2019 13-inch MacBook Pro teardown reveals soldered-down SSD, slightly larger battery, modular ports

iFixit has gotten its hands on the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro that was released this week, giving a detailed look at the changes under the hood. The base 13-inch Pro has a marginally larger battery, modular ports, but now has a soldered-down SSD. The teardown also checks out the notebook’s keyboard and more.

iFixit found a few positive aspects with the base 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro as it compared and contrasted the notebook to its predecessor, the non Touch Bar 2016 MacBook Pro.

The good
Apple is using modular parts for the Thunderbolt and headphone ports, with the headphone jack module also including the microphone and Touch ID connector. Keeping these components modular means repairs won’t require a full logic board replacement in case of failure.

 

The teardown also revealed that the battery on this latest 13-inch MacBook Pro is slightly larger with a 58.2Wh capacity compared to the 54.5Wh in the 2016 non Touch Bar version.

That difference may be explained by the extra juice needed for the Touch Bar and T2 chip upgrades as the battery is still rated for 10 hours of use, like the other Pro models. However, even the more powerful 13-inch Pro models have a 58.0Wh battery capacity, so there’s a chance the base version with upgraded battery could offer longer use than expected.

The bad
One of iFixit’s major disappointments from this teardown is that Apple is now soldering down the SSD. Previously it was a proprietary SSD chip, so users couldn’t really do upgrades, but it wasn’t fixed in place. That SSD change joins the soldered-down RAM.

Another concern was a reduced heat pipe:

To make room for the Touch ID sensor alongside the Touch Bar, Apple seems to have trimmed a little mass off the heat pipe, left of the exhaust. Compare the 2016 “Function keys” version (top of image) to this year’s model (bottom).

iFixit highlights that the maximum amount of heat output is still the same but now with the reduced heat pipe.

Meanwhile, the teardown also notes that the speaker was notably reduced, with iFixit curious how Apple could retain sound quality.

Apple’s audio engineers are basically wizards, but we’re skeptical that even wizards could maintain the same sound quality in a speaker this much smaller.

The stagnant
As expected after Apple added the 13-inch 2019 MacBook Pros to its Keyboard Service Program, iFixit confirmed the new machine is using the same revised third-gen butterfly keyboard that launched with the updated 15-inch MacBook Pro back in May. Users may have the same troubles, but at least they’ll be covered.

Conclusion
Overall, the base 2019 MacBook Pro received a 2/10 repairability score from iFixit, which is the same as the non Touch Bar model earned from 2016.

On the bright side, in early performance tests, the base 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro has fared quite well, even coming close to the results of the more expensive 13-inch Pro models with upgraded processors.

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