MacBook Pro teardown reveals mystifying speaker grilles


Ooh, new speakers! Well, not so fast...
Photo: iFixit

Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar have arrived, and our friends at iFixit have already dutifully taken one apart to reveal what’s lurking under the surface.

The most interesting revelation? The laptop’s new speaker grilles don’t house new speakers, but may instead exist purely for design purposes.

iFixit’s review notes:

“Gently nestled between MacBook’s edge and the keyboard are two speaker grilles — carefully crafted vents that channel sound waves out of the MacBook Pro straight to … wait. The speakers are not located under the speaker grilles. The speaker grille doesn’t even go clear through the case. These speakers likely blast their impressive sound through the side air vents. The ‘grilles’ are seemingly cosmetic, maybe to unify the product line.”

So what’s the mystery? Some users insist that covering the MacBook Pro speaker grille significantly affects the sound of audio played on the laptop, despite iFixit’s insistence that the openings doesn’t go clear through the case.


While I haven’t yet managed to get my hands on a MacBook Pro, and therefore can’t confirm or deny whether this is indeed the case, this wouldn’t be the first time Jony Ive opted for a faux grille on a new Apple product. iFixit’s previous teardown of the iPhone 7 Plus shows that the handset’s second lower speaker grille also leads to nowhere.

The iFixit MacBook teardown also confirms that the days of upgradeable MacBook Pros are well and truly over. Giving the laptop a repairability score of 1 out of 10 (for the trackpad, which can be removed without first removing the battery), the report notes the following strikes against Apple:

  • Proprietary pentalobe screws make opening up the laptop tough.
  • Battery assembly is glued solidly to the case.
  • Processor, RAM and flash memory are soldered to the computer’s logic board.
  • The Touch Bar is difficult to replace, while also giving you another screen to risk damaging.
  • The Touch ID sensor also acts as a power switch, paired with the T1 chip on the logic board.

Reviews for the computer, which started rolling out earlier this week, have so far been hit-and-miss — with many praising aspects of the MacBook Pro (such as the keyboard and display) while ripping others (the lack of ports) and feeling “meh” about the others  (the Touch Bar).

Are you planning to buy the new MacBook Pro? Leave your comments below.

Source: iFixit


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