Just recently, Apple surprise-released a refreshed MacBook model, with upgraded specs and better overall performance. After a thorough teardown analysis by iFixit, however, it was revealed Apple introduced more refinements beyond specs alone.
It turns out the new MacBook models also received a new keyboard design. Apple altered the keyboards in small but extremely crucial ways, preventing dust and other particles from entering the enclosure. Apple added a silicone membrane layer underneath each key to achieve this, and though it'll take some time to find out whether this solution works, it seems that the company may have finally remedied its keyboard issues once and for all.
Apple's Keyboard Fiasco
For those who aren't aware, Apple has been the target of much criticism over its faulty MacBook keyboards. These refer to the butterfly mechanism keyboards the company first introduced several years ago. They feature shorter key travel and an entirely different feel when pressing the keys. This keyboard iteration is much flatter than the previous style too, which had more jutted-out keys and felt more tactile in addition to being more responsive.
In the years since, a "small percentage" of customers have been complaining about the new keyboard style, claiming they feel "sticky," repeat certain characters unintentionally, or simply do not respond in a consistent manner. In response, Apple initiated a keyboard repair program last month for affected MacBook models but didn't specify a cause for the issues, which it simply called "behaviors." A number of users speculate that the faulty butterfly mechanism lets dust and other particles get stuck underneath the keycaps, hence why some keys often don't work.
Apple has been repairing broken MacBook keyboards free of charge, but it appears it's not replacing them with the new keyboards found on the latest MacBook models. When iFixit's teardown was published, many users began to hope that Apple would simply replace old keyboards with the new iteration as part of its free repair program, but according to MacRumors, this won't be the case.
New Keyboard Is MacBook Pro 2018 Exclusive
Apple has now confirmed that the new keyboard is exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro, and it won't swap out old keyboards with the new one. That's right — those who send in their MacBooks for repair won't get the new mechanism but will instead receive a much-improved second-generation butterfly keyboard. That's a bummer, needless to say, but one possibility for this decision is that the new keyboard might not be compatible with older-generation MacBook models to begin with.
In any case, if you need to have your MacBook repaired, head on over to the Contact Apple Support portal online.