Apple’s new M1 MacBook have been on the shelves for a while and the new laptops have received their customary biopsies from iFixit this week. And suffice to say, the results haven’t been very surprising but there are some key takeaways from it. As you already know, Apple didn’t give these new machines any radical design overhauls and that’s mostly true for what’s inside the chassis as well, in terms of component placements.
Talking about the more affordable MacBook Air first, it is completely identical to its predecessor aside from the new logic board and cooler. Arguably the biggest change looks to be the removal of the fan which is replaced by an aluminum spreader. The spreader is to guide the heat away and the fan isn’t needed because Apple’s M1 is efficient enough in the MacBook Air to not need a fan. There’s even no heat pipe and just a plain thick sheet of metal. Suffice to say, Apple is really confident in the capability of its chips that it doesn’t see a requirement that was need in Intel-powered laptops.
Also, the two 4 GB LPDDR4X RAM chips by SK Hynix are soldered and non-serviceable similar to the Intel-powered models. On the other hand, their proximity to the M1 chip makes frequency signal travel faster and easier. The T2 security chip isn’t visible because its functions have been integrated into the M1 SoC itself. The soldered RAM chips means that repairs will be a pain for outfits like iFixit. It also means that Apple doesn’t plan on allowing upgradable RAM anytime soon which is another bummer.
As for the MacBook Pro, there are virtually no differences. Moreover, both the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air themselves have fairly similar parts and chips which iFixit thought could allow interchangeable repairs, however, that is not the case.
iFixit hasn’t yet given the new MacBook a repairability score either but we wouldn’t be surprised if it remained the same as last year considering how similar the machines are. For a full drawdown, check out iFixit’s story on the teardown.