Will there ever be a modular MacBook Pro again?

Do you want a MacBook Pro that can be upgraded?

  • Yes

    Votes: 31 56.4%
  • No

    Votes: 13 23.6%
  • Don't care

    Votes: 11 20.0%

  • Total voters
    55

Superspeed500

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 25, 2013
188
42
I have a 2010 MacBook Pro 15-inch. One feature I like about it is the ability to upgarde the hard drive and RAM. That allowed me to buy a Mac without SSD and then upgrade later when the price for an SSD dropped. Would it be possible to make such a MacBook pro without compromising too much in other areas today?

Wouldn't it be better for the enviroment too if we could use or Macs longer because of upgrades or would it just be a waste, since we probably would just buy a new computer anyways?
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,961
4,550
I want upgradeable/replaceable SSDs. I don't care about the upgradeable RAM. Back in the days, RAM was expensive, so upgrading it makes sense. Today, laptops often come with absolute max of RAM they can support preinstalled. Non-slotted RAM makes computers smaller, more energy efficient and more reliable. Its totally worth the tradeoff in my book.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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I'd love to see the ram/storage and even the battery to be upgradeable but I doubt that will happen (especially the battery).
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,961
4,550
The problem with the battery is that you can't have it replaceable without significantly affecting either the battery size or the portability of the entire machine...
 

maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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The problem with the battery is that you can't have it replaceable without significantly affecting either the battery size or the portability of the entire machine...
I know and Apple has typically done a good job of using a tiered battery design to provide even larger capacity, too bad they couldn't over-come issues and put a larger battery in the 2016 model
 

Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2016
386
329
Would I want it? Sure! Is it going to happen? I doubt. As many have already said, that ship sailed a long time ago.

I wish at least the hard drive were still replaceable, though. The SSDs Apple uses are absolutely amazing, but BTO storage upgrades are very expensive, and sometimes you don't know in advance how much space you'll need in a few years time.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,395
6,962
I want upgradeable/replaceable SSDs. I don't care about the upgradeable RAM. Back in the days, RAM was expensive, so upgrading it makes sense. Today, laptops often come with absolute max of RAM they can support preinstalled. Non-slotted RAM makes computers smaller, more energy efficient and more reliable. Its totally worth the tradeoff in my book.
Back in the day when adding another 8 GB RAM cost $200... Except that day is today when configuring a brand new 13" tbMBP on Apple's website.

As the owner of an iMac with upgradable RAM I was very happy to go that route instead of paying Apple's prices of often 2-3x what comparable RAM retails for.
 

maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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As the owner of an iMac with upgradable RAM I was very happy to go that route instead of paying Apple's prices of often 2-3x what comparable RAM retails for.
Yes, Apple (and other vendors always charge a premium for ram. The difference is that the MBP's ram is soldered onto the logic board. :)
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
The flash SSD should at least be replaceable, in case of failure.

RAM will probably always be soldered in from now on.

The battery is likely to remain modular and glued in, to keep things "thin". They should keep replacement costs reasonable, as they do wear down with usage -- and will probably require replacement more frequently than the flash drives do.
 
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ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
Unless sales see a sharp decline and this decline is directly tied to this (which is unlikely given the large amount of buyers who never upgrade their computer's internals unless a specific part were to fail), it's probably not going to happen. The return of an upgradable design would potentially mean less short-term and long-term income. It could also potentially mean Apple could not deliver on the form factor they wish to implement. For better or for worse, we've come to an era where electronics are more disposable than ever before, and part of the design process entails taking specific efforts to ensure that system replacement is more viable than system upgrades.

PC makers don't want their customers using the same computer for 5 years or more, and Apple is no different here. If I had money invested in a PC company, I would support this effort 100%, so I can't blame any Maker for doing this, as potentially frustrating as the implications can be when a single component fails that was once an easy DIY replacement.
 

Mindinversion

macrumors 6502
Oct 9, 2008
357
129
Will not happen. Soldering to the mainboard allows for smaller form factor and enhanced battery life, as well as lower latency. Modular components are big, bulky, and relatively power hungry by comparison. If you want modular, go buy an MSI, Asus, or Failenware.
 
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JMacHack

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2017
345
433
I would like to see, at the very least: extra slots for blade SSD's. That would be cool as hell having 4 blades in a small chassis, money be damned.
Upgradeable ram would be nice, but on the current MBP it would be putting the cart before the horse since 16gb LPDDR3 is the max that the processor can use, on future MBP's it would be fantastic.

Battery doesn't matter much to me, since every laptop I've had died before the battery ever failed or degraded to the point that it had unacceptable life.
 

OneMike

macrumors 603
Oct 19, 2005
5,595
1,489
I want upgradeable/replaceable SSDs. I don't care about the upgradeable RAM. Back in the days, RAM was expensive, so upgrading it makes sense. Today, laptops often come with absolute max of RAM they can support preinstalled. Non-slotted RAM makes computers smaller, more energy efficient and more reliable. Its totally worth the tradeoff in my book.
That's why we all have different books.

Typically I buy my Macs at best buy for $200-300 off. They don't sell custom configurations. $200 ram upgrade from Apple plus retail ends up being a $400-500 more expensive computer.

hard drive on the other hand. Worse case you can use an external. There are no options when you need more ram.

I'd like to see both come back though.

We've gotten to the point where 3.48 pound computers are considered bulky.
 

darksithpro

macrumors 6502a
Oct 27, 2016
582
4,491
I have a 2010 MacBook Pro 15-inch. One feature I like about it is the ability to upgarde the hard drive and RAM. That allowed me to buy a Mac without SSD and then upgrade later when the price for an SSD dropped. Would it be possible to make such a MacBook pro without compromising too much in other areas today?

Wouldn't it be better for the enviroment too if we could use or Macs longer because of upgrades or would it just be a waste, since we probably would just buy a new computer anyways?

I think Apple should release a "special edition" laptop in the 17inch form factor. Just to please all the people who want some serious power. Put in a GTX 1070, 32 gigs of ddr4 ram, 2-3 m.2 SSDs, update the OGL API and add Vulcan support and call it a day. No one who buys that will care about battery life anyways. Hell, if they did that with native macOS support and Windows 10 Bootcamp I'd buy one. Introducing the NEW PowerBook Pro Extreme Edition for serious users!
 

john.simatos

macrumors newbie
Feb 7, 2017
23
13
I think Apple should release a "special addition" laptop in the 17inch form factor. Just to please all the people who want some serious power. Put in a GTX 1070, 32 gigs of ddr4 ram, 2-3 m.2 SSDs, update the OGL API and add Vulcan support and call it a day. No one who buys that will care about battery life anyways. Hell, if they did that with native macOS support and Windows 10 Bootcamp I'd buy one. Introducing the NEW PowerBook Pro Extreme Edition for serious users!
People would still complain
 

thesaint024

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2016
1,073
869
suspension waiting room
I surprised myself and said "I don't care". 5 years ago my answer would be "hell to the yeah". But we've kind of hit that wall in CPU improvements which led to constant RAM increases. At current tech pace, the computers 5 years from now won't have orders of magnitude more power and/or need RAM. Prior to this era I bought underspec'd and just kept upgrading because obsoleteness came every year. Programs were getting bigger to utilize the computing power that kept advancing. Not so much anymore. With HDD/SSD's, people are more regularly moving data off computers (as we have other devices accessing) into clouds or NAS or externals. I haven't filled up a computer drive in over 5 years. That's my experience, but market trends point to this being the new normal. I overspec'd a little this time with 16/512 just for a little breathing room. 8/256 would still be usable for the foreseeable future for me too.

Of course upgradeability helps ease the cost of a computer, but this never really was a budget computer. The clear tradeoff in upgradeability is size. I'm not convinced I would take upgradeability at any cost (size), hence my answer. Really should be a "I don't know" option, since I don't know what an upgradeable MBP would look like. Given my specs, I don't see ever having a need to upgrade the bits in my machine even if I could.

Edit: Forgot to answer the original post. Answer is "no", it's not happening again.
 

Sanpete

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2016
2,123
839
Utah
I think Apple should release a "special edition" laptop in the 17inch form factor. Just to please all the people who want some serious power. Put in a GTX 1070, 32 gigs of ddr4 ram, 2-3 m.2 SSDs, update the OGL API and add Vulcan support and call it a day. No one who buys that will care about battery life anyways. Hell, if they did that with native macOS support and Windows 10 Bootcamp I'd buy one. Introducing the NEW PowerBook Pro Extreme Edition for serious users!
Putting aside "should," I'd love to see it, even if I couldn't afford it.
 

Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2016
386
329
I think Apple should release a "special edition" laptop in the 17inch form factor. Just to please all the people who want some serious power. Put in a GTX 1070, 32 gigs of ddr4 ram, 2-3 m.2 SSDs, update the OGL API and add Vulcan support and call it a day. No one who buys that will care about battery life anyways. Hell, if they did that with native macOS support and Windows 10 Bootcamp I'd buy one. Introducing the NEW PowerBook Pro Extreme Edition for serious users!
That's what I would personally request if I could hypothetically ask Apple to release a new model just for me, lol. Problems are: (1) making such a monstrous MBP in an appropriate way (thicker and heavier could be ok but you can bet no Mac user would want it to look like an Alienware...) would require a serious re-engineering effort, which Apple likely doesn't see as profitable. Objectively speaking, that kind of hardware configuration is absolute overkill for 99% of users. (2) Just imagine the price! The current maxed-out 15" already runs close to 5k €/$, how many people in that already tiny market niche would be able to afford it? I'm honestly not sure I could...

So yeah, no matter what they do we would still see complaints about how Apple has "lost its way" and is asking exorbitant amounts of money for "underwhelming hardware".
 
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maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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We've gotten to the point where 3.48 pound computers are considered bulky.
Remember the Macontish Portable, which weighed in at 16 lbs :eek:

Surprisingly it was not a hot seller for some reason ;)

Capto_Capture 2017-04-12_06-20-12_AM.png


It sure would be nice. The Dell XPS 15 has user up-gradable ram and M.2 NVME SSD.
And battery which is a nice feature, since I have to send my 2012 rMBP in to get the battery ripped out of the case, and it will no doubt require a new top panel because of that.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
batteries and SSD's should be replaceable just because failure is quite common and inevitable in the batteries case, RAM is so reliable and so much better when soldered on (and to be honest the 15 inch comes with the max it can support as standard anyway) that that's a no brainer for me.

But to answer the question no upgradeable laptops are unlikely to come back to apple anytime soon if ever this current design will remain for at least another 3 years if you ask me.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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SSD's should be replaceable just because failure is quite common
That's one feature that bothers me the most. I've grown used to (begrudgingly) that the battery is glued, but having the SSD soldered bothers me quite a bit. Not just because I cannot upgrade it later, but rather getting it replaced if the drive fails.
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,961
4,550
That's one feature that bothers me the most. I've grown used to (begrudgingly) that the battery is glued, but having the SSD soldered bothers me quite a bit. Not just because I cannot upgrade it later, but rather getting it replaced if the drive fails.
Very much agree. Alternatively, Apple could at least offer transparent discounted fees for SSD replacement. I am not really worried about the battery, because I know that I can have it serviced for $199 (not cheap, but reasonable price given the battery performance and expected lifespan). The SSD however is a big unknown.
 

maflynn

Moderator
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May 3, 2009
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because I know that I can have it serviced for $199 (not cheap, but reasonable price given the battery performance and expected lifespan)
I'm facing that decision right now. Do I put 200 dollars into a 5 year old computer (2012 rMBP) with no guarantee that it will keep working for a long time after that or do I just live with an ever decreasing battery.
 

wackymacky

macrumors 68000
Sep 20, 2007
1,525
42
38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
Like it or hate it, I suspect hat Apple's view on MacBooks (including pro) might be similar to that which they hold to iPhones and iPads; they are consumable products that the user should replace every 3 years.