New MacBook Pro with Retina display almost as difficult to repair as older brother – iFixit

26 Oct 2012

To little surprise, Apple unveiled a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display to an audience in San Jose, California, earlier this week. Having slated the 15-inch version with a 1 out of 10 repairability score, iFixit says the new model is easier to mend – though not by much.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display was torn apart by iFixit earlier this year, and the tech repairs site found it to be difficult to repair, upgrade and recycle – hence its measly score.

The 13-inch model was found to be slightly more recyclable and a wee bit easier to repair, scoring 2 out of 10 on the iFixit repairometer.

Though removing the battery without puncturing any cells took 15 minutes of prying, this was near impossible with the 15-inch, which took half an hour on the third attempt to be done properly.

13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display teardown - iFixit

While the trackpad on the 15-inch was impossible to replace on account of being covered by the aforementioned stubbornly fitted battery, the 13-inch has a different inner layout which makes this component replaceable. Also, two of the six battery cells are held in place with screws and not adhesive, so at least one-third of the battery was easily removed.

Rearranging the battery cells allowed Apple to tuck the SSD away underneath the trackpad. While this space seemed large enough to fit a standard 2.5-inch SSD, an attempt by iFixit to fit a 9.5mm drive inside was met with difficulty in closing the bottom cover. Though it appears a slimmer 5mm or 7mm drive would make the cut, a custom cable would have to be developed.

13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display teardown - iFixit

A RAM upgrade is not possible with the new MacBook Pro as it is soldered to the logic board. The Retina display assembly is highly difficult to take apart, meaning a damaged display would have to be replaced in its entirety – a costly process.

The complete breakdown of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is available on iFixit – and, since this teardown also comes with kittens, I highly recommend taking a look.

All images courtesy of iFixit

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic