Secret ingredient in new MacBook Pro? Glue. Lots and lots of glue

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A look inside the 2018 MacBook Pro finds lots of bad news, but some good too.
A look inside the 2018 MacBook Pro finds plenty of bad news, but some good too.
Photo: IFIXIT

Apple makes no attempt to have MacBook Pro models easy to repair. The ones released just a few days ago are no exception. We all have to hope that the redesigned key mechanism fixes the previous problems because the keyboard is solidly glued to the battery and speakers. And that’s just the most obvious way that Apple frustrates the do-it-yourself crowd.

But the news isn’t all bad. At least one version of the 2018 MacBook Pro boasts a major battery improvement.

IFIXIT disassembled a mid-2018 13-inch MacBook Pro  and gives it a 1 out of 10 for repairability, the worst score possible. This is nothing new, as the last MacBook Pro receiving a good repair ability score launched in 2011.

This is because it’s not just the top-case assembly that’s very difficulty to separate. “The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board. Repairs and upgrades will be impractical at best,” notes IFIXIT in their teardown.

Also, Apple built the Touch ID sensor is into the power button. These connect directly to the T2 security chip on the logic board, which means replacing the power button might have to be done by Apple, and could require an entirely new logic board.

2018 MacBook Pro battery improvements

Both the 15- and 13-inch versions of Apple’s latest macOS laptop have faster processors. The CPUs in the 13-inch one have twice as many processor cores, leading to dramatically better performance.

These speed increases could come at the price of shorter battery lives, but there’s strong evidence that this won’t happen. In the teardown of the smaller mid-2018 MacBook Pro, IFIXIT found that this model has a 58.0 Wh battery, a significant increase from the 49.2 Wh one in the equivalent 2017 MacBook Pro.

IFIXIT hasn’t yet done a teardown of the new 15-inch version, and this is a specification that Apple doesn’t announce, so it’s not known yet if the larger version also includes an improved battery.

2018 MacBook Pro keyboard improvements

Starting in 2016, many users of the MacBook Pro experienced problems with the keyboard keys sticking when even small bits of grit get into the mechanism.

When disassembling the latest model, IFIXIT discovered that the key mechanism is protected by a thin silicone barrier. This is apparently intended to keep out particles that would gum up the keyboard.

Apple says this is only to make the keyboard quieter, possibly because it doesn’t want to discuss problems with previous designs. “The added quietness seems a bit underwhelming to our ears,” wrote IFIXIT.