Can’t afford to buy a MacBook every one to two years? You’re not alone.
But that’s what you may be facing with Apple’s latest, greatest MacBook Pro with Retina.
Rather than finding ways to extend the life of a MacBook Pro with Retina display, Apple is leaving customers with zero options when it comes to upgrades or fixing a broken system.
Earlier this month, I was surfing the web to learn more about the latest MacBook Pro. I found numerous reviews saying this was a wonderful laptop. But the guys from iFixit dropped a bomb: MacBook Pro with Retina display is the least repairable laptop ever.
At first, I thought maybe the iFixit reviewer considered the new Macbook Pro was hard to repair by regular users who weren’t careful or didn’t have the necessary tools. After all, isn’t every laptop capable of being fixed, upgraded or repaired?
Apparently, not. And, apparently, it’s not an uncommon complaint when it comes to Apple.
In 2007, for example, ComputerWorld noted some customers complained they were not able to do the simple task of replacing the battery in Apple’s first version of its iPhone.
Although lawsuits were filed against Apple to modify the iPhone design and allow users to change their own batteries, Apple didn’t make any improvements. Instead, Apple silently decided to expand this solution to more and more of its devices.
After the iFixit guys opened the new MacBook Pro with Retina, they found Apple glued the battery to the case. So, if something bad ever happens to the battery, only Apple can replace it. The cost? $199 for the repair.
The iFixit guys also learned the entire display assembly is fused. What this means to you is total replacement of the entire display assembly if you ever have problems with your LCD display. Also, the RAMs are also un-upgradable and un-fixable because they’re soldered to the logic board.
Thin MacBook, or Upgrade Conundrum?
Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit says it perfectly:
We have consistently voted for hardware that’s thinner rather than upgradeable. But we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. Our purchasing decisions are telling Apple that we’re happy to buy computers and watch them die on schedule. When we choose a short-lived laptop over a more robust model that’s a quarter of an inch thicker, what does that say about our values?
Every time we buy a locked down product containing a non-replaceable battery with a finite cycle count, we’re voicing our opinion on how long our things should last. But is it an informed decision? When you buy something, how often do you really step back and ask how long it should last? If we want long-lasting products that retain their value, we have to support products that do so.
Today, we choose. If we choose the retina display over the existing MacBook Pro, the next generation of Mac laptops will likely be less repairable still. When that happens, we won’t be able to blame Apple. We’ll have to blame ourselves. They gave us the choice.
I couldn’t agree more, but unfortunately there’s not a lot of regular users who can afford the $2200 price tag for a MacBook Pro with Retina and a 1-year Apple Care service contract. If the laptop suffers a problem post warranty, or after the contract expires, you can forget about ever using it. Apple made it un-repairable.
I’m 100 percent sure it could have been avoided. Apple could have made an upgradable/repairable MacBook Pro with Retina display by keeping the design from the previous version.
I’ll never understand Apple’s decision, but I guess users will have the final word.
- MacBook Pro with Retina display Teardown [iFixit]
- The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable [Wired]
- Apple charges 54% more to replace Retina MacBook Pro’s battery [ComputerWorld]