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Retina Macbook Pro – ‘the least repairable laptop’

Apple have been receiving a lot of praise for their latest Macbook Pro update with Retina display. Popular teardown site iFixit have published their detailed analysis on taking one apart and their findings are interesting. They say that the Retina Macbook is the least repairable laptop they have ever taken apart.

Kyle Wiens says “The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart: Unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass, which means replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly. The RAM is now soldered to the logic board — making future memory upgrades impossible. And the battery is glued to the case, requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement. The design may well be comprised of “highly recyclable aluminum and glass” — but my friends in the electronics recycling industry tell me they have no way of recycling aluminum that has glass glued to it like Apple did with both this machine and the recent iPad.

The design pattern has serious consequences not only for consumers and the environment, but also for the tech industry as a whole.”

Retina Macbook teardown (photo: iFixit)

Kyle adds that Apple performed a market experiment four years ago. They released the super thin, but non upgradeable Macbook Air, alongside two other Macbook and Macbook Pro ranges. Kyle said “The 2008 Air went in a new direction entirely: It sacrificed performance and upgradeability in exchange for a thinner design. Its RAM is soldered to the logic board (as in the Retina MacBook Pro), so upgrading it means replacing the entire expensive logic board. And like all laptops, the Air has a built-in consumable. The MacBook Air’s battery was rated to last just 300 charges when it was introduced. But unlike laptops before it, replacing the Air’s battery required specialized tools and removing some 19 screws.”

Many people were not happy with the non upgradeable ram on the Macbook Air, although sales of the Macbook Air were strong – taking 40 percent of Apples total notebook sales by the end of 2010.

Apple then released the iPad which had a battery glued into the case, not exactly very serviceable. The next iteration of the iPad had the glass fused into the frame.

Look at the iFixit teardown, over here.

Kitguru says: Is this a good move for Apple?

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