Without reaching onto the top of the grab-bag pile of platitudes, when you think of complaints with Apple computers over the past few years what is it that frequently comes up? Well, without hesitation, ‘upgradability/repairability’ has to be right up there. Apple has, years ago, created a culture of Mac-buying that generally requires all performance specs to be maxed out at the time of purchase if you want to ‘future proof’ your computer as much as possible, and they’ve done this, primarily, by making their computers increasingly difficult to get into. This is, of course, the way things are heading, and part of the increasing rate of planned obsolescence, something we’ve discussed about cameras before.
From the iMac to the Mac Pro to the MacBook line, late model Apple devices are hard to get into, or at least hard to put back together. If you wanted to upgrade your RAM on an iMac, for instance, you’d have had to opt for the 27inch if you wanted to be able to do it without removing the screen. But Apple is not alone here, and iFIXIT has recently pointed this out with the new Surface Laptop.
For all the hell Apple gets for this it’s been a wonder PCs have thus far been mostly unscathed, though that looks to be changing. In terms of reparability the new Surface Laptop scored a whopping ZERO on their scale. With no easy points of entry and a lot of glue holding things together, to an internal design which requires much to be removed when fixing anything, the Surface Laptop appears to be a device that would likely need to be replaced if components failed. Interestingly, the current Retina MacBook (12 inch) scored a ONE on their scale, but MBPs still appear easier to manipulate or at least, get into.
Now, however, much weight you give this will probably depend on many factors, not least of which will be how hard you work your gear, and how intrinsic to your workflow said gear is.
For a working photographer, planned obsolescence may sound a nuisance but the rate at which photography gear is evolving almost dictates we upgrade our computing devices with more frequency. Also, it’s unlikely this will get anything but more common as we positively reinforce manufacturers who make stylish looking devices with slim footprints even at the cost of some performance. Suffice to say, my humble opinion would be this is just the start and more and more hardware will become more and more ‘disposable’ – one just hopes price eventually reflects that.
Check out the Surface Laptop here.
You can find more from iFIXIT here, and their full breakdown here.