While the Macbook Pro with Retina display is a beautiful machine, engineered to be powerful but also thinner and lighter than any Macbook Pro before it, it’s not a computer you can just pop open with a Phillips screwdriver and repair. Even iFixit, the gurus behind many DIY computer repair projects had significant trouble with the new Macbook Pro. The RAM’s soldered into the logic board, the batery’s glued in on top of the fragile tackpad cable, and they didn’t even try to get into the display assembly on the first attempt (when they did they broke the thing). The Macbook Pro with Retina display earned a solid 1 out of 10 on iFixit’s fixability score.
That said, iFixit has just created 15 installation guides for the parts that can be replaced, if needed. The guides include parts that might flake on the MacBook Pro including the SSD, trackpad, headphone jack, and the solid display assembly. These guides can be absolutely crucial, especially since many of the parts weren’t made for instant access. For example, it takes 45 steps to remove the battery, which has been glued to the casing and wedged beneath almost every other component. Compare that to my Clevo laptop, the battery of which can be removed in one step by sliding a latch.
Keep in mind that there’s no guide for directly replacing the RAM, CPU, or GPU, which have all have a possibility of failing in laptops. You could replace all three parts at once by swapping the logic board they’re soldered to, but that might be an expensive proposition. Certainly the design of the MacBook Pro keeps the profile thin and light, but forcing the customer’s hand to go to Apple directly for repairs might also suit Apple’s bottom line.
Is Apple’s thin and powerful MacBook pro worth the tradeoff of being neigh impenetrable by third party repairs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.