Apple’s Disposable MacBooks

I have seen the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and I’m not buying one.

I really like Apple’s products. I do. Really; but I don’t like the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Believe me when I say, it’s not the display that’s the problem.

I made a recent trip to the Apple Store and was able to look at, handle, pick it up, etc. It’s very thin for a 15″ laptop. I was impressed with the build quality and the form factor. The display…was STUNNING. However, nothing is physically wrong with the PC…other than “once you buy the prize, it’s yours to keep.” In other words, you can’t upgrade it, in any way… EVER.

Due to a number of different tear downs that were performed on the device, it’s clear that the new notebook contains:

  • RAM soldered to a logic board
  • A Proprietary SSD
  • A unified display assembly
  • A battery that’s glued to the case

There are no user serviceable components. You can’t upgrade ANYTHING in this notebook. If you can’t afford to buy the max configured unit, which costs a max amount of $3857.00 USD, before tax and shipping, if you max out all components, including the processor as well as purchase a USB SuperDrive and Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. If you add AppleCare to the package, which I would HIGHLY recommend based on how the PC is manufactured and the fact that nothing is upgradable, the price tops $4206.00 USD.

My Early 2011 15″ MBP is the top of the line 15″ MBP. It was $2799. The new MBP is $1058 USD ($1407 USD with AppleCare) MORE than the previous generation top of the line MBP.

Paying that is pure insanity unless you’re part of the so called 1%, here in the US.

The biggest problem with the device is not the price. It’s not the lack of end-user upgradable components, per se. It’s the fact that the devices really aren’t recyclable, despite what Apple says.

None of the internal components can be recycled, according to some articles I’ve seen. It may be possible to “shred” the device once it reaches end of life and won’t work any longer; but it’s unclear whether the refuse can be recycled. It depends on the resins and glues used.

When you combine the price point of the unit with the non-upgradeability and current recycling status, you get a disposable PC.

That’s sad.

A neighbor of mine is looking for a new MacBook and is interested in the high end 13″ MBP; but those units are currently only available in 4GB or 8GB RAM configurations. I called the Apple Store to ask them about this and while the PC’s (any of the new non-retina MBP’s) MAY be able to support more than 8GB of RAM or 1TB HDD/512GB proprietary SSD, Apple doesn’t support it, and may not honor warranties IF your PC comes in for repair with greater than 8GB of ram or the any other HDD/SSD configuration other than their configurator contains.

Apple simply doesn’t want to support non-standard configurations; and it appears that most users won’t care, as most just turn the switch on and use what they purchased. They don’t tweak or play with the hardware.

However, this is problematic due to the high price point of the laptops. You want to be able to grow the laptop a bit and at least upgrade the RAM and hard drive so you can store and do more over a longer period of time. The PC is too expensive NOT to do, or want to do, that.

I’m not going to purchase a new laptop for a while yet. The one I purchased last year should do me for at LEAST another couple of years. However, what to purchase after that isn’t as clear cut a choice as it used to be.

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