Apple's new MacBook Air, unveiled on 30 October, will be almost impossible to upgrade or repair in any meaningful sense, according to the latest iFixit teardown, despite some improvements on the previous, 2015 model.
The Model A1932 MacBook Air torn apart by the iFixit folks comes with a 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and a 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS Retina display with a 2,560x1,600 resolution. Other specs include the Apple T2 custom security chip/coprocessor; a pitiful 128 GB PCIe-based SSD; eight gigabytes of of 2133 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM; and, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.
iFixit rated the MacBook Air a three out of 10 in the repairability stakes
The device also comes with two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports supporting charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB 3.1 Gen 2.
According to iFixit, the model is similar to the recent 13-inch MacBook Pro internally. The MacBook Air 2018 is relatively simple to open, and appears well-organised inside. The parts that can be easily identified are:
- Cirrus Logic CS42L83A audio codec
- Intel SREKQ Core i5-8210Y Processor
- Apple APL1027 339S00535 T2 coprocessor
- Intel JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Controller
- SanDisk SDSGFBF12 043G flash
- Intersil 95828A HRTZ X829PMJ
- 2x SKhynix H9CCNNNCPTAL LPDDR3 RAM
- NXP 80V18
- Macronix MX25U3235F serial multi I/O flash memory
- Texas Instruments TPS51980A synchronous buck converter
- Texas Instruments CD32-15C00 power controller
According to iFixit all the ports sit on their own boards and can be easily replaced. However, RAM and storage are soldered to the motherboard, meaning it's not going to be easy to upgrade the device and any attempt to do so will, of course, invalidate the warranty. IFixit described it as "a serious bummer on a $1,200+ laptop".
The keyboard (a 3rd-gen butterfly keyboard) and the battery are replaceable, but relatively difficult to access.
Inside the device, you will find a small logic board, a fan, a pair of large speakers, and a radiator-esque heat sink.
On the daughterboard reside a headphone jack, a Cirrus Logic CS42L83A audio codec, and some connectors for the Touch ID sensor and speaker. The trackpad in the device shares a cable with the keyboard, which is pinned under the logic board.
Overall, iFixit rated the MacBook Air a three out of 10 in the repairability stakes; which is a big step up on the 2015 model score of just one out of 10 but, let's face it, not exactly great.
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