The Macalope Daily: This ship has sailed

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Last week, Apple introduced the next-generation MacBook Pro and, with it, the possible doom of the tinkering community. iFixit’s Kyle Wiens apparently got the message loud and clear and has proclaimed “The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable.”

One out of three is pretty good in baseball, Kyle, but not in writing.

The Macalope’s not the first to respond to this piece. Poor Kyle has been thrown out of the rising balloon faster than you can say Phileas Fogg. Wiens is a very nice guy and the Macalope has relied on iFixit’s stuff for a long time. But increasingly he’s wondered if it was worth his time. It’s not just Apple that wants you to stop jamming cards into your machine and just buy a new one already. The horny one has found over the years that software and peripheral makers in some cases simply won’t support older hardware.

It’s not all bad news, though. The costs of these machines continues to decline. People complain about the new Pro’s $2200 price tag, but the Macalope routinely spent between $2500 and $3000 for PowerBooks back when kids used to unironically say “back in the day” to refer to a prior period of history.

The Macalope gets that the way of life of Wiens and many others is threatened by this trend, it’s just not a way of life that he really shares.

We disassemble and analyze new electronic gizmos so you don’t have to—kind of like an internet version of Consumer Reports.

Well, yes and no. Consumer Reports is only useful prior to purchasing something. And not at all if you’re looking to buy a good smartphone.

The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart…

Least repairable by you. Or by the owner. Not the least repairable by Apple.

Unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass, which means replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly.

But there’s a reason for it: It makes the display thinner. It makes a better machine. Are we supposed to lug around giant steampunk laptops just because vacuum tubes are easy to make at home?

Are they easy to make at home? Heck if the Macalope knows. Which is kind of the point, too: He doesn’t want to have to think about this stuff.

The RAM is now soldered to the logic board—making future memory upgrades impossible.

Yep. It’s also cheaper, thinner, better-looking and faster than professional laptops have ever been. That’s too bad for Wiens’s business model, but it’s actually pretty good for users.

And the battery is glued to the case, requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement.

“Every so often”? The Macalope has a 2009 MacBook Pro with a non-user-serviceable battery in his office (which is actually a standing desk in a sylvan glen) and it still holds a charge lasting several hours. Over the useful life of these laptops, you should not have to replace the battery at all.

We have consistently voted for hardware that’s thinner rather than upgradeable. But we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

Do we? Why? What we’ve been watching has not been an opening of a field to more choice, but a transition.

If we want long-lasting products that retain their value, we have to support products that do so.

And if we want devices that do a job well, with a minimum of fuss, we have to support them.

Guess which one won?

[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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