iFixit has gotten its hands on a 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and to no one's surprise, it tore the computer down to get a closer look at the internals, particularly the redesigned fourth-generation Butterfly keyboard.
Recently, Apple launched new MacBook Pro models, among which include the "fastest Mac notebook ever" with an eight-core Intel chip. It also said it's improving their keyboards with "new materials" that should reduce sticky keys and missed presses, but it didn't really go into specifics on it. Now the repair outfit has taken on the mantle to determine what exactly the changes are.
Butterfly Keyboards Improved
According to iFixit's teardown of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the Cupertino brand changed the transparent switch cover material, making it clearer than before and smooth. The 2018 model came with a cover that's "semi-opaque, somewhat tacky, and feels like silicone."
Digging deeper using infrared light to analyze the materials, the company came to the conclusion that the 2018 model uses polyacetylene or a type of TPU. Meanwhile, the 2019 model uses polyamide, also known as nylon.
In addition, iFixit believes there are also changes to the metal dome of every key switch. It says that these components are still made of ferritic stainless steel with a thin polymer coating on the bottom, but Apple seems to have used a "revised heat treatment, or alloy, or possibly both" for added durability.
In the end, the MacBook Pro scored a repairability score of 1 out of 10, making repairs and upgrades "impractical at best."
Apple's first Butterfly keyboard made its debut in the 2015 Retina MacBook, but it was soon riddled with issues such as repeating keys and skipped key presses.
This eventually forced the company to launch a worldwide repair program in 2018, following up with a promise of next-day turnarounds in 2019. It said that the issue is because of dust getting stuck inside the keys, and so it revised the keyboard with a silicone membrane as a solution. However, it still didn't work out.
Hopefully, the improvements made to the transparent switch covers and metal domes of the new Butterfly keyboard will prove to be reliable.