Apple’s new MacBook Pro M2 misses the repairability mark

The MacBook Pro M2 is more similar to its predecessor than you might think. Apple’s new laptop uses the same architecture as the 2020 model, and that’s not good news for repairability.

The new MacBook Pro 13 with M2 chip is a stunning laptop. The autonomy is impressive, the performance of the M2 is at the top and the screen is of very good quality. This machine, however, suffers from a defect: its design is furiously reminiscent of that of the MacBook Pro M1 of 2020. And it’s not just a story of physiognomy; Inside, too, the two laptops are very similar, as iFixit proves.

It’s in the old jars…

In a teardown video of the MacBook Pro M2, the repair site discovered that it was more or less a MacBook Pro M1 hosting a never-before-seen chip. The component layout is similar, the motherboard size is similar, the cooling circuits are cut-and-paste, and the chassis has the same serial number. In short, the only thing that really separates these two machines is the onboard processor. They are so similar that iFixit tried to replace the motherboard and the processor of a MacBook Pro M1 with the components of the M2 version.

Small miracle, everything fits perfectly in the old chassis and it is possible to connect the battery, the keyboard, the screen and everything else on the new circuit. However, the computer does not start in this configuration. Or rather, it does not detect the external accessories that are the trackpad, the keyboard and the Touch ID sensor. Despite a design that seems to encourage repairability and changing parts, Apple computers are therefore not interchangeable. “Previous arguments for the lack of scalability between generations were related to chassis size, cost, or manufacturing limitations. So how do you justify that?”asks iFixit.

Advertising, your content continues below

Repairability sacrificed

According to the specialized site, the parts of the two computers are clearly compatible with each other and the limitations seem to come from a software lock rather than hardware. It would seem that some of the components, such as the trackpad and the fingerprint sensor, are “serialized”. This means that they are software bound to a specific processor and do not work with another. Apple is no stranger to this practice since the firm had already done the same with the facial recognition module of the iPhone 13.

This practice also means that changing the motherboard of a MacBook Pro M1 by that of another M1 will not allow it to function correctly either, the trackpad and the fingerprint sensor not finding their processor of series. According to iFixit, Apple could loosen up on this aspect in order to make its Macs more repairable, but changing the motherboard for a newer model seems to remain in the realm of fantasy. Too bad for a series of machines whose parts are so similar. Too bad also that the Cupertino company does not integrate the subject of the repairability and the scalability of these systems upstream of production.

This similarity of components is also probably due to the shortage that continues to plague the world of computing. It is also this limited availability of chips that prompted Apple to integrate a single 256 GB SSD on the MacBook Pro M2, rather than two 128 GB as with its elder. Result, the read and write tests are less good, the system cannot perform operations on two disks in parallel.

Advertising, your content continues below

Advertising, your content continues below

Leave a Comment