It has long been believed that one of the major sacrifices to make a laptop as thin as the MacBook Air severely reduced repairability. But iFixit has been gutted the recently announced the MacBook Air 2020 and discovered more than just keyboard improvements; Apple has also made it easier to repair some of the laptop’s most crucial components.
The 2020 MacBook Air is a very welcome update to the disappointing MBA update released in 2018, featuring 10th Gen Intel processors that can be maximized with a 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7, a 256GB SSD that can be upgraded to 2 TB, and a starting price of $ 1,000. But anyone who has upgraded their Apple laptop in recent years just cares that the company very hated and very flawed butterfly keyboards with the new design of the scissor switch introduced on the 16-inch MacBook Pro late last year.
As part of its exploratory teardown, iFixit found that the new scissor-switch keyboard, which vastly enhances the MacBook Air’s typing experience, adds just a half-millimeter to the thick side of the ultra-thin laptop, which justifies Apple for creating the butterfly keyboard in the first place even more dubious today. But iFixit also found another welcome surprise in the new MacBook Air: The cables connecting the trackpad are no longer stuck under the laptop’s circuit board, allowing that part to be unplugged and removed once the MBA’s back cover is turned off. This update also makes it much easier to change the laptop battery without having to mess with the logic board.
Despite those very welcome design improvements, iFixit still had to give the MacBook Air a disappointing four in ten on the recoverability scale. The improved keyboard is welcome, but not unbreakable, and replacing it requires a complete disassembly. Apple is also still permanently soldering the SSD drive and RAM of the MacBook Air, which delivers the most upgrades virtually impossible after the fact.