Teardown shows new 2015 MacBook Airs sticking with non-adhered batteries

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited March 2015
A teardown of the latest 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs shows few differences over their 2014 counterparts, and in fact demonstrates a rare decision by Apple to continue using non-adhered batteries.




Self-repair firm iFixit noted on Wednesday that the Air appears to be the only remaining MacBook without a battery glued to other parts. The 12-inch basic MacBook announced on Monday uses terraced battery layers inserted into every free crevice.

The difficulty with glued batteries is that it makes a notebook harder and more expensive to repair. Gluing a battery to the frame, as in the Retina MacBook Pro, effectively forces a MacBook owner to send the computer to Apple or an authorized service provider when a replacement is needed.

iFixit added that the new Airs continue to use the same model numbers instituted since 2012, A1465 and A1466.

They have, however, switched to Intel's Broadwell architecture, making little impact on performance, but shrinking transistors and increasing power efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Apple officially promises 10 or 12 hours of web browsing or video for the 11- and 13-inch models, respectively.

As with last year's machines, iFixit gave the 2015 Air models 4 out of 10 score for repairability. A specialized pentalobe screwdriver is needed to open the casing -- while major components are then easy to access, the RAM remains soldered to the logic board. Both the RAM and the SSD are proprietary, and non-upgradeable.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    The iFixit agenda of pushing for "repairability" doesn't fit with what most consumers do when their Apple products break. They aren't hobbyists, and they will never tinker with the innards of their hardware.
  • Reply 2 of 31
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,609member

    True, Joe Consumer isn't going to crack open the case, but it is of interest to the few people who run Mac repair shops, a handful of tinkerers, and people like enterprise/university IT types.

     

    It should be pointed out that iFixit sells computer repair tools and spare parts, hence their interest in performing these product teardown.

     

    For me, this is a minor curiosity since I don't bother servicing my own computers anymore.

     

    Still, I think I'd rather read something like this versus some random rumor emanating from DigiTimes, or some silly market analysis from Gartner/NPD/whoever. At least this is about a real thing and not some cockamamie "theory."

  • Reply 3 of 31

    When batteries begin to die, they also swell, in my experience. Will being glued to other parts cause the battery to rip-apart the other components of the Mac, thus necessitating even more costly repairs?  In the case of my mid-2009 Macbook, when the battery began swelling in 2012, it caused some distortion of the keyboard, but no real damage, and I replaced it with a 3rd party battery and still use the 6yo computer today.  I would hate to have to replace Macbooks every 3 years.  Heck, my 14yr old Powerbook "Pismo" still works fine....

  • Reply 4 of 31
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

     MacBook Airs sticking with non-adhered batteries

     

    I hope you intended this, because I love it.

  • Reply 5 of 31
    "suddenly newton" agenda on the other hand is knowing all behaviors by users.

    Instead of accusing iFixit ask yourself why this happens rather than stating the fact. Simply put if something does not need repairs then there is no problem and quality is high, but when it breaks do not produce garbage by replacing device with new. Just fix it. Apple is not exactly inexpensive. Ask your peers in different regions of these world what they think\. I know. I spoke with them and not neccessarily while being in the USA.


    People are forced to replace entire device, because they would be charged for repairs of devices that are made hard to repair and so repairs are expensive. If you pay attention to keeping the planet clean then it does not allign very well even though materials are "green"/RoHS - you still need to process used and defective device. "Cheap" is not always cheap.

    BTW are you in marketing or sales? You definitely sound like it.
  • Reply 6 of 31
    joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

     

    When batteries begin to die, they also swell, in my experience. Will being glued to other parts cause the battery to rip-apart the other components of the Mac, thus necessitating even more costly repairs?  In the case of my mid-2009 Macbook, when the battery began swelling in 2012, it caused some distortion of the keyboard, but no real damage, and I replaced it with a 3rd party battery and still use the 6yo computer today.  I would hate to have to replace Macbooks every 3 years.  Heck, my 14yr old Powerbook "Pismo" still works fine....




    Agreed - my battery in my MBP swelled up and made it impossible to push the track pad, which was very annoying (actually did it after only about 18 months)

  • Reply 7 of 31
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    The iFixit agenda of pushing for "repairability" doesn't fit with what most consumers do when their Apple products break. They aren't hobbyists, and they will never tinker with the innards of their hardware.

    Sure, things have changed considerably since iFixit started, but it's still a relevant site to have because it does detail how to open and repair these devices for those that either want to or need to.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 778member

    I had a MacBook Aluminum Unibody that experienced a swollen battery not long after the one-year warranty expired. I purchased a replacement battery from Amazon for just under $127.84. I blame the failure on the fact it was constantly plugged in and connected to an external monitor - I never "exercised" the battery.

     

    Apple currently charges $129 for parts and labor to replace the batteries in the MacBook Air.

     

    I haven't owned a laptop other than Apple since 2008, but as of that time, a typical OEM replacement battery for a Toshiba, Dell, HP, etc. was typically $80-130 and they didn't last (either per charge or per lifetime) near as long as the batteries in Apple laptops.

     

    I'd have to say $129 for a genuine Apple battery including the labor to properly replace it and assume responsibility if they break something is a very fair price. I'm sure we all wish it was lower, but that's not out of line. I see "mom and pop" repair shops charging $60-100 an hour for labor these days.

  • Reply 9 of 31
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member

    It's not a MacBook Air. It's a MacBook.

  • Reply 10 of 31
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,609member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

     

    It's not a MacBook Air. It's a MacBook.




    You are wrong. These are MacBook Airs, the new ones upgraded the same day as the announcement of the new MacBook. The latter has not shipped (some time in April, Apple claims).

  • Reply 11 of 31
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    And the most important news:
    Teardown Reveals New 13-Inch MacBook Air SSD is Nearly Twice as Fast as SSD in New 11-Inch MacBook Air
    http://www.macrumors.com/2015/03/11/13-inch-macbook-air-ssd-2x-faster
  • Reply 12 of 31
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post



    "suddenly newton" agenda on the other hand is knowing all behaviors by users.



    Instead of accusing iFixit ask yourself why this happens rather than stating the fact. Simply put if something does not need repairs then there is no problem and quality is high, but when it breaks do not produce garbage by replacing device with new. Just fix it. Apple is not exactly inexpensive. Ask your peers in different regions of these world what they think\. I know. I spoke with them and not neccessarily while being in the USA.





    People are forced to replace entire device, because they would be charged for repairs of devices that are made hard to repair and so repairs are expensive. If you pay attention to keeping the planet clean then it does not allign very well even though materials are "green"/RoHS - you still need to process used and defective device. "Cheap" is not always cheap.



    BTW are you in marketing or sales? You definitely sound like it.



    who is forced to replace an entire macbook rather than repair it? I've never heard of that.

  • Reply 13 of 31
    davendaven Posts: 626member
    joelsalt wrote: »

    Agreed - my battery in my MBP swelled up and made it impossible to push the track pad, which was very annoying (actually did it after only about 18 months)

    My laptop is then second generation polycarbonate MacBook. I think it is 8 or 9 years old. The latest battery did swell so I removed it and didn't replace it. That said, battery technology is vastly improved. I also have an original iPad which is a month and a half shy of being 5 years old and it is still going strong. The battery holds a charge and there is no evidence of swelling.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,756member
    "suddenly newton" agenda on the other hand is knowing all behaviors by users.

    Instead of accusing iFixit ask yourself why this happens rather than stating the fact. Simply put if something does not need repairs then there is no problem and quality is high, but when it breaks do not produce garbage by replacing device with new. Just fix it. Apple is not exactly inexpensive. Ask your peers in different regions of these world what they think\. I know. I spoke with them and not neccessarily while being in the USA

    What a tragic inferiority complex you have! I don't live in the USA and all of my Mac using colleagues and friends are also based outside of the US. I'm with "Suddenly Newton", sure I can tinker but most of the Mac users I know want a business or consumer-class product - not a hobbyist product.

    If I, or they, wanted to play, we'd chose a non-Apple product.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,745member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    The iFixit agenda of pushing for "repairability" doesn't fit with what most consumers do when their Apple products break. They aren't hobbyists, and they will never tinker with the innards of their hardware.

     

    Specialist website is specialist.  Shocker.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    I hope you intended this, because I love it.


     

    Pointing out a joke and highlighting how it is a joke really kills the mood.

  • Reply 16 of 31
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

     

      Heck, my 14yr old Powerbook "Pismo" still works fine....


    My Pismo also works almost 100% on Tiger 10.4 .

    But it's WiFi B is starting to be a limitation or a connection problem. :???:

  • Reply 17 of 31
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

     

     

    Specialist website is specialist.  Shocker.

     

     

    Pointing out a joke and highlighting how it is a joke really kills the mood.


     

    Neither of you came out of that well though.

  • Reply 18 of 31
    longpathlongpath Posts: 356member
    The iFixit agenda of pushing for "repairability" doesn't fit with what most consumers do when their Apple products break. They aren't hobbyists, and they will never tinker with the innards of their hardware.
    The same can be said of upgradability. It has been my practice, dating back to the 5300C to upgrade RAM and secondary storage during the course of the service life of the Mac. Having RAM soldered precludes such an upgrade, which, in turn, forces me to defer my upgrade purchases in order to budget for the maximum RAM available for a given model.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    The iFixit agenda of pushing for "repairability" doesn't fit with what most consumers do when their Apple products break. They aren't hobbyists, and they will never tinker with the innards of their hardware.

    Maybe not home consumers, but IT departments with enough users would normally fix machines rather than sending them away.

     

    For most people I would expect the battery would last longer than the user wants the device for. Not great for people buying second hand devices on eBay though.

  • Reply 20 of 31
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by McDave View Post





    What a tragic inferiority complex you have! I don't live in the USA and all of my Mac using colleagues and friends are also based outside of the US. I'm with "Suddenly Newton", sure I can tinker but most of the Mac users I know want a business or consumer-class product - not a hobbyist product.



    If I, or they, wanted to play, we'd chose a non-Apple product.



    Would you extend your 'logic' to iPhones?  In that it would be reasonable of Apple to glue the batteries in and so render them near unserviceable?

     

    Had they done so, Apple themselves would have faced increased costs with the recent iPhone 5 battery replacement program.

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