Ifixit tears down the new Mac­book Pro

Ap­ple keeps try­ing to per­fect its con­tentious key­board de­sign.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY JA­SON CROSS

In May, Ap­ple re­freshed its Mac­book Pro lineup (see page 7), boost­ing per­for­mance with the lat­est In­tel pro­ces­sors but mak­ing no other sig­nif­i­cant changes.

Ex­cept one: There’s now an­other

re­vi­sion of the in­fa­mous “but­ter­fly” key­board mech­a­nism, us­ing new ma­te­ri­als in a bid to fur­ther im­prove re­li­a­bil­ity. To go along with this new de­sign, Ap­ple ex­tended the key­board re­pair and re­place­ment pro­gram to in­clude vir­tu­ally

any Mac lap­top with the but­ter­fly key­board (in­clud­ing the new ones), of­fer­ing free re­pair for up to four years.

What ex­actly is new? The re­li­able tin­ker­ers at ifixit ( go.mac­world.com/mbtd) have torn apart the newly-re­vised 2019 Mac­book Pro. While the rest of the lap­top is al­most iden­ti­cal to pre­vi­ous mod­els (earn­ing it a hor­ri­ble re­pairabil­ity score of 1), there are a few no­tice­able dif­fer­ence in the key­board mech­a­nism.

The sleuths at ifixit no­ticed two changes to the ma­te­ri­als in the key­board. First, the transparen­t switch cover is now clearer and smooth to the touch. It’s def­i­nitely made of a dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial, as con­firmed by FTIR spec­troscopy. Sec­ond, the metal dome that com­presses and bounces back as you press the key may be slightly re­vised. This metal dome gives the keys an ac­tion sim­i­lar to that of press­ing in on a bot­tle cap, and if it cracks or bends or the con­tacts wear out, the key will stop work­ing prop­erly.

A dif­fer­ent fin­ish on the dome caps could mean that, “Ap­ple may be us­ing a re­vised heat treat­ment, or al­loy, or pos­si­bly both,” as ifixit ex­plains.

It’s not yet clear if these changes will fix the no­to­ri­ous re­li­a­bil­ity prob­lems of the but­ter­fly key­board, but they won’t do any­thing to affect the other is­sues peo­ple have with the key­board: its short throw and noisy oper­a­tion. ■

The “but­ter­fly” key­board keeps go­ing through mi­nor re­vi­sions, but there’s a grow­ing cho­rus of users who want Ap­ple to change di­rec­tion com­pletely.

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