Tech repair specialist iFixit has done its analysis of the new Mac Pro workstation, which has caused a stir because it can cost up to $52,000 for the top configuration and can come with a $400 set of wheels.
Unlike the iPhone and MacBook, the experts at iFixit have found the Mac Pro to be very repairable, calling it "without a doubt the most repairable Apple product in recent memory."
The repair outfit judges tech products by how easy they can be repaired; it rates down products with components fixed in place by glue and gives repairability points when components can be replaced using common tools.
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Out of a possible 10, which signals the easiest to repair, iFixit gave Apple's Mac Pro a score of nine. The iPhone 11 got a score of six.
According to iFixit, opening the computer was as easy as it gets, while basic repairs and upgrades "can be performed with standard tools or even no tools at all."
Apple last week published a support page highlighting which components can be replaced and installed with the new Mac Pro. For example, users can add up to 1.5TB of memory in 12 memory slots. There are also PCIe slots, loads of ports, including even a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and has replaceable solid-state drive modules.
iFixit notes that major components are "highly modular and use industry-standard sockets and interfaces" and that Apple even provides repair instructions on the device, including some free repair manuals.
The catch is that repairs and additions are geared towards Apple's component inventory, including power supply replacements and SSD upgrades.
"Mac Pro supports up to two solid-state drive (SSD) modules. If you need to remove and replace the SSD modules, contact Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider," Apple states.
According to iFixit, those SSD cards are custom-made for Apple, and while the SSD parts are modular, consumers are locked into Apple's list of approved repairs.
"If you need a replacement part that's not on Apple's limited list of approved repairs, you'll likely pay a dizzying price—if you can find them at all," iFixit says.
The Mac Pro is a niche product designed for specific workloads, so it's repairability doesn't necessarily reflect a change in Apple's approach to issues that the Right to Repair movement is pushing for.
But it is a positive sign and another example of a tech giant making products that are designed to be easier to repair. For example, Microsoft designed its Surface Laptop 3 to improve its serviceability and even promoted it as a feature at the product launch.
"With 2019 in our rearview, we're starting to wonder: maybe Microsoft and Apple aren't making devices more repairable just for fun (or for us) – maybe those Right to Repair bills are starting to look seriously scary?," writes iFixit.
"Motivations and quibbles aside, this is without a doubt the most repairable Apple product in recent memory."