With the MacBook Pro 15" Retina teardown out of the way, we focused our dissection magic on its 13" brother. While the 15" sported only iterative changes, this guy was a whole new enchilada. We opted for the base 4 GB RAM version, and of course all four jiggabytes were soldered to the logic board. So what if we want to upgrade to 8 GB? Tough luck — our $1300 computer doesn't have a slot for such shenanigans.
What about replacing the aging battery three years from now? That will take more heating and prying than before. How about replacing a non-responsive trackpad? Now it's stuck (literally) underneath the battery, and guarded by a glued-down metal plate. These demerits — and more detailed below — add up to a terrible 1 out of 10 repairability score.
More troubling is that Apple appears to be phasing out the non-Retina MacBook Pros, which were much more fixable, upgradable machines. The 15" non-Retina is gone as of this year, and we're placing our bets that the non-Retina 13" will disappear next year.
Our very own Gwendolyn esplainin' things through them moving pictures:
• By now, we're not even surprised to find the lower case held in place by pentalobe screws. Just... disappointed.
• It looks like this new revision has lost its cool—or at least half of it, as we're now down to a single fan.
• Apple's holiday redecorating didn't stop there: rearranged cabling, a displaced SSD, and a drastically revised battery now deck these halls.
• As ever, Apple warns of tragic consequences if we attempt to service, remove, or engage in polite conversation with the battery.
• Taking a peek under the covers of the revised AirPort Card, we find:
- Broadcom BCM4360 5G Wi-Fi 3-Stream 802.11ac Gigabit Transceiver
- Broadcom BCM20702 Single-Chip Bluetooth Processor
- Skyworks SE5516 Dual-Band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN Front-End Module
• Here's the muscle: coming in at 71.8 Wh, this 11.34 V battery is ever-so-slightly down on oomph from last year. But thanks to other improvements, Apple claims a 9-hour battery life during normal use.
• As Apple rolls out Intel's new Haswell processors and Iris Graphics, we're seeing a massive heat sink consolidation trend—the CPU and GPU are now close neighbors, and get to share a pad on the heat sink, making for a cleaner and more streamlined design.
• Here it comes, the component we've all been waiting for: the logic board! Here's what we've got for ICs:
- Intel SR18A Core i5-4258U Processor
- Micron D9PXV 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- Cirrus 4208-CRZ Two-Channel Low Power HD Audio Codec
- Intel DSL5520 Thunderbolt 2 Controller
- Fairchild Semiconductor DD18BB 220A
- Texas Instruments 58872D TI 37 CF61 E4
- Micron D9PXV 4 Gb (512 MB) DDR3L SDRAM
- MXIC MX25L6406E 64M-bit CMOS Serial Flash
- Texas Instruments Stellaris LM4FS1EH Microcontroller
- Cypress CY8C24794-24LTXI Programmable System-on-Chip
- Broadcom BCM15700A2
• We're happy to see that the MagSafe 2 port resides on its very own connector, meaning that if you need to replace it, you won't need to replace any extra parts along with it.
• This display, as with its predecessors, must be replaced as an assembly; there's no parting out this bad boy.