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MacBook Air teardown details, photos

updated 09:55 am EST, Fri February 1, 2008

MacBook Air teardown

A new teardown of the MacBook Air, as performed by repair specialist iFixit, reveals significant facts about the notebook. While Apple suggests that users cannot replace the battery themselves, it may actually be an easy matter for tech-savvy installers, dependent only on having a Phillips screwdriver. Conversely, people wanting to upgrade the PATA 1.8-inch hard drive may have a very difficult time, as there is only 5mm (0.2 inches) of vertical space. For sake of reference, iFixit notes that the 160GB drive in the iPod classic requires 8mm of space.

The company also observes that the controller chip used for the trackpad, a Broadcom BCM5974, is the exact same as that used in the iPhone and iPod touch. Aside from potentially saving money for Apple on parts, this means that any touch functionality changes on the iPhone could theoretically be promulgated through all three devices.

[Photos and details provided by iFixit (link), which provides how-to's as well as parts for sale on its website]

by MacNN Staff



  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That was fast!

    Gotta love those guys at MacFixit (or iFixit, or whatever they're called now)! Without their detailed step-by-step instructions, we'd be paying serious dollar for replacing defective hard drives from our iBooks, MacBooks, PowerBooks... The interactive guides for every conceivable hardware revision that ever came out of Apple are all there for everyone, down to the last s****. Not just Macs, but iPods, as well as the iPhone.

    Of course, they'll sell you replacement parts, too...

  1. bobthenob

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Somebody got a new dictionary for Christmas. :)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: that was fast

    MacFixit and iFixit are two different places.

  1. Philbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    battery swap no big deal

    It looks as though much of the hubub over the "non-user replaceable battery" isn't such a big deal after all. 19 screws, unplug the old, and replace with the new. All the speculation about "soldered" was wrong.

    Swapping the battery is more involved than the other Mac laptops of course, but this looks entirely doable by the user —and avoiding the hassle of sending it off to Apple. It appears easier than it was replacing the hard drive of my old Powerbook. (which WAS considered user-replaceable)

    Of course, there's still the question about voiding a warranty but I bet Apple changes the "non-user" classification.

  1. chris_conrad

    Joined: Dec 1969


    trackpad problem

    I went to the Apple Store in Madison, WI today. They had 4 AirBooks. 2 with HDs and 2 with SSDs. All four had a problem with their trackpads! You needed to use two hands to get it to work. Left hand somewhere on the case, right hand on the trackpad. Very weird, very disappointing. One employee said they must've been damaged in shipping. Another said it might be a grounding problem. Huh? This is not good.

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