Teardown of 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar reveals non-removable SSD, extra trackpad touch controll

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in Current Mac Hardware
Repair firm iFixit on Friday completed its dissection of Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which boasts upscaled components and extra hardware not found on its smaller 13-inch sibling.


MacBook Pro with Touch Bar's "connector to nowhere." | Source: iFixit


Though the overall internal design is similar to the 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro, complete with "mustache" logic board, the 15-inch Pro features two -- larger -- fans, larger speakers, a revised battery layout, and extra components to power the much larger Force Touch Trackpad.

Much to the chagrin of aftermarket upgrade purveyors, the 15-inch Pro sports the same soldered-on SSD module design, meaning users are hard pressed to change out the drive without authorized help. Further, iFixit discovered a connector that has no readily apparent purpose. Though not confirmed, the component, also seen on the 13-inch model, is thought to be an SSD diagnostics port.

Also of note is MacBook Pro's gigantic Force Touch trackpad. With the 15-inch model, Apple had to incorporate a second touch controller to handle the extra surface area.

Other notable findings include a faux speaker grille with through-holes limited to a small round section just above the two up-firing speakers, improved heatsink and an Apple APL1023 343S00137 chip thought to be the Touch Bar's T1 controller. Interestingly, Apple might have mislabeled the T1 chip in a product promo video aired during last month's special event. It turns out the silicon highlighted by Apple is a Texas Instruments chip also present in the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, suggesting the actual T1 controller is a larger, Apple-branded component positioned just below the T1 part.

Overall, iFixit says the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is incredibly difficult to repair due to its non-removable SSD, glued-in battery, impossible to replace OLED Touch Bar and integrated Touch ID power button.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 76
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,489member
    Though not confirmed, the component, also seen on the 13-inch model, is thought to be an SSD diagnostics port.
    Based on the available data, that was my guess. Hopefully someone like OWC will be able to make a USB-C-to-MBPwTB-SSD adapter so we can copy and wipe data from the SSD before disposing or shipping off for repair.
    macseekerrepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 76
    Its kind of like people that buy old Fords like to tinker under the hood and those that buy New Corvettes let the pros do the work. As these machines get smaller and more complex, it is going to be harder to dig in and pull it apart. And then, put it back together again......
    jay-t1stjahbladehcrefugeerepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 76


    Much to the chagrin of aftermarket upgrade purveyors, the 15-inch Pro sports the same soldered-on SSD module design, meaning users are hard pressed to change out the drive without authorized help. Further, iFixit discovered a connector that has no readily apparent purpose. Though not confirmed, the component, also seen on the 13-inch model, is thought to be an SSD diagnostics port.


    Any change it could be a SSD expansion port?
    Solder on the basic configurations then use add in module(s) for larger configurations.
  • Reply 4 of 76
    Went to my local Apple Retail Store today and marveled at the 13" and 15" Touch Bar MBP's. One question that the consultants couldn't answer (they were too busy) was whether the Touch Bar will only work with Safari or other browsers (such as Chrome) as well. Anyone here know the answer?
    steveh
  • Reply 5 of 76
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    bluefire1 said:
    Went to my local Apple Retail Store today and marveled at the 13" and 15" Touch Bar MBP's. One question that the consultants couldn't answer (they were too busy) was whether the Touch Bar will only work with Safari or other browsers (such as Chrome) as well. Anyone here know the answer?
    I don't see why it shouldn't, but Google has to write the code to support it. 
    jay-trepressthispulseimages
  • Reply 6 of 76
    I've replaced my hard disk with higher capacity several times over the years when the need develops. A lack of need for new laptop and it's price was a deal breaker in any case, but inability to upgrade the SSD means my opinion of Apple continues to erode. 
    lmagooavon b7repressthis
  • Reply 7 of 76
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,489member
    Rayz2016 said:
    bluefire1 said:
    Went to my local Apple Retail Store today and marveled at the 13" and 15" Touch Bar MBP's. One question that the consultants couldn't answer (they were too busy) was whether the Touch Bar will only work with Safari or other browsers (such as Chrome) as well. Anyone here know the answer?
    I don't see why it shouldn't, but Google has to write the code to support it. 
    At the event Apple announced they had created APIs so that any developer could integrate Touch Bar support into their apps, and had demos of many 3rd-party apps that were already utilizing Touch Bar.

    Chrome 54 launched 2 weeks prior to the event. Chrome 55 is suppose to come out in late November or December. Since it seems so easy to add this feature, it could show up, but since I can't find any information on it and since so few MBPwTB are in use I would assume it won't happen until next year as I assume that Chrome 55 features are probably locked.

    But I assure you it will come, simply because other developers show this to be a simple addition and by not offering it Google loses revenue from not having their browser be the one in which you utilize for search.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 8 of 76
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,489member
    mattinoz said:


    Much to the chagrin of aftermarket upgrade purveyors, the 15-inch Pro sports the same soldered-on SSD module design, meaning users are hard pressed to change out the drive without authorized help. Further, iFixit discovered a connector that has no readily apparent purpose. Though not confirmed, the component, also seen on the 13-inch model, is thought to be an SSD diagnostics port.
    Any change it could be a SSD expansion port?
    Solder on the basic configurations then use add in module(s) for larger configurations.
    I can't absolutely say that it wouldn't be possible to do if it can be used for reading and writing, but it's certainly not designed to be an expansion port for a removable SSD.
  • Reply 9 of 76
    ZuJZuJ Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Non-expandable,
    non-modular,
    non-compatible
    non-repairable.

    Apart from its raw power this machine is non-professional from any every conceivable perspective. Apple still does not get it: Industrial design for pros is something that is very much different from industrial design for consumers. If they want to address a pro market, they should better sit down and think very very hard. For starters they might put an iPhone 7 next to a fairphone 2 and try to imagine, what the best of two worlds might look like.

    flyghtmsavon b7
  • Reply 10 of 76
    irelandireland Posts: 17,534member
    djkfisher said:
    Its kind of like people that buy old Fords like to tinker under the hood and those that buy New Corvettes let the pros do the work. As these machines get smaller and more complex, it is going to be harder to dig in and pull it apart. And then, put it back together again......
    All USBc doesn't bother me. Can't tinker doesn't bother me. Price of machine, that bothers me. I wish they were even at bit more reasonably priced.
    edited November 2016 Paradroidpscooter63avon b7jahbladedebusohpulseimages
  • Reply 11 of 76
    What a JOKE. Hard drive failed----REPLACE ENTIRE COMPUTER. No way, noway. Not for me. Happy if it brings other's joy though! :)
    brian greenavon b7repressthis
  • Reply 12 of 76
    I find the concept that if it's not upgradeable it's not Pro a bit bizarre. Pro doesn't just mean IT person. There are lots of other industries like Media, Science, Finance etc where people need lots of power but aren't going to open the machine themselves to upgrade the internals. 

    I've built my own computers many times but do it a lot less now because most of my "computers" are devices like iPads and games consoles.

    im not saying it shouldn't be upgradeable, just that it not being upgradeable doesn't make it non-pro. 
    stevehpscooter631strandominternetpersonai46hcrefugeerepressthis
  • Reply 13 of 76
    Paradroid said:
    im not saying it shouldn't be upgradeable, just that it not being upgradeable doesn't make it non-pro. 
    True. Even different generations of iMacs and iBooks could be upgraded. Apple even made it easy to flip-up the keyboard to insert RAM, disks, and wireless. 

    What should worry is that if we can't upgrade RAM and disk or buy at non-Apple pricing. The battery is glued. All together the expected lifetime of the MacBook Pro 2016 is probably reduced from 5 to 3 years. Combined with new pricing and the TCO is then ≈ +80% higher while the environmental impact is +60% compared to previous. All of that to save 2.5 mm!
    repressthis
  • Reply 14 of 76
    bucksterbuckster Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    The immaturity of "professionals" that cannot tinker aka upgrade these machines therefore they are deemed "non-professional" machines (sarcasm on the hyphenation) is laughable simply because THEY still do not "get it" that these machines in becoming so small and integrated really should not be tinkered with. These fools still have the option to buy the plastic touch screen 2-in-1s that Windows makes more unusable than the glued in SSD and battery of the lightweight MBPs, which is probably what they already use anyway to their own detriment.
    stevehpscooter63repressthis
  • Reply 15 of 76
    With the advent of the cloud, storing more and more off the device, suspect that HD size is as important as it used to be.

    Also, curious if it was only my machine, the touch bar got pretty hot, too hot to use really.  Anyone else noticing this?
  • Reply 16 of 76
    digitol said:
    What a JOKE. Hard drive failed----REPLACE ENTIRE COMPUTER. No way, noway. Not for me. Happy if it brings other's joy though! :)
    There is no Hard drive.
    Solifoggyhillai46pulseimages
  • Reply 17 of 76
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,213member
    ZuJ said:
    Non-expandable,
    non-modular,
    non-compatible
    non-repairable.

    Apart from its raw power this machine is non-professional from any every conceivable perspective. Apple still does not get it: Industrial design for pros is something that is very much different from industrial design for consumers. If they want to address a pro market, they should better sit down and think very very hard. For starters they might put an iPhone 7 next to a fairphone 2 and try to imagine, what the best of two worlds might look like.

    I would add the glueing the battery to the casing in such a way that not even iFixit could remove it safely, puts every purchaser in the Apple lottery. Statistically, most of these batteries will get through the warranty period without issue. After that you're own your own.

    If it begins to swell, the repair (if Apple is still even making the parts) will be unnecessarily more expensive than just pulling the battery and putting a third party unit.

    My washing machine has a 10 year warranty on the drum mechanism. Both my fridge and freezer have 10 year warranties on their compressors. I see Maxtor is offering three-year warranties on its external drives.

    None of these items are in the price range of the MBPs. If Apple wants to take this route to 'disposable' electronics (because, put simply, that is the potential result) they should offer a 'lifetime' warranty against battery swelling.

    And to those who say 'this is Apple and they've chosen this route, live with it', I say that is an empty statement. Apple is the sum of the people at the helm. Believe me, things could change dramatically' when top management changes and that could be any time.

    nubus
  • Reply 18 of 76
    nubus said:
    Paradroid said:
    im not saying it shouldn't be upgradeable, just that it not being upgradeable doesn't make it non-pro. 
    True. Even different generations of iMacs and iBooks could be upgraded. Apple even made it easy to flip-up the keyboard to insert RAM, disks, and wireless. 

    What should worry is that if we can't upgrade RAM and disk or buy at non-Apple pricing. The battery is glued. All together the expected lifetime of the MacBook Pro 2016 is probably reduced from 5 to 3 years. Combined with new pricing and the TCO is then ≈ +80% higher while the environmental impact is +60% compared to previous. All of that to save 2.5 mm!
    Exactly, the 5 to 3 year reduction is why they did it. I have a MBP from 2010 and it's still ok for most things aside from 4K video, games, etc. But I had to add an SSD and upgrade the RAM. If people can use macs that last for 5-7 years they'll have a problem with sales. They have a vested interest in their machines not lasting as long. 
    aknabi
  • Reply 19 of 76
    1st1st Posts: 271member
    avon b7 said:
    ZuJ said:
    Non-expandable,
    non-modular,
    non-compatible
    non-repairable.
    I would add the glueing the battery to the casing in such a way that not even iFixit could remove it safely, puts every purchaser in the Apple lottery. Statistically, most of these batteries will get through the warranty period without issue. After that you're own your own.

    If it begins to swell, the repair (if Apple is still even making the parts) will be unnecessarily more expensive than just pulling the battery and putting a third party unit.

    My washing machine has a 10 year warranty on the drum mechanism. Both my fridge and freezer have 10 year warranties on their compressors. I see Maxtor is offering three-year warranties on its external drives.

    None of these items are in the price range of the MBPs. If Apple wants to take this route to 'disposable' electronics (because, put simply, that is the potential result) they should offer a 'lifetime' warranty against battery swelling.

    And to those who say 'this is Apple and they've chosen this route, live with it', I say that is an empty statement. Apple is the sum of the people at the helm. Believe me, things could change dramatically' when top management changes and that could be any time.

    (1) if you like everything upgradable and changable, look for moto modular- trade off is the performance.  e.g. if you glue that battery using some heat insulating conductive glue, you can use it as thermal conduction path.  but just contact (sitting on top of metal, may not be as good from both electrical and thermal point  of view... to conduct same amount of heat away, may increase  weight, for example).
    (2) utilitary appliences designed usable life is different, compare to computers.  actually, over the years, the designed usable life went down a lot... due to both user behaviour, software requirement, and technology roadmap (moores law of 18 month got a lot to do with it).  Use to be 3 years warrantee with 5 years zero field return, currently the warrantee dropped to 6 month... material selection on the durability changed accordingly.  price reflect it as well - even pricy mac, price per function and function  per weight still out there as good buy.
    (3) disposable? far from it... even though apple do have a recycle robot... re-sale value of your old machine is not bad... how to clean up the hardware is a valid concern.  hopefully apple got an "app" for it. :-)
  • Reply 20 of 76
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,213member
    1st said:
    avon b7 said:
    ZuJ said:
    Non-expandable,
    non-modular,
    non-compatible
    non-repairable.
    I would add the glueing the battery to the casing in such a way that not even iFixit could remove it safely, puts every purchaser in the Apple lottery. Statistically, most of these batteries will get through the warranty period without issue. After that you're own your own.

    If it begins to swell, the repair (if Apple is still even making the parts) will be unnecessarily more expensive than just pulling the battery and putting a third party unit.

    My washing machine has a 10 year warranty on the drum mechanism. Both my fridge and freezer have 10 year warranties on their compressors. I see Maxtor is offering three-year warranties on its external drives.

    None of these items are in the price range of the MBPs. If Apple wants to take this route to 'disposable' electronics (because, put simply, that is the potential result) they should offer a 'lifetime' warranty against battery swelling.

    And to those who say 'this is Apple and they've chosen this route, live with it', I say that is an empty statement. Apple is the sum of the people at the helm. Believe me, things could change dramatically' when top management changes and that could be any time.

    (1) if you like everything upgradable and changable, look for moto modular- trade off is the performance.  e.g. if you glue that battery using some heat insulating conductive glue, you can use it as thermal conduction path.  but just contact (sitting on top of metal, may not be as good from both electrical and thermal point  of view... to conduct same amount of heat away, may increase  weight, for example).
    (2) utilitary appliences designed usable life is different, compare to computers.  actually, over the years, the designed usable life went down a lot... due to both user behaviour, software requirement, and technology roadmap (moores law of 18 month got a lot to do with it).  Use to be 3 years warrantee with 5 years zero field return, currently the warrantee dropped to 6 month... material selection on the durability changed accordingly.  price reflect it as well - even pricy mac, price per function and function  per weight still out there as good buy.
    (3) disposable? far from it... even though apple do have a recycle robot... re-sale value of your old machine is not bad... how to clean up the hardware is a valid concern.  hopefully apple got an "app" for it. :-)
    1. Care to support that with something tangible? There are glues and there are glues. I doubt affixing the battery permanently to the casing was the only option but let's imagine it was. In that case they should have revised the design or, as I suggested, extend the warranty of the battery.

    2. Sorry but I didn't understand much of that.

    3. How would I re-sell one of these things with a swollen battery? Liam is great but the only way to get a MBP to it is by giving it away or accepting the buyback price Apple offers.
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