The teardown and repair gurus at iFixit got their hands on one of the new $1,499 MacBook Pros today—the model with function keys instead of a Touch Bar—and they wasted no time in tearing it down and figuring out what makes it tick. Surprising no one, the laptop is not very easy to open up and work on, and few components will be easy for end users to replace. The battery is still glued in, and the one system component that users can actually remove and replace—the SSD—is a proprietary module that’s much different from the proprietary modules in MacBook Airs and Pros from years past.
Aside from commentary about repairability, iFixit’s teardowns are valuable because they can tell us more about what makes devices tick. For instance, iFixit says that the new speakers include vibration-dampening rubber gaskets around their screws to keep them from vibrating, which is apparently a concern since the speakers are larger and more powerful than those in the old Pros. The bottom of the laptop is still secured with pentalobe screws, but there are also some retention clips you’ll need to pop open. And dome switches under the keys have been improved, helping to provide that greater sense of travel that Apple talked about in its presentation.
iFixit gives the new MacBook Pro a 2 out of 10 on its repairability scale, which is admittedly better than the 1 out of 10 that last year’s model scored. The new Pro’s one saving grace is that its trackpad can be removed and replaced relatively easily in case of failure. Its failures are its difficult-to-replace glued-in battery, its proprietary SSD module, the fact that everything else is soldered to the motherboard, and the difficulty of repairs for the display and other components.
We’ll publish our full review of the $1,499 MacBook Pro later this week. We’ll be taking a closer look at the 13- and 15-inch Touch Bar models when they become available later this month.
Listing image by iFixit