Apple unveiled its refreshed version of its popular MacBook Air line at WWDC 2013 on Monday. The “new” 11-inch and 13-inch Ultrabooks feature much improved battery life, faster flash, and improved wireless (802.11ac). But, according to iFixit, the slew of upgrades doesn’t necessarily make up for the fact that the new MacBook Air is difficult to repair. According to the website’s newest “teardown,” the 13-inch MacBook air received a low 4 out of 10 score for its lack of repairability and ease of upgrade. Of course, this is no surprise since Apple’s products are generally not built for users to open and tinker with.
The newest MacBooks look identical to their predecessors on the outside, but a peek inside reveals some updated pieces. iFixit says it’s relatively easy to open the Ultrabook. Once inside, iFixit pointed out a smaller SSD module, larger battery, and new Wi-Fi AirPort hardware. The group also noticed some Samsung-branded pieces, including the RAM modules, flash storage, and flash controller. Apple replaced its SATA connection on the SSD with a PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) to produce more speed. The last interesting update iFixit noticed was a dual microphone setup, which should help to cut down on background noise.
iFixit’s main qualms with the device stem from the need for a specialized screwdriver. The MacBook Pro and Air 5-point Pentalobe driver is needed to gain access inside the Ultrabook, and the teardown also required access to two different size Torx drivers. Another glaring issue is that each piece of hardware is proprietary, including the SSD and RAM. These SSDs are not compatible with any earlier models of the MacBook Air, and another issue shows the RAM modules are soldered directly to the logic board. This makes it extremely difficult to replace and repair these pieces on your own.
iFixit underlined its teardown by stating, “As with the prior iterations, this MacBook Air’s biggest detractor is the lack of upgradeability.”
Photo via iFixit