Silicone membrane in the new MacBooks Pro alleviates (but does not heal) the keyboard problem

After a few days of silence, Apple finally “confirmed” today that the silicone membrane present on the keyboard of the new MacBooks Pro it is a protective measure to avoid failures such as those that affected several units from previous generations – and not just a way to make keyboards more (more?) quieter, as the company announced at the launch of the new models.

But does this addition effectively protect keyboards and shields users from future headaches? That was the question that the iFixit tried to respond with a detailed analysis of the new membrane and the keyboard itself.

iFixit tests the keyboard and silicone membrane of the new MacBook Pro

The brave disassemblers started the test with a shiny powder paint additive, applying small amounts of “dust” to the inside of the keyboards. Quickly, the tiny fragments deposited on the edges of the cavities, staying away from the “butterfly” mechanism and, therefore, protecting the keys. Although the membrane has holes, they are “covered” by the plastic key itself, preventing fragments from invading the center of the mechanism in almost all situations.

Yes, almost all: iFixit determined that if the amount of dust or fragments is very large and if the user makes heavy use of the keyboard (both in terms of rhythm and the force applied to typing), it is possible that the particles can still penetrate the butterfly mechanism , potentially causing the problems seen over the past year. In other words, protection helps a lot, but it doesn’t completely shield users.

The second part of the test involved sand – and there, the bigger and harder particles were fatal even for the new keyboard: even with a not too large quantity, the affected keys simply stopped working. So, nothing to take your new computer (at least!) R $ 12 thousand to the beach, huh?

Taking advantage of the momentum, iFixit also disassembled the keyboard layer by layer to find out how the silicone membrane looks. The process is arduous, involving removing all the internal components of the MacBook Pro underneath, peeling off a huge protective sticker, several screws and more than 12 rivets – which explains the company’s need to basically change the entire bottom of the computer to make a simple repair on the keyboard (to make it clear: it explains, but it is still horrible).

iFixit tests the keyboard and silicone membrane of the new MacBook Pro

The silicone membrane, after all, is a single molded and cut piece – that is, at least this component can be easily exchanged … after you take apart the rest of the computer and remove its keys, that is.

Speaking of keys, by the way, iFixit also detected that the plastic parts are slightly thinner than those of the previous generation (1.25mm versus 1.5mm), certainly to compensate for the presence of the silicone protection and ensure a click distance similar to previous generations. The positive part is that, with that, it is possible to remove the keys a little more easily, now; on the other hand, they are slightly more fragile. So, no typing on your new computer for (at least!) R $ 12 thousand like an ogre, huh?