This week, Apple delivered the highly anticipated MacBook Pro with Retina Display—and the tech world is buzzing. I took one apart yesterday because I run iFixit, a team responsible for high-resolution teardowns of new products and DIY repair guides. We disassemble and analyze new electronic gizmos so you don’t have to—kind of like an internet version of Consumer Reports.
The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart: unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass—meaning replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly. The RAM is now soldered to the logic board—making future memory upgrades impossible. And the battery is glued to the case—requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement. The design may well be comprised of “highly recyclable aluminum and glass”—but my friends in the electronics recycling industry tell me they have no way of recycling aluminum that has glass glued to it like Apple did with both this machine and the recent iPad. The design pattern has serious consequences not only for consumers and the environment, but also for the tech industry as a whole.Read the rest hereWhen Apple dropped the MacBook Air to $999 in 2010 to match the price point of the MacBook, they gave users a clear choice: the thin, light, and un-upgradeable MacBook Air or the heavier, longer lasting, more rugged, and more powerful MacBook. Same price, two very different products. At the time, I wasn’t very happy with the non-upgradeable RAM on the MacBook Air, but I respected that Apple had given their users a choice. It was up to us: did we want a machine that would be stuck with 2 GB of RAM forever? Would we support laptops that required replacement every year or two as applications required more memory and batteries atrophied?
Consumers overwhelmingly voted yes, and the Air grew to take 40% of Apple’s notebook sales by the end of 2010.
The success of the non-upgradeable Air empowered Apple to release the even-less-serviceable iPad two years later: the battery was glued into the case. And again, we voted with our wallets and purchased the device despite its built-in death clock. In the next iteration of the iPad, the glass was fused to the frame.
Most people who buy these products don't care, or probably don't even know, and probably don't care to know. Just as long as it lets them post pictures of their kids on Facebook