Apple's Touch Bar MacBook Pro Will Be A Costly Fix
Whatever you do, don't drop the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
The folks over at iFixit have once again broken out their specialty screwdrivers to tear apart Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. And after spending considerable time trying to break it open, their findings suggest Apple really, really, really doesn't want you to try to upgrade its newest computer--or even try to fix it in the event something goes wrong.
Overall, iFixit gave the computer a 1 out of 10 for repairability, where 10 would be easiest to repair. The company, which tears down devices and also sells products so DIYers can break hardware open themselves, complained about Apple's decision to use proprietary pentalobe screws to open the MacBook Pro, and were disappointed to find the device's battery was glued to the case, making it exceedingly difficult to replace.
Add that to a Touch Bar that's exceedingly difficult to remove and all of the computer's most important components being soldered to its logic board, and it's recipe for trouble if something goes wrong, iFixit says.
Of course, that might not be surprising to those who have used Apple devices over the years. The company is notoriously loath to let anyone open its products and try to fiddle with them. And since it places a premium on design over upgrades and repairability, it's often quite expensive to fix its devices when components go bad or they're mistakenly damaged. That's precisely why Apple tries to get customers to sign up for its AppleCare+ warranty program, and why fixing its machines can often be ridiculously expensive when they're out of warranty.
Apple, which doesn't typically comment on how "repairable" its devices might be, announced the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar at a press event last month. The device comes in 13- and 15-inch flavors but its most notable feature is a touchscreen that sits above the keyboard. From there, you can interact with its on-screen software with customized buttons that react based on what you're doing. The computer also comes with a Touch ID sensors for unlocking the machine and making online payments through Apple Pay.
In general, the MacBook Pro has been well-received by reviewers. Our very own editor in chief Mark Spoonauer recently took the MacBook Pro for a spin and found it to be an attractive computer. He also liked the Touch Bar and thought the built-in speakers delivered solid sound.
However, iFixit found something odd when breaking down the MacBook Pro. Although the computer comes with two speaker grilles, they're there for design and don't actually do anything. Instead, the built-in speakers pump out sound through two side air vents. The grilles, then, are cosmetic.
Beyond that, iFixit didn't find many other surprises hiding under the hood, except for a strong desire on Apple's part to stop you from fiddling with it. The one nice thing about the MacBook Pro's repairability? According to iFixit, the trackpad can be removed without requiring the removal of the battery. That should make it easy to fix in the event it goes bad.
But if there's any takeaway from iFixit's teardown, it's do your best to keep the MacBook Pro safe.