Apple claims it achieved new heights in both performance and miniaturization in its new line of MacBook Pro computers. However, the machines are now nearly impossible for users to repair on their own, according to iFixit, which performed teardowns of both Macs.
Taking apart the 15-inch model first, iFixit’s Miroslav Djuric said the internals were very similar to the 2012 model, but with a few important differences. First, the headphone jack is now attached to the logic board, meaning if the connector ever fails, it could cost upwards of $1,000 to fix, Djuric estimated.
Just like last year’s model, the MacBook Pro’s battery isn’t replaceable. It’s attached to the laptop’s chassis with “excessive” adhesive, so even experienced tinkerers will have a hard time swapping it out.
Djuric discovered some notable upgrades, too: The MacBook’s solid-state drive (SSD) made by Samsung is now connected to the motherboard via PCIe instead of eSATA, potentially giving users faster read/write speeds. There’s only a single heat sink since the laptops GPU is integrated on the Intel CPU; however, Apple offers the 15-inch model with a discrete graphics option. The AirPort card is upgraded as well, to a Broadcom model that supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
iFixit also attacked the 13-inch model and found it just as difficult to repair, with the same glued-in battery. Similar to the 15-inch, the entire display assembly is fused together — replacing it is an (expensive) all-or-nothing affair.
On both laptops, the RAM, battery and SSD aren’t designed to be user-replaceable, so be sure about your needs before purchasing a new MacBook.
Of course, Apple offers customers a one-year warranty on all hardware under AppleCare (which can be extended via AppleCare+), so new buyers shouldn’t fear the product failing, although accidents still happen.