13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar teardown shows difficult to repair computer

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
The first full tear-down of Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has concluded, with confirmation of a non-removable SSD, and as expected the computer has little possibility of user repairability.




The interior layout differs from the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys beyond just the SSD being surface mounted, repair guide depot iFixit noted. The Touch Bar model features a physically smaller battery rated at 49.2 Watt-hours versus the 54.5 Watt-hours in the function key model, a pair of fans, a double-ended heat-sink, and lower speakers that have no relation to the purely cosmetic speaker grills in the new unit.

Components and suppliers of note include an Intel-provided JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller, Samsung-provided LPDDR3 RAM, a STMicroelectronics Touch Bar display controller, a Broadcom touch controller, and SanDisk NAND Flash storage. The T1 Touch ID authentication chip that couples with the Touch Bar is labeled APL1023 343S00137.




iFixit also pointed out that as the Touch ID button doubles as a power button, a repair of that system may be "a more costly affair than it once was."

Repairable components include the difficult to remove Touch Bar, the motherboard, USB-C modules, fans, the display in conjunction with the screen assembly, and the trackpad. The battery is glued to the upper case, and is just as difficult to replace as previous models in the Retina MacBook Pro line.

If a keyboard replacement is necessary, it needs to be swapped out with the entire upper case. A new keyboard comes attached to the upper case and includes a new battery glued into place if a repair is needed for any of the included components with the MacBook Pro with Retina display line since 2012.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    And this is news because? I'm amazed that every time iFixit does a tear down the collective tech world loses their mind as though this hasn't been Apple's MO for years now. None of this is surprising so why the freak out?
    JustaTechoGeorgeBMacmike1repressthispscooter63macxpressjony0cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 29
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,879member
    MAcbooks are better built comparing to Windows laptop so if lasts 3-5 years than no need for serviceability. This was first attempt to include touch strip so redesigned Macbook upgrade in 2018 will get better in repair ability. .
    cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 29
    This is the reason I purchase Apple Care and change computers every three years. Let the experts deal with it if it needs to be felt with. I have way more interesting things to do than fix my own laptop :)
    horvaticnolamacguyrepressthisration albaconstangjony0cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 29
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    I am really disappointed by the fake speaker grills. They serve no function but to clutter the experience.

    >:x
    edited November 2016 schlackbdkennedy1002repressthisbaconstangcornchip
  • Reply 5 of 29
    mr o said:
    I am really disappointed by the fake speaker grills. They serve no function but to clutter the experience.

    >:x


    Yeah, that's a weird, seemingly "unApple" choice.  Was there something wrong with the clean lines of the prior model?  I can only assume that they wanted shoppers to have a visual clue that the speakers are much better.  Bah.

    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 29
    wood1208 said:
    MAcbooks are better built comparing to Windows laptop so if lasts 3-5 years than no need for serviceability. This was first attempt to include touch strip so redesigned Macbook upgrade in 2018 will get better in repair ability. .

    3 years for a computer is nothing unless the cost is $500. I've never known a PC or Mac to fail in its first 3 years if handled well. Except a HDD failure in the first year.

    Dropping 3K on a computer means it needs to work for 5-8 years. Used to be, this was possible by throwing in some upgrades every couple of years to improve performance. 

    The worse thing is the SSD. Not being able to replace the SSD is really concerning to me. A failure will cost dearly. 
    edited November 2016 avon b7
  • Reply 7 of 29
    And this is news because? I'm amazed that every time iFixit does a tear down the collective tech world loses their mind as though this hasn't been Apple's MO for years now. None of this is surprising so why the freak out?
    Not thinking they are 'loosing their mind', just reporting on what was found.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    And this is news because? I'm amazed that every time iFixit does a tear down the collective tech world loses their mind as though this hasn't been Apple's MO for years now. None of this is surprising so why the freak out?

    Steve Jobs used weird screws to keep people out of his Macintosh.  

    Tim Cook let's you in -- but stops you from doing anything once you get there....

    We've been arguing the user modifiable/fixable debate for 20 years (is it 30 already?).   But part of that debate that has been ignored is the fact that making a unit non-user fixable or modifiable or upgradeable increases its cost by hastening its obsolescence and death.

    A 6 year old Lenovo can be repaired or upgraded to maintain its operability.   What about a 6 year old Mac?

    It's also important to realize that Jobs and Cook have different motivations for keeping people out of their machines:
    - Jobs didn't want people screwing up his careful design
    - Cook & Company are obsessed with thin and light designs that necessitate units that are not upgradeable or repairable.

    And, that's an important distinction:  Anything designed to be non-repairable or upgradeable (even by its own manufacturer) is designed to be disposable.  But who wants to pay $1,500 - $3,000 for a disposable laptop?   (Especially when there are competitive options available? -- Such as a Chrome Book)

    ... Jobs focus was:  technology is just a means to an end (functionality -- "It just works").   Cook needs to realize that technology is not the end game.

    avon b7
  • Reply 9 of 29
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,851member
    And this is news because? I'm amazed that every time iFixit does a tear down the collective tech world loses their mind as though this hasn't been Apple's MO for years now. None of this is surprising so why the freak out?

    Steve Jobs used weird screws to keep people out of his Macintosh.  

    Tim Cook let's you in -- but stops you from doing anything once you get there....

    We've been arguing the user modifiable/fixable debate for 20 years (is it 30 already?).   But part of that debate that has been ignored is the fact that making a unit non-user fixable or modifiable or upgradeable increases its cost by hastening its obsolescence and death.

    A 6 year old Lenovo can be repaired or upgraded to maintain its operability.   What about a 6 year old Mac?

    It's also important to realize that Jobs and Cook have different motivations for keeping people out of their machines:
    - Jobs didn't want people screwing up his careful design
    - Cook & Company are obsessed with thin and light designs that necessitate units that are not upgradeable or repairable.

    And, that's an important distinction:  Anything designed to be non-repairable or upgradeable (even by its own manufacturer) is designed to be disposable.  But who wants to pay $1,500 - $3,000 for a disposable laptop?   (Especially when there are competitive options available? -- Such as a Chrome Book)

    ... Jobs focus was:  technology is just a means to an end (functionality -- "It just works").   Cook needs to realize that technology is not the end game.

    If you want a modular computer, build your own. Comparing a MB Pro or a high-end PC laptop to a Chromebook is beyond ridiculous.
    nolamacguyrepressthisjahajaration albaconstangjony0
  • Reply 10 of 29
    mr o said:
    I am really disappointed by the fake speaker grills. They serve no function but to clutter the experience.

    >:x
    Do we know for certain that they serve no purpose? IFixit is making that assumption but they don't know for certain. 
    nolamacguyrepressthispscooter63jahajaration albaconstangjony0wlym
  • Reply 11 of 29
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,400member
    mr o said:
    I am really disappointed by the fake speaker grills. They serve no function but to clutter the experience.

    >:x
    I have never had a 15" MBP, is there any risk of dirt clogging these holes? I know I get gunk accumulating on my 13" MBPs that has to be cleaned from time to time, and can't imagine if it had gotten into those holes. Even worse if those holes don't actually serve any purpose.

    i read somewhere that the lower 1/4 of the speaker grills accommodate tweeters, but that doesn't really explain the other 3/4s of the holes, other than form over function.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    I've never understood why people fall for the Apple Care scam. You're already paying extra to buy the Mercedes of computing devices which is supposed to be built to last past 3 years. I have bought dozens of Apple products over 15 years and never once had to have them repaired out of warranty.
    djkfisher said:
    This is the reason I purchase Apple Care and change computers every three years. Let the experts deal with it if it needs to be felt with. I have way more interesting things to do than fix my own laptop :)
    randominternetpersoncornchip
  • Reply 13 of 29
    Fast NVME drives are available now. The only rationales I can think of (excluding profit motive of course) might be tighter component tolerance allowing more precise speed tuning, and perhaps a specific form factor for battery optimization: http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=179_1229_1090&item_id=088864
  • Reply 14 of 29
    bdkennedy said:
    I've never understood why people fall for the Apple Care scam. You're already paying extra to buy the Mercedes of computing devices which is supposed to be built to last past 3 years. I have bought dozens of Apple products over 15 years and never once had to have them repaired out of warranty.
    djkfisher said:
    This is the reason I purchase Apple Care and change computers every three years. Let the experts deal with it if it needs to be felt with. I have way more interesting things to do than fix my own laptop :)

    I did at 15 months. Mid-2012 15" Pro Retina. The LCD screen.....$368. Never had an issue like it. First, Macbook, it didn't leave a good impression give how common the issue was.

    Still a great laptop though.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,400member
    bdkennedy said:
    I've never understood why people fall for the Apple Care scam. You're already paying extra to buy the Mercedes of computing devices which is supposed to be built to last past 3 years. I have bought dozens of Apple products over 15 years and never once had to have them repaired out of warranty.
    djkfisher said:
    This is the reason I purchase Apple Care and change computers every three years. Let the experts deal with it if it needs to be felt with. I have way more interesting things to do than fix my own laptop :)
    Every single one of my Apple products has had some issue out of warranty for which Apple Care did, or would have made a difference. Less of a problem with Macs, but every iPhone I've ever bought had problems. After both my original 5s and the replacement 5s from Apple failed, I am a big fan of Apple Care for iOS devices.

    Then there's my 2011 MBP. I did not get Apple Care, and two years later when I bought my first Thunderbolt drive, discovered the Thunderbolt port didn't supply external power, requiring me to get a powered dock use my portable drive (Apple confirmed it was a manufacturing defect, no longer covered). So you never know when you're going to find out you needed extended coverage. Also -- test every aspect of your new equipment whether you have a need for it or not.

    that said, most credit cards will give you an extra year over the 1 year warranty, and even on top of the Apple Care warranty
  • Reply 16 of 29
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    mr o said:
    I am really disappointed by the fake speaker grills. They serve no function but to clutter the experience.

    >:x
    Do we know for certain that they serve no purpose? IFixit is making that assumption but they don't know for certain. 
    Mmmm. Not sure myself. 

    If you have a look at the demo animations  on the Apple website, they show the output from the speakers isn't going anywhere near the grilles, so iFixit didn't have dismantle the laptop to find that out. 

    But it it does look as though the grilles are near the cooling fans, so maybe they're something to do with keeping the machine cool?

    Granted they didn't need grilles before, but maybe they found that the new chipset needed the redesign. Or maybe it isn't the chipset; it could be the fact they've installed a stretched out Apple Watch above the keyboard. 

    Intriguing. 
    edited November 2016
  • Reply 17 of 29
    1) ifixit is not the authority on what & why apple does what it does. they can only guess.

    2) appliance computing is here to stay. laptops will become more like iPads and iPads will get more capable. and ill be completely fine with this. i dont repair my television, either.
    pscooter63jahajaration alrandominternetpersonjony0
  • Reply 18 of 29
    cashxxcashxx Posts: 102member
    It's sad to see these so difficult to repair when it could be made in one single layer of easily removable components. No reason for them to make it this hard to repair/upgrade. I strongly disagree with Apple on this front.  I have to work on these things and no reason for it.
    avon b7baconstang
  • Reply 19 of 29
    mr o said:
    I am really disappointed by the fake speaker grills. They serve no function but to clutter the experience.

    >:x
    It's possible they are just to let air move in and out.  May be needed for cooling.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Apple is sublime and pathetic sometimes. Good luck with such non-removable SSD. Not to mention if it is RAID 0 inside.
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