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View Full Version : Apple takes a 'left turn'



George Jung
06-16-2012, 10:27 PM
Interesting 'twist' from our good friends at Apple:

T
his week, Apple delivered the highly anticipated MacBook Pro with Retina Display — and the tech world is buzzing. I took one apart yesterday (http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-with-Retina-Display-Teardown/9462/1) because I run iFixit, a team responsible for high-resolution teardowns of new products and DIY repair guides. We disassemble and analyze new electronic gizmos so you don’t have to — kind of like an internet version of Consumer Reports.
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/wp-content/gallery/biopics/hs-wiens.jpg http://www.wired.com/opinion/wp-content/uploads//2012/05/op-bug-bg-bottom.gif (http://www.wired.com/opinion)

The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart: Unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass, which means replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly. The RAM is now soldered to the logic board — making future memory upgrades impossible. And the battery is glued to the case, requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement (http://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro/service/battery/). The design may well be comprised of “highly recyclable aluminum and glass (http://www.apple.com/environment/reports/docs/MacBookPro_Retina_Product_Environmental_Report_Jun e2012.pdf)” — but my friends in the electronics recycling industry tell me they have no way of recycling aluminum that has glass glued to it like Apple did with both this machine and the recent iPad.
The design pattern has serious consequences not only for consumers and the environment, but also for the tech industry as a whole.
The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart.
Four years ago, Apple performed a market experiment. They released the super thin, but non-upgradeable, MacBook Air in addition to their two existing, easily upgradeable notebooks: the MacBook and the MacBook Pro. Apple’s laptops had evolved over two decades of experience into impressively robust, rugged, and long-lasting computers. Apple learned a lot from the failings of the past: the exploding batteries of the PowerBook 5300, the flaky hinges of the PowerBook G4 Titanium (http://www.ifixit.com/Device/PowerBook_G4_Titanium_Series), the difficult-to-access hard drive in the iBook.


So.... unrepairable is the direction Apple is moving. How do the fans here feel about this?

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/06/opinion-apple-retina-displa/

Captain Intrepid
06-16-2012, 11:14 PM
You can either have an insanely thin laptop, or an easily repairable laptop. Choose one.

Keith Wilson
06-17-2012, 07:28 AM
Or perhaps: insanely thin, repairable, reasonably priced. Pick two; you can't have all three. Maybe an extra half-inch of thickness isn't so bad.

BrianW
06-17-2012, 07:47 AM
How about insanely priced, and thin, with reasonably repairable?

Tom Montgomery
06-17-2012, 07:49 AM
From the same article that George linked:

Once again, with another product announcement, Apple has presented the market with a choice. They have two professional laptops: one that is serviceable and upgradeable, and one that is not. They’re not exactly equivalent products — one is less expensive and supports expandable storage, and the other has a cutting-edge display, fixed storage capacity, and a premium price tag — but they don’t have the same name just to cause confusion. Rather, Apple is asking users to define the future of the MacBook Pro.


Apple isn’t fundamentally against upgradeability and accessibility. The current Mac Mini has compelling finger slots that practically beg people to open it. When Steve Jobs released the “open-minded” Power Mac G3 with a door that opened from the side, the audience oohed and aahed. Apple products have historically retained their value quite well, in part due to third-party repair manuals, but also due to a number of very modular, very upgradeable designs.


Even the MacBook Pro was originally touted as an accessible, repairable machine — at Macworld in 2009, Steve Jobs said, “Our pro customers want accessibility: [...] to add memory, to add cards, to add drives.” That’s part of what I love about my MacBook Pro. I’ve upgraded my RAM, and I even replaced my optical drive with an 80GB SSD.


We have consistently voted for hardware that’s thinner rather than upgradeable. But we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.


On the other hand, Apple has consistently introduced thinner, lighter products. They learn from experience. They react to their customers. They’re very adept at presenting us with what we want. And they give us options from time to time and allow product sales to determine their future designs.


ifixit.com is a web site that not only advocates do-yourself-repairs and hardware upgrades, it also sells tools and parts for those who want to do so.


As for myself, I've always invested in AppleCare and let them handle such things. The last thing I want to do is attempt to repair a pc myself or perform do-it-myself hardware tweaks that will void the warranty.


But the MacBook Pro is just one product. It should be comforting that Apple continues to sell PC's that can be hacked to one's hearts content.


From PC World:

If you take an iPhone or iPad to the Genius Bar at an Apple Store to get it repaired, instead of tearing it open and fixing the problem, they will most likely replace your faulty device with a newly refurbished counterpart. This hasn’t been the case with Mac laptops so far, but it could well be from now on, given the design compromises Apple had to make in order to build the slim Retina MacBook Pro.


http://www.pcworld.com/article/257519/ifixit_teardown_retina_macbook_pro_will_be_hard_to _repair.html

kenjamin
06-17-2012, 08:15 AM
I'm the proud owner of a nice fully loaded 13" MacBook Pro that does everything I need done on a computer and this from a retired graphics guy. I am so cheap (and poor) that I don't have internet service at home but use free sites at the cafe, the bookstore, and my sister's house (where I eat supper and hang out with my sister, brother-in-law and nephews most nights). The other day I was killing time in an Apple Store while my car was being repaired and I picked up an 11" MacBook Air. Don't care how much glue they used in that thing, I want one! It could be that I may be the exception to the norm because I actually do a lot of traveling with my laptop and that little light thing would be perfect for my usage.

George Jung
06-17-2012, 08:29 AM
My only question - from the article, I don't see an answer to 'why' Apple decided to glue the batteries in, or solder the RAM connections. Nothing to suggest this was necessary to fit the ultra-thin design.

JimD
06-17-2012, 09:24 AM
My only question - from the article, I don't see an answer to 'why' Apple decided to glue the batteries in, or solder the RAM connections. Nothing to suggest this was necessary to fit the ultra-thin design.
Because its intended to be a throwaway product that should last just about long enough for the next model to hit the market. Apple makes more money and the Chinese factories that make them get to keep churning out new ones.

Captain Intrepid
06-17-2012, 10:13 AM
My only question - from the article, I don't see an answer to 'why' Apple decided to glue the batteries in, or solder the RAM connections. Nothing to suggest this was necessary to fit the ultra-thin design.

My understanding is it's rather significant. The ram integrated to the circuit board takes up perhaps 1/2 to 1/4 of the space of the slots, controllers and chips of a regular SO-DIMM system.

Tom Montgomery
06-17-2012, 10:18 AM
The $600 iPhone has suffered this unrepairable issue for years, with its battery, but has been accepted by the market nonetheless. The iPhone, though, has no serious competition in the smart phone market. The laptop market is another story.

You've never heard of the Android phones, eh? Last I checked they commanded the largest percentage of the smartphone market.

Apple sells laptops other than the MacBook Pro that should be right up your alley if you crave repairabity and have the urge to hack.

Tom Montgomery
06-17-2012, 10:24 AM
Because its intended to be a throwaway product that should last just about long enough for the next model to hit the market. Apple makes more money and the Chinese factories that make them get to keep churning out new ones.

I have been a customer of Apple since 1984.

The longevity of their products have yet to be a problem. They have always lasted until technological advances motivated me to replace then.

pcford
06-17-2012, 10:48 AM
The fanboys have heard the clarion call: an assault on the memory of Steve Jobs!

Tom Montgomery
06-17-2012, 10:53 AM
Steve Jobs may have been a PITA to many. But it cannot be denied that he not only saved Apple from bankruptcy but presided over the company eventually becoming larger than Microsoft.

He made a lot of people a lot of money.

GaryK
06-17-2012, 10:55 AM
Obviously Apple have spat this mutation out to see if it catches on in the market place. Just like in nature. Its up to punters to decide if this is the future of laptops.
I like it, I never replaced a battery in a laptop anyway. Just too pricey pour moi.

Paul Pless
06-17-2012, 10:59 AM
Essentially I agree with JimD's answer above, but there is a solid reason to solder the RAM to the motherboard. RAM sockets that allow the chips to be upgraded take up space. Quite a bit more than the chips themselves.

The $600 iPhone has suffered this unrepairable issue for years, with its battery, but has been accepted by the market nonetheless. The iPhone, though, has no serious competition in the smart phone market. The laptop market is another story.my motorola droid does everything my wifes iphone does, just as well, just as easlily, just as fast, and its been entirely glitch free. I couldnt be happier with it.

George Jung
06-17-2012, 11:05 AM
We have mostly PC's, and one MacBookPro. I really like it - but the PC is fine for me, too. It strikes me the more rabid responders on subjects such as this might reasonably by lumped into the camp of 'true believers' - and might explain the same phenomenon in religion.

Joe (SoCal)
06-17-2012, 11:08 AM
Oh come on all you , HP, compaq, Dell, yadda yadda boring laptop owners know you want this sexy retna screen, slim beauty. But your desire to remain cheep and above it all will make you haters, but deep down we all know you covet this hot laptop.

PS: hey Donn how's that kindle fire working for ya ? About to get lumped in the back of the computer closet with your MS Zune ? ;)

Paul Pless
06-17-2012, 11:13 AM
Oh come on all you , HP, compaq, Dell, yadda yadda boring laptop owners know you want this sexy retna screen, slim beauty. But your desire to remain cheep and above it all will make you haters, but deep down we all know you covet this hot laptop.

PS: hey Donn how's that kindle fire working for ya ? About to get lumped in the back of the computer closet with your MS Zune ? ;)who buys laptops nowadays anyways. I want a superfast desktop with a giant screen and an ipad to go with. . .

I'll be really happy when my iPad becomes truly capable at controlling my television.

Joe (SoCal)
06-17-2012, 11:17 AM
Ill take tge sexy powerful laptop with the retna screen

One screen. Five million pixels.
When you pack over 5 million pixels into a 15.4-inch display, the results are positively stunning. The pixel density is so high, your eyes can’t discern individual pixels. Images take on a new level of realism and text is pin sharp. And with a 2880-by-1800 resolution, you can see more of your high-resolution images onscreen with pixel-for-pixel accuracy. So your best ideas can become your best work.

More color and contrast. Less glare.
The new Retina display reduces glare while maintaining incredible color and quality. In fact, it has a 29 percent higher contrast ratio than a standard MacBook Pro display. Blacks are blacker. Whites are whiter. And everything in between is rich and vibrant. IPS technology gives you a wide, 178-degree view of everything on the screen, so you’ll see the difference at practically any angle. And you’re going to love what you see.

George Jung
06-17-2012, 11:19 AM
I'd like an ipad, as well. As soon as the hangers-on (daughters) get a toe-hold in the jobs market, I'm all over that!

BTW, looking at a MBP 17" - used - for my SIL. They apparently use only Apples in the Mechanical Engineering dept of the school he's entering; they list for $2600 or so, found one less than a year old, virtually unused, for somewhere south of $1500. Don't know if it's possible to buy an extended warranty on these; what'cha think?

GaryK
06-17-2012, 11:22 AM
who buys laptops nowadays anyways. I want a superfast desktop with a giant screen and an ipad. . .
Laptops have taken over.. they can plug into big screens at the office, then unplugged and taken home, or where ever. Lots of business have gone this way.

George Jung
06-17-2012, 11:29 AM
Ipad has similar capabilities, I believe.

Joe (SoCal)
06-17-2012, 11:35 AM
Ipad has similar capabilities, I believe.

You believe wrong. While I'm a big iPad fan they are not as robust as a real laptop, no finder and run only IOS

George Jung
06-17-2012, 11:38 AM
Not as robust, more limited capabilities, sure... but ease of use/access/portability, can hook in a screen and keyboard, not a bad trade off.

Tom Montgomery
06-17-2012, 11:50 AM
I live with an older MacBook Pro, an iPhone 4 (my AT&T contract expires in July and I intend to get an iPhone 5 with a different carrier this Autumn), and the new iPad that I purchased 10 days ago.

I am content.

john l
06-17-2012, 12:10 PM
They use adhesives because fasteners or connectors would make it thicker. Glue is the micro fastener.
This is really a plywood or cold molded versus traditional build paradigm.

john l
06-17-2012, 12:13 PM
Or since this is the bilge, maybe it's a progressive versus conservative one.

JimD
06-17-2012, 12:17 PM
I have been a customer of Apple since 1984.

The longevity of their products have yet to be a problem. They have always lasted until technological advances motivated me to replace then.That's kinda what I meant, Tom. I was just pessimistic about it. I'm sure they'll last a few years by which time most owners will be motivated to upgrade. There really isn't much need for personal computers to last more than a few years.

Nanoose
06-17-2012, 03:35 PM
I live with an older MacBook Pro, an iPhone 4 (my AT&T contract expires in July and I intend to get an iPhone 5 with a different carrier this Autumn), and the new iPad that I purchased 10 days ago.

I am content.

2008 MacBook that is still running perfectly, but I'm just ready for an upgrade. No, I can't justify it. And I love Snow Leopard but if I upgrade it'll be Lion only. Still . . . just ready for an upgrade (and research shows my year/model goes for $625-750USD . . . which is a nice helper towards a new one, or a "keep it" because it's still great . . . or a hand on to one of the kids who have been a little harder on their MacBooks/Pros)

My iPhone is a 3G that is still running perfectly, but I'm just ready for an upgrade. I love the squareness of the 4's, but was waiting to see what the 5 brought to the table. No, I can't justify a change here either.

My iPad is a 2, and I thought about moving to the 3, but decided mine is great and I don't need what the 3 gives me.

So - as for the new laptop decision: mine is a 13" and I had my mind set on a 15; there's only 2 15's in the lineup now . . . and one is thinner and lighter (I really like that) but is also irreparable (I don't like that). I don't need the power of the 15" Retina - I like it's thinner profile and less weight.

What's a girl to do!!?!?!?!?!?

Tom Montgomery
06-17-2012, 03:48 PM
The "irreparability" of the new MacBook Pro is only an issue if you want to be able to open the thing up and repair it yourself. See the link to PC World in post #5.

Tom Montgomery
06-17-2012, 04:04 PM
Android is an operating system, not a smart phone. You can't name a single model that has endured for much more than a year. People are attracted to Android for some very good reasons, but no one has yet utilized it in a way that competes successfully with the iPhone. Many users have ventured to Android, for some very tempting reasons....but often returned to the iPhone.

Not an Apple fan here, in general, but there's no denying the total dominance of the iPhone, and the failure the numerous Android variants to make their mark. People want there to be a viable alternative...they try Android...they are disappointed...they return...a very common scenario.

News to me. Many Bilge residents are happy with their Android phones. Ask a few, beginning with Paul Pless.

Sheesh... if you want to toss operating systems out of the equation and only count hardware manufacturers then Apple is the predominate pc manufacturer.

Captain Intrepid
06-17-2012, 04:12 PM
How's the battery life? That's where this thread began. I have a 3G that I use just as a music player. It's down to about 30 minutes of playing time now. Will I replace the battery? Nope...can't.

Sure you can. You just need mad hacker skills.

http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing-iPhone-3G-Battery/577/1#.T95IEnazieY

George Jung
06-17-2012, 06:24 PM
What's the top five worldwide?