It doesn’t take long after a new Apple product launch for iFixit to strip it down to its frame, and that’s exactly what happened with the late 2016 Retina MacBook Pro with function keys. Inside they found a smaller battery, removable custom SSD, and more.
Apple introduced new 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models at a media event on October 27th. The new models include brighter displays with a wider color gamut, USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, a larger trackpad, and Intel Skylake Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Apple’s new Touch Bar replaces the function keys on the 15-inch model and one 13-inch model—both of which will be available in a week or so, although ship times are slipping.
The 13-inch model with function keys, however, is available now, and that’s what iFixit ripped apart.
Inside they found a battery that’s 27% smaller than the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it still offers the same 10 hours of use. The battery also easier to remove, which is good news should it need to be replaced.
The SSD storage module is removable, although replacements aren’t currently available. Apple is using SanDisk memory chips along with a custom designed controller, which may limit future upgrade options. Still, the fact that the SSD can be popped out is promising.
Like previous MacBook Pro models, the RAM is soldered in, so the 8GB or 16GB is comes with is all you’ll get without any upgrade option.
The new keyboard Apple bragged about that’s supposed to be an improvement over the MacBook uses different butterfly switch mechanism, and does feel different. Since the feel of a keyboard is subjective, you’ll have to decide for yourself if different is better.
Apple left the 3.5mm headphone jack, which was something of a surprise considering it’s gone from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. That doesn’t mean it isn’t welcome; the headphone jack is still an important port for many MacBook Pro users.
iFixit gave the function key 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro a repairability score of 2 out of 10, which means you shouldn’t expect to have much luck with DIY repairs and upgrades. That’s a little disappointing but not surprising considering Apple hasn’t been keen on users going under the hood with Macs for some time.
That said, it’s pretty impressive Apple was able to keep the overall battery life at 10 hours while reducing the battery size by 27%.