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Teardown of Apple's new 13" MacBook Pro reveals 'Force Touch' trackpad, shared tech with new MacBook Air

The new "Force Touch" trackpad Apple introduced for its notebooks earlier this week has begun to arrive in consumers' hands in the refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a teardown of that device shows off the trackpad's construction while shedding light on storage technology shared between the company's computers.


The Force Touch trackpad assembly. Via iFixit.


Apple's latest 13-inch MacBook Pro is largely similar to its predecessor, repair firm iFixit notes in its disassembly. Some chips have been moved around and the layout of the logic board slightly altered, but the all-new 'Force Touch' trackpad is the largest change.

Prying apart the new trackpad, the company found four electromagnets that push and pull on a small metal rail. Apple touched these briefly during its "Spring Forward" event on Monday, but did not mention the method in which they operate.

Speculation suggests that Apple may vary which electromagnets are activated for a given press event, using different combinations to react to the force and position of the press on the trackpad.


A deconstructed assembly, with strain gauges visible on the supporting tabs. Via iFixit.


The force sensing mechanism relies on four small strain gauges affixed to flexible mounts in each corner of the trackpad. These gauges likely measure the deformation of the mounts, using that data to evaluate the force of the user's press.

Apple also brought its new flash memory architecture to the MacBook Pro, with the laptop sharing the same Samsung memory and controllers as the refreshed MacBook Air. Apple says this storage is twice as fast as the previous generation, claims largely backed up by benchmarks.


A close-up view of the electromagnet assembly. Via iFixit.


In all, iFixit gave the new MacBook Pro an unsurprising repairability score of 1 out of 10, citing the proprietary pentalobe screws, fused Retina display, and copious amounts of adhesive. This is unlikely to pose problems for most Mac buyers, who can simply return their devices to Apple for service in the event of a problem.