This week Apple announced the next generation 15″ MacBook Pro. This new Pro has forgone the optical drive and adopted a more streamline profile with a new high resolution “Retina” display.
The inside of the new MacBook Pro is very similar to the current MacBook Air. While this makes for a super thin profile, the repair and upgradability of the computer becomes more of a challenge.
Let’s do a quick breakdown of common repairs and upgrades and see where we stand:
The new Retina display is assembled using the outer case and bezels as part of the panel. This is similar to the way that the current MacBook Air screen is assembled. Instead of just replacing the cracked panel, as in previous MacBook Pros, the entire upper section will need to be replaced. This of course adds cost and limits the options for where to get the screen replaced. You’ll have to go through the Apple Store or an Authorized Service Provider like MyService.
Once Retina displays and panels start to become available in other laptops, we may see a way to replace the inside of the screen without the entire upper section (bringing the cost down).
The RAM on the new Retina MacBook Pro 15″ is soldered directly to the logic board. There is an almost zero chance that you’ll be able to upgrade that RAM later on, so we recommend buying it with the maximum amount of RAM you can afford.
The cost of replacement logic boards that have more RAM will likely be way too high to be feasible. You almost certainly won’t be able to get an exchange price for your old board from Apple.
As with the new Airs, the solid state hard drives are a new proprietary card that attaches to the logic board. While this will make upgrading to a larger drive more costly than an industry-standard form factor; 3rd party drive manufacturers will probably provide cards that can be used. Wait time will probably be at least 6 months for a 3rd party option to appear.
We’re still waiting for an update from Apple on availability of case parts and battery replacement procedures. From the early tear downs, it appears that the battery is glued to the top case. The top case (keyboard and palm rest) may come with the battery attached as a part or there may be a new procedure for service providers to remove the battery. We’ll keep you updated on this.
Once we get word on the availability of parts and the repair procedures from Apple we’ll update our site on what repairs will be available and at what price.