Apple says: Can't Touch This!

Light, powerful, and soldered shut!

Today at the Apple Store, while I was helping my mom pick out her new 13" MacBook Air (128 GB Flash Drive), I saw clearly where Apple is heading with their portable devices. The "iOSification" of the Mac line extends beyond the swipe gestures and the full screen apps and launcher interface updates. It's baked into the hardware, now.

The common trait of iOS devices, the absolute lack of any way to service or upgrade the devices (where are the screws, after all?) coupled with the way that all the components, including the battery, are glued or soldered to the main logic board, it all means that you can't upgrade your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or now, MacBook Air. The Geniuses (and I mean this only in the most positive sense) at the Apple Store confirmed that everything in the Air is soldered right to the main logic board, including the RAM, HD, and battery. So even if you could figure out a way to open up the Air, there's not much you can do but stare at the innards and think nostalgically back to the days where you could replace a notebook battery without a acetylene torch.

I suspect that the current rumors that the MacBook Pro is going to adopt the Air form factor means that, in practical terms, the new Pro won't have a battery that you can replace, or RAM slots you can fill with your upgrades, or hard drives that you could swap out. I don't know if that's the kind of machine I want.

I'm thinking that I'll wait until the new Pros come out this summer, likely with the new OS X, Mountain Lion (also an example of how Apple is "iOSing" the Mac product line) and see if that's in fact what's happening. If the Pro becomes another sealed black box, a slab of hardware, glue and solder that can't be modified by anyone, then I'll probably go to Microcenter and pick up the current version of the Pro, with the replaceable battery, HD, and RAM, and save a few bucks too.

I don't have to worry about that for a few months, and in the meantime, I'm going to try to update my current MacBook Pro, and see how that goes.

Have you heard anything about the changes to the MacBook Pro line? Will Apple have any portable devices that aren't completely sealed and glued together.


Neil Johnson said…
It turns out some things on the Air can be upgraded or replaced: -- but not as much as the Pro, and not nearly as easily.

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