It’s good to see Apple finally take a few steps back. The company’s latest MacBook Pro models ditch the Touch Bar, gain HDMI and SD Card jacks, and even revive MagSafe charging. But the changes aren’t just skin deep. As revealed in iFixit’s killer teardown, Apple made some internal design changes to the MacBook Pro that echo the past (and hopefully point to future trends).
Most notably, the new MacBook Pros now feature battery pull tabs. Previous models simply had their batteries glued in place, forcing users to pry each of the suckers out using plastic spudgers or other tools. And if that’s not enough to get you pumped, this new design lets you replace the MacBook Pro’s batteries without replacing its entire top case—the keyboard, speakers, and all that.
This improved battery design shows that Apple is thinking about repairability, though the company is probably just trying to improve its in-store repairs process (a good idea, given the battery recalls of previous MacBooks). But Apple could do a lot better. The battery replacement process is still difficult, and as iFixit notes, you have to remove the MacBook Pro’s trackpad to access two of its battery pull tabs.
Apple fancy new Liquid Retina XDR display is also a standout change to the MacBook Pro’s design. It’s much easier to swap out than the displays used in previous models, so long as you don’t mind losing True Tone. The new MacBook Pros also feature improved flex cables that shouldn’t break with regular use, hopefully.
There are several other small improvements here, like the modular USB-C and MagSafe ports. But because this is Apple, some things are just impossible to repair or replace. The new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros run on M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, so changes to RAM or storage are out of the question. Also, for whatever reason, the new MacBooks’ HDMI and SD Card jacks are soldered to the Logic Board, so they’re basically unrepairable.
Here comes the crazy part—the new MacBook Pro models got a somewhat-respectable repairability score from iFixit. I won’t spoil it, so go ahead and read (or watch) iFixit’s teardown to see what they think. But I will say one thing; it’s better than the 2019 MacBook Pro’s 0/10 score.