Teardown of 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar reveals non-removable SSD, extra trackpad touch controller, more

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Repair firm iFixit on Friday completed its dissection of Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which boasts upscaled components and extra hardware not found on its smaller 13-inch sibling.

Though the overall internal design is similar to the 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro, complete with "mustache" logic board, the 15-inch Pro features two — larger — fans, larger speakers, a revised battery layout, and extra components to power the much larger Force Touch Trackpad.

Much to the chagrin of aftermarket upgrade purveyors, the 15-inch Pro sports the same soldered-on SSD module design, meaning users are hard pressed to change out the drive without authorized help. Further, iFixit discovered a connector that has no readily apparent purpose. Though not confirmed, the component, also seen on the 13-inch model, is thought to be an SSD diagnostics port.

Also of note is MacBook Pro's gigantic Force Touch trackpad. With the 15-inch model, Apple had to incorporate a second touch controller to handle the extra surface area.

Other notable findings include a faux speaker grille with through-holes limited to a small round section just above the two up-firing speakers, improved heatsink and an Apple APL1023 343S00137 chip thought to be the Touch Bar's T1 controller. Interestingly, Apple might have mislabeled the T1 chip in a product promo video aired during last month's special event. It turns out the silicon highlighted by Apple is a Texas Instruments chip also present in the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, suggesting the actual T1 controller is a larger, Apple-branded component positioned just below the T1 part.

Overall, iFixit says the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is incredibly difficult to repair due to its non-removable SSD, glued-in battery, impossible to replace OLED Touch Bar and integrated Touch ID power button.


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