Retina MacBook Pro Teardown Shows Rearranged Battery, Possible Space for Hard Drive

With the all-new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro already making its way to buyers, it was only a matter of time before the enterprising technicians at iFixit got their screwdrivers out to give Apple’s latest high-resolution beauty a quick internal inspection.

Photo credit: Apple

The repair firm’s analysts still rated the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro rather poorly in its repairability index, giving it a painful 2 out of 10, with 10 being the easiest to repair. However, the new laptop is judged easier to repair than its 15-inch brother, which iFixit declared as the hardest-to-repair laptop ever sold.

Setting aside the ease of repairing, the teardown also revealed some interesting design choices made by Apple. First and foremost is an adjustment to the laptop’s battery layout. While the 15-inch model had some battery cells below the trackpad, Apple’s engineers moved them to the sides, instead leaving the area underneath the trackpad for flash storage. This also allows the trackpad itself to be replaced with relative ease, unlike in the 15-inch model, where access is blocked by glued-on battery cells.

Interestingly, there seems to be enough space under the trackpad to cram in a larger-footprint SSD. While a standard 9-mm thick SSD just failed to make the cut since it was too thick to allow the chassis to be closed, iFixit speculates that ultra-slim 5-mm or 7-mm SSDs could be available to occupy this space.

The teardown also showed off asymmetrical blade spacing on the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s cooling fans, which the repair firm expects to minimize fan noise. However, users can’t really get at the fans without going through the laptop’s single heatsink.

Meanwhile, the battery is 1/3 easier to remove, since two of the six cells are kept on only by some screws. However, the remaining cells are still the same adhesive-attached nightmare as the 15-inch model.