The New 13-Inch MacBook Pro’s Speaker Grilles Are Only Cosmetic

/ 3 years ago


The latest 13-inch MacBook Pro received a fairly lukewarm response due to the average specification and Touch Bar with an integrated Touch ID sensor. Despite being a product aimed at the professional market, the Touch Bar was demoed showing Emojis which replaces the traditional ESC key. While Apple may consider this as “courage”, I’d call it foolish and a decision which is bound to be ridiculed. Of course, that’s not the only problem because the keyboard isn’t particularly quiet. Recently, the talented folks at iFixIt published a complete teardown of the MacBook Pro 13-inch model and made a startling discovery.

Unbelievably, the speaker grilles are cosmetic and the speakers themselves are not located underneath. According to iFixIt, the speaker grille doesn’t even go through the case. One theory is the fake holes were included to create a sense of synergy throughout the entire product range. It doesn’t seem like good design and something I’d expect from a cheap, Chinese replica. Here we can see the speakers actual positioning and grilles:


Evidently, they do not correspond and it’s likely that the speakers produce their sound through side air vents.


On another note, the device is extremely difficult to repair and achieved 1/10 on iFixIt’s Repairability Score. Key criticisms include:

  • Proprietary pentalobe screws continue to make working on the device unnecessarily difficult.
  • The battery assembly is entirely, and very solidly, glued into the case, thus complicating replacement.
  • The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board.
  • The Touch Bar adds a second, difficult to replace, screen to damage.
  • The Touch ID sensor doubles as the power switch, and is paired with the T1 chip on the logic board. Fixing a broken power switch may require help from Apple, or a new logic board.

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