2018 13-Inch MacBook Pro Gets the Full Teardown Treatment

BY Evan Selleck

Published 16 Jul 2018

Earlier this month, Apple launched a new version of its MacBook Pro. It offers plenty of the upgrades most MBP fans have been looking for, and it even includes the fastest SSD ever in a laptop.

But obviously there are a lot of questions that folks still have in a few key areas, including the third-generation butterfly keyboard. When Apple unveiled the new laptops, which come in 13- and 15-inch Touch Bar variants only (the non-Touch Bar models were not upgraded (yet)), they informed publications that the new keyboard was not specifically designed to address any of the complaints that have led the company to launch a repair program for the first- and second-generation butterfly keyboards.

The fine folks over at iFixit teased the world last week, giving us a quick glimpse as what they’d be working on over the weekend. They first indicated that the new third-generation MacBook Pro keyboard features a “thin, silicone barrier” to prevent small debris from impacting the performance of the keyboard.

Well, now the crew has put together their full teardown treatment, and you can see it in the source link below. This is the 13-inch model with the Touch Bar, but it shouldn’t be vastly different compared to the 15-inch model.

The battery gets a bump in size with this year’s model, but Apple has already stated it isn’t going to put any extra battery life expectations out there into the wild. But the teardown does note that this new battery is indeed a bit bigger, and it has been arrayed into a new six-cell design. Compare that to the five cell design in the previous model.

  • At 58.0 Wh, this battery has gotten a significant boost over the 49.2 Wh unit we found in our original 13″ Touch Bar teardown.
  • Turns out that extra ‘oomph’ comes from a slightly bigger battery—arrayed into six cells this time, instead of five. It’s also heavier, weighing in at in at 232.7 g, versus the old battery’s 196.7 g.
  • And yet this MacBook Pro’s total weight hasn’t changed one iota. We’re not sure which parts of this device have been on a diet, but it does look like Apple shaved some mass off the top case.
  • The teardown also revealed that Apple has some good news for folks who love to do their own repairs, even if it’s just one bit: The Force Touch trackpad is a simple replacement with just removing a few Torx screws.

    That keyboard, though. According to the publication, the difference in sound level is “underwhelming to our ears”, and says they will be going into a deeper dive on the new third-generation butterfly keyboard at a later date. If you want to judge the sound difference between the third-generation butterfly keyboard and previous variants, click right here.

  • Apple was careful to mention its latest third-gen keyboard in its press release. The added quietness seems a bit underwhelming to our ears, and we suspect there’s something more going on.
  • After three years of key-cap removal, we’re able to pop this lid open without damaging the delicate clips, and boy are we rewarded.
  • There are a variety of different chips under the hood, too, which you can go into full detail with in the full writeup if you’re inclined. In the end, though, the mid-2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is rewarded with a 1 out of 10 in repairability score. That isn’t great! But it also isn’t surprising in the slightest, considering that has been the trend for some time now.

    Check out the full teardown through the source link below.

    Our Take

    So much attention is going to be paid to this third-generation butterfly keyboard. The rest of the machine is pretty on point for what a MacBook Pro buyer would want, in terms of pure specifications. It’s a powerful machine, to be sure. But folks don’t want their keyboards to fail on them, either. Apple appears to be going out of its way to make sure it doesn’t admit to any faults with previous butterfly keyboards, and also trying to reduce the expectation that the new keyboard design will actually change anything. It’s an interesting position to be in.

    [via iFixit]