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Bigger MacBook Pro battery equals higher replacement cost

The larger battery in Apple's new MacBook Pro with Retina Display comes at a premium cost to buyers when it needs changing.

Apple's new notebook is packing some serious juice.
Apple's new notebook is packing some serious juice.

Apple's new top of the line MacBook Pro with its Retina Display packs a battery that's 23 percent larger than what can be found in the usual 15-inch MacBook Pro, and Apple seems to have passed that extra cost down to owners when the time comes to replace it.

Computerworld today notes that the price of replacing the massive battery -- which makes up more than a third of the computer's innards -- runs $199. That's up $70, or 54 percent compared to the $129 Apple currently charges to swap it out on the non-Retina 15-inch model.

Apple began the practice of using built-in batteries on its notebooks beginning with the first MacBook Air, later bringing it to the 17-inch version of the MacBook Pro. Incidentally, the companykilled off the 17-inch version of its notebook this week.

When introducing the idea to consumers in 2009, Apple noted that the integrated design saved space, allowing the company to fit more battery into the enclosure, and thus get longer battery life. That design trickled down into the rest of the line, and shows no sign of reverting back to a point where users can simply buy a battery and swap it out themselves.

An analysis on the new notebook released by teardown site iFixit earlier this week, dubbed it "the least repairable laptop we've taken apart." The site called Apple out for using glue to secure a series of six battery packs that keep the unit juiced up.

As for how often notebook batteries actually need replacing, Apple says the integrated packs in its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines provide "up to 1,000 full charge and discharge cycles," before only being able to support 80 percent of its original capacity.

Read CNET's review of the 15-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro here.

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