Apple MBP
June 13, 2012

Apple’s New MacBook Pro Is Meant To Be Replaced, Not Repaired

Michael Harper for

Not all that glitters is gold, my friend. Likewise, not every work of art is easily repairable. Or something like that.
Apple wowed us when they announced and subsequently released their newest line of laptops, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display this week at their WWDC 2012 keynote.

Now, as they are known to do, the repair geeks at iFixit have managed a way to put this new aluminum-clad beauty under the Pentalobe screwdriver and take a peak inside. Now, they´re calling this new pro Apple laptop “the least repairable laptop,” giving it the lowest score of 1/10.

This new machine combines the best of everything Apple has learned about building computing devices. It´s packed with power, thanks to the Intel Ivy Bridge Core-i7 processor (with Turbo Boost, no less) and it´s starting 8GB RAM. This addition to the MacBook Pro line is basically a MacBook Air on steroids. Finally, bringing all that sheer speed and power to your eyeballs is that wonderfully crisp display.

Unfortunately, if anything goes wrong with this screen, you´re looking at replacing the entire unit. According to Apple (and confirmed by iFixit) the Retina display is built right into the frame of the thing with no extra glass layers in between the display and your head. The teardown also revealed the “display assembly also includes the iSight Camera, WiFi antennas, and Bluetooth antennas.”

Just like the iPhones and MacBook Air before it, the new MacBook Pro RD locks down its internal parts with Pentalobe screws, a proprietary screw which requires a special driver to remove. This kind of extra security measure also brings down the repairability score.

For all the good lessons Apple took from their Air line–such as cramming all that power into an incredibly light and thin package–they also took some of the bad. Like the Air line, the new MacBook Pro has its RAM soldered right onto the logic board. No third-party RAM upgrades for you.

The choice you make in flash memory size is also yours to keep forever, as the flash memory, too, is not yet able to be upgraded.

The team at iFixit also notes Apple has opted not to screw their 7-hour battery into the case. Rather, they´ve chosen to glue the power pack into the frame, making it nearly impossible to remove by any non-licensed Apple repair person. In fact, iFixit stopped short of brute force to remove it for fear they might either burst the packs or break the trackpad cable found underneath, rendering the entire $2200 unit unusable.

That price pops up often enough in the teardown. At just over 2 grand, the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display isn´t going to become a household name just yet. The iFixit team seem to feel that shelling out so much money should allow them to be able to do whatever they want with the laptop, and they may be right. However, with 15 inches of high resolution display, 256 GB of flash memory, 8GB of RAM and more, Apple´s laptop seems more aggressive than overinflated.

However, for an extra $350, you can purchase an AppleCare protection plan which will protect your machine for up to three years, you know, just in case you need to have any repairs done to this thing. No, the new MacBook Pro isn´t your father´s Chevy. You can´t pull it into the garage and slap on a new set of brakes when the old ones wear out. The new MBP RD is a high-end Mercedes. If you want anything done to it, you carefully drive it over to the blue-shirts who know what they´re doing and let them take care of it. After all, that´s what you paid for, right?