Earlier this week, Apple announced a surprised 2019 MacBook Pro refresh with the focus primarily being on faster 6-core and 8-core Intel processors. There was another smaller change that Apple did not even talk about in its press release — a more reliable butterfly keyboard.
Apple said that it is using newer materials for the butterfly keyboard on the 2019 MacBook Pro which should make it more reliable in nature.
A teardown from iFixit has now revealed what underlying changes Apple has made to its butterfly keyboard. The design of the dome switch has been updated and there is a new clearer material for the keyboard cover switch. The older one was semi-opaque, “somewhat tacky, and feels like silicone.” The new material is “clearer and smooth to the touch.” Based on an FITR analysis, the new material is nylon while the older material was a complex polymer.
The keyboard dome switch has also been changed slightly. Apple is seemingly “using a revised heat treatment, or alloy, or possibly both.” iFixit is unable to determine the exact changes with their current equipment and it requires a deeper analysis.
iFixit does attribute some of the reliability issues with the butterfly keyboard to the metal switches.
If anything changes about the dome—if it’s cracked or deformed—the key may behave erratically. Likewise, if the prongs break or bend, the key stops working.
Ultimately, Apple seems to have made some minor changes to the materials it is using to make the butterfly keyboard on the 2019 MacBook Pro. It is unclear if these changes will also be applicable on the replacement 2018 and older MacBook models which use the butterfly keyboard.
The bigger issue, however, is that just like previous MacBook Pro models, the 2019 MacBook Pro requires replacing one entire half of the laptop instead of just the keyboard if anything goes wrong with it. No wonder then that the 2019 MacBook Pro has received a measly repairability score of 1 out 10.
We Want to Hear From You
Are you willing to buy the 2019 MacBook Pro despite the unreliable history of butterfly keyboards? Or are you willing to wait and watch as to how the new butterfly keyboard holds up in terms of reliability before making a decision?