2018 MacBook Pro's 'Quieter' Keyboard Compared to Previous MacBook Pro Keyboard

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Apple's new 2018 MacBook Pro models feature a third-generation butterfly keyboard, which Apple says has been improved for a "quieter typing experience."

The difference in sound between the quieter 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard and the older butterfly keyboard in an earlier version of the MacBook Pro has been demoed in video by TechCrunch, with the difference in sound clearly audible.


The sound coming from the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard is noticeably muffled compared to the sound coming from the previous-generation MacBook Pro, which, as TechCrunch points out, sounds much more like a typewriter.

Multiple hands-on experiences with the 2018 MacBook Pro shared by various media sites yesterday have also confirmed that the new third-generation butterfly keyboard is a good deal quieter than previous keyboards.


When it comes to feel, though, reviews have said that the keyboard doesn't feel any different, as it's using the same butterfly switches with the same amount of key travel.

According to Apple, the focus with the third-generation keyboard was dampening key sounds, and the company has not confirmed if specific changes were made to address keyboard failure issues present in 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models.

Some 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro owners have experienced issues with sticky, unresponsive, or repeating keys, leading Apple to launch a repair program for those machines. Apple is offering free repairs for affected MacBook Pro models, but it continues to be unclear if design changes have been implemented to prevent the issue, both in earlier machines and the new 2018 machines.

More information will be available on the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard when it's unveiled through the teardowns that should be coming soon.

Article Link: 2018 MacBook Pro's 'Quieter' Keyboard Compared to Previous MacBook Pro Keyboard
 
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TimmeyCook

Suspended
Jun 20, 2018
460
1,224
Someone please drop a bag of dust in the keyboard just to finish the bubble.

Here's the problem of the keyboard: it's exclusive to Apple.

So the Apple haters will hate on it, only to have a "point" against buying a MacBook Pro against another crappy PC laptop that they won't buy either. /controversy
 
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hmark8

macrumors 6502
Jun 17, 2009
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Was it the noise people were complaining about?
Somewhere, but no that was the main issue. However, if Apple says they focused on fixing that issue, then they open themself also sorts of liability since they are being sued over it currently and still selling new computers with the other keyboard. So instead makes much more sense to say something like they "focused" on making it queiter, and hey if by chance in the process it also fixes reliability issues that's a bonus. There is a chance they are telling the full truth and they are not more reliable at all, in which case I think they will have a pretty big PR nightmare on their hand. But all I can assume is they didnt realize how big of an issue it was until it was too late and didn't want to push it back the launch. And since they needed to provide a substancial update this year but they will want to hold a new keyboard design until they redesign the whole laptop such as oled screens etc, and that won't come for another year or two. So I think they were stuck in a hard place.
 

Supacon

macrumors member
Jul 7, 2011
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Canada
Was it the noise people were complaining about?
A lot of people did complain about the noise. Obviously that didn't bother everyone and it's contingent on your typing style (it's actually pretty quiet if you type as lightly as is effective). The reliability issues far overshadowed the noise complaints after a while, but when these machines first launched there *were* quite a few complaints about the keyboard being noisy.
 

Appleaker

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2016
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Hopefully the improvements made in the durability (dust prevention) of the keyboards had the side-effect of also making them quieter.

I can't imagine Apple went into the workshop specifically to fix the sound.
Why is that hard to believe? This wasn’t some rushed fix they tried to get together in the last few months, they started work on this in the first half of last year. It wasn’t to fix durability issues, it was to fix the complaints that the MBP 2016 had about the keyboard. It will improve reliability, but wont make it immune to any issues caused by debris entering the key.
 

JuBe

macrumors regular
May 28, 2009
101
25
Was it the noise people were complaining about?
It certainly was an in academic settings. I used OneNote to record lectures as I typed notes so that I could return to the content if I missed something or just needed to re-hear it. Unless I was sitting right in front of a professor, or they were using a microphone, it would take several listens to hear what was said with all the keyboard clatter.
 

JuBe

macrumors regular
May 28, 2009
101
25
Will the keyboard replacement program use the 3rd gen keys? or would that require a new base as well?
My computer is in the shop right now, I'll try to remember to check back in here to provide an update about what's being done in the recall.
 
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niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
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Don’t know about anyone else, but it seems the only change is in the pitch - not the volume.
agreed.
the new one is less "clacky".
but, still your point is correct.
in a classroom situation or with someone next to you somewhere, although there is some sound reduction its still going to be an annoying level/amount of sound to the people around you.
it doesn't approach a near silent keyboard, such as even on the (OMG) MacBook Air.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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Hopefully the improvements made in the durability (dust prevention) of the keyboards had the side-effect of also making them quieter.

I can't imagine Apple went into the workshop specifically to fix the sound.
Of course they didn’t. Why would they just make the keyboard to be improved with sound? I’m sure the engineer team designed the keyboard to be more durable, less resistant to trapping debris and of course improve the functionality with depressing a key to make it quieter. I doubt Apple had only in mind just to make the keyboard ‘quieter’.
 
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CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
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There have been reports that a major cause of the keys failing was the butterfly mechanism bending when pressed into foreign debris. Apple has supposedly strengthened the alloy in the late 2017 models to try and address this and these stronger alloys would also be present in the 2018 keyboards so hopefully they will reduce the failure rate.

The stronger alloys may also help facilitate repairs of individual keys without having to replace the entire upper case, which would significantly improve repair turnaround times.
 

unobtainium

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2011
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I don't care about how much noise a keyboard makes, I care about longevity. If the keyboard only last a year or two then it's still a crappy keyboard.
Try three months in my case. Sure I can get a replacement, but what a pain. And if it happens continuously?
 
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