Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro Receives Teardown Treatment And Achieves Dismal Repairability Score

MacBook Pro Teardown

Apple touts its new MacBook Pro as "a touch of genius" on its website, a clever marketing tag playing off the system's new Touch Bar. The company also says its latest MacBook Pro "is built on groundbreaking ideas" and calls it "the ultimate tool of every trade." High praise (as you would expect) but what Apple doesn't mention is you're pretty much hosed if something breaks inside when you're out of your warranty period. That much was revealed by a third-party teardown analysis.

The fair and balanced teardown specialists at iFixIt did not have many positive things to say about Apple's shiny new laptop. In fact, the new MacBook Pro performed so poorly that it prompted a separate blog post by Julia Bluff, a repair advocate who leads the teardown site's editorial team, with snarky commentary on what was discovered while gutting the laptop.

"Let’s play a little game of 'Find the AirPort Card'. You lose. Because there is no AirPort card! All the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips have been moved onto the logic board instead of living on a separate card, as they have in the past," Bluff stated

MacBook Pro Cooling

She also called out Apple's claim of the MacBook Pro having an "advanced thermal architecture." The teardown team couldn't find anything particularly advanced about it, not unless you want to consider variably spaced fan blades and a heat sink screwed on from the other side "advanced."

Getting into the MacBook Pro at least proved easy enough. While Apple is still using proprietary pentalobe screws, there are only six of them this time around, versus eight on the 2015 MacBook and 10 on most MacBook Pros. Apple apparently used extra clips and hooks in place of more screws, so you'll have to pop those free before sliding the lower panel off.

MacBook Pro Battery

If the need to open your MacBook Pro ever arrives, chances are you're looking to replace the battery. Unfortunately Apple chose to glue the entire thing down with "tenacious adhesive," so even that isn't a quick or easy swap.

Other complaints resulting from the teardown analysis include the RAM being soldered to the logic board (either pay for more RAM upfront or be stuck with whatever you choose for the life of the laptop) and Apple's use of a proprietary PCIe-based SSD.

MacBook Pro Parts

On the plus side, trackpad can be removed without first removing the battery. That's the lone bright spot in what led to an abysmal 2 out of 10 repairability score.