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Sources: MacBook Air battery replacements take only minutes

post #1 of 221
Thread Starter 
Due to its ultra-thin profile, Apple's new MacBook Air was designed with an integrated 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery that is not user-replaceable. Though this has caused some initial concern amongst potential adopters, AppleInsider has learned that the replacement process is quite trivial.

According to people familiar with the new-generation notebook, there are no special tools or knowledge required to swap out the MacBook Air's battery, which Apple has billed its "thinnest ever" in a product. Instead, the process requires a single size-0 type phillips screwdriver and some diligence.

Once flipped upside down, the MacBook Air's bottom cover is easily unscrewed and removed, providing immediate access to the battery cavity. From there, the battery can be unscrewed from the chassis with the same screwdriver and unplugged from the circuit board with a simple tug -- it's not soldered to the board.

The entire process, according to those in the known, can be completed by any service technician in as little as three minutes.

For its part, Apple has announced its intent to offer a MacBook Air Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Program, which promises authorized replacements for US $129. The mail-in repair process normally takes 5 business days, the company says.

Given the simplicity of the upgrade, however, it's possible that Apple will in time offer the service on-demand at its retail stores. Similarly, third parties could also offer in-home do-it-yourself kits should they be able to acquire battery cells that meet Apple's standard for the MacBook Air.

More high-quality photos (1, 2) of the new MacBook Air.

There's no word, however, whether the latter process would void the notebook's warranty in Apple's eyes. In the meantime, the company recommends MacBook Air users follow these instructions for optimizing life span and battery life.
post #2 of 221
I prefer this over a removable battery, when yours degrades and you goto buy a new one you may as well wait a few minutes while they install it for you.....no biggie.
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post #3 of 221
This certainly seems to negate one of the major complaints about the box...people were imagining a nightmare scenario where an old battery would require going without the unit for days. Turns out if you can use a screwdriver you can do it yourself in minutes.
post #4 of 221
If the battery replacement is so easy, why doesn't Apple sell replacement batteries as a Do It Yourself kit? I don't think people are upset at having to use a screwdriver, not as much as they are upset that Apple will only allow their technicians to do it.
post #5 of 221
Trivial or not a user replaceable battery is vastly superior. Apple can design a thin laptop, but cannot design a user replaceable battery? What's wrong with this picture? I'm not up for the utter rubbish about how Apple could not incorporate it into the design. Rubbish.
post #6 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The entire process, according to those in the known, can be completed by any service technician in as little as three minutes.[/url][/c]

You mean, ..."to those in the know"...\

I believe that is the correct saying of that expressions...

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post #7 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Trivial or not a user replaceable battery is vastly superior. Apple can design a thin laptop, but cannot design a user replaceable battery? What's wrong with this picture? I'm not up for the utter rubbish about how Apple could not incorporate it into the design. Rubbish.

User-replaceable anything costs more to design and manufacture, and takes up more room.

As someone who, in the past seven years of laptop use as my primary machine, has never owned or used a second battery, I find the uproar over this to be bizarre. Are there folks who *need* this feature? I'm sure there are. But they're really not that high a % of the market, as I see it.

Because, you know, it killed the iPod.
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post #8 of 221
All that is missing now are some pictures of the MacBook Air innards so we can all get a feel of how easy the battery is to change. Well that, and I would be curious to see how the thing is engineered

Kickaha: The only times I have needed a battery replaced was when I was when Apple did a battery recall. If this ever happened to the MBA, then the cost of opening the box would be Apple's. So yep, I don't have a need to pull ot the battery all the time.
post #9 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

User-replaceable anything costs more to design and manufacture. Period.

It's already overpriced so what's a few more dollars? Besides, it would may the unit more salable. And Apple can sell you spare overpriced batteries, so what's the issue? Period.
post #10 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

You mean, ..."to those in the know"...\

I believe that is the correct saying of that expressions...

You mean, ..."of that expression"...
post #11 of 221
So the process is no harder than, say, upgrading your RAM...

Oh man. I remember that one. It took forever to even find a fitting screwdriver for the MBP. A Philips 0 will absolutely destroy the screw. Believe me, I've tried. You need a Philips 00. And even with that the screws were inconceivably tight.

I'm glad I upgraded to the max, as the latch is probably shut for eternity with the damage I've done to it.
post #12 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

Because, you know, it killed the iPod.

So now we're comparing the iPod to the MacBook Air when it comes to batteries? A wee bit of a stretch? Just a wee bit? Since when do I do business on my iPod? I cannot help but think that there Apple shills among us.
post #13 of 221
I knew it would be very simple to change! Now, they just need to release an external battery with a MagSafe power cord pass-through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

If the battery replacement is so easy, why doesn't Apple sell replacement batteries as a Do It Yourself kit? I don't think people are upset at having to use a screwdriver, not as much as they are upset that Apple will only allow their technicians to do it.

One could argue that Apple is then responsible for any damage to the innards caused by the replacement. It's better this way, anyone who can do it will do it, but how often has anyone changed a battery in a notebook?


Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

It's already overpriced so what's a few more dollars? Besides, it would may the unit more salable. And Apple can sell you spare overpriced batteries, so what's the issue? Period.

It would also add bulk and perhaps weaken the structure. You don't think they experimented with removable batteries?
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post #14 of 221
Useful piece, thank you.

However, the links on the apple.com/batteries/ page to post iCal battery 'exercise reminders' are broken. Nice idea, lousy execution.

For this 100% Apple user, whose three purchases of Apple products in 2007 all suffered failures (iPhone earbud clicker, Airport card in the MacBook, Airport Extreme 'n' router) it is yet another reminder that Apple is sacrificing quality control for sales. Hardly a long term customer loyalty plan. I realize I am a sample of one, but none of my many Apple hardware purchases in the years through 2006 suffered failures.

A little less hype and a little more attention to detail would go a long way, Apple. I really do not want to return to the Evil Empire.
post #15 of 221
This may be trivial for a customer that lives next door to an Apple Store, but it's a big, huge, gigantic pain in the ass for people that don't have one anywhere near them. It must be shipped to Apple, and they're without a laptop for 1-2 weeks.

If it's so incredibly easy, why didn't Apple just make it user serviceable? Because they have created a whole new revenue stream with battery replacement. This in no way benefits the customer and in every way, benefits Apple

Lame.
post #16 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

This may be trivial for a customer that lives next door to an Apple Store, but it's a big, huge, gigantic pain in the ass for people that don't have one anywhere near them. It must be shipped to Apple, and they're without a laptop for 1-2 weeks.

If it's so incredibly easy, why didn't Apple just make it user serviceable? Because they have created a whole new revenue stream with battery replacement. This in no way benefits the customer and in every way, benefits Apple

Lame.

Apple didn't do it to make money. They did it to cut down on engineering and manufacturing costs, and to reduce the size and weight.

While you are correct, that having to send any item in for repair is a pain, this is not to be one's main machine. Honestly, how many people will be sending it in to Apple for a battery replacement. How many times have you purchased replacement batteries for new computers. Most people buy new computers well before their battery ever fails.
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post #17 of 221
So it's "user-replaceable" like the "brakes" in my car. If I can go to an Apple Store and get it replaced in a half-hour, then that's enough time to enjoy a latte while I wait. Ok by me.
post #18 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I knew it would be very simple to change! Now, they just need to release an external battery with a MagSafe power cord pass-through.


One could argue that Apple is then responsible for any damage to the innards caused by the replacement. It's better this way, anyone who can do it will do it, but how often has anyone changed a battery in a notebook?



It would also add bulk and perhaps weaken the structure. You don't think they experimented with removable batteries?

Does the $129 require an AppleCare warranty, on top of the price?
post #19 of 221
Quote:
So now we're comparing the iPod to the MacBook Air when it comes to batteries? A wee bit of a stretch? Just a wee bit? Since when do I do business on my iPod?

I do business on my iPhone and its battery is not user replaceable. Ditto Air.
post #20 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Does the $129 require an AppleCare warranty, on top of the price?

No, $129 is the out-of-warranty price. If the battery fails while under warranty, the price is $0.
post #21 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Does the $129 require an AppleCare warranty, on top of the price?

No. You aren't paying for the service, you are paying for the replacement battery. Whether it's a 12" iBook battery or a 17" MacBok Pro battery, Apple charges $129 for all it's Mac batteries.
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post #22 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven or las vegas View Post

I do businees on my iPhone and its battery is not user replaceable. Ditto Air.

Number one hardware complaint with the iPhone: No user replaceable battery.
post #23 of 221
Ok, so lets say I'm a road warrior - travelling with my macAIR. It would be VERY NICE if I was able to carry a spare battery with me, and swap it in, when the current one drains, and there's no power outlet nearby to charge it up. Carrying around a screwdriver with me to do that each time (and voiding the warranty mind you) would be complete PITA everytime I wanted to swap batteries.
post #24 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmMacUser View Post

I prefer this over a removable battery...

post #25 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It would also add bulk and perhaps weaken the structure. You don't think they experimented with removable batteries?

You're right...Apple no longer demonstrates engineering prowess. Easily changed user batteries are out of their realm. What is happening with Apple is that they are taking away user choices versus increasing them. What do users dislike the most about Apple laptops: A single button bar versus a two button bar that would easily allow right-clicks or other assignments. But wait, Jobs thinks it cool to have the simplicity of one, so we get one. Apple now thinks for us because we are incapable of thinking for ourselves.
post #26 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Apple can design a thin laptop, but cannot design a user replaceable battery? What's wrong with this picture?

Uh, maybe because Apple doesn't 'design' batteries at all? They use the best available.
post #27 of 221
I swear that there is a contingent on this list who would bitch if Jesus himself walked up to them and offered them immortality because it got boring after a while.

Assuming there are sales numbers to justify it, replacement venues will be abundant, and as was pointed out, a magsafe battery pack is a no-brainer.
And if there isn't one, then design one, start a company and get rich yourself!

But that would require actual talent and ambition, rather than just bitching abilities, wouldn't it?
post #28 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

User-replaceable anything costs more to design and manufacture,

Okay, but the base model of this is already 1800. Most people ready to put that kind of dough into a laptop are gong to be putting several hundred dollars more lipstick on their pig (RAM upgrades, harddrive upgrades, optical drives) in any case.

The ultralight market is not driven by turtleneck wearing 20-somethings. It's dominated by people who are buying for business use. And one of the things I need in my ultralight is the ability to hibernate the system, swap battery, and keep working. I bought two high capacity batteries for it, along with a docking bay that has an optical drive (and which I use almost never - but when I need it? I freaking need it) I swap the batteries quite regularly. Over time, the performance degrades and by having two batteries I a) see less of a hit on either one of the batteries and b) am less affected by the fall-off than I would be without the spare.

I didn't buy this system so I could tell my boss why it wasn't working.

Quote:
and takes up more room.

Um. Aren't they paying the dough to the designers to come up with clever ways for the
batteries to not increase the footprint?

Quote:
As someone who, in the past seven years of laptop use as my primary machine, has never owned or used a second battery, I find the uproar over this to be bizarre. Are there folks who *need* this feature? I'm sure there are. But they're really not that high a % of the market, as I see it.

Lots of people could use the feature. I don't know how many people understand the value of having a second battery hot and on hand, but for me it's very valuable.

In my line of work, the other mistake Apple has made is to not include an integrated ethernet port. My laptop is a work box, and I frequently am using it because I need to troubleshoot a network outage. So I need to be able to plug into a switch port, end of story.

The weirder lapse is the lack of an EVDO antenna. Apple understands the importance of that tech, obviously. Lenovo and Sony both sell laptops with integrated EVDO. The flagship spendy Apple ultraportable doesn't have it? Weird.

My personal laptop also has several batteries - the one it came with, and the pair I bought for it three years after I first bought it.

Quote:
Because, you know, it killed the iPod.

Someone else already tagged you on this, but I will, too: this is a really, really dumb comparison. If my ipod stops running, I'm cool with that. I'll find a different toy to play with. My ipod crashing has never cost my company money.

Meantime, I'm sorry I won't be looking at one of these Macs. No wireline, no EVDO, no field-replaceable battery? I'll just install one of the OS X cracks on a Lenovo, or better still a fully legal and supported SuSE or a fully legal and fun to play with FreeBSD.
post #29 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Uh, maybe because Apple doesn't 'design' batteries at all? They use the best available.

Yeah, ok, right. Apple has the exclusive inside deal on "the best available batteries", like no one else can get them... or only Apple has the nads to spend the money. Sure pal.

The real, non-zombie view here is Jobs is yet again letting his ideas on style interfere with real usability. I'd love to get one of these laptops myself, I'd immediately blow away osx and install Linux on the thing, but I do appreciate the lightness, the LACK of an optical drive (yes, I consider that a plus, not a bad thing) and the styling. But I'm guessing that same styling will prevent a third party from making an extra capacity battery for this. Maybe Jobs will be trotting one out later, but its also possible he would consider such an add-on a detraction from the 'aesthetics' of this product. Its been Job's modus operandi since the first Mac. And a real pain in the ass for power users. And Apple should have moved to the Intel platform YEARS ago.
post #30 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by interval View Post

Yeah, ok, right. Apple has the exclusive inside deal on "the best available batteries", like no one else can get them... or only Apple has the nads to spend the money. Sure pal.

The real, non-zombie view here is Jobs is yet again letting his ideas on style interfere with real usability. I'd love to get one of these laptops myself, I'd immediately blow away osx and install Linux on the thing, but I do appreciate the lightness, the LACK of an optical drive (yes, I consider that a plus, not a bad thing) and the styling. But I'm guessing that same styling will prevent a third party from making an extra capacity battery for this. Maybe Jobs will be trotting one out later, but its also possible he would consider such an add-on a detraction from the 'aesthetics' of this product. Its been Job's modus operandi since the first Mac. And a real pain in the ass for power users. And Apple should have moved to the Intel platform YEARS ago.

Guess you won't be buying one, then huh?
In case you're interested, you're echoing the same venom we've been hearing since 1984 when DOS users scoffed at the horrible limitations Jobs was 'inflicting' on users with that childish GUI.
The Jobs hatred really does get old after a while, dontcha think?

But welcome!
post #31 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I swear that there is a contingent on this list who would bitch if Jesus himself walked up to them and offered them immortality because it got boring after a while.

Assuming there are sales numbers to justify it, replacement venues will be abundant, and as was pointed out, a magsafe battery pack is a no-brainer.
And if there isn't one, then design one, start a company and get rich yourself!

But that would require actual talent and ambition, rather than just bitching abilities, wouldn't it?

Well I swear that there are one too many Applefanboysandgirls on here (no names mentioned) who would never in a million years, over their dead mother's body, ever think or say anything different that does not agree with whatever Apple releases. And if you disagree with Apple, they will put you down, call you a troll, and swear you are a Microsoft spy. They should practice what they preach and, no pun intended, "Think Different".
post #32 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Apple didn't do it to make money. They did it to cut down on engineering and manufacturing costs, and to reduce the size and weight.

While you are correct, that having to send any item in for repair is a pain, this is not to be one's main machine. Honestly, how many people will be sending it in to Apple for a battery replacement. How many times have you purchased replacement batteries for new computers. Most people buy new computers well before their battery ever fails.

You seem to know a lot about "what most people do" and why "Apple does things". Are you employed by Apple and on its board of directors to be privy to such information? Are you employed by Gallop and polling people on what they do and think?
post #33 of 221
The reality is it doesn't take minutes it takes 5 days. And what if I am in a factory doing a photo or video shoot and I have no AC and no battery replacement.

Pathetic decision by apple. If the MacBook and MacBook Air was same price I would still buy the macbook that is plenty portable.
post #34 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Well I swear that there are one too many Applefanboysandgirls on here (no names mentioned) who would never in a million years, over their dead mother's body, ever think or say anything different that does not agree with whatever Apple releases. And if you disagree with Apple, they will put you down, call you a troll, and swear you are a Microsoft spy. They should practice what they preach and, no pun intended, "Think Different".

teckstud, you are totally a Microsoft spy (I swear you are).
post #35 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

They should practice what they preach and, no pun intended, "Think Different".

Thinking Different is ok when it's different from everyone else except Apple.
post #36 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

It's already overpriced so what's a few more dollars? Besides, it would may the unit more salable. And Apple can sell you spare overpriced batteries, so what's the issue? Period.

This is just negative.

Granted I have to see the "Air" in person, but what I get from
all the pics around, it might be the perfect machine for me.

Concerning the battery issue, there is no issue at all.
Believe me, I know a lot of people, who essentially depend on their
mobile computer, me included, and they all do not have any need
for a second battery to travel with.

Okay this is no hard evidence, though, bottom line: the battery issue is
highly overrated.

best
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post #37 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

The reality is it doesn't take minutes it takes 5 days. And what if I am in a factory doing a photo or video shoot and I have no AC and no battery replacement.

Then it was the wrong tool to buy, wasn't it?
See there's this concept... the right tool for the job.
post #38 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

You seem to know a lot about "what most people do" and why "Apple does things". Are you employed by Apple and on its board of directors to be privy to such information? Are you employed by Gallop and polling people on what they do and think?

Didn't Steve admit in his keynote that the original Apple TV was not what people wanted?
post #39 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by interval View Post

And Apple should have moved to the Intel platform YEARS ago.

Apple will never switch to Intel chips.
There will be no video iPods because nobody wants to watch movies on iPods.
There will be no iPhone SDK for third party developers.
Apple will not make a mobile phone.
post #40 of 221
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I swear that there is a contingent on this list who would bitch if Jesus himself walked up to them and offered them immortality because it got boring after a while.

If offered immortality I wouldn't give a rat's arse about the MacBook Air, or Apple for that matter.
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