Scissor-switch keyboards return in new MacBook Air

Scissor-switch keyboards return in new MacBook Air

New MacBook Air returns to the traditional scissor-keyboard mechanism. (Apple Inc photo)
New MacBook Air returns to the traditional scissor-keyboard mechanism. (Apple Inc photo)

Apple Inc launched an updated version of its MacBook Air on Wednesday, modifying keyboards on its laptop line that have faced criticism for typing-related problems.

The company switched back to what is known as a "scissor" mechanism keyboards, discarding the "butterfly" in its most popular laptop models as customers had claimed that the keyboards suffered from issues such as sticky keys, unresponsive keys when tiny amounts of dust or debris accumulated under or near the keys.

Last December, a federal judge rejected the iPhone maker's bid to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit by customers who said it knew and concealed how the "butterfly" keyboards on its laptops were likely to show issues.

Apple also lowered the starting price for the machine. With prices starting from $999, the new laptops will be available for orders on the company's online store this week and will be available in stores next week.

The company also unveiled a new version of its iPad Pro that supports laptop-like trackpads as a new means of controlling the tablet, as well as upgraded cameras and microphones.

With the new iPad, Apple is further blurring the lines between a tablet computer, which is typically a touchscreen device, and a laptop, usually controlled with a keyboard and mouse or trackpad. Before now, wireless mice were only supported with limited functionality as an accessibility option.

Other new features on the iPad include a rear-facing 3D camera that lets the device measure the distance between itself and objects as far as five metres away, to be used with augmented-reality applications.

The tablet also has two wide-angle lenses for taking pictures. Earlier models had only one camera.

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