The article has nothing to do with the butterfly effect and ray Bradbury and Edward Lorenz, it is about the misadventures of a mechanism named “butterfly”, about what led to his introduction and how it all might end. Our case is on the order of more fantastic than Bradbury. Last but not least due to Apple’s slim notebook became an important competitive advantage. The thinner the body is, as a rule, the device easier. Direct link between weight and thickness is not, but its practical use is obvious.

The thinner the laptop the less space it takes up in Luggage. When in 2008 Steve pulled the first MacBook Air “Manila” envelope, it was a shock. At the moment the MacBook Air was the thinnest laptop in the world. Until 2008 happened and more subtle instances, but they do not like. It seemed, and this “air miracle” is doomed to failure, but that allowed Steve is not allowed to anyone.

And since that warm January day (in San Francisco was partly cloudy, +17° C, no precipitation) started slimming world laptops. MacBook Air has ceased to be the thinnest in the world in a month. After six months in the reviews (mostly bad) comparison of the thickness of its body with the more subtle products became common place. The Homo sapiens are a lot of great qualities, but with the mind he had no luck. No wonder: until now, no simple and undisputable definition of this phenomenon.

In late 2014, presenting the fifth processor generation marketing name “Broadwell”, Intel talked about his dream: quiet and incredibly thin laptops unearthly beauty. Because the Intel Core M was not required neither the fan nor the cunning of the cooling system sucks in air from the environment is incomprehensible to the mere mortal way. A new generation of UltraBook! In March 2015 this computer introduced the Apple MacBook calling it, in honor of the deceased in 2012 ancestor. The body of the new MacBook was impossibly thin, including due to the ingenious design of the keyboard, allowing to reduce the thickness of the body even a millimeter and a half.

No sarcasm: the design of keyboard-butterfly is brilliant. In a perfect world, it would not prices. In a depressingly grey and gloomy prose of the real world, she immediately had to overcome fierce resistance in comparison with the “scissors” traditional keyboards specific to the person and passed a long way of evolution, “keyboard-butterfly” was awkward, unpleasant, causing pain. It is necessary to get used, someone it was easy, someone was incompatible with her at all. But MacBook 2015 and without this was a “thing in itself”, and the keyboard became just another reason not to mess with him. But that was just the beginning.

The invasion of the butterflies

In the Apple love crazy unexpected solutions. If you use your equipment this company at least ten years, you remember how these tools worked before: they didn’t have to get used to, everything was so natural and clear, as if all is as it should be. In Apple’s excellent engineers, meticulous to manic experts in ergonomics, and at all times, even in the most difficult for Apple, new solutions have been carefully tested in different conditions. Even that nothing is guaranteed. But lately, I’m guessing this is to save steel. This is a very expensive, time consuming and distracts engineers from advanced development, but still not give any guarantees. Logical?

Keyboard “Butterfly”

Keyboard-butterfly was also fatally unreliable (in our Telegram chat is now actively discuss it). They were clogged, out of order, the Apple recommended ways of resuscitation is almost never helped, but for a keyboard replacement when expired per annum (or 2 per annum, in the European Union the guarantee period may not be less than 2-year) warranty period, had to pay $ 700. In 2016 if the battery failure was not yet mass – so they came back and MacBook Pro. Stuck in the past, the MacBook Air has become the last refuge for all who could not adapt to what the idea was supposed to adapt itself.

In 2017 the extinction of butterflies has become a mass phenomenon, Apple has found a solution to the first of their misfortunes. To get used to the new keyboard type is still required, but it was much easier. It was a “butterfly II”. To recognize the depravity of the design (for which Apple received several patents, which marketing service of the company continued to be called “advanced” and advanced), the company refused. Consumers sued her in court, collecting the irrefutable evidence – and Apple had to fork out for replacement keyboards.

In 2018, when the competitors in an even more subtle cases of perfectly established traditional and unproblematic scissors, Apple introduced the “butterfly III” MacBook Pro released in July. Officially, the purpose of updating the “butterfly” was the improvement of ergonomics, large keys, smoothness, noise reduction. Noise, and ergonomics are better, but it was the most important: soft material gasket now protected the delicate mechanism from dust and dirt, and quite effectively – in update: the new keyboard was put to the test and confirmed that in most cases dust and dirt remain on the outside. But not in all.

At the end of 2018 the last portable Mac with an outdated keyboard is a thing of the past and the future cavalier was nowhere to hide. In 2019, the company introduced the “butterfly IV”, indirectly admitting that in some cases, some where we sometimes, with the “butterflies” not all is well – including with the latest, most secure. The “butterfly IV” was also identified serious problems – which was no surprise. According to rumors, Apple is going back to the classic scissors. Or, God forbid, of course, to produce something even more new and radical. But “butterfly V” if it is not.

Butterfly and scissors

Classical design (scissors) used in industry since time immemorial, including in the Apple (in all versions of Magic Keyboard). There is no need to get used to, it does not cause fatigue, it is reliable in my time with it, too, were in trouble, but the shortcomings have been eliminated, and now many years they are not heard. In my MacBook Pro, which happened to work in difficult conditions (dust, heat, etc.) the keyboard has been repaired once and the reason was not in it and the swollen battery. To keyboard almost no complaints (on the keys have faded letters and all).

Keyboard “Scissors”

Of the scissors was only one serious drawback: they take a few precious extra millimeters of vertical space. Brilliant (and perfect for a perfect world) the decision is much more aesthetic.

The “Butterfly”

The only, but fatal campaign, the lack of “butterfly” is extremely vulnerable mechanism.

The butterfly effect

In the era of Post-PC the best-selling segment of the PC industry were and still are laptops. The world is now in order more mobile, and the computer (or the ability to replace a device) must be almost everywhere, at any distance from the house. At the same time, year after year, the sales of computers are down. Tablets have long been doing with all of that you need the vast majority of users. Companies that still produce and sell computers, have a hard time.

They have to take risks to surprise and interest the modern Homo sapiens’a is very difficult, but to achieve a decent sales impossible. Hundreds of companies now have like Apple in previous decades, look for something “odd”. Carefully, and not persisting in innovation, they make their living and preserve reputation. The time is: failure can be very costly.

“Butterfly” MacBook Pro have divided the history of Apple in “before” and “after”. The world’s thinnest notebook, the incredible beauty and prestige is not inferior to the MacBook Air in the first years of its existence, would remain the world’s only notebook with “butterfly”, it could be developed and refined his models to an acceptable level of reliability and ergonomics. The negative effect would be vanishingly small. But, for reasons unknown to me, not paying attention to the obvious (this is a bug!), they equipped not ready for this design the entire line of laptops, and something unexpected happened: the sales growth of Macs which back in 2016, were proud and boasted, suddenly stopped. In 2017, they began to decrease in 2018, the rate of decline in sales has increased.

A virtual keyboard simulating the reactions of the natural keys that could adapt to any layout for a split second and always displays exactly those characters that will be printed when you activate the key, in my opinion, could have saved the situation. This keyboard its pros and cons, but it at least won’t be overloaded and fail in a year and a half, and if it is done right (Apple still knows how), chance of success it has. It would be unusual and daring. The computer’s capabilities be expanded. What if Saga “butterflies” and Touch Bar was only the first step of something insanely great? Don’t believe, but I want to be like that.

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