As in the tradition, the repair guide site and part supplier iFixit revised the latest Mac to see what is different and to assess the repair capability. This time it is the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar, which replaced the previous Touch Bar lesson MacBook Pro in the Apple Store last week. Combine it with current public Geekbench benchmarks on the machine and we have a clear picture of what the lowest price the MacBook Pro model is about.
Let's start with benchmarks, dug up by MacRumors: the updated low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro managed an average 4,639 Geekbench 4-point in single-core performance and 16,665 in multi-core. Compare it to 4,341 and 9,084, respectively, in the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro, and look up to 83% faster on the new machine.
No surprises there; The previous one had not been updated for a while. But it does not meet Apple's marketing requirements in that the new machine is "twice more powerful" than its predecessor.
iFixit's teardown found that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is still different from the high-priced 13-inch sibling, mainly for gates. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports for the most expensive version four. But in other ways they are closer together than before, mainly with the inclusion of the touchline and touch ID and associated hardware changes to accommodate them.
iFixit notes that the new model has a 58.2Wh battery compared to the previous one is 54.5Wh. Apple promises 10 hours of battery life – the same as before – suggesting that this capacity increase can be simply driving the touchline and touch ID without estimating it.
Apple also reduced the size of a heat pipe in the cooling system and a speaker to accommodate touch ID hardware. For reasons that are probably not related to the touch ID or touchline, Apple previously replaced the solid state drive (SSD) modules with soldered storage. "One of the latest upgradeable components on the MacBook Pro line is completely gone," says iFixit. On the other hand, a soldered Thunderbolt breakout table has been replaced by something modular.
Finally, iFixit confirmed that Apple actually used the latest version of the butterfly keyboard, which the company claims will not fail as often as previous versions, although it is still covered by Apple's butterfly repair program.
Finally, however, iFixit provided the newly updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2 out of 10 repair points, referring to proprietary screws, an embedded battery assembly, brazed RAM, and the non-replaceable SSD. That makes the laptop "hostile to repair." The only positive point stated for repairability is that "the trackpad can be removed without interfering with the battery."
None of this should come as a surprise, even though Apple's design philosophy precludes the repairs iFixit focuses on facilitating. If you are looking for a machine, you can think about, upgrade or repair yourself, you are better off looking elsewhere and this is news to no one.
Listing image by iFixit