Desktops and Notebooks: New MacBook Air Is Frustratingly Hard to Crack: iFixit Teardown

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-06-15 Print this article Print
Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air

On June 11, Apple introduced a faster, more robust MacBook Air. The 11 inch-model, with its 11.6-inch high-resolution LED-backlit display, starts at $999, while 13-inch models, with their 13.3-inch displays, start at $1,199.
Apple showed off updated 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air laptops during its June 11 Worldwide Developer Conference keynote. Apple executives talked up the machines' Intel Ivy Bridge processors, discrete graphics from Nvidia that are now 60 percent faster, flash storage that's four times faster than traditional hard drives, by Apple's count, and a display that does without the protective front glass on the LCD of previous models. However, the engineering team at repair site, wanting very literally to see it all for themselves, immediately purchased a 128GB model. Using a toolkit they designed and sell for just such occasions, the engineers removed Apple's proprietary pentalobe screws—designed to dissuade non-Apple employees from exactly such activities—and got to work pulling it apart. Ultimately, the team gave the MacBook Air a repairability score of 4 out of 10 (10 being the most repair-friendly), criticizing its "lack of upgradeability." While Apple's use of the funky screws is helping iFixit's booming tool sales business, the teardown specialist added, "It's a bad thing for consumers."
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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