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13-inch MacBook Pro teardown reveals "unimaginative" SD Card slot

post #1 of 98
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A dissection of Apple's first 13-inch MacBook Pro shows the company may have run out of real estate to create a slot that would completely conceal SD cards but also points to certain do-it-yourself upgrades being near-trivial jobs for prospective owners.

The undisputed teardown experts at iFixit have just completed their step-by-step illustrated disassembly of the latest member of the MacBook Pro family, in which they note that the system's new SD card slot "is rather unimaginative" given that "half the card hangs out of the side of the computer."

"Apple couldn't free up enough space for a slot that would make the card completely captive," representatives for upgrade solutions provider told AppleInsider.

As with the MacBook Air and 17-inch MacBook Pro, removing the battery is simple enough that it can be done quickly, likely to allowing technicians to swap out batteries at Apple retail stores in a matter of minutes. All that's needed is a small Phillips screwdriver to open the case and a tri-wing screwdriver to remove the battery.

It's also noted that the mid wall dividing the MacBook Pro is now attached to the top case, unlike in previous models where it was was held in by four Phillips screws. iFixit believes this may be a move on Apple's part to help out its do-it-yourself customers.

"Aside from a couple of visual cues found outside, a casual user would not be able to discern if this was a [unibody] MacBook or MacBook Pro," the firm added. "Most screw layouts and brackets are identical to the old [unibody] MacBook."

Also discovered was a slightly heavier battery at 360 grams (compared to 302 g for the old one). However, it offers 60 Watt-hours of power, compared to the lighter battery's 45 W-h. And given that its connectors, size, and shape are different from the battery in the 13-inch unibody MacBook, the new battery isn't interchangeable with last year's models.







Meanwhile, those users looking for beefier storage options will find that the system's 2.5-inch hard drive is easy to remove and is again only held in place with screws. RAM is still located in readily-accessible slots.

Those determined to replace other components have a slightly more advanced challenge ahead of them, but -- with the exception of more obviously complex tasks like pulling the logic board -- are still comparatively straightforward. The optical drive, system fan and subwoofer all require little to be moved clear.







As such, Apple's design changes may thwart some on-the-spot upgrades but appears to strike a balance between restricted designs like the MacBook Air or pre-unibody MacBook Pro and the particularly easy access afforded by plastic MacBooks and first-run unibody computers.

For more photos and detailed disassembly instructions, check out iFixit's complete two-page guide.
post #2 of 98
"half the card hangs out of the side of the computer."

Like if it disappeared inside, how are we supposed to get it out?

A menu based eject button? A tiny pinhole for paperclip ejection? I much rather remove it manually thank you.

(edit: I've changed my position to a spring loaded flush mounted SD port, see later post)

Quote:
A new SD card format was released at CES this year called SD Extended Capacity (SDXC) which uses Microsoft’s exFAT file system. Apple does not support exFAT although it remains to be seen if it can recognize SDXC cards bearing FAT32 or other supported formats.

per MacWorld.

http://www.macworld.com/article/1410...dcard_mbp.html

The new SDXC has capacity up to 2TB (repeat 2TB) per card and much faster speeds. Don't know if the new Mac SD slot can handle it or not or the exFAT format if it's required or not.

Supposely one can format a SD card and install OS X on it.

Should be very interesting for laptop owners to be able to have a clone of their boot drive on a SD card for emergencies or archiving purposes.
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post #3 of 98
Who cares if the SD card hangs out. I actually *think* I prefer that for speed of use. I'm just glad it's there. Oh, and did it crack anyone else up that only Apple could garner so much positive attention for finally including technology that's been standardized in the rest of the notebook world for years?

Is it bootable? *That* would be killer!
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post #4 of 98
I can't believe this is an issue. I've waited 8 years for an SD card slot- WHO CARES! The SD card slot in itself is fantastic! Thank you , thank you Apple.
post #5 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by godrifle View Post

Who cares if the SD card hangs out. I actually *think* I prefer that for speed of use. I'm just glad it's there. Oh, and did it crack anyone else up that only Apple could garner so much positive attention for finally including technology that's been standardized in the rest of the notebook world for years?

Is it bootable? *That* would be killer!

Yes it's bootable. Apple posted a tech note on it. All you have to do is reformat with HFS+ and use Disk Utility to set the GUID. Voila. Bootable drive that's what a quarter of an ounce?
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post #6 of 98
Apple pulls the ExpressCard/34 slot and replaces it with a crippled SD card slot!?!?!?!?!!?!?!

It wouldn't be so painful a deletion had you been able to leave the SD card in the slot when you put the thing to sleep and back into your bag to travel.

I can leave the ExpressCard/34 SD card reader INSIDE my MacBook Pro and still stick the thing into my pack and travel. I could certainly live with a $10 SD card reader for a supposedly PROFESSIONAL Macintosh!

How about an eSATA slot instead? Now, THAT's PROFESSIONAL!

MANY times I wonder about Apple's designers! Or their handlers...
They go 98% of the way and screw up logical details!
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post #7 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post


How about an Fibre Channel instead? Now, THAT's PROFESSIONAL!

There ...that sounds better.
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post #8 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

There ...that sounds better.

Agreed!
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post #9 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by godrifle View Post

...Oh, and did it crack anyone else up that only Apple could garner so much positive attention for finally including technology that's been standardized in the rest of the notebook world for years?

Based upon this new SDXC information, I think Apple is trying to get real friendly with San Disk for a very good reason.

Right now the SD card is accessed through 9 pins on one side. Only 9 pins.

But what if that ability was multiplied to cover every square milimeter on both sides of the card and installed on a logicboard?

The access speed would be greatly multiplied, perhaps even as fast or faster than a SSD or a hard drive. As you know, RAID 0 gives tremendous data speed as the stream is broken up among different drives, this could be applied to the SDXC.

Now given Apple's trend towards thinness...no more battery depleting hard drive or superdrive needed.

All Apple laptops could be MacBook Airs, 2TB standard, 4TB optional.

Weeeee!!
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post #10 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

Agreed!

Yeah we're both deaming on that one eh?

I don't know why Apple doesn't like eSATA. It was the first thing that I thought about when
they canned ExpressCard.

FW800 is nice but there are so many SATA arrays it's becoming problematic to get fast external storage. Now if we have 10g ethernet on the motherboard that'd be another story but right now we're limited to 100MBps throughtput on a Pro machine for an external array. SCARY
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post #11 of 98
It is sad that apple keeps chipping away at very functional things in their computers, Apple ought to have BOTH a Expresscard slot and a SD card slot. this is getting sad. Apple just keeps skimping on hardware and expects most people to live on the good software OS.
post #12 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

It is sad that apple keeps chipping away at very functional things in their computers, Apple ought to have BOTH a Expresscard slot and a SD card slot. this is getting sad. Apple just keeps skimping on hardware and expects most people to live on the good software OS.

It appears that Apple has always viewed computers as not a collection of components but as an appliance. Sometimes it works to their favor and sometimes it doesn't.

We're at that point againt where technology inside is faster than the external interfaces can handle and they become architects of limitation.

We'll have to see how the market plays out. Will we see FW3200 as well as USB 3.0?
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post #13 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by godrifle View Post

Who cares if the SD card hangs out. I actually *think* I prefer that for speed of use. I'm just glad it's there. Oh, and did it crack anyone else up that only Apple could garner so much positive attention for finally including technology that's been standardized in the rest of the notebook world for years?

Is it bootable? *That* would be killer!

How do you get your memory card out of your camera? Isn't it pretty much flush under the cover? On mine, you simply push in the card and a spring then pushes it back out. And my card only sticks out about 1/16".

If all you do is put in your card, copy off your photos, and take your card back out, I'd agree it's not a big deal. But what if you use it as a flash drive? On my old PowerBook with it's PC Card slot, I had a Compact Flash adaptor permanently inserted. It was flush with the side of the PowerBook, so leaving it there all the time wasn't an issue. And when a Compact Flash card was inserted, it too was flush with the side of the PB. And a Compact Flash to SD adaptor let me use SD cards, too.

I even used Time Machine to make backups to a CF card of my Documents folder while I was traveling so I'd have a backup if my hard drive failed. With the high capacity of SDHC cards, this would be viable target for Time Machine if all you were backing up was your User folder. But if the card is sticking out that far, you wouldn't want to leave it inserted long term.
post #14 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by godrifle View Post

Who cares if the SD card hangs out. I actually *think* I prefer that for speed of use. I'm just glad it's there. Oh, and did it crack anyone else up that only Apple could garner so much positive attention for finally including technology that's been standardized in the rest of the notebook world for years?

Is it bootable? *That* would be killer!

they are saying that yes, with the use of certain types of cards (I forget which is which) you can create a bootable SD card 'drive'

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post #15 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

It is sad that apple keeps chipping away at very functional things in their computers, Apple ought to have BOTH a Expresscard slot and a SD card slot. this is getting sad. Apple just keeps skimping on hardware and expects most people to live on the good software OS.

All you need is an ExpressCard slot and a $20 adaptor and you'd be able to use any memory card commonly used except CF (too wide to fit with ExpressCard slot Apple used, it would fit if they had used the larger format). And it would even sit flush with the laptop so you could just keep it there.
post #16 of 98
Half the card hangs out? GMAB! Who cares. The big news here is now you don't have to put up with SSS (shitty screen syndrome), we get FW800 (yay!) and you should have pretty good battery life. woot!!! All in all, great news for new Apple lappy wannabe owners.
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post #17 of 98
Actually, am i dont the only one who are not in the " Who cares " and " i dont like it " camp.

This is much better. I hate Getting SD card out of card reader. Now it is much easier.

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post #18 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

Actually, am i dont the only one who are not in the " Who cares " and " i dont like it " camp.

This is much better. I hate Getting SD card out of card reader. Now it is much easier.

LOL. See, it's a good thang! = )
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post #19 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

"half the card hangs out of the side of the computer."

Like if it disappeared inside, how are we supposed to get it out?

A menu based eject button? A tiny pinhole for paperclip ejection? I much rather remove it manually thank you.

Have you ever used a camera with an SD slot or PC laptop? It would sit flush with the case, and you press it in to pop it out, as it's spring-loaded. On my laptop or netbook, I usually just leave the SD card in there, but with this type of slot, you have to take it out every time.

Unless Apple just absolutely needed that last couple mm of space inside the case, they could've easily gone with a spring-loaded SD slot. At least Apple did make the effort to put an SD slot there, but the implementation seems clunky.
post #20 of 98
I think it's pretty interesting that the unibody laptops, which originally inspired dread of sealed, completely user unserviceable vaults, are actually easier to work on than any Apple laptop I can think of.

Sure, you have to remove some little phillips head screws instead of popping a hatch, but once you do that the entire thing is laid out before you-- a complete tear-down is never more than a loosened fastener or unplugged socket away.

I can do any upgrades I might have in mind at one go, while I'm in there, with plenty of elbow room.

And the simplicity of the battery swap-out makes fears that your laptop would be in the shop for days on end when it was time for a replacement look pretty unfounded. Many people won't have any trouble doing it themselves, and for the techno-adverse it should be a while you wait thing.
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post #21 of 98
really, the idea of having the SD card hang out is a bad thing? i have several microSDs all with their own SD adapter and a white macbook. The only way to connect them right now is to take out the microSD from the adapter, put it into the USB microSD reader I have and then put it into the USB port...I imagine a dedicated SD reader would have a lot less "overhang" than my current method. oh and plus it frees up a USB port which is always important on a laptop.
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post #22 of 98
While I don't really care one way or the other since I am one of the uses who just pops in a camera card every so often, I do find it odd that the choose to have it stick out. It visually looks like they could have had it go in deeper.
post #23 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

Have you ever used a camera with an SD slot or PC laptop? It would sit flush with the case, and you press it in to pop it out, as it's spring-loaded... At least Apple did make the effort to put an SD slot there, but the implementation seems clunky.

Quote:
I even used Time Machine to make backups to a CF card of my Documents folder while I was traveling so I'd have a backup if my hard drive failed. With the high capacity of SDHC cards, this would be viable target for Time Machine if all you were backing up was your User folder. But if the card is sticking out that far, you wouldn't want to leave it inserted long term.

Your arguments have strong merit.

I'm convinced, having the SD half hanging out is indeed a poorly thought out idea.

The flush mount/spring loaded method is indeed the way to go with SD on MacBooks. It's still manual and yet a lot less vulnerable or easily forgotten and broke off.

I like the idea of leaving the SD card inside as a auto-file backup method. Even more if the SDXC comes out and it's up to 2TB, or even 500GB would be fine.

Auto time-clone the whole boot drive directly to the SDXC card and forget all about this separate drive w/Time-Machine or Time Capsule nonsense.

Sh*t hits the fan and the hard drive don't boot one morning, just hold option and boot off the SDXC installed inside and repair, recover or reverse clone.

Less wear and tear on the SD port as well.

Perhaps this is why Apple didn't flush mount the SD card.

Cuts into their sales.
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post #24 of 98
Well I do care. If you gonna buy a 32GB SD Card and install an alternative OS (Different version of OS X, Windows, Linux) you don't want the card sticking out as it will change the portability factor.

Why not do it like all others where if you push the card it pops out or ejects. Thats how all PCs and Phones that support SD or MicroSD do it.

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post #25 of 98
It sticks out only 1/3rd of an inch, about 1/3rd the length of the card. No biggie. What is good about this is, it's just enough to grip and it doesn't need to be spring-loaded like in a camera - and thus eliminating a weak spot of moving parts.
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post #26 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

It sticks out only 1/3rd of an inch, about 1/3rd the length of the card. No biggie. What is good about this is, it's just enough to grip and it doesn't need to be spring-loaded like in a camera - and thus eliminating a weak spot of moving parts.

Perhaps like it is on my camera, there is a slight recess in the case the size of a finger tip underneath the SD port. It's primarily used to push the SD card further in to get it to eject.

If per some chance the spring loaded mechanics fails, the SD card can still be gripped with a pair of tweezers, fingernail etc.

The SD is still flush with the case, preventing a accidental break off or losing of a rather expensive little card, not to mention all the files on it.

Yes, very unimaginative of Apple.

But I got a feeling someone will come up with alternative, perhaps a third party SD port addition that fits somewhere else internally?
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post #27 of 98
Thanks to Apple for re-birth of FW800 in the 13". I want one.

Brought back memories of the endless rants from diehard zombies claiming "USB-2 can do everything" and that the benevolent decisions from on-high were always right.

As for the SD slot: Great, as most amateur & pro digicams use, or are soon to use, SDHC.

Competitors (of course all Win or Linux) use SD slots in notebooks that are fully recessed with a spring/latch setup. Thus the SD card can be left in the 'book without risk of tweaking something. (and as a boot device).
post #28 of 98
First the SD card slot isn't a problem if you think about the slot as a place for temporary file transfers to support other devices or backups. This I suspect is what Apple had in mind.

In any event this has to be one of Apples best engineered machines from the standpoint of servicability. The feature set is more in tune with the target market too. From the design standpoint I dont think anybody else comes close.

Now think about this, if Apple deletes the CD drive just imagine how big that battery could be.


Dave
post #29 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

of Apples best engineered machines from the standpoint of servicability. The feature set is more in tune with the target market too. From the design standpoint I dont think anybody else comes close.

Now think about this, if Apple deletes the CD drive just imagine how big that battery could be.


Dave

I think the optical drive is making its last stand. In fact not only would I like to see either a larger batter or more expansion where the optical drive used to occupy space but I'd love that space to be used for more sophisticated cooling so that a Quad-core chip will work.

Then if Apple wants to go Blu-ray then can make an external drive that works on multiple computers.
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post #30 of 98
I have a San Disk USB card reader and half the SD card "hangs" out of it just like out of the side of the MBP. Personally, I would rather have this than have a mechanism that is spring loaded and could break, costing me money to fix it.
post #31 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

First the SD card slot isn't a problem if you think about the slot as a place for temporary file transfers to support other devices or backups. This I suspect is what Apple had in mind.

In any event this has to be one of Apples best engineered machines from the standpoint of servicability. The feature set is more in tune with the target market too. From the design standpoint I dont think anybody else comes close.

Now think about this, if Apple deletes the CD drive just imagine how big that battery could be.


Dave

I was thinking if they got rid of the CD drive I could get another HD.
post #32 of 98
I just can't believe the kind of whining I am reading right now. Posts like this should never see the light. What kind of complain is that "the card doesn't enter complete, the half is out, the engineers have no imagination...", give me a REALLY BIG FUCKING BREAK! Are you a 6 years old girl? be a man please! How can you complain on that, that shows a people with too much unhappyness in his life. You will never be satisfied if you continue in that direction. The damn thing doesn't have a spring for pushing back the card? THANK GOD THEY DID IT THAT WAY. The less pieces - the better. Just imagine if the fucking spring just breaks or stop working because of use fatige. What will you do then? Then probable you will have an useless SD Card reader because of a fucking spring!! I THINK ALL SD READERS SHOULD BE LIKE THESE MACBOOKS HAVE. THESE GUYS REALLY DO THINK PROPERLY. REALLY THANK YOU APPLE ENGINEERS!!!
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post #33 of 98
Wow man breath.

How about only having it stick out 2mm and using finger nails to pull it out? No way to damage the card or have any extra bits to break.

I dont really care one way or the other. But for someone saying people will never be happy you need to calm the f down.
post #34 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by lvidal View Post

I just can't believe the kind of whining I am reading right now. Posts like this should never see the light. What kind of complain is that "the card doesn't enter complete, the half is out, the engineers have no imagination...", give me a REALLY BIG FUCKING BREAK! Are you a 6 years old girl? be a man please! How can you complain on that, that shows a people with too much unhappyness in his life. You will never be satisfied if you continue in that direction. The damn thing doesn't have a spring for pushing back the card? THANK GOD THEY DID IT THAT WAY. The less pieces - the better. Just imagine if the fucking spring just breaks or stop working because of use fatige. What will you do then? Then probable you will have an useless SD Card reader because of a fucking spring!! I THINK ALL SD READERS SHOULD BE LIKE THESE MACBOOKS HAVE. THESE GUYS REALLY DO THINK PROPERLY. REALLY THANK YOU APPLE ENGINEERS!!!

haha. i like this post.
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post #35 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by halhiker View Post

I was thinking if they got rid of the CD drive I could get another HD.

Yea that is a tough call. I suppose in the future we might have 1.8" SSD affordable drives, which means there could be two AND enough battery for 8 hours, but in the short term I'm not sure which I'd prefer.
post #36 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

haha. i like this post.

the man DOES have a point.

But then so do the "whiners." Personally I would love to see it flush, because I would leave it in there as a backup.

Actually, considering that fact, I think I would prefer removing the optical drive for storage. Esp. in a few years when ~128/256/512/whatever GB become affordable
post #37 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by lvidal View Post

I just can't believe the kind of whining I am reading right now. Posts like this should never see the light. What kind of complain is that "the card doesn't enter complete, the half is out, the engineers have no imagination...", give me a REALLY BIG FUCKING BREAK! Are you a 6 years old girl? be a man please! How can you complain on that, that shows a people with too much unhappyness in his life. You will never be satisfied if you continue in that direction. The damn thing doesn't have a spring for pushing back the card? THANK GOD THEY DID IT THAT WAY. The less pieces - the better. Just imagine if the fucking spring just breaks or stop working because of use fatige. What will you do then? Then probable you will have an useless SD Card reader because of a fucking spring!! I THINK ALL SD READERS SHOULD BE LIKE THESE MACBOOKS HAVE. THESE GUYS REALLY DO THINK PROPERLY. REALLY THANK YOU APPLE ENGINEERS!!!


Complete and Utter Crap!

Thank you Apple Engineers for an awful piece of design that might save us some hassle should something break?

In that case why not just dispense with the on/off button and run 24/7? That way we are protected in case the on/off button breaks and we cannot start our laptop up.

Why bother having a lid catch, we don't want to risk that breaking and us not being able to open the lid either.


Are you honestly suggesting that Apple computers are so poorly made that having an SD card operate like everyone elses is not a wise thing?

Sorry but this is really is a stupid design fault, you fanboys can spin this all you want but you will never make it look good. It makes no sense whatsoever.
post #38 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphster View Post

Complete and Utter Crap!


In that case why not just dispense with the on/off button and run 24/7? That way we are protected in case the on/off button breaks and we cannot start our laptop up.

Why bother having a lid catch, we don't want to risk that breaking and us not being able to open the lid either.

Well firstly, they DID get rid of a mechanical latching mechinism, which was great.

And i think they could move to some sort of induction method of turning it on and off. The less moving parts the better!
post #39 of 98
33% larger capacity battery with less than 20% additional weight in the same space as before. I wonder if other notebook makers will follow suit, and I dont just mean with their MBA clones, but with their higher-end performance notebooks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Now think about this, if Apple deletes the CD drive just imagine how big that battery could be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I think the optical drive is making its last stand. In fact not only would I like to see either a larger batter or more expansion where the optical drive used to occupy space but I'd love that space to be used for more sophisticated cooling so that a Quad-core chip will work.

Then if Apple wants to go Blu-ray then can make an external drive that works on multiple computers.

Im glad this is catching on. Its been a loooong time coming. Using a mobile quad core would be great and Apple could definitely make the SD card stick all the way in then. Im looking at these images and thinking, Where the heck are people expecting it to go. There isnt any room. and That optical drive is so fricken huge and more frequently unused. It needs to go.

I think Apple will eventually support HDCP in the OS, thus making BRDs capable, but will never personally sell them. If they do support HDCP I think they will wait until they have a secure hold on the future of digital downloads first.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #40 of 98
I can't believe many of the posts here. Put SD card in, download whatever, pull SD card out. Yay. Done. Spring-loaded magnetic induction whatever. Balls to that.

(Yes I'm to confused by all the posts to make a coherent one myself)
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