Apple has confirmed that the recently released 2018 MacBook Pro models do indeed come equipped with a new membrane layer under the butterfly keyboard mechanism. As part of a memo issued to Apple Authorized Service Providers, Tim Cook’s company has informed that the membrane is “to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism.”
It’s worth noting that this admission isn’t exactly unique news and only proves to confirm the intended purpose of the new membrane rather than actually confirm its existence.
As part of a teardown of the new MacBook Pro 13-inch model, iFixit had already discovered the membrane as part of the butterfly mechanism and surmised that it was in place to act as a barrier underneath the keycaps and would likely be there to prevent dust ingress. The official memo, which has been intercepted by MacRumors, confirms that theory:
The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. The procedure for the space bar replacement has also changed from the previous model. Repair documentation and service videos will be available when keycap parts begin shipping.
Apple was well aware that a lot of consumers were having reliability issues with MacBook models containing the redesigned butterfly mechanism. As part of this 2018 MacBook refresh, the company had informed that the hardware would ship with an “improved” keyboard experience that was built with “quieter typing” in mind.
Quieter typing may be a benefit of the change but the memo issued to Apple Authorized Service Providers essentially confirms that the change has been made to prevent those pesky crumbs from getting inside of the mechanism and causing issues.
This is definitely good news for anyone purchasing a 2018 MacBook Pro. Apple has clearly accepted that global criticism of its keyboard design and has acted to make changes where necessary. Of course, the class action lawsuits and worldwide service program probably played a fairly big part in this decision to include a thin, malleable membrane under the keycaps. Whatever the reason, it’s undeniably a good result for the consumers who can now look forward to a low profile, almost silent keyboard and typing experience which shouldn’t suffer from any of the issues of previous models.
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