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Teardown: What Apple Didn’t Tell You About the New MacBook Pro

Fans have waited forever for a MacBook Pro update. And Apple finally released two new MacBook Pros—one with the touted Touch Bar and one with traditional function keys. We got our mitts on the latter, which we’ve dubbed the “Escape Edition” because it still has an escape key. And we uncovered a few features that Phil didn’t mention.

The MBP sports a removable SSD powered by a custom Apple controller (we first saw this silicon in the 2015 MacBook, but this is its first appearance on a removable SSD). The SSD also has a new form factor and a new pin configuration.

On the mechanical side: New rubber bumpers on the speaker screws guard your laptop against vibration for chatter-free listening at top-volume. Maybe the new MBP finally has speakers to warrant this iMac-worthy tech. And if you spotted the headphone jack during the announcement, we were surprised too. But it probably won’t stick around much longer. The jack is a modular unit (with two microphones) taped to the top of the fan. That should make it pretty easy to replace with a Lightning or USB-C connector in the next model. As a final feature—if you’ve always thought closing your laptop could be smoother, Apple’s got you covered there with nifty, new spring-loaded tensioners.

Other Late 2016 MacBook Pro Teardown Highlights:

  • The 54.5 Wh battery technically stores less than 75% of the juice of last year’s edition, but more than the 49.2 Wh battery of its Touch Bar-equipped sibling. Even with three cells instead of six, the battery is stubbornly adhered and really tough to remove. At least the trackpad comes out first.
  • We looked into the “advanced thermal architecture” Apple boasted about in its press release—and couldn’t find anything especially advanced. Okay, variably spaced fan blades, but we mostly noticed the heat sink is screwed on from the other side.
  • The Butterfly 2.0 keys are indeed updated! The keycaps are a little taller at the edges, making keys easier to find with your fingers. The switches have likewise gained some heft.
  • Let’s play a little game of “Find the AirPort Card.” You lose. Because there is no AirPort card! All the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips have been moved onto the logic board instead of living on a separate card, as they have in the past.
  • Unfortunately, the new MacBook Pro scored low on our repairability scale, nabbing just 2 points out of 10. So keep those coffee beverages and colas away from your laptop, folks.

These are just a few highlights from our full teardown. Check out the complete MacBook Pro 13″ Late 2016 teardown on iFixit.com.