Before the vast majority of us have even had the pleasure of signing for our new MacBook Pro delivery, iFixit has torn the notebook apart to reveal its internals. Although this is undoubtedly Apple’s best portable yet — what with its stunning Retina display, super speedy solid-state storage, and Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors — iFixit describes it as “the least repairable laptop” they’ve ever taken apart.
“Apple has packed all the things we have into one beautiful little package.” For consumers, this means incredible expensive repair bills, and little to no upgradeability at all.
We’ve getting used to not being able to repair or upgrade our Apple notebooks ourselves. Upgrading processors has always been impossible, but Apple has allowed us to upgrade our own RAM and hard drive, and replace our own batteries. It put an end to that, however, with the latest MacBook Air, and with the new MacBook Pro, we’re even more restricted.
As iFixit reveals:
- Just like in the iPhone 4/4S (and the MacBook Air), proprietary Pentalobe screws prevent folks from accessing the machine’s internals. That means you need a special screwdriver just to remove the bottom cover.
- As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can’t upgrade.
- The proprietary SSD isn’t upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air. It is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.
- The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it’ll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that a user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.
- The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire (extremely expensive) assembly.
Because of these points, iFixit gives the new MacBook Pro a repair rating of 1/10.
Once again, this isn’t great news for new MacBook Pro owners. It’s almost impossible for the average user to upgrade or repair anything themselves. And if something goes wrong, you’d better hope your machine is still covered by its AppleCare warranty, because the repair bill is going to be expensive.
What this means, then, is that you need to be sure before you order your MacBook Pro that you choose enough RAM and enough storage, because you won’t be able to upgrade these later. Not even Apple will upgrade these things for you after your purchase; once you receive it, that’s how it stays. Forever.
Furthermore, if you’ve tried to avoid purchasing the extended AppleCare warranties in the past, now’s the time to just bite the bullet and buy one. Almost nothing on the new MacBook Pro is easy to repair, so you’ll want to ensure that any hardware failures — assuming they weren’t caused by you — are going to repaired for free for as long as possible.