Retina MacBook Teardown Reveals iPad-Like Battery Connector, Details Force Touch Trackpad

After Apple revealed the new 12-inch Retina MacBook at its March "Spring Forward" event, the performance and speed of the sleek-but-slightly-underpowered machine came into question by many. Unlike the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the Retina MacBook comes with an Intel Core M Processor and provides only a single USB-C port to double as an accessory and charging port.

Today, iFixit answered some of those early questions in its teardown of the new MacBook, revealing a few unsurprising details of the base model MacBook, which includes a 1.1GHz processor, 12-inch Retina display, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300. What the company did find that was surprising was a battery connector hidden under the logic board, just one of a few internal comparisons to Apple's iPad line made with the new MacBook.

ifixit macbook teardown
Next, iFixit looked at Apple's new method of tapered battery cells, finding the glued-down cells particularly challenging to remove and replace. Finally emerging from the MacBook's innards, the company discovered a 7.55 V, 39.71 Wh, and 5263 mAh battery, what iFixit calls "just a hair more" powerful than this year's 5100 mAh 11-inch MacBook Air.

Lastly the teardown focuses on the MacBook's much-touted Force Touch trackpad, which iFixit calls a "slimmer, daintier version" of the 13-inch MacBook Pro's trackpad. Delving further, the repair website found a Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller, ST Microelectronics 32F103 ARM Cortex-M based microcontroller, and Linear Technology LT3954 LED Converter with Internal PWM Generator as the main trio of chips running the new trackpad.

ifixit teardown
All of iFixit's breakdown resulted in a repairability score of 1 out of 10 for the new MacBook, a 10 being easiest to repair. The company points to Apple's proprietary pentalobe screws surrounding the outside case, the tricky-to-remove tapered batteries, and the processor, RAM, and flash memory being soldered to the double-sided logic board as main reasons for the score.

iFixit's full teardown is worth a read, showing intricate details of the Retina MacBook's double-sided logic board and new USB-C connection port. The 12-inch Retina MacBook went on sale on Apple's online store last Friday, April 10, along with pre-orders of the Apple Watch.

Although the base 1.1GHz version of the MacBook appeared to many as an underpowered machine, recent benchmarks of the 1.2GHz model showcased decent speed and power boosts over its entry-level counterpart. No doubt more will be known when consumers begin receiving their MacBooks in the mail, especially regarding the 1.3GHz model, currently at a mid-May dispatch date due to its made-to-order upgrade parts.

Tag: iFixit

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
77 months ago
I'm going to go out on a particularly long limb and say that the MacBook's demographic isn't likely to repair their own electronics.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Plutonius Avatar
77 months ago
I think you've forgotten to mention the score that the actual laptop was given after mentioning the fact it receives a 1 to 10 score for repairability :eek:
The score just indicates that iFixit can't make any money off of the new MacBook repairs :D.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MeFromHere Avatar
77 months ago
I appreciate iFixit's teardowns and pictures, but I'm absolutely sick of the "proprietary pentalobe screws" dead horse they keep beating.

1. In what sense are these screws "proprietary"? Are they patented? Do I need Apple's permission to buy a compatible screwdriver, or to make or sell one? Is there ANY realistic restriction on anyone buying these screwdrivers?

2. In what sense do the pentalobe screws constitute a "lockout" mechanism, given that iFixit sells compatible screwdrivers, and there are dozens available from places like Amazon?

If iFixit is complaining because the MacBook requires specialized tools that won't be found in most households, pentalobe really doesn't matter. Tiny Phillips, Torx, or slotted screws would be just as much trouble.

Tiny fasteners and connectors require specialized tools. Big deal. I wish iFixit would stop pretending to be shocked and offended by this obvious fact.

iFixit repairability scores just feel wrong to me. I always have the impression their ideal device would be fixable with exactly the same tools and skills you'd use on a 1968 Oldsmobile.

I see teenagers at mall kiosks fixing stuff iFixit gave a repairability score of 2 or 3. Maybe our teenagers are just way above average.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tubamajuba Avatar
77 months ago
They'll be happy to replace it... for $1299+.
Do you have a source that states this is the fee that Apple will charge to replace the battery in the retina MacBook? If not, stop spouting off obviously untrue crap.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neuropsychguy Avatar
77 months ago
That seems right. Use it, then just throw it away and buy another when the battery wears out.
Or, you know what might just be a novel idea? Have Apple replace it. They'll charge you for it but a lot less than they will for a new computer. Now whether or not it's worth it is up to you.

I know modular would be simpler for a lot of people to repair but Apple has rarely gone that route, whether or not we like it. They do, however, have topnotch engineering and design (whether or not we like it).
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MeFromHere Avatar
77 months ago
Do you have a source that states this is the fee that Apple will charge to replace the battery in the retina MacBook? If not, stop spouting off obviously untrue crap.

The battery replacement price is $199:
https://support.apple.com/kb/index?page=servicefaq&geo=United_States&product=Macnotebooks (https://support.apple.com/kb/index?page=servicefaq&geo=United_States&product=Macnotebooks)

HobeSoundDarryl may post nonsense as a way to gain much-needed attention.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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