New MacBook Pro 13-inch with better keyboard could arrive soon

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is bringing the new and much improved keyboard featured in the MacBook Pro 16-inch to another version of its pro-targeted laptops this year – at least going by an EEC filing.

As 9 to 5 Mac spotted, Apple has filed a number of fresh products with the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission) – which typically happens not long before new hardware is released – and one of those is ‘model A2289’, which is specified as a portable personal computer with macOS Catalina.

The theory is, then, that this could be a new MacBook Pro 13-inch for 2020 which might carry the revamped keyboard that Apple introduced with the MacBook Pro 16-inch.

This is the keyboard which drops the Butterfly switches, which were infamously the cause of many problems, and brings in Scissor switches (as seen in Apple’s Magic Keyboard). Indeed, in our review of the MacBook Pro 16-inch, we noted that it has the “best keyboard we’ve used on a MacBook”, no less.

Pro progress

Naturally, none of this should be taken as read, and we always have to be careful around rumors.

That said, it makes sense that Apple would want to introduce the new keyboard to other MacBook Pro models. Furthermore, this also lines up with previous speculation from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – a reliable source for Apple rumors who predicted the new keyboard appearing in the 16-inch model – who insisted that Apple will bring the Scissor switch keyboard to a new MacBook in 2020, with that machine possibly being unveiled at WWDC in June.

Given the very positive reception for the new keyboard in the MacBook Pro 16-inch, it’s also likely the case that Apple will see the need to fairly quickly transfer this component to other models, because it seems an obvious move to make – and therefore folks might wait until it happens before they pull the trigger on their next Apple laptop purchase. Particularly given the poor reputation of the Butterfly keyboard.

At any rate, we shouldn’t get carried away with speculation, but it would seem there is a chance of a MacBook Pro 13-inch refresh happening in relatively short order, and that being the case, the other question is what else Apple might have planned aside from (hopefully) the new keyboard.

The one possibility a lot of folks are hoping comes to fruition is that the 13-inch model will actually become a 14-inch laptop – with suitably slim bezels, so the chassis itself isn’t that much bigger – and naturally we can expect upgraded components to boot.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).