Apple prices MacBook Pro battery surgery
You know it's not cheap
When the top-of-the-line Apple notebook was announced last Tuesday, eyebrows were raised when Macworld Expo keynote presenter Phil Schiller revealed that the battery of the 17-incher was, as he put it, "integrated" - i.e. sealed inside.
Apple has trumpeted the battery's long running time and lifetime, claiming that it could power the MacBook Pro "up to 8 hours on a single charge" and could be recharged "up to 1000 times - compared with only 200 to 300 times for typical notebooks."
When we spoke with an Apple product spokesperson about the "1000 times" claim, she clarified it to mean that after that many charges, the battery would retain approximately 80 per cent of its original run time.
Not too shabby - if true. But a battery is, as Apple puts it, a "consumable." It will eventually wear out. And today the company explained what it plans to do when that dread day arrives.
The battery - as will come as no surprise - is not user-replaceable. Replacements can be made at an Apple retail store (same day, with an appointment) or through an Apple-run mail-in service (three to four business days). Apple-authorized service providers can also perform the surgery.
Apple also listed the costs for the service for seven areas of the globe. In the chart below, the first two columns are from Apple's web site. The third column is the equivalent price for the battery-replacement service in today's US dollars.
Drowning in the VAT
As you can see, Canadians come out on the good side of the deal, but Japanese and European MacBook Pro owners who need battery replacements should bring theirs along when they come stateside on holiday.
If you assume that the costs of a replaceable battery's case, contacts, latches, and other hardware might cancel out the labor cost of the MacBook Pro's battery replacement, the Apple laptop battery isn't inexpensive when compared with batteries for other 17-inch laptops. The battery for the HP Pavilion dv7t series is $139, for example, and the battery for the Toshiba Satellite P300-ST3712 runs $149.99. Of the laptops we looked at, only the battery for the Dell XPS M1730 is more expensive, at $189.99.
Furthermore, the 17-inch MacBook Pro's integrated battery makes it impossible for the frugal MacBooker to pick up a third-party replacement (or spare), such as the $129 battery from MacConnection.com for the previous 17-inch MacBook Pro.
We're willing to bet, however, that when the first 17-inch MacBook Pro batteries need replacement in three to five years, enterprising shops such as TechRestore will offer less-expensive alternatives.
Those aging 'Books will be out of warranty, in any case. ®
I'm expecting there to be a number of third-parties who start making external batteries. Along the lines of those emergency batteries for mobiles.
These Lithium Polymers batteries cannot be man-handled as it would be too dangerous.
Search YOUTUBE for lipo battery to see what I mean. These are different to the Lithium Ion batteries we are used to, these new ones are like rocket fuel!
"I get what you say about not 'having' to get the 17" MBP, but what about those who have bought into the Apple OSX dream but like having spare batteries..."
If there is a need for spare batteries, expect external third-party batteries to go on sale shortly. If they don't sell, then it was a non-issue.
Remember the outrage over the iMac not having a floppy drive? The market was flooded with translucent blue USB floppy drives no-one bought.
I for one am glad one company at least has the balls to try radical changes. Without them, we'd still have computers with floppy disks and parallel ports.
What's the betting you get a different laptop back?
As I understand it the iPod battery replacement program usually results in you getting a different iPod back. What's the betting they do this with the MacBook Pro.
As for the folk saying it's no different to Dell/Sony etc; it's completely different. On every other machine I can just unclip my battery, and put a new one on. With the Apple I can't.
I can also see problems at airport security. Some places made you remove your battery before you pass the laptop through. I guess they'll be confiscating these then ;)
After 3-5 years on a laptop i would probably be looking to replace the whole laptop. I have never replaced a battery in all of my electronic stuffs.
Might have to get a longer life battery for my Android phone though!
Paris as i bet she lasts a long time and won't need replacing in 3-5 years time!