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New 11-inch Macbook Air Cracked Open, Reveals Nothing But Proprietary Hardware

We all know that Apple makes computers and consumer electronic devices which are jaw-droppingly beautiful and well-designed, and the recently-launched Macbook Air is probably the best proof of that. And thanks to the guys at iFixit, it seems that Apple also had a ‘extra’ agenda in mind when designing the 11-inch Macbook Air. And that is to ensure that ordinary users could not get their hands into the Air’s internals, regardless of the purpose.

Ever since Apple announced its new 11-inch Macbook Air, we have been dying to get our hands on one, if only just to disassemble it into its base components. After all, the burning question on most people’s minds is probably that of how the company managed to squeeze everything into a frame so small and sleek without compromising on performance and design.

However, it seems that the good guys over at iFixit has beaten us to it: the website had already posted its own comprehensive disassembly guide of Apple’s latest ultrathin notebook computer. And it seems that they have come to a certain conclusion as well. Apparently, Apple does not want anybody except its own in-house technicians gaining access to the Air’s internals, going even as far to use special five-lobed Torx Plus (iFixit calls them Security Torx) screws to hold the bottom casing together. 
As screwdrivers for this particular Torx variant is considerably uncommon, the iFixit team apparently had to resort to filing down their flathead screwdrivers just to gain access to the Macbook Air’s internals.
Upon disassembly, iFixit confirmed what many of us had initially suspected: almost nothing in the new 11-inch Macbook Air is replaceable with standard off-the-shelf hardware components. For starters, the RAM is soldered on to the Macbook Air’s mainboard, a trait which it inherited from the earlier 13-inch Macbook Airs. But there is more: iFixit also claims that the SSD used in the 11-inch Macbook Air is of a proprietary nature, taking the form of a single long stick (which looks suspiciously like a DIMM stick with a proprietary interface) with the Flash memory modules soldered onto it. 
Last but definitely not least, the Broadcom WiFi/Bluetooth combo card uses a custom interface that is neither mini-PCIe nor mini-PCI. And yes, this means that switching out the Broadcom card for any other WiFi card from Atheros or Intel is virtually impossible.
Simply put, Apple designed the new Macbook Air to be almost entirely unserviceable or upgradable by most end users. However, that does not change the fact that the new notebook is still very much a work of art, considering just how tightly integrated the hardware meshes with the notebook’s design.
For the complete disassembly guide and walkthrough, please visit iFixit’s site here.
Source: iFixit

*all hardware and disassembly images used in this article are the property of iFixit. VR-Zone cannot, and will not claim any credit for them.

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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