MacBook Pro Retina 13-Inch Teardown Finds Battery Changes: iFixit

The $1,699 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has a reconfigured battery that is much easier to remove, an iFixit teardown reveals.

Now that Apple has taken the wraps off its latest MacBook Pro, a 13-inch notebook updated with the company's high-definition Retina display, the teardown team over at iFixit has taken the screws to it—or out of it, as the case may be. During the analysis, the company noted the most striking change was the redesign of the device's battery—which has been changed in a few ways.

Apple moved two of the battery cells off the trackpad, and replaced its traditional battery connector with several screws that hold the battery's connector board in place. On "repairability," the iFixit analysts gave the notebook a score of 2 out of 10, with 10 being the easiest to repair.

The rearrangement of the battery cells allow tshe MacBook's solid-state drive (SSD) to be placed completely underneath the trackpad, but leaves an empty space next to the drive that the teardown analysis characterized as "very un-Apple," but thought the space might have been left open to accommodate an additional, super-slim hard drive. The teardown also showed that Apple has glued in small pieces of steel-wool-like metal on top of two of the speaker screws, which iFixit theorized could be for noise reduction, grounding or use as tamper-evident seals.

The single heat sink, which includes two rubber heat sink covers, has been scaled down to fit the smaller display, but otherwise unchanged. The AirPort card, though relocated, is the exact same model as the one found in the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro model. The iFixit team gave high marks to the cooling fans, but noted they can't be removed without first removing the heat sink. "Their asymmetrical blade spacing is great at breaking up annoying air patterns that symmetrically spaced fan blades might generate. This provides users with quieter fans," the report noted.

The teardown also revealed the battery is still a hassle to remove, as it is still glued into the notebook's case, although the team found it less difficult to remove than the battery on the MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina model, which it deemed the most difficult notebook to repair. The report also noted the trackpad on the 13-inch MacBook Pro could be easily replaced, which was not possible on the 15-inch model as it was covered by the battery.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $1,699, measures 0.75 inches thin and weighs 3.57 pounds—nearly a pound less than the current model. The display offers 2560-by-1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors. Apple boasts the Retina display has a pixel density is so high, the human eye can't discern individual pixels. The display also reduces glare up to 75 percent and has a 29 percent higher contrast ratio than a standard MacBook Pro display.

The 13-inch model also features dual-core Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 processors with speeds up to 2.9GHz and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000, two USB 3 ports, a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port, and a Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) card slot, three-stream 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, dual built-in microphones and a multi-touch trackpad.