Apple surprised everyone with the announcement of the 2019 MacBook Pro generation earlier this week, featuring updated Intel processors and what Apple called ‘new materials’ for a revised third-generation keyboard.
It will take time before we know for sure if Apple’s fourth attempt at a modern laptop keyboard will be reliable but at least today we get a better understanding about what’s new this time around as iFixit has just completed their teardown.
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iFixit took the laptop to pieces and has taken the keyboard components under the microscope to see what’s changed.
Firstly, the silicone covers are visually different. Apple introduced the membrane in 2018 ostensibly to reduce noise whilst typing, but most people suspected it was there to prevent debris from getting inside the key.
Whereas the 2018 membrane is semi-opaque, the 2019 version is transparent and smooth to the touch. Under infrared analysis, iFixit determined the new keyboard membrane covers are made out of a nylon polymer.
Secondly, the dome switches have also been revised as seen in iFixit’s photos. The switch is what actually detects a depression when a user strikes down on a key. Specifically, the surface finish of the dome switch has changed from last year. iFixit speculates that Apple ‘may be using a revised heat treatment, or alloy, or possibly both’.
Unsurprisingly, there are no other noticeable changes with the internals appearing almost identical to the 2018 MacBook Pro. It’s a spec bump refresh after all.
It is interesting to get a close-up of the new keyboard components but only time will tell if Apple has succeeded at fixing the butterfly keyboard reliability. Notably, Apple’s new 2019 MacBook Pro notebooks are covered under the updated Keyboard Service Repair Program.