Repair and Upgrade of New Apple MacBook Pro Possible But Only By Professionals, Indicates iFixit Reparability Score Of Just 1 Out Of 10

The new large-display Apple MacBook Pro 2019 launched last week, but the reviews about the same have been nothing but stellar. Apple appears to have significantly improved the design and the hardware of the powerful portable computing machine that can easily offer excellent gaming as well. It appears Apple truly listened to consumer expectations, complaints, grudges and demands about the MacBook Pro laptops. However, two areas in which the company is sure to face some strong criticism is repair and upgradability.

According to iFixit, the company that specializes in professional teardowns and disassembly of high-end, premium and mainstream electronics, the new Apple MacBook laptop is one of the worst devices it has encountered in terms of repair and upgradability. iFixit has just accorded one of the lowest repairability scores for the new Apple MacBook Pro 2019 laptop with a 16-inch display. The company gave the new laptop from Apple just 1 out of 10 in terms of disassembly and repair. iFixit has discovered several design elements that go completely against the commonly accepted methodologies of modern-day electronic device assembly, making it exceptionally difficult for third-party repair technicians to conduct repairs on the 2019 Edition of Apple MacBook Pro laptop.

New Apple MacBook Pro 2019 Edition Scores Just 1 Out of 10 From iFixit For Repairability:

Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro laptop and instantly won approval for ditching the long-troubling ‘Butterfly’ keyboard design. Apple has been at the receiving end for quite some regarding the rather poor or unpredictable performance of the keyboard. After extensive investigations and multiple repair jobs, Apple appears to have finally given up the butterfly keyboard design and opted for the design that’s evident in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro laptop. Incidentally, from a hardware perspective, Apple appears to have gone back to the basics and chosen to deploy the tried and tested “Scissor Switches”. Although a little noisy as compared to the now-abandoned design, the scissor switches are known for the reliable performance and long-term endurance against repeated usage.

Although the keyboard problems affecting Apple MacBook laptops could certainly reduce, the company has made some significant alterations to the hardware assembly methodologies. Apple devices have never been known for the exceptional ease of repairability. In fact, Apple has been known to make it quite difficult for third-party agencies to conduct repairs. The same design and fabrication philosophy appears to have been implemented in the new Apple MacBook Pro 2019 Edition laptops.

After successfully dissembling the new Apple MacBook Pro laptops, iFixit implied that Apple has made it difficult to disassemble and consequentially, repair the expensive device.  iFixit summarized the teardown with the following design considerations Apple made:

  • Apple MacBook Pro Laptop’s Trackpad can still be removed and replaced easily.
  • Apple has ensured minor components are modular and easily replaceable. Although the processor is expected, the RAM, and flash memory too, is soldered directly to the logic board.
  • Apple has affixed the keyboard, battery, speakers, and Touch Bar with glue and/or rivets. This will invariably make replacing those components very tricky.
  • The Touch ID sensor doubles up as the primary power switch. Moreover, it is locked to the logic board. This greatly complicates repairs, especially for a component that’s going to be used extensively.
  • Apple has once again chosen to use rivets to secure the keyboard assembly. This design choice is a remnant of 2016. Although an old technology, the keyboard tightly secured to a non-serviceable design and only Apple’s word (and fairly reliable precedent) that it won’t break, is certainly not a reassuring choice.
  • The MacBook Pro’s 99.8 Wh battery complies with the FAA, meaning it shouldn’t be held up by airport security. However, at 16.2 Wh more capacity than the most recent 15” model, Apple has done the seriously commendable job by cramming such a large capacity with minimum size and weight gain.

While the new Apple MacBook Pro 2019 Edition laptop has received a dismal reparability score, iFixit accorded a score of ‘Zero’ to the Surface Laptop 2. Incidentally, Microsoft Surface Laptop scored 5 out of 10. While Apple’s warranty is comprehensive and reassuring, perhaps Apple should make it easy to conduct minor repairs and allow easy upgrades n too.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.

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Repair and Upgrade of New Apple MacBook Pro Possible But Only By Professionals, Indicates iFixit Reparability Score Of Just 1 Out Of 10

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