Apple Confirms 2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard’s Silicone Membrane is Designed to Protect the Mechanism From Debris
Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers, obtained by MacRumors from multiple reliable sources, Apple has confirmed that the third-generation keyboard on 2018 MacBook Pro models is equipped with a “membrane” to “prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism.”
John Gruber also heard separately from his sources that durability was part of the reason for this redesign.
Sam Lionheart of iFixit tested the new keyboard against debris:
Okay, now to the nitty-gritty testing. We pumped this keyboard full of particulates to test our ingress-proofing theory. We started with a fine, powdered paint additive to add a bit of color and enable finer tracking (thanks for the tip, Dan!). Lo and behold, the dust is safely sequestered at the edges of the membrane, leaving the mechanism fairly sheltered. The holes in the membrane allow the keycap clips to pass through, but are covered by the cap itself, blocking dust ingress. The previous-gen butterfly keys are far less protected, and are almost immediately flooded with our glowing granules. On the 2018 keyboard, with the addition of more particulate and some aggressive typing, the dust eventually penetrates under the sheltered clips, and gets on top of the switch — so the ingress-proofing isn’t foolproof just yet.
It sounds like it’s better than its predecessor, but I’d be more interested to know how this new keyboard compares to a pre-butterfly design in durability and reliability.