Tuesday, November 1, 2016

iFixit Tears Down Battery, Improved Keyboard, and Removable SSD of MacBook Pro Without Touch Bar

iFixit has published a teardown of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, which the site calls the "Escape Edition" because of its adherence to the traditional row of function keys, along with a tangible Escape key. In the teardown, iFixit delves deeper into the MacBook Pro, uncovering a battery that is 27 percent less powerful than last year's model, along with the Butterfly 2.0 keyboard that's been slightly updated since the 2015 MacBook.

After removing the extra-large new trackpad from the body of the laptop, iFixit gets a better look at the MacBook's battery. Rated for 54.5 watt hours, the 13-inch MacBook might include less battery life than last year's generation, but it does come in above the Touch Bar MacBook Pro model, which clocks in at 49.2 watt hours. In a recent performance comparison provided by Geekbench, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar's 15-watt chip was proven to be more energy efficient than the 28-watt chip in last year's entry-level model.

A new spring mechanism is discovered housed next to the MacBook Pro's hinge protector, which "rolls a flat cable up when the display is closed, and unravels when the display opens." This not only seems to make it easier to close the lid of the MacBook, but suggests the overall lighter body of the MacBook Pro needed extra help and couldn't "rely on gravity to close nicely as much as previous models have."

One of the last points iFixit focuses on is the updated Butterfly 2.0 keys on the MacBook Pro's keyboard. Comparing it with the 2015 MacBook, iFixit describes the new MacBook Pro's keys as "a little taller at the edges," so it's slightly easier to find each key with your fingers without looking directly at the board. The dome switches hiding under each key also appear to have more heft than the 2015 MacBook's, further supporting the overall better feel and increased travel on the MacBook Pro.

iFixit also looked at the MacBook's removable SSD, powered by SanDisk 64GB NAND flash memory and Apple's custom SSD controller. Then, the site dove into the logic board to hunt for the "advanced thermal architecture" described in the MacBook's press release. The board appeared mostly the same as previous MacBooks, with Apple's new architecture apparently describing the "relocation of the heat sink screws to the backside of the logic board."

Other interesting tidbits from the teardown include the MacBook Pro's fans, and the single modular unit taped to the bottom of the notebook's fan, which houses the 3.5mm headphone port. Its location, and Apple's removal of the same port on the iPhone 7, means it "could easily be dropped in favor of a Lightning or USB-C connector" in future MacBook Pro generations. Ultimately, iFixit gave the 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar a repairability score of 2, with a 10 being the easiest to repair.

Check out the full teardown on iFixit's website.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tag: iFixit
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