iFixit has shared a significant discovery in the midst of their ritual hardware teardown: the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard includes a ‘thin, silicone barrier’ under each key. While this may be used to make typing quieter compared to previous versions, it may also be practical for keeping debris from positioning under keys.
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iFixit makes the same assessment in their write-up:
This flexible enclosure is quite obviously an ingress-proofing measure to prevent the mechanism from seizing up under the brutal onslaught of microscopic dust. Not—to our eyes—a silencing measure. In fact, Apple has a patent for this exact tech designed to “prevent and/or alleviate contaminant ingress.”
Apple won’t say that the third-generation butterfly keyboard is designed to remedy issues that led to a service program affecting all butterfly keyboard hardware, but iFixit next plans to test the limits of the new, seemingly more protected design:
Tune in next week as we put this membrane through its dust-proofing paces, tear down the rest of the device, and speculate whether this really is a feature—or a secret bug fix impacting millions of consumers.
Fingers crossed that this is the solution to the years-long noise around keyboard issues, not just the literal noise that old versions made.