Apple made potential buyers of the new MacBook Pro models very nervous when it said no effort had been made to fix the problems plaguing the keyboards in earlier versions. Happily, it turns out the company was fibbing.
Taking this just-released macOS laptop apart shows that the “butterfly” keyboard mechanism has definitely been modified to make it less likely to jam.
IFIXIT took a mid-2018 MacBook Pro keyboard apart and discovered “Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier. This flexible enclosure is quite obviously an ingress-proofing measure to cover up the mechanism from the daily onslaught of microscopic dust,” wrote Sam Lionheart in a blog post.
Their discovery is described in this video:
IFIXIT sells tools to repair Apple computers. It also releases guides to disassembling them, and ranks devices on how easy they are to service.
Fixing a MacBook Pro keyboard debacle
In the versions of the MacBook Pro that debuted in 2016, the mechanism under each key can become fouled by even tiny pieces of grit. When this happens, “Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly, Letters or characters do not appear, Key(s) feel ‘sticky’ or do not respond in a consistent manner,” according to Apple. The result was lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit.
However, the company says that keyboard the mid-2018 MacBook Pro models wasn’t designed to fix this problem. Instead, changes made to the key mechanism are intended to make typing quieter. That’s also a worthy goal, as previous versions also drew complaints for noise.
But IFIXIT isn’t buying it. “The advertised boost in quietude is a side-effect of this rubbery membrane. The quiet angle is, quite literally, a cover up,” wrote Lionheart.
Why Apple is choosing to keep quiet about removing a well-publicized flaw is unknown. A popular theory is that the company doesn’t want this admission to be used in the numerous lawsuits resulting from the previous design.
The 2018 MacBook Pro models have some other tricks. They boast 8th-generation “Coffee Lake” Intel Core processors, And they have True Tone on their internal screens, as well as some external displays.
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