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.
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.