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The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is a sign of a fundamental shift at Apple: it includes a keyboard that makes this laptop slightly less stylish but more useful. It’s hard too believe this would have happened in the days when chief designer Jony Ive’s habit of putting form ahead of function still reigned supreme over all Apple’s products.
As Ive slowly exits the company, we’re already seeing products less willing to make compromises in functionality in order to get super-sleek looks.
16-inch MacBook Pro: Slightly thicker and much better
The latest MacBook Pro is just a bit thicker than its predecessor. On the surface, that might not seem like a dramatic statement, but its a reversal of a trend that lasted many years.
Back in 2012, Apple’s top-tier Mac laptop was 0.95 inches thick. The next year the size dropped to 0.71 inches. That held for three generations, when the 2016 MacBook Pro was just 0.61 inches.
And that’s the point where the wheels came off the bus, although it wasn’t obvious at the time. The Butterfly keyboard was a hallmark of that 2016 model, and while its slender design helped decrease the width of the MacBook Pro, simple grit could cause keys to stick. Repairs weren’t easy, and replacements were very expensive because the keyboard is glued to the battery and other components.
Despite complaints that eventually forced Apple to offer a Keyboard Service Program, the Butterfly design continued to be built into every new macOS laptop introduced.
That bad decision was made over and over because giving up on it would have forced Apple to make a slightly thicker product, and that was apparently anathema to Jony Ive’s design team.