We Tore Down the Touch Bar (And the 13’’ MacBook Pro Attached to It)

Let’s start off with what Apple’s Touch Bar-equipped 13″ MacBook Pro isn’t: it definitely isn’t a “touched up” version of the function key’d 13″ MBP we tore down last time. Nuh-uh. It’s an entirely different computer, with a totally different design; it probably has more in common with its 15″ big bro. While we wait for that teardown, here are the two 13″ laptops for comparison:

MacBook Pro touch bar teardown
Touch Bar features: a smaller battery, two fans, double-ended heat sink, no SSD card, and lower speakers (that don’t actually line up with their grilles).
MacBook pro touch bar teardown
Function Key features: way more components that you can actually remove right off the bat—namely the SSD, speakers, and battery (well … sort of).

So what about the touted Touch Bar? As Apple’s second OLED-equipped device, the Touch Bar MBP also shares some family ties with the Apple Watch. We found two custom Apple chips right where the Touch Bar interfaces with the logic board. Presumably one of these (we’d guess the larger one) is the T1 processor powering the Touch Bar. Also in keeping with Apple Watch tradition, the Touch Bar is covered in glass, unrepairable, and we kinda broke it. So, last call, the Touch Bar is closed for the night.

MacBook Pro touch bar teardown

More Teardown Highlights:

  • The MacBook’s speaker grilles don’t actually cover the speakers—and the grille holes aren’t even holes. They’re mostly cosmetic dimples (with a few tiny holes reserved for a pair of tweeters). Instead, the sound is directed through vents on the sides of the computer and into your earholes.
  • Oh hey, USB-C boards! With MagSafe AWOL, a wayward step on the power cord is more likely to damage your ports—so, it’s heartening to see USB-C hardware that can be replaced separately (even if you have to remove the logic board to get to it). While these boards look identical, somewhere along the line, the left USB-C ports get Thunderbolt 3 supercharged.
  • Unlike its escape-key-containing kin, the Touch Bar-bearing MBP doesn’t have a removable SSD. In fact, the processor, RAM, and flash memory are all soldered to the logic board. You can replace your trackpad and headphone jack easily—but that’s pretty much it. Everything else requires removing the logic board. Plus, the added (fragile) glass of the Touch Bar is difficult to remove, landing this laptop a 1/10 on our repairability scale.

Check out the full 2016 MBP with Touch Bar teardown on iFixit.com.