Teardown of New MacBook Pro's Retina Display Reveals 'Engineering Marvel'

Last week, the teardown experts at iFixit took a look at the new Retina MacBook Pro, noting how Apple used a number of innovations first deployed in the MacBook Air to reduce the machine's thickness but in the process hampered users' ability to repair and upgrade components.

As it notes on its blog, iFixit has now taken apart the Retina display itself to further examine the steps Apple took to mount the breakthrough 2880x1800 display within the thin lid of the notebook.

The Retina display is an engineering marvel. Its LCD is essentially the entire display assembly. Rather than sandwich an LCD panel between a back case and a piece of glass in front, Apple used the aluminum case itself as the frame for the LCD panel and used the LCD as the front glass. They’ve managed to pack five times as many pixels as the last model in a display that’s actually a fraction of a millimeter thinner. And since there’s no front glass, glare is much less of an issue.

retina macbook pro display teardown 1
With the LCD so tightly integrated into the display assembly, iFixit actually broke the LCD in the process of trying to disassemble it, noting that anyone looking to replace their display would need to replace the entire assembly instead of trying to swap in a new LCD panel.

The teardown documents the full range of features used to keep the display slim and light while delivering crisp images on the ultra-high resolution screen, including routing of cables through hinges, 48 LEDs at the bottom of the screen to light the display, and various diffuser, prism, and polarizing sheets to generate the screen's images.

retina macbook pro display teardown 2
The new Retina MacBook Pro remains in high demand amid tight supplies, with shipping estimates for new orders through Apple's online store remaining at the 3-4 week figure reached less than two days after the machine debuted.

Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

mTofu Avatar
139 months ago
AppleCare never looked more attractive.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArcaneDevice Avatar
139 months ago
why RIP? They will assemble this macbook back as it was :)

No they won't. If you read the text it says they broke the panel during disassembly.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pawelthegreat Avatar
139 months ago
Too bad so many of the owners won't have a clue of this marvel.

Oh well...not that they need to...'it just works' is good enough
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Big-TDI-Guy Avatar
139 months ago
Dear iFixit, next time around, get yourself unwaxed dental floss, and use that to "saw" through the adhesive / tape. Small enough to fit in there, cheap enough to discard, flexible to get around stuff, strong enough to cut RTVs and tapes. ;)
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FFArchitect Avatar
139 months ago
RIP MacBook Pro Retina (x1).
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NStocks Avatar
139 months ago
As there is no front glass, how is the screen 'protected'? I mean, the previous generations have glass to almost prevent damage from scratches etc. Does it still have a glass element to it or is it more lift a standard LCD 'finish'?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off)

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.3.1 Update for iPhone as Wait for iOS 16.4 Beta Continues

Thursday February 2, 2023 6:41 am PST by
Apple appears to be preparing an iOS 16.3.1 update for the iPhone, based on evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs this week. It's unclear when the update will be released, but it will likely be available at some point in February. The same logs have accurately foreshadowed the release of several previous updates, including iOS 16.0.3 and iOS 16.1.1 most recently, so they...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod

Friday February 3, 2023 1:28 pm PST by
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh...