Teardown Reveals Refreshed Apple MacBook Air Laptops Still a Bear to Repair

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News Posted: Thu, Jun 13 2013 12:00 PM
Well, that was fast! It took the folks at iFixIt all of 2 nanoseconds to get their paws on of Apple's newly refreshed mid-2013 model MacBook Air laptops with Haswell inside. Apple just announced the new models at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week, and while the outward appearance looks the same as the previous generation model, iFixIt is more concerned about the internal parts, especially as it pertains to how easy (or difficult) it might be to service busted components.

According to iFixIt, a 180-degree rotation of the mid-2013 MacBook Air gives a glimpse of the only noticeable change to the exterior shell, which comes in the form of dual microphones along the left side. You still need a special Pentalobe screwdriver to get inside the thing, though once you remove them, it's pretty easy to crack open.

MacBook Air
Image Source: iFixIt

Once you pop open the chassis, some changes versus the 2012 model are immediately apparent, including a smaller SSD module, updated AirPort card, no separate platform controller hub, a new heatsink clamp, and opposite-facing speaker cable connectors. There's also an upgraded battery, 7.6V and 7150 mAh versus 7.3V and 6700 mAh.

When all was said and done, iFixIt gave the mid-2013 MacBook Air a rather low 4/10 score on its repairability scale. The main reason is because of all the proprietary parts, including the Pentalobe screws, RAM, and SSD. And unfortunately, the RAM is soldered to the logic board, a poor decision considering RAM can go bad and is pretty cheap to replace.
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I've fixed lots of things, from engines overhauls and all kinds of car components to microwaves and televisions to big appliances and entire houses. In spite of that, it would never occur to me to consider repairing a MacBook Air. Just buy the two year coverage (consider it part of the purchase cost -- don't think about whether it is properly priced insurance) and if anything fails take it back to Apple. After two years figure that a failure is reason to get the current model.

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