After three and a half years, the venerable plastic MacBook finally received a makeover — and we took it apart to sneak a peek inside. Apple has added an LED display, upgraded processor speed, added curves, increased battery life, and made things more fun to disassemble by using a combination of Phillips, tri-wing, and Torx screws.

Unfortunately, it’s not all positive news. Apple has also quietly removed the FireWire port, IR port, and the useful external battery indicator.

We also made a YouTube video slideshow of the teardown for everyone to enjoy.

Interesting tidbits from the teardown:

  • The Bluetooth antenna has been relocated to the display assembly. This is likely an attempt to improve the MacBook’s notoriously dismal Bluetooth range. On previous MacBooks the Bluetooth antenna was located above the optical drive.
  • The battery is 60 watt-hours, the same capacity as the 13″ MacBook Pro. The previous plastic MacBooks featured a 55 watt-hour battery and claimed a 5-hour run time. With this machine, Apple has added 5 watt-hours of battery capacity and two hours of claimed run time.
  • The new MacBook’s battery boasts a power-to-weight ratio that’s 23.5% better than its predecessor.
  • Some disassembly is required to replace the battery, which is readily accessible by ordinary users with the right tools.
  • Apple removed the IR port for a remote control. As far as we know, that makes this MacBook the only currently-shipping Apple laptop that doesn’t support a remote.
  • FireWire is gone! If you need FireWire, only a MacBook Pro will do.

MacBook Unibody teardown

By the way, there’s still a week left in our Sony Teardown contest. To win, take apart anything made by Sony, take photos, and use our editor to post a teardown.

Two lucky people will win a Sony PS3 Slim and a PSP Go!

Miro Djuric is an industrial engineer with extensive automotive and electronic tinkering experience.

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