"Cracking Open: Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2015)"
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Cracking Open: Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2015)
The 2015 MacBook isn't just a thinner, lighter version of the MacBook Air.
No, Apple has completely redesigned this machine from the ground up, and I'm gonna show you how.
I'm Bill Detwiler and this is Cracking Open.
The 2015 twelve inch MacBook comes in two main hardware configurations...
And three colors.
Now our gold test unit had a 1.1 GHz Intel Core M processor, 8 gigs of RAM, 256 gigs of storage, an Intel HD Graphics 5000 chip, and a Retina display.
Now Apple went with a USB C connector instead of separate power, USB, and DisplayPorts.
But there is still a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack.
The keyboard has been completely redesigned.
The mechanics under the keys, the actual keys themselves and the lighting is all new.
The new Macbook also has Apple's Force Touch trackpad.
Which the company also uses on the 2015 Macbook Pro.
Now, those are just the changes you can see on the outside.
There's lots more to see on the inside.
So, let's get cracking.
As with the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro, Apple uses pentalope screws to secure the Macbook's lower case panel to the upper half of the case.
You'll need a special screwdriver to remove them.
Once the screws are removed, you can lift up on the panel from the back.
Unlike the Erin Pro however, there are several cables that connect components attached to the bottom of the panel to other bits of hardware that are attached to the upper case.
Now to disconnect these cables You'll also need to lift up on the panel from the front, avoiding tightening the cables too much.
Now we can disconnect the track pad and keyboard cables at this point.
Now I would normally disconnect the battery here.
But Apple actually built the battery contact Into the main system board.
Now, I can try to isolate the battery by shimming a piece of plastic between the board and the battery.
But this seems like a really odd way to disassemble the laptop.
So, I went ahead and disconnected the ribbon cables for the USBC port, retina display and the audio board.
With all the cables disconnected, we can separate both halves of the case and really see just how different the new MacBook's internal design is from the MacBook Pro and the Air.
For starters, the battery, main logic board, and the speaker antenna assemblies are all attached to the case's removable bottom panel, not the upper half, which houses the keyboard Trackpad and ports.
Now speaking of the logic board, the new one is significantly smaller than those on the Pro or the Air.
And thanks to the new Intel Core M processor, gone are the familiar fan and cooling assembly.
There's also no separate SSD, now this machine's storage chips are soldered to the board.
The force touch track pad seems thinner than the one on the pro also.
The battery cells are contoured, to fit snuggly within the cases curved depressions.
And although we can't really see its inner workings, as I mentioned earlier, the keyboards all new too Now that our tour of the internal hardware is done, we can actually get down to removing a few of the components.
And after ensuring its attached cables are disconnected and screws removed, I was able to lift out the logic board.
Now next to come out are the machine's two speaker assemblies, which also appear to function as antennas.
Now as the battery is glued to the case, I'm going to leave it alone rather than risk damaging it during removal.
I'm turning our attention to the upper half of the case.
We can remove the track pad, which is held in place with a few screws, the new USB C connector, and the audio board assembly.
And lastly, we can detach the retina display from the case And our tear down is complete.
So what should we make of all the changes and new hardware Apple put into the 2015 MacBook?
Well first and foremost I think it's a sign of where Apple is going to take its laptops.
Eventually all Apple portables will have the new keyboard, Force Touch trackpad, and Retina display.
And as processors get more powerful and produce less heat, internal fans will disappear.
As far their product lines, Apple may keep the Pro around for power users but the Air's days are pretty much numbered.
There's just no reason for Apple to offer two distinct ultra-portable lines.
Lastly, although, the changes don't make repairs impossible, they don't make them any easier, either.
I hope as Apple refines the Macbook's design, they don't forget about all of us who still need to crack open their computers.
Now for more information on the 2015 MacBook including real world tests and pricing, check out Dan Ackerman's full seen it review.
To see more tear down photos and to read my full hardware analysis, go to techrepublic.com/crackingopen.
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