Apple released the first Mac M2, the 13-inch MacBook Pro last week, and repair site iFixit picked up the new machine for a traditional teardown of the device.
Design-wise, iFixit doesn’t have much to say about the 2M2 MacBook Pro because aside from the 2M2 chip, it’s very similar to the previous generation MacBook Pro. It has the same chassis, Touch Bar and display with updates focused under the hood.
As expected, iFixit found that almost all components were identical and could not identify any external changes. Inside, a few small chips and components have been updated, but the rest of the interior remains the same.
iFixit was able to remove the M1 and M2 boards and place the M2 board in the M1 MacBook Pro case. Although the boards could be swapped out, the M2 chip in the M1h chassis would not work due to component swapping. The touchpad, keyboard, and Touch ID sensor do not work when the M1 and M2 chips are replaced.
Because the components of the MacBook Pro M2 physically fit inside the MacBook Pro M1, iFixit claims that Apple is “making a tremendous effort to block repair and replacement through software blocks.”
Previous arguments about the lack of intergenerational upgradability have focused on chassis or cost considerations or size considerations within manufacturing limits. So how do we explain it?
iFixit confirmed the SSD design, which caused SSD benchmark performance in the 256GB MacBook Pro M2 to be slower than the 256GB MacBook Pro M1. In fact, Apple is using a single 256GB SSD chip in the MacBook Pro 2M2, while the M1 uses two 128GB SSD chips. The two SSD chips allow the system to read and write twice as fast as operations can be performed at the same time. It’s not clear why Apple made this change, but iFixit speculates it’s a direct result of component shortages.
Overall, iFixit says Apple missed an opportunity to introduce its first upgradeable device in a long time, and the company also missed an opportunity to set the tone for repairability and eco-design by restricting interoperability.