iFixit Tests Silicone Membrane on 2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard With Dust Exposure

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    Following the release of the new 2018 MacBook Pro models, iFixit last week tore apart the 13-inch version and discovered the presence of a new silicone membrane underneath the keyboard's butterfly keys that Apple internal documents have since confirmed has been added to prevent dust and other small particulates from causing key failures.

    To give us a better look at the new third-generation butterfly keyboard included in the new 2018 machines and how it works, iFixit has done a much deeper dive, exposing the keyboard to debris to test it out.

    [​IMG]

    iFixit exposed the keyboard to a powdered paint additive that glows, allowing the site to track where and how dust accumulates. On the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard, the dust settled at the edges of the membrane, leaving the butterfly mechanism of the keys protected. The same test was performed on the 2017 MacBook Pro keyboard, demonstrating less protection.
    With a combination of a lot of dust and aggressive typing, the dust did penetrate the membrane-covered key clips, hitting the top of the switch, suggesting that there's still a small potential for failure. iFixit was indeed able to cause the keyboard to fail by adding "a few poorly placed particles" of sand.

    While the silicone membrane does not appear to be impenetrable, and there's no way to tell how the barrier will hold up over time as iFixit points out, it's still more protection than offered in earlier versions of the butterfly keyboard.

    Following the dust test, iFixit did a more extensive teardown of the new keyboard, tearing it apart layer by layer. After a grueling experience pulling it apart, which explains why Apple has to replace the entire top case when installing a new keyboard, iFixit found that the silicone barrier is a single die-cut and molded sheet.

    [​IMG]

    The keycaps on the keyboard have also been slightly redesigned, measuring in at 1.25mm thickness compared to 1.5mm thickness in the 2017 MacBook Pro, which iFixit suggests is to give the keys room to travel with the addition of the membrane.

    The spacebar has been redesigned, with a keycap that easily separates from the butterfly mechanism, a departure from earlier models where the spacebar was more difficult to remove. All of the keys, spacebar included, were easier to remove and harder to ruin, in iFixit's testing.

    Apple has not publicly confirmed that the new third-generation butterfly keyboard was introduced to enhance reliability and to cut down on the the key failures that were seen in 2016 and 2017 machines, though the company has informed Apple Authorized Service Providers that this is the case.

    Instead, in its 2018 MacBook Pro marketing materials, Apple claims the new silicone barrier was added to introduce a quieter typing experience, an issue that few people seem to have had with the original keyboards.

    Article Link: iFixit Tests Silicone Membrane on 2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard With Dust Exposure
     
  2. dwsolberg macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    It's hard to tell what to make of that article. It seems that the new keyboard might be somewhat more protected than the prior keyboard. On the other hand, once something does get under there, it's also probably harder to get out. Hmmm.
     
  3. Okasian macrumors newbie

    Okasian

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    #3
    Does anyone think that they’re intentionally sabotaging their 'MacBook' product line so people move over to iOS?
     
  4. fokmik macrumors 68020

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    "we pushed the keyboard to failure with the higher-grit particulate we used last time: sand. And just like last time, a few poorly placed particles bring the mighty butterfly down to earth, never to click again." But this can happen with all of the keyboards, with 2012-2015 ones too...
     
  5. codfromthesea macrumors newbie

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    #5
    But coke is life...
     
  6. thealkimist macrumors regular

    thealkimist

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    #6
    No.
     
  7. SteveJobs2.0 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Good to know since only drug dealers and the elite can afford the new MacBooks.
     
  8. JamonBull macrumors regular

    JamonBull

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    #8
    I wonder if this is an interim fix before we see a redesigned chassis & keyboard or if Apple will adopt the internal silicon barrier for all future keyboards.
     
  9. redheeler, Jul 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018

    redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    I too would like to see how the 2018 keyboard compares to the 2015 and before. But it does look like Apple has at least improved reliability compared to the 2016 - 2017.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 19, 2018 ---
    "What's a computer?" says yes, common sense says no.

    But seriously, I doubt Apple is purposefully sabotaging their products, except for maybe the Mac mini...
     
  10. shpankey macrumors member

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    Man, if they only had invented this back in the 80's!!
     
  11. DrJohnnyN Suspended

    DrJohnnyN

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    Will a third party make this so those with the 16/17 Pros can install it on their machines?
     
  12. Relentless Power, Jul 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018

    Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    Yes, Apple released a 2018 MacBook Pro simply to agitate the buyer, have it returned and purchase an iPad. That makes complete sense. /S.
     
  13. MobyDills macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Is it recommended to use compressed air to clean your keyboard regularly? Or am I going to wind up blowing dust into it that way?
     
  14. vaugha macrumors regular

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    #14
    I second this.
     
  15. macpcf macrumors regular

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    #15
    How about using keyboard covers to protect the keyboard from dust. Is that effective in this case?
     
  16. fokmik macrumors 68020

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    I bet this 2018 keyboard is more resistance to some spilled of water than any other
     
  17. Okasian, Jul 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018

    Okasian macrumors newbie

    Okasian

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    #17
    Dispensing with the sarcasm, quite frankly, your post is valid to some extent.
     
  18. citysnaps macrumors 68040

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    No, I suspect most people know that not only make no sense, it would be a stupid move on Apple’s part.
     
  19. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

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    The iFixit article was a great read. I agree with virtually every word of it.
     
  20. MrGimper macrumors 603

    MrGimper

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    Bonus considering Apple devices are almost thin enough to cut lines with.
     
  21. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

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    A single grain of sand can bring down the old scissors mechanism? Are you sure about that? You must remember iFixit takes stuff apart for a living—literally. They may want to sell a screwdriver package in the process, but it seems they do know a thing or two about what they are talking about. I've dropped so many particles of food down into the gaps in my MBA keyboard by now I'd say there's a whole roll down there at this point, and yet it keeps on rolling. Apple keyboards should be IP67 certified. It's more reliable they are meant to be getting, not less. Heck, you can pour a large glass of wine over a thinkpad keyboard and it keeps working.
     
  22. fokmik macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Since back than iFixit wasn't so focusing to test like they did it now the old keyboards...yea, i bet the same dust thing can stop any other Apple keyboard...even any other Dells keys. But hey, if you show me that ifixit test the old keyboard the same way they did it for this, than you are right
     
  23. leoborges macrumors newbie

    leoborges

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    #23
    Ok to snort coke, not safe to drink Coke. C'mom Apple, where's our 50m waterproof MacBook Pro?
     
  24. macpcf macrumors regular

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    #24
    So this means it is still vulnerable to dust and sand? What did they mean by this can happen to 2012-2015 model as well. My 2015 model thrives under dust
     
  25. fokmik macrumors 68020

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    #25
    it means nothing is perfect...you always can find a situation that puts your thing to the grave
     

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