“The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable”

Kyle Wiens of from iFixit writes in Wired:

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.

The MacBook Pro Retina (the “MacBook Protina” as I like to call it) was initially greeted with unbridled elation. It then went on to fade, after we found out how the components are installed in the laptop. Of course, you will have few problems, if you are able to buy the top-tuned configuration, but for others who either want to buy cheaper RAM or postpone the purchase, until they know they need the power, that option is gone. A big problem with buying a computer is that you don’t know how much horsepower you need, and replaceable components render that quandary manageable.

The irreplaceable battery sounds concerning as well. Most laptops probably need to have their batteries replaced after three years’ time, and a lot of warranties will have expired by then. It doesn’t relieve my concern that The Wirecutter has this to say:

And, given all its horsepower, it’s understandable that it gets a little hot.