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Apple may be working on a crumb-resistant MacBook keyboard

According to a new patent application, Apple may be close to solving one of the biggest issues with current-gen MacBooks.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The super-shallow butterfly style keyboards on Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops have caused serious headaches for some users. The keys and keyboard mechanism are so tightly packed together than even the tiniest crumbs or bits of debris can get lodged under or next to a key, preventing it from properly registering a keystroke.

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A view from Apple's patent application. 

Apple

It's enough of an issue that we've run a detailed feature on how to unstick a MacBook key, and one that I've run into at least a couple of times but always been able to fix. Not everyone has been so lucky

Now a new patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and spotted by newspaper The Sun, purports to be a new kind of keyboard including, "a guard structure coupled to the key cap operable to direct contaminants away from the movement mechanism."

Even though MacBook updates are expected later this year, don't get too excited about a crumb-proof keyboard just yet. New technologies can take years to make their way into products, and many patents, including many we've seen from Apple over the years, never make it into products at all.

Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment.