16-inch MacBook Pro Arrow KeysSource: Rene Ritchie / iMore

With the arrival of the 16-inch MacBook Pro comes a newly-designed keyboard. Since 2016, the MacBook Pro lineup has used the same butterfly switch keyboard mechanism as the 12-inch MacBook. But now, the 16-inch MacBook Pro re-introduces the scissor-switch keyboard mechanism back to the lineup. With increased travel and, hopefully, greater reliability, it seems like this keyboard will be, for many, a return to form.

Here's what's up with the keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Return to form

Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)

Bigger and better in every way.

Apple's latest MacBook Pro features a brand new 16-inch display, as wellas double the RAM and storage capacity. Of course, there's also a brand new keyboard, complete with a scissor switch mechanism for better typing overall, as well as (hopefully) increased reliability.

What's the big deal with this keyboard?

The biggest change with what Apple is calling the Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro is going to be the switch mechanism. A keyboard switch is the physical mechanism by which the keys travel when pressed and released. From 2016 to through now, the MacBook Pro has utilized a butterfly switch. This switch required a lighter touch to press, and resulted in thinner computers overall. But many also felt that it reduced travel too much, and the mechanism has proven more prone to failure than the previous scissor switches.

With the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple is once again utilizing the scissor switch. A new mechanism compared to pre-2016 MacBooks, this scissor switch should provide a better overall typing feel and greatly increased reliability.

So what's the actual rundown on the new keyboard?

The scissor switch mechanism features travel of around 1mm. That might now sound like a lot, but when we're talking about keyboards, a little can be a lot. The keyboard also incorporates a new, Apple-designed rubber dome, which stores potential energy, leading to a more responsive-feeling key press. Overall, you're looking at a more responsive keyboard with greater travel.

Is the 'inverted-T' back?

The Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro does indeed see the return of the "inverted-T" design for the arrow keys. This allows for easier navigation using the arrow keys, as you can more easily feel each of the different keys. Previously, they were grouped in more of a mass of arrow keys, where differentiation between them was more difficult.

Will it be more reliable?

Hopefully. Though we won't know for sure until more people get it into their hands, the scissor switch mechanism on preivous MacBook Pros proved to be fairly resilient. Anecdotally, the keyboard on my 2013 MacBook Pro, which itself uses scissor switchs, only started developing an 'E' key issue in the last year or so. With any luck, Apple's new scissor mechanism will perform similarly.

Is the Touch Bar still there?

Yes, Apple still includes the Touch Bar in the keyboard. This one is a bit different, though. It's not as long as the one on other MacBook Pro models, as it needs to make room for the returning physical Escape key on the left-hand side. Apple also continues to include Touch ID for easy authentication on the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

When can I get my hands on the 16-inch MacBook Pro and its keyboard?

You can order the 16-inch MacBook Pro right now, with orders starting to ship later this week and store purchases available later in November.

Return to form

Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)

Bigger and better in every way.

Apple's latest MacBook Pro features a brand new 16-inch display, as wellas double the RAM and storage capacity. Of course, there's also a brand new keyboard, complete with a scissor switch mechanism for better typing overall, as well as (hopefully) increased reliability.

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