Apple has confirmed that its third-generation keyboard comes with a “membrane” on each key to prevent the “issues” that affected the second-generation mechanism.
Apple won’t publicly admit that its 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard was tweaked to fix its biggest flaw. According to an internal Apple document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers (via MacRumors), the company explains a new “membrane” was installed to “prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism.”
Specifically, the US version of the MacBook Pro Service Readiness Guide apparently links to a separate document called “Butterfly Mechanism Keycap Replacement MacBook Pro (2018).” MacRumors reports that it contains the following language: “Caution: The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. Be careful not to tear the membrane. A torn membrane will result in a top case replacement.”
Apple didn’t offer up any further details, but iFixit’s teardown revealed that the new MacBooks – the most expensive of which costs more than $6,000 USD – feature a thin layer of rubberised silicon material around updated butterfly mechanism, in order to stop dust and muck from getting inside. When Apple introduced the updated MacBook Pro, the company told everyone that the keyboard had been updated for quieter typing.
Previous two generations of Apple’s butterfly keyboards suffered from serious reliability issues. This was usually caused by a speck of dust entering the mechanism and thereby wreaking havoc to it.
It’s clear that Apple didn’t want to publicly state that there is a reliability issue with its recent 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro models. It might be possible that it has done this so as to avoid being the subject of hundreds of new lawsuits for the poor reliability of previous generation butterfly keyboards.