June 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM ET
The new MacBook Pro is one absolutely amazing laptop. It's sleek, fast, and has an impressive Retina display.
But such a tight design meant locking out tinkerers and third-party repair people. Non-Apple personnel will find the laptop difficult to repair or upgrade.
The people at iFixit, who collaborate to draft repair manuals for all sorts of gadgets, emphasized this particular downside when they tore apart one of the new MacBook Pro laptops.
"This is, to date, the least repairable laptop we've taken apart," wrote iFixit's Kyle Wiens.
The device uses proprietary screws (which mean that you'll need a special screwdriver just to open the bottom cover), the RAM is soldered to the logic board, and there is no traditional hard-drive enclosure, just an array of proprietary flash storage.
What's more, the battery is glued — rather than screwed — into the case, and the display assembly is completely fused.
This means that anyone attempting to take apart their laptop may well damage it, and even Apple is recommending that new MacBook Pro buyers plan ahead when it comes to internal storage, as upgrading it is not currently an option. (You will be able to update RAM on the new model, according to an Apple Store specialist we spoke to.)
Let's not even think too much about what'll happen if the display needs repair. You'd have to "replace the entire (extremely expensive) assembly," writes Wiens.
Why is all of this such a big deal?
"Laptops are expensive," Wiens begins to explain. "It's critical that consumers have the option to repair things that go wrong, as well as upgrade their own hardware to keep it relevant as new technologies roll out. On top of being glued together, the new MacBook Pro is virtually non-upgradeable — making it the first MacBook Pro that will be unable to adapt to future advances in memory and storage technology."
No doubt Apple Stores will adapt to the needs of customers, but this is certainly yet another example of Apple hardware design requirements coming before the interests of do-it-yourselfers.
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