Despite its ability to coax millennials with its sleekly-designed products, the Apple name isn’t necessarily known for hardware durability. Ultimately, when your phone or laptop could easily become impaired from even the tiniest amount of moisture or a mini dust cloud, “sleekly-designed” isn’t going to cut it for many.
In a recent iFixit article, a group of laptop enthusiasts takes apart the recently released MacBook Pro to see how much punishment its keyboard can take before succumbing to the elements. What results is a series of dust pumping, keyboard clacking, and quite a bit of disappointment.
For starters, the 2018 MacBook Pro’s keyboard is slightly quieter than its 2013 counterpart, but just barely. Considering the company was promoting a more silent keyboard, having to resort to a sound meter and some careful listening shouldn’t be the way to test it. When listening to the keyboard clacks with the naked ear, there isn’t much in the way of improvement.
Now to the testing itself. Instead of doing something humane like blowing some powder onto the keyboard, the iFixit folks dump a load of powdered paint additive. Upon closer inspection, it turns out Apple included a keyboard membrane which keeps dust at bay while allowing the keys to keep typing. But after some typing with the granules in place, the keyboard eventually gives into the unwanted particulates. Using a higher-grit particulate, the team pushes the keyboard past its limit; effectively breaking it.
But they’re not done yet. Like any respectable owner of a broken laptop would do, they tear the MacBook apart to see the damage. After opening the Macbook, removing countless screws, busting open a couple of rivets, loosening the adhesive, AND removing all 64 keycaps, what awaits them is a single die-cut silicone keyboard.
The keycaps in question measure 1.25mm thick, about .25mm thinner than the keys in the 2017 MacBook Pro. This gives them more room and makes them easier to replace, with a redesigned spacebar key to round it all out.
Still, having easily accessible keycaps doesn’t change the fact that a single well-placed bit of dust can render the computer utterly useless. Considering the price increase and how consumers will have to wait a whole year for an improved machine (which they definitely shouldn’t), it looks like Apple still hasn’t learned how to prioritize longevity over fashion.
You can read the entire in-depth experiment and dissection over on iFixit’s webpage.