Teardown of 13-inch MacBook Pro With Touch Bar Reveals 'Cosmetic' Speaker Grilles [Updated]

iFixit has published a teardown of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and discovered a few interesting differences compared to Apple's new lower tier MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar. Both 13-inch models have the exact same dimensions, but the Touch Bar machine weighs 20 grams less, which iFixit puts down to the laptop's smaller battery.

As expected, Apple's new MacBook Pro is not designed to be user-serviceable, earning an iFixit repairability rating of 1/10. In the course of disassembly, iFixit found that the internal layout of the components has been redesigned to make space for the new Touch Bar, which broke as it was removed from the chassis and was deemed difficult to replace. The flex cable connecting the Touch Bar to the mainboard also wraps underneath it, making removal even more difficult.

speaker-grilles

Orange boxes show where internal speakers are located.

iFixit also found that the new improved speakers are located in the lower portion of the case, while the external speaker grilles are positioned in the top half of the case and don't even go clear through to the internals, making them extremely unlikely to provide any outlet for audio. Instead, sound is thought to be projected from air vents on the sides of the case – a design feature not seen on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys.

iFixit also notes that fixing a faulty power switch likely involves replacing the entire logic board, because the button doubles up as a sapphire-topped Touch ID sensor which pairs with the Apple's soldered down T1 chip. Elsewhere, ten accessible screws hold down the new larger trackpad, which is identical to the one found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys, suggesting a replacement part would be cross-compatible.

Touch ID sensor removal
Unlike the removable storage drive in the lower tier 13-inch MacBook, the SSD is soldered onto the mainboard, along with the RAM modules and the processor, making upgrades after the fact an impossibility. The 5-cell 49.2Wh battery is also attached with adhesive, making it particularly hard to remove when it comes to replacing.

Check out the full teardown on iFixit's website.

Update: iFixit contacted MacRumors to say that it has updated the teardown with an extra image that clarifies the situation regarding the speaker grilles. While the main speakers are not located underneath the grilles, a pair of tweeters that do sit under the grilles have through-holes (80 per tweeter) to pass sound out of the case enclosure. The rest of the "holes" either side of the keyboard (over 1,100 of them) are filled in, non-functional, and apparently cosmetic.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 13"
Tag: iFixit
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

Crosscreek Avatar
61 months ago
Fake Speaker grills are the genius of design. lol
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Breenston Avatar
61 months ago
Grim. It's just gets worse and worse.
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
c0ppo Avatar
61 months ago
Macbook, Glue Edition Pro.
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
61 months ago
This is a really strange design choice. This is like those cheap stereos with speaker grills 5x longer than the actual speaker behind.
Score: 59 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vertical smile Avatar
61 months ago
I would have never guessed that Apple would put fake speaker grills on a Mac. What the hell is going on at Apple these days.

Also, anyone else noticed that there has been several bad news articles for every good news article about the new MBP??

I can't remember the last time that there has been so many bad news articles about a new Apple product on MR.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dilster3k Avatar
61 months ago
Just like the iPhone 7's left speaker... Aesthetics with absolutely no function, I wonder what Mr. Ive is smoking these days.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...
iPad Pro Feature Magenta

Mac Otakara: iPad Air 5 to Feature iPad Pro-Like Design, No Design Changes Coming to iPad Mini 6 or iPad 9

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:06 am PDT by
The next-generation iPad Air will feature a design that's similar to the third-generation iPad Pro, according to Japanese site Mac Otakara. Citing a Chinese supplier, the site says that the fifth-generation iPad Air will continue to feature a 10.9-inch display and a Touch ID button on the side, but it will gain a dual-lens camera system with Wide and Ultra Wide cameras. A LiDAR Scanner is ...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...