When the iFixit team took apart the Macbook Retina earlier this year, they gave it the lowest rating ever, 1 out of 10. Now they have done the new 13" version, and they are positively giddy, giving it a huge boost to 2 of ten. They actually say:
The 13" Retina battery is a step in the right direction towards recyclability and repairability, but it's still a far cry from the no-adhesive MacBook Pro batteries of yesteryear.
They manage to get the batteries out without puncturing them with no heat gun, in only 15 minutes. At one point they almost wax enthusiastic:
Just five screws keep the trackpad in place. You can actually replace it if it breaks, which is pretty much impossible on the 15" model — it's covered by the battery.
In the end, they conclude:
- MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Repairability: 2 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)
- There appears to be enough space to fit a regular 5 mm or 7 mm 2.5" laptop drive, but a custom cable will need to be developed.
- The battery is still glued into the laptop's top case, but it's slightly less difficult to remove compared to the 15" model.
- Proprietary pentalobe screws prevent you from gaining access to anything inside.
- The RAM is surface-mount soldered to the logic board, so no upgrade is possible. It will forever have 8 GB of RAM.
- The display assembly is almost impossible to take apart. If anything ever fails inside the display, you'll need to replace the display as a whole.
Which is why, when I was checking around before buying a new Macbook, the best advice I got was to buy the three year extended service plan and assume that's the working life of the computer. More at iFixit