For the last six months I have been teetering on the precipice….looking at the laptop marketplace, knowing that I am overdue for an upgrade (I got my Macbook pro about 4 years ago…and it’s starting to whimper).  Knowing that a new Macbook was forthcoming at the latest WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference), decided to hold off and see what was forthcoming.  Not so sure anymore if it was a good idea to wait…

New Apple Macbook

The new Macoook Pro was announced so I admit, I watched the conference keynote…all 2 hours of it.  When all was said and done, I started reading through the write-ups of many people smarter than I.  The one that always bubbles to the top for me is the teardown over at  They are a no-holds barred, forthright collection of geeks that tear down new gear as soon as is is available, and they delivered big time for me (and you).  Check out the full tear-down here.

The nuts and bolts:

Apple Macbook has non-upgradeable RAM, SSD drive, and battery (well, meaning you can’t do it yourself, you have to pay through the nose for Apple folks to do it for you).

Here’s the down-and-dirty from the folks at I Fix it:

MacBook Pro with Retina Display 15″ Mid 2012 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can’t upgrade.

The proprietary SSD isn’t upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air.

The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it’ll break during disassembly.

 So, where does that leave me?  Running away…just as I did when Dell, HP, and the rest (like Gateway *shudder*) tried to make their market on a proprietary system that prevented any upgrades from the consumer.  Apple now also wants to charge a premium for what the others did on the cheap a decade ago.  Sorry Apple, but you just lost a customer.  of course, not sure how sad they are as we already own 2 iPads, an existing Macbook Pro, and an iPhone 4s (with another likely forthcoming if Tracy gets her birthday wish!)…

In the end…I spent probably 4 hours on the laptop fence, wrote a blog post about it, and the end result is that I am still….”looking at laptops”.

What do others think of the new system?  Interested?  Want one?  Pass?  Share your own thoughts in the comments…

10 thoughts on “Looking at Laptops

  1. Let’s just hope that Apple softens up since Jobs is no longer hard lining.

  2. For me the new Retina display MBP is high up on my wishlist but I was glad that Jason raised this issue and made me look a bit more into the details.

    According to replacing the battery will cost $199 pre taxes in the U.S. and Euros 199 incl. VAT in Europe.

    They also say: “Nonetheless, Apple claims that – with an appointment – the MacBook Pro with Retina Display battery can be switched out at an Apple Store Genius Bar. Alternatively, the notebook can be sent in for servicing (in the US and Japan only) with a 3-4 business day turnaround.
    According to Apple’s own figures, the newest MacBook Pro’s battery can be recharged around 1,000 times before the total charge it will hold drops to 80-percent. That suggests a roughly two year, nine month period assuming a daily recharge.”

    If that is true, swapping the battery might never be an issue unless you need to charge yr MBP on a daily basis. Otherwise, in 4 years from now, new technology developments will most probably require us to look at new models anyway.

    I would even accept the 200 $/Euro battery swap-costs considering that it is an awesome machine and I have been very happy with Apple products in the past.

    What I did learn from Jason raising this issue is, that one would probably want to get as much RAM- and SSD-capacity one might need and can afford. But in particular for people working a lot with photos, this machine might justify a few drawbacks in user-accessibility …

  3. Ali Brown says:

    And people wonder why I hate Apple. Yes they make innovative products, but you will never see one in my hands. For this very reason! And it’s compounded by their iron grip on apps offered in iTunes. To think, people actually screamed and hollered about Microsoft!

  4. I just replaced my 17″ MBP with the last refresh of the 17″ model. I’ve been using larger screen laptops for a while so stepping down to 15″ would be a big deal for me. The retina display is nice but sharp & tiny isn’t exactly the same thing as physical size.

    Overall, I’m not concerned about upgrades/repairs I can myself. I generally max out options when I purchase (as I dont’ purchase very often) and the durability of my MBP meant I didn’t use Apple tech very much if at all.

    Before I make a final call, I’d probably take a new MBP out for a test run. However, as I just purchased, I won’t be upgrading any time soon.

    1. The question that remains for me is whether the backlash of this hard sell tactic Apple is using may make them soften things in the next generation of Macbook Pros…there seems to be quite a fury over this proprietary lockdown

  5. I am increasingly disappointed in Apple. A decade ago Apple was licensing their technology so that Apple clones could be built in an attempt to stay relevant in a market dominated more and more by PCs. When Apple finally left their PowerPC chipset behind and started using Intel processors they really opened up their platform to a larger group of users. Yes, Parallels and Bootcamp could run your PC only applications with only minor inconvenience and I finally felt I could switch to Apple computers. In that time I’ve had four MacBook Pros, upgrading when new tech was released, and two Mac Pros.

    With this announcement my decision to return to PCs is assured. Many of us buy the basic system we want and upgrade our RAM and HDs ourselves because Apple makes ridiculous markups well beyond the retail price. They are trying to lock you in to paying for their overpriced upgrades and forcing you to be dependent on their “Geniuses” to keep your computer working properly. They may now have the largest share of the consumer computing base that they have ever had but Apple will be losing me. Their neglect of the Mac Pro line, their generations-old updates to their other products, their proprietary hardware (and let us not forget that they have designed their own security screws so that they alone have the tools). I will not tolerate these strong-arm tactics to raid my bank account.

    As of last night I have my new PC system components ordered from Newegg and come next week when all my data migration is completed I will say goodbye to Apple. I’ve already purchased a new Thinkpad so the only think left that I will own by Apple in July is my iPhone and only that until I can upgrade to an Android phone.

    It’s sad, I have had a good run with Apple but those days seem to have passed.

    1. Sounds like we’re singing the same tune…

      Athough the caveat to that I will dangle out there is that the mobile market is one that I am still probably a fan of primarily because of the stability of the iOS platform over the Android base that carriers otherwise work with…

  6. I have a 15″ MBP that will be 5 years old this summer. I’m not having any problems with it, but like you, I’m ready to replace it before I’m forced to. I have increased the ram and upgraded the hard drive. I wore out the original battery, got my husband’s hand-me-down when he went from MBP to MBA and I’ve worn that one out too. I only get about 15 minutes of battery life so I pretty much stay plugged in wherever I am. Maybe I should just buy another battery.

    I was waiting for WWDC and now I’m also on the fence. Thanks for posting these details, as I haven’t heard anyone else talking about this. So what happens if I buy a 13″ MBA (which is what I’m leaning toward) and the battery dies? Do I take it to the Apple store and they replace it with a refurbished one? I imagine they have a plan and I will certainly ask about this specifically when I go to the Apple store this weekend (depending on how long the line is to get in.)

    1. So, with a non-FRU item, if it’s under warranty, then you really don’t have anything to worry about. If it’s out of warranty, then the cost of repairs gets pricey quickly, because it’s not just the equipment (which is in and of itself more expensive than the non-proprietary equivalent), but you also have the labor costs, no matter how simple the repair or replacement is.

      You can minimize that by getting the AppleCare which offers an extension of your normal 1 yr warranty to 3 years, but after 3 years, you either need to get a whole new laptop, or replace the one part which is likely what will force people to get new equipment more often. Apple, Dell and the rest do not like the 5 year life cycle for computers for a reason – it minimizes profit for them. Meanwhile, other businesses (and people) like it because you have to buy new equipment less often, and can amortize over a longer period.

  7. I just recently replaced my laptop (big LG fan). Its a beast but doesn’t have Ivy Bridge… when I heard this news I was a bit disappointed. I don’t think I would have switched from PC to Mac, but it might have been considered.

    Having said that, when I read the review the score of 1/10 sounds a bit generous considering nothing can be independently fixed. Its like a car that when the radio or battery craps out you are required to replace the whole car. The alternative is paying for an extended warranty which has an incredibly high markup price for what you are entitled to.

    For me this is more of a reason not to “buy in” to the Mac infrastructure. I enjoy flexibility and upgrading my ram or hard drive after 16 months (for a few hundred bucks you get a faster machine… seems silly not to).

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