low throw "butterfly" key nonsense is amazing. But it's not. Butterfly keys are the result of compromises that negatively affect users.

    So.. If you really need to know which is better then the best thing to do is ignore the confusing marketing and just try them both out. My guess is that you'll prefer the old traditional style scissor keys because there wasn't ever anything wrong with them until Apple told people they were broken.
  4. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    I'm typing on "last year's" bluetooth keyboard here at work and have tried to observe this "key instability" and am not seeing it. I'm calling the BS on this new KB. 33% key stability doesn't seem like it will even be perceivable given how good the existing keyboard is. They just want the previous $69 design to sound as awful as possible so everyone will want to buy the new $99 design. 33% is $30 better because no one can do math. What was wrong with just saying we redesigned the keyboard to be easier, rechargeable and all around better? TBH the reasons a new product were better that Apple used to give were a lot more 'hand wavy' and nebulous than 'scissor mechanisms,' but I think they were a lot more effective. The whole reason it is called magic is because no one cares how or why it works or why it is better... it is supposed to be magic. It's just better because the engineering that went into it made it better. Magic. When you start explaining the engineering, you're just trying to smokescreen the fact that there is very little perceivable reason that version b is better than version a.

    I personally can't wait for the iFixit teardown of the new Magic Mouse that finds it is essentially the same as the old one, only $10 more.
  5. oldmacs macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2010
    Haha so true. The only reason they put that keyboard on the Retina Macbook was as a compromise to achieve the thinnest design possible. I personally can't stand it, its like typing on an iPad, but to me worse as the iPad has an excuse (e.g. no physical keys).
  6. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    I think they may be using the same butterfly mechanism, but as someone above mentioned, apple does not know how to keep the same name across the board: eg, touch force and 3D touch.

    I have the rMB and I plan on getting the new keyboard today or tomorrow, so I can do a side by side.
  7. No-Me macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2011
    They designed it that way, but after a while the butterfly mechanism starts too fail. The keys get stuck when you type too fast or they don't register at all unless you type in dead center of the keys. My MacBook was replaced 6 times because of keyboard faults and the last 3 months the topcase has been replaced 2 times because the keyboard got issues after a while. The genius bar here in the Hague is getting crazy from all the keyboard issues with the MacBook. I really hope they are going to put the new scissor mechanism they've put in the new keyboard in the next version of the MacBook as that feels like a big improvement.

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6 October 13, 2015