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New MacBook Pro with Retina gets lowest score for repairability

June 13, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Apple says its new MacBook Pro with Retina is the greatest computer its ever built, but one company says it isn't easy to repair.
Apple says its new MacBook Pro with Retina is the greatest computer its ever… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

Apple says the new MacBook Pro with Retina is the next generation of notebooks. Apple touts it as its greatest computer. But Apple also made it nearly impossible to repair.

The new Retina MacBook Pro is the talk of the tech world right now for its incredible computing power, its ultra-thin size and its amazing display. The computer went on sale immediately after being unveiled and goes for $2,199 at its cheapest price.

And one company has already taken it apart and checked out its insides. IFixit, a California Apple repair company, on Tuesday put up an online guide for taking apart the new computer.

Exploring every chip, cable and screw of the Retina Pro, iFixit determined that despite the computer being "The Chosen One," it's extremely difficult to repair. In fact, the company gave it a 1 out of 10, with 10 being the easiest to repair.

If you read the whole guide and follow iFixit's look into the computer, you get a good sense of what exactly about the computer is so difficult to repair. But in the simplest terms, there are six main reasons why the Retina Pro gets such a low score.

To start, just opening up the computer requires special tools -- Apple chose to seal the Retina Pro with its own proprietary screws.

Next is the computer's RAM. This isn't so much a repair issue as it is an upgrade issue, but the computer's memory is soldered to its logic board -- so you won't be able to increase the RAM beyond its standard 16 GB size. And iFixit also determined that the computer's solid state drive isn't upgradeable either, so you'll be stuck with the storage space you get.

And replacing the computer's battery is near impossible, iFixit says. Rather than using screws to secure the battery, Apple went with glue, meaning that there's a good chance you'll break it while trying to take it out. What's worse is that under the battery -- which, again, is very difficult to remove -- is the computer's trackpad cable, which very likely could be sheared while trying to remove the battery.

Last but not least, all the parts of the computer's display are fused together -- including the screen and iSight Camera as well as the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas. If any of these fail, "you'll be replacing the whole kit 'n' caboodle," iFixit said.

And it won't be cheap. Remember, this MacBook Pro comes with Retina.

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