Last week, Apple announced a new MacBook Pro with a “quieter” keyboard. Turns out, that keyboard might also fix its dust problem. Not that Apple can admit that.
After Apple announced a new MacBook Pro with better specs and always-listening Siri functionality, we said it was a good time to buy if you were interested, but there was still one hang up: was the keyboard actually any better? Older model MacBook Pros had a flaw where even very small grains of dirt and dust could cause the remarkably flat keys to become stuck. On a laptop where repairs are hard, this became a costly thing to fix, given that dust in keyboards is an everyday problem.
According to documents obtained by MacRumors, the silicone membrane that the new keyboard features underneath the key caps is designed to “prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism.” This would seem to suggest that this membrane—which was not present in previous versions of the MacBook Pro keyboard—is meant to fix the dust problem, not to make the keyboard “quieter” as Apple has advertised.
So, if Apple fixed a major problem, why aren’t they shouting it from the rooftops? The big reason could be that Apple is currently the defendant in a class action lawsuit over the old keyboards. Publicly, Apple has only acknowledged that a “small number of users” have had issues with their keyboard, and offered a four-year extended warranty program to repair damaged laptops. The company has not, however, acknowledged that there was a design flaw in every keyboard. Announcing that they’d “fixed” a problem that the company legally claims doesn’t exist would be devastating to its case.
Nevertheless, the evidence is there. If you’re in the market for a new MacBook Pro and you’re worried about the keyboard, you probably don’t have to worry about it. Apple won’t come right out and say that the dust problem is fixed, but from teardowns and leaked documents, it sure looks like they tried.