Teardown of Apple's new 13" MacBook Pro reveals 'Force Touch' trackpad, shared tech with new MacBook

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited March 2015
The new "Force Touch" trackpad Apple introduced for its notebooks earlier this week has begun to arrive in consumers' hands in the refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a teardown of that device shows off the trackpad's construction while shedding light on storage technology shared between the company's computers.


The Force Touch trackpad assembly. Via iFixit.


Apple's latest 13-inch MacBook Pro is largely similar to its predecessor, repair firm iFixit notes in its disassembly. Some chips have been moved around and the layout of the logic board slightly altered, but the all-new 'Force Touch' trackpad is the largest change.

Prying apart the new trackpad, the company found four electromagnets that push and pull on a small metal rail. Apple touched these briefly during its "Spring Forward" event on Monday, but did not mention the method in which they operate.

Speculation suggests that Apple may vary which electromagnets are activated for a given press event, using different combinations to react to the force and position of the press on the trackpad.


A deconstructed assembly, with strain gauges visible on the supporting tabs. Via iFixit.


The force sensing mechanism relies on four small strain gauges affixed to flexible mounts in each corner of the trackpad. These gauges likely measure the deformation of the mounts, using that data to evaluate the force of the user's press.

Apple also brought its new flash memory architecture to the MacBook Pro, with the laptop sharing the same Samsung memory and controllers as the refreshed MacBook Air. Apple says this storage is twice as fast as the previous generation, claims largely backed up by benchmarks.


A close-up view of the electromagnet assembly. Via iFixit.


In all, iFixit gave the new MacBook Pro an unsurprising repairability score of 1 out of 10, citing the proprietary pentalobe screws, fused Retina display, and copious amounts of adhesive. This is unlikely to pose problems for most Mac buyers, who can simply return their devices to Apple for service in the event of a problem.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 352member

    "Teardown of Apple's new 13" MacBook Pro reveals 'Force Touch' trackpad, shared tech with new MacBook Air"

     

    How do you reveal something that's public knowledge? Apple's own videos show more than this teardown.

  • Reply 2 of 54
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,769member
    I'm quite disappointed that only the top line 13" MBP is available with 512GB Storage.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bsimpsen View Post

     

    "Teardown of Apple's new 13" MacBook Pro reveals 'Force Touch' trackpad, shared tech with new MacBook Air"

     

    How do you reveal something that's public knowledge? Apple's own videos show more than this teardown.


     

    Plus I'm pretty sure this is shared tech with the new MacBook, not the new MacBook Air.

     

    Apple's website lists Force Touch under the MBP but not the MBA.  

  • Reply 4 of 54
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I see a bunch of Windows OEMs have taken to Twitter to mock the new MacBook. They obviously saw all the OMG I WANT ???? and I NEED ???? posts on Twitter and Instagram, especially for the gold version. :smokey:
  • Reply 5 of 54

    I must be fickle...I'd buy it b/c it's so thin, light and gold! :)

  • Reply 6 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by slickdealer View Post

     

     

    Plus I'm pretty sure this is shared tech with the new MacBook, not the new MacBook Air.

     

    Apple's website lists Force Touch under the MBP but not the MBA.  


     

    Erm...

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple also brought its new flash memory architecture to the MacBook Pro, with the laptop sharing the same Samsung memory and controllers as the refreshed MacBook Air. Apple says this storage is twice as fast as the previous generation, claims largely backed up by benchmarks.

  • Reply 7 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,035member
    A question I've been asking, is why not give the 15" Macbook Pro the same treatment? Why just the 13" model? This seems strange to me.

    I'd also like to see the Macbook Air models with this trackpad. This is coming closer to the Wacom tablets without using a resistive layer. I wonder what the spacial sensitivity is, one pixel, or ten pixels? They were showing this with signatures during the presentation, and it looked very good.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    Rogifan, everyone knows that the gold one run faster. ;-)

    Tundraboy, agreed on the 512GB. I also regret the absence of quad-core i7 CPUs in this lineup. For some of us, this severely limits the ability of the MBP to serve as a desktop replacement. The 2015 model scores almost the same as my 2011 MBP on Geekbench and is slower on parallelizable tasks.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    tundraboy wrote: »
    I'm quite disappointed that only the top line 13" MBP is available with 512GB Storage.
    I don't get why people need more storage space while their intended use hasn't changed for years. For mobile devices I can understand the apps get bigger size but laptops.
    I like the gold one a lot even though I really don't need one.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,035member
    Rogifan, everyone knows that the gold one run faster. ;-)

    Tundraboy, agreed on the 512GB. I also regret the absence of quad-core i7 CPUs in this lineup. For some of us, this severely limits the ability of the MBP to serve as a desktop replacement. The 2015 model scores almost the same as my 2011 MBP on Geekbench and is slower on parallelizable tasks.

    It's a matter of heat and battery life. There's only so much you can do with a thin and light portable. Of course, if you want Apple to add a couple of pounds and an inch in thickness to it, I'm sure they could meet your needs. But when I was in business, some time ago, and according to the people I know who are still in business, editing photos and movies on their Macbook Pro will always be preliminary work. The heavy work is done later on an iMac, or Mac Pro with a large calibrated monitor.

    These are tools for lighter work than the "trucks" that real Desktop machines are.

    But today's Macbook Pro is vastly more powerful than the ones from the beginning.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    A question I've been asking, is why not give the 15" Macbook Pro the same treatment? Why just the 13" model? This seems strange to me.



    I'd also like to see the Macbook Air models with this trackpad. This is coming closer to the Wacom tablets without using a resistive layer. I wonder what the spacial sensitivity is, one pixel, or ten pixels? They were showing this with signatures during the presentation, and it looked very good.



    They're going for a bigger horsepower jump with the 15" and the chips aren't ready for that yet.

  • Reply 12 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,035member
    jfc1138 wrote: »

    They're going for a bigger horsepower jump with the 15" and the chips aren't ready for that yet.

    What does that have to do with the touchpad, about which I was asking?
  • Reply 13 of 54
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    What does that have to do with the touchpad, about which I was asking?



    Sorry, your "the same treatment?" didn't make that clear to me as with no quote to what you were referring could be seen as ambiguous. But hey, YMMV

     

    Feel free to ignore the previous post.

  • Reply 14 of 54
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    melgross wrote: »
    A question I've been asking, is why not give the 15" Macbook Pro the same treatment? Why just the 13" model? This seems strange to me.

    I'd also like to see the Macbook Air models with this trackpad. This is coming closer to the Wacom tablets without using a resistive layer. I wonder what the spacial sensitivity is, one pixel, or ten pixels? They were showing this with signatures during the presentation, and it looked very good.

    My guess is the 15" will get it at WWDC or this fall. MBAs probably won't as I suspect they won't be around much longer. Once Apple can get the rMBP thin and light enough the Airs go away IMO.
  • Reply 15 of 54
    red oakred oak Posts: 886member
    iFixit scores are worthless for Apple products. If you have an issue with an Apple product, you take it to an Apple Store or authorized repair center.

    What is so difficult about that? If it was an issues, it would be impacting Apple sales and market share. Which it clearly is not
  • Reply 16 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    melgross wrote: »
    A question I've been asking, is why not give the 15" Macbook Pro the same treatment? Why just the 13" model? This seems strange to me.
    I think it is pretty obvious that a MBP 15" isn't as far away as some think. As such im expecting a SkyLake bases machine in the July time frame. SkyLake affords Apple the opportunity to do a major overhaul of the machine.
    I'd also like to see the Macbook Air models with this trackpad. This is coming closer to the Wacom tablets without using a resistive layer. I wonder what the spacial sensitivity is, one pixel, or ten pixels? They were showing this with signatures during the presentation, and it looked very good.

    With the lackluster up date to the MBA you do have to wonder if Apple has a long term goal here. The only thing I can think here is that the new track pad is in a ramp up stage and thus expensive. That of course doesn't explian the lack of a boost to RAM or other improvements. I was actually a bit disappointed with the upgrade to the MBA, sure the GPU performance is way up but little else was done with the model.

    Sadly last night I was seriously considering buying a laptop to put LINUX on. The problem is there just isn't much to choose from in the way of decent hardware, especially when it comes to track pads. On the other hand finding hardware with actual usable ports isn't a problem.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    bkevbkev Posts: 1member
    melgross wrote: »
    A question I've been asking, is why not give the 15" Macbook Pro the same treatment? Why just the 13" model? This seems strange to me.

    Intel has yet to release the quad core versions of the Broadwell chip, which is why the update of the 15" is MIA so far.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Rogifan, everyone knows that the gold one run faster. ;-)
    Actually the owner of the gold ones has to run faster to keep his machine. ????????????????
    Tundraboy, agreed on the 512GB. I also regret the absence of quad-core i7 CPUs in this lineup. For some of us, this severely limits the ability of the MBP to serve as a desktop replacement. The 2015 model scores almost the same as my 2011 MBP on Geekbench and is slower on parallelizable tasks.

    This is a bummer but the question should be asked has Intel released a suitable chip? Also if I had a choice between quad cores and a vastly improved GPU I think I would go the GPU route for this round. It would be nice to have a quad core, don't get me wrong here, but the improved GPU makes it a more versatile machine attractive to a wider array of users.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    I don't get why people need more storage space while their intended use hasn't changed for years.
    Well first the way people use their machines does change over time! Also the accumulated data tends to increase not decrease. In any event I learned my lesson here the hardware by buying a Mac with a 200 GB hard drive a few years ago. That drive simply wasn't big enough and thus I won't make that mistake again. So yeah large drive availability in lower end models makes sense because these days storage can become a problem before performance.
    For mobile devices I can understand the apps get bigger size but laptops.
    It is far worst on the desktop. Some common desktop apps take a massive amount of storage space.
    I like the gold one a lot even though I really don't need one.

    See, you will be running.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    melgross wrote: »
    What does that have to do with the touchpad, about which I was asking?

    Oh come on here, they wouldn't add just a new track pad to an old model. This especially if that track pad requires frame modifications.
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