Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Apple Doesn't Want You Opening the MacBook Air

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 66 comments

Here it is, just in time for the weekend, the latest issue of Gadget Porn Weekly from the folks at iFixit.

On Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed two new MacBook Airs and gave us a little peek inside the 13-inch version to show how well they'd used the space. Apple used what looks to be more than 50 percent of it just for the battery. So what else is inside? We know Apple offers a max of 4GB of RAM, up to 256GB (128GB for the 11-inch) in SSD storage, an Intel Core 2 Duo and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics. But there are still things we don't know – like how easy would it be to upgrade the machine at home? We know that to save space, Apple has omitted the SSD enclosure, instead preferring to attach the flash storage directly to the board, so adding more storage is out. But could you upgrade your RAM from 2GB to 4GB yourself? Well, Apple definitely doesn't want you to, that's for sure.

The company has made it especially difficult to get inside these notebooks. iFixit reports that the designers opted for 5-point Security Torx screws to keep the fairy dust and unicorn tears (that's what these things run on, right?) locked up nice and tight. The six battery cells (a total of 35W) and the Toshiba SSD are held in place by, you guessed it, more of those pesky 5-point screws. These 5-point screws show up time and time again throughout the disassembly, each one making self-repair even more unlikely than the last. Still, if you do purchase one, at least you'll be able to send it to the iFixit gadget hospital if it breaks. They sacrificed one of their Phillips head screwdrivers, filing it until it did the trick.

Peep the full gallery (and teardown instructions if you're feeling brave) over on iFixit.

Display 66 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    Randomacts , October 23, 2010 6:43 AM
    Why pay that much for a laptop...


    Oh why do I even bother anymore...
  • 23 Hide
    braneman , October 23, 2010 8:54 AM
    mac's aren't designed to be user serviceable, they are designed to be brought to a mac store where they charge you $60 for a diagnosis. then more for actually fixing the problem.
  • 22 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , October 23, 2010 6:43 AM
    you know you can get those screwdriver tips from most hardware stores to fit those screws...... It actually looks very easy to take apart, very basic design.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    tacoslave , October 23, 2010 6:32 AM
    Quote:
    to keep the fairy dust and unicorn tears (that's what these things run on, right?)


    Well thats what they're paring for right?
  • 34 Hide
    Randomacts , October 23, 2010 6:43 AM
    Why pay that much for a laptop...


    Oh why do I even bother anymore...
  • 22 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , October 23, 2010 6:43 AM
    you know you can get those screwdriver tips from most hardware stores to fit those screws...... It actually looks very easy to take apart, very basic design.
  • 14 Hide
    theshonen8899 , October 23, 2010 6:47 AM
    I think it's ironic that they try to keep people from opening it when it's so beautiful on the inside.

    Still a waste of money.
  • 22 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2010 7:20 AM
    Why are the "high res" images in this article so bloody small?
  • 9 Hide
    onyx_64 , October 23, 2010 7:38 AM
    RandomactsWhy pay that much for a laptop...Oh why do I even bother anymore...


    For their looks! i think almost half the price is being charged for its design. One day when i am rich and want to spend all my money on my showcase, i'd consider one.
  • -2 Hide
    Benihana , October 23, 2010 7:47 AM
    iam2thecroweyou know you can get those screwdriver tips from most hardware stores to fit those screws...... It actually looks very easy to take apart, very basic design.

    Good point! Yeah, definitely owning all these special bits has made my life disassembling things easier. :)  They beat my jury-rigged tools anyday!
  • 20 Hide
    jskilnyk , October 23, 2010 8:06 AM
    I don't think its worth paying that much for outdated hardware. However... I love seeing new electronics apart. Its amazing to me how compact everything is.
  • -1 Hide
    theroguex , October 23, 2010 8:28 AM
    onyx_64For their looks! i think almost half the price is being charged for its design. One day when i am rich and want to spend all my money on my showcase, i'd consider one.


    What looks? The "here's my piece of metal" look? Buy a real laptop, and then have someone machine you a brushed aluminum case for it. It'll be $1000 cheaper.
  • 1 Hide
    onetwo3 , October 23, 2010 8:53 AM
    BenihanaGood point! Yeah, definitely owning all these special bits has made my life disassembling things easier. They beat my jury-rigged tools anyday!


    Maybe not. iFix-it claims that Apple ordered new special design security screws from Torx and ask them to make patent on it and only sell the screwdriver to Apple service partners and sue everybody who try to make similar head screw driver. So maybe Apple REALLY doesn’t want you to be able to open up / service your own device.
  • 23 Hide
    braneman , October 23, 2010 8:54 AM
    mac's aren't designed to be user serviceable, they are designed to be brought to a mac store where they charge you $60 for a diagnosis. then more for actually fixing the problem.
  • 15 Hide
    firebee1991 , October 23, 2010 9:08 AM
    The $20 set of screws that I bought at Wal-Mart came with several 5-point screwdrivers; they're really not that hard to get ahold of.
  • 7 Hide
    alyoshka , October 23, 2010 9:25 AM
    I'm feeling brave :)  Who's going to lend me his/her MacBook?????
  • 0 Hide
    alyoshka , October 23, 2010 9:28 AM
    I wonder how much does that 64GB Mini Pcie ssd cost??? Anyone? any ideas? and availability would be nice
  • 0 Hide
    onetwo3 , October 23, 2010 9:42 AM
    alyoshkaI wonder how much does that 64GB Mini Pcie ssd cost??? Anyone? any ideas? and availability would be nice


    Aprox. 200-220$ for end user. But Apple used custom form (the device is made by Toshiba) so probably you never be able to upgrade :( 
  • 8 Hide
    ulysses35 , October 23, 2010 10:06 AM
    lol... they dont want you to open it because the high price to low spec ratio of the components.

    Apple keep pushing their products as class leading premium products, but many fall down on reliability (iphone 4 / ipad etc) and dont have the highest spec components. That said there will be millions of buyers who buy it because its an apple and therefore it must be the best
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2010 10:33 AM
    The SSD drives runs on the SATA bus, not on the PCIe lane. Someone already posted screenshot from Apple Profiler showing this.

    And given the memory is soldered on (space savings) and SSD card (again for space savings) is quasi-proprietary, why WOULD you need to open the MBA???

    And I have never heard of an Apple store charging for diagnostics. I know their service agreement at the Genius Bar mentions such a fee, but I've never seen it charged and I've been using the bar over the years for a lot of things.

    And lastly, I don't know where the idea of low quality components entered anyone's mind. Apple's equipment isn't exotic, but it's certainly not low quality. They use Samsung Original memory in many of their portables, they source their CPUs from Intel, many of their hard drives are from Seagate, their SSDs come from Samsung, the touchpads come from Synaptics. I'm sorry, but the list of reliable manufacturers goes on. To say that an Apple uses low quality components is ridiculous. At least the casing is made from a single block of metal as opposed to plastic, and the keyboard letters are laser engraved instead of cheap melted-on plastic that rubs off over time, and that the trackpad coatings withstand years of abuse instead of wearing away and becoming smooth and frictioned... What in the world are YOU using??? Must be made from pixie dust and unicorn tears...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2010 10:49 AM
    I am not sure what target user this is focused at? Small storage, no upgrading, no built in Cellular card. Its designed for portability but lacks the tools for it? This is typical Apple these days. Design a WOW product that's over priced for what you get. I think a good mobile device is more then just thin.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2010 10:58 AM
    Apple have pushed the envelope for sleek, thin and light design in laptops..looking at the components, I can see a lot of thought went into the design to get it as thin as it is, and still give a good experience running OSX. This custom design is more expensive to produce because you are ordering less off-the-shelf parts. The battery is especially clever, a design that I think other manufacturers could come up with to decrease the size of their small laptop offerings.

    Now all of the above said.. I would simply never purchase one.. It is underpowered for the price you pay, non-upgradable and comes from a company run by jobs, a man I dislike.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2010 11:04 AM
    You got that right ulysses35. People that buy Apple products are simply doing so because they "think" that they are better than other products. If you ask them for a hard reason, they cannot give one. Believe me I work in the IT field and when people bring their Mac products to me I ask "I thought Macs were infallible? You don't need me." Morons...

    http://TechReview.LIEconomy.com
Display more comments