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Apple bringing scissor switches to Smart Keyboard for iPad, 13-inch MacBook Pro

A new supply chain report suggests that Apple will extend its new scissor switch keyboard beyond the MacBook Pro, with it set to be used in the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard.




Apple introduced the scissor switch redesign with November's 16-inch MacBook Pro. The introduction follows a tepid at best response to the butterfly design, introduced with the MacBook, and implemented on the MacBook Pro in 2016.

The new keyboard is expected on the 13-inch MacBook Pro soon. A report from DigiTimes on Wednesday morning suggests that following the MacBook Pro refresh, it will be used on the iPad Smart Keyboard as well.

The timing of the supposed update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the first half of 2020 is somewhat close to a prediction from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in late October, who suggested the mechanism would be used in an unidentified MacBook in the second or early third quarter of 2020. Kuo first suggested Apple would move away from butterfly switches in a late July 2019 report, with the 16-inch model the first to benefit before others in the MacBook Pro line, then eventually the MacBook Air.

So far, reviews for the new keyboard are favorable, with the keys generally quieter than their butterfly equivalent in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. There is also more actuation, with the new model offering a millimeter of travel versus the 0.6mm to 0.7mm on the 2016-style keyboard.

An initial teardown of the keys indicated there was a lot of extra space inside the switch mechanism. The extra space means it is less likely to be affected by debris, as well as having more strength in the clips attaching the thicker keycaps in place.