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But $300 for a 1TB premium-level Samsung SSD is still only half of Apple's rip-off upgrade price.
I'm fine with Apple's new SSD prices. I wish they'd do the same for RAM. What you're forgetting is that Apple is making those SSD additions essentially permanent in the current models. By soldering in, you lower the risk of field failure (particularly on the laptops). But if one does fail, the cost of getting in there and doing a replacement is substantively higher. Buying SSD add-ons that go into connectors doesn't have the same liability. If that Samsung SSD fails, they're just going to ask you to send it back and they'll send you a replacement. Apple doesn't have that same capability, so I'm willing to pay a differential for the potential benefit (increased reliability in the field, something I put to the test almost daily).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
What you're forgetting is that Apple is making those SSD additions essentially permanent in the current models. By soldering in, you lower the risk of field failure (particularly on the laptops).
Trust me, that's not something I've forgotten... :-)

I find it very hard to believe that soldering NVRAM to the motherboard is a precondition for reliability, when it's not a problem for Windows laptops (or desktops) and has not been a problem for hard drives, SSDs, RAM or even CPUs in computer systems in the past. (Meanwhile, Apple is using loose, swivelling sockets for RAM in the iMac 5K, so is that going to be unreliable?)

If you have any hard scientific/statistical data to the contrary, I'd love to see it (but not anecdotes, thanks).

Of course, using standard M.2 SSDs in Macs would not only solve the customer problems with soldered flash pricing and non-upgradability but also enable inexpensive, easy replacement of defective parts, which have forced Apple laptop recalls after corrupting customer data.
Apple said:
13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) Solid-State Drive Service Program
Apple has determined that a limited number of 128GB and 256GB solid-state drives (SSD) used in 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) units have an issue that may result in data loss and failure of the drive. 13-inch MacBook Pro units with affected drives were sold between June 2017 and June 2018.

Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) will service affected drives, free of charge. Apple recommends having your drive serviced as soon as possible.
Fortunately for Apple's bottom line, that model apparently has non-soldered flash, but it's Apple-proprietary, not M.2, so customers can't upgrade or replace it on failure.
 


I find it very hard to believe that soldering NVRAM to the motherboard is a precondition for reliability, when it's not a problem for Windows laptops
Based upon years of dealing with student computer problems in the field at workshops, I'd dispute that. I've seen failure after failure of socketed items when you start really using portable computers as portables. It's rarely the part itself that fails, it's the connection that fails. I'm pretty sure Apple has seen the same thing, though I doubt that's their only reason for going the soldered in route.
... (or desktops) and has not been a problem for hard drives, SSDs, RAM or even CPUs in computer systems in the past. (Meanwhile, Apple is using loose, swivelling sockets for RAM in the iMac 5K, so is that going to be unreliable?)
Desktops are a different matter. Those of us with long memories know that sockets can be a failure point, too. So yeah, I don't like those swiveling sockets, but generally they're not stressed in an iMac. You typically only touch them once, the computer isn't usually subjected to lateral stresses, and even the heat range is likely to be relatively moderate due to the fact they're used indoors and the fans will try to bring the temperature into an expected range. It would indeed be nice if SSDs were socketed in the desktop machines. I don't see the justification from a user standpoint there.
If you have any hard scientific/statistical data to the contrary, I'd love to see it (but not anecdotes, thanks).
This is dismissive on its face. Anecdotal evidence can be correct. You're lumping all such reports into one basket here, which is the opposite of a discussion. (I'd also point out that I'm seeing more and more "scientific/statistical data" that is not going to stand up to scrutiny.)
... but also enable inexpensive, easy replacement of defective parts, something which has forced Apple recalls after corrupting customer data.
Apple has never been a maker of inexpensive products. They are a maker of high-end products with high reliability. So I'll throw back at 'ya: show me the scientific/statistical data that shows that Apple's soldered part failures are as high as they'd be if they had used and allowed cheap, lower-grade parts in sockets?

My point to your comments—which included the words "insane", "price-gouging", and "rip-off", all of which are loaded words usually associated with Internet flaming—is that I believe that Apple's new SSD pricing makes more reasonable sense now, and I can live with it, whereas before we were surely paying a very high markup that wasn't in any way justified, and that distorted how I approached configuring machines.

People that know me also know that I'm not an Apple apologist. Far from it. Indeed, I just had a surrogate ask Tim Cook a tough question at the Sun Valley conference, which he kind of ducked. They get a lot of things wrong. I'd like them to fix them. I'll complain until they do. But I'd also like to encourage Apple when they make steps in the right direction and correct something that was clearly wrong. (Again, the SSD pricing was clearly wrong because it made many of us configure differently, and then use an external SSD to make up the difference. Now I can (mostly) justify their pricing and configure a machine the way it should be.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Based upon years of dealing with student computer problems in the field at workshops, I'd dispute that. ...
Clearly your experience is different from mine, as I can't recall socketed components being a significant problem that needed soldered-in replacements during my 35 years of personal Apple product use, family support (including extensive international travel), direct Apple customer support, support of many Apple consultants and support personnel in large organizations, and Web support for hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Apple customers around the world. So, that's why I was looking for scientific/statistical evidence to the contrary, rather than anecdotes, opinions, and speculation....
Apple has never been a maker of inexpensive products. They are a maker of high-end products with high reliability.
[cough]
My point to your comments—which included the words "insane", "price-gouging", and "rip-off", all of which are loaded words ... we were surely paying a very high markup that wasn't in any way justified, and that distorted how I approached configuring machines. ... Again, the SSD pricing was clearly wrong because it made many of us configure differently, and then use an external SSD to make up the difference.
I apologize for using "loaded words", but I rather resent your dismissive "Internet flaming" stab (talk about "loaded words!") while you’re simultaneously acknowledging that the problem is real in the same post.
 


But $300 for a 1TB premium-level Samsung SSD is still only half of Apple's rip-off upgrade price, while many Windows PCs let you easily install or upgrade with any standard M.2 NVMe SSD at far lower prices. And durability looks good for even the fast, inexpensive Samsung 970 EVO with its 5-year warranty and up to 1200 TBW. It also offers a 2TB version, double the size of the premium Samsung 970 Pro 1TB, with the same durability and very fast performance.
FWIW: I was recently researching a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD for my ASUS Zenbook UX533FD - a very fine laptop for $1300, by the way - and came across a Micron/Crucial-branded one for $99.
 


I don't know why Apple decided to use an SSD connector that's electrically compatible with a standard M.2 "M key" connector but not physically compatible.

The fact that they're electrically compatible is why you can buy passive adapters that will let you use a standard M.2 NVMe drive in some MacBooks and the 2013 Mac Pro.

However, recent Macs integrate the SSD controller into the T2 security chip, so I'm pretty sure these adapters won't work in computers like the iMac Pro and forthcoming 2019 Mac Pro.

Since Apple's SSD blades are - as best I can determine - just flash memory on a card, it makes their absurdly high prices even weirder, since they're probably much cheaper to build than a standard M.2 drive with its integrated controller (and often cache RAM).

The 2019 Mac Pro apparently doesn't have any standard M.2 sockets, and it's an open question whether it would be able to boot from an NVMe drive on a PCIe adapter card. (The iMac Pro can boot from an external drive, so I live in hope.)
 


I find it very hard to believe that soldering NVRAM to the motherboard is a precondition for reliability, when it's not a problem for Windows laptops (or desktops) and has not been a problem for hard drives, SSDs, RAM or even CPUs in computer systems in the past. (Meanwhile, Apple is using loose, swivelling sockets for RAM in the iMac 5K, so is that going to be unreliable?)
One advantage to Apple of having soldered-in components is that it reduces problems due to hardware that doesn't match Apple's specifications. Apple knows exactly what hardware is in the machines.

For example, think back years ago to the cases where a Mac operating system upgrade would cause memory failures, because the third-party memory modules were not actually conforming to their rated specs. The memory timing was close enough to work with one Mac OS version but not when it was upgraded. From the user's point of view, this was Apple's fault. (I don't remember the details; it was something like the modules were not accurately reporting their timing data.)
 



So the 12" MacBook is no more, and MacBook Air is now its replacement (unless you go with a Bluetooth keyboard for an iPad Pro as something under 13").

However, I am seeing Education pricing of the MacBook Air for $999. The problem is, Apple continues to push this as a "deal" when most don't realize that its storage is woefully inadequate for anyone to use (and non-upgradeable). That 128GB SSD is out of the box 121GB, since there is a hidden diag/restore partition. And then the macOS is using about 20 GB with defacto apps, leaving a new student owner with <100GB to last them 4 years? I know some that have at least 30-40 GB in music alone.

Again, Apple prices its RAM at a premium, and it provides bottom storage at a premium, too ([a non-Apple] 256GB SSD is ~$50-60).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Again, Apple prices its RAM at a premium, and it provides bottom storage at a premium, too ([a non-Apple] 256GB SSD is ~$50-60).
I see that Apple’s MacBook Air upgrade from 128GB to 256GB (i.e. an increase of 128 GB) costs $200.
 


DFG

I'm fine with Apple's new SSD prices. I wish they'd do the same for RAM. What you're forgetting is that Apple is making those SSD additions essentially permanent in the current models. By soldering in, you lower the risk of field failure (particularly on the laptops).
I hear that often repeated, but I never had any issue whatsoever with memory modules in my laptops. I contend that the primary reason for soldering RAM in MacBooks is to make them thinner.
 


The 2019 Mac Pro apparently doesn't have any standard M.2 sockets, and it's an open question whether it would be able to boot from an NVMe drive on a PCIe adapter card. (The iMac Pro can boot from an external drive, so I live in hope.)
On classic Mac Pros, NVMe SSDs on a PCIe adapter are detected as an external drive. Now, obviously, we'll have to wait to confirm the behavior on the Mac Pro 2019, but if that holds true, then it should be bootable as long as you enable the option for booting external drives on the T2 controller.
 



iFixit said:
MacBook Pro 13" Two Thunderbolt Ports 2019 Teardown
The MacBook Pro 13" with Two Thunderbolt Ports earns a 2 out of 10 on our repairability scale (10 is the easiest to repair):
  • The trackpad can be removed without disturbing the battery.
  • Proprietary pentalobe screws continue to be hostile to repair.
  • The battery assembly is still very solidly glued into the case, complicating replacement of a consumable.
  • Soldered-down RAM limits upgradability and longevity.
  • The SSD is no longer replaceable—but as it was previously a proprietary drive, the newly soldered storage has about the same effect for the average fixer.
 


I can't speak for Apple's primary motivation behind soldering components like RAM or SSDs into its devices, but keep in mind that soldered components are called for by various secure computing standards. For example, Microsoft has pushed the concept fairly hard with manufacturers through its "InstantGo" specification for smartphone-like power-on of PCs (which has morphed over time into its current "Modern Standby" spec). In particular, soldered RAM is an important defense against "cold boot" security attacks, and, if I recall correctly, it is required to enable Windows 10 "full device encryption." While Microsoft's requirements don't specifically impact Apple, some of them have roots in UEFI specs, if I recall correctly, and Apple does have analogous aims.

Interestingly, on the non-Apple side of things, soldered RAM is much more common on high-end devices than on entry-level devices, suggesting that the direct cost savings of soldering RAM into a laptop is not particularly large, or at least that it is mitigated by using cheaper components elsewhere.

FWIW, I've been privy to some PC fleet purchase discussions at major multinational firms, and I can't recall the reliability of soldered vs non-soldered equipment ever being raised as an important purchase criterion. To the degree soldering came up, it was part of a discussion of downtime required to swap in replacement parts vs replacing entire machines and vs real-world security benefits. My experience is purely anecdotal, however, so I am not specifically disputing Thom Hogan's earlier remarks on this thread. It would be really interesting to know if good statistical data exists on the subject, especially if it can be used to compare things like reliability vs supply chain costs.
 


I can't recall socketed components being a significant problem that needed soldered-in replacements during my 35 years of personal Apple product use, ...
But I can recall several cases where it was necessary to reseat RAM in its sockets in order to solve intermittent problems. Not a problem to fix if you know what you're doing, but for a non-technical consumer, problems like that result in support calls and the associated costs.
 


But I can recall several cases where it was necessary to reseat RAM in its sockets in order to solve intermittent problems.
And I've had RAM just go bad. It was frustratingly difficult to diagnose, but at least possible to replace without junking most of a system.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Far from my intention to justify Apple gouging, but until we know exactly what chips Apple uses (MLC, TLC, QLC), speed and the number of read/writes they are rated for, it's not totally fair to compare with consumer NVMe.
While that's a valid point, I think any of us who have followed Apple for a long time could be pretty sure that Apple's not using the most expensive possible MLC for its internal flash.
Here's a little more information on that topic:
Benjamin Mayo said:
The new, cheaper, MacBook Air includes ~35% slower SSD compared to 2018 model
Presumably, the slower SSD is a cheaper component for Apple to pack into the machine and helped the company achieve the $100 price drop, and even more aggressive education pricing for students.
 


While that's a valid point, I think any of us who have followed Apple for a long time could be pretty sure that Apple's not using the most expensive possible MLC for its internal flash.
Here's a little more information on that topic:
That is not necessarily indicative of whether they are using MLC or not. That slowdown could also result from using less/fewer NAND chips and taking a parallelism hit or adjusting the NAND cell management algorithm for the specific NAND chips being used. The write speed actually went up (so probably not a hit on parallelism). Write speed going up isn't indicative of going to more bits per cell (as that is actually more work). Most likely, this is a tuning of the SSD controller subsystem in the T2 for the specific NAND chips being used in this new model.

NAND reads and writes are significantly asymmetrical (writes are substantially slower). For SSDs to make them "even" to the end users, the SSD has to be smarter and throw more resources at the write "half" of the duties. The SSD controller in the T2 only has a fixed set of resources for doing both, so this is probably a bit of a "balloon squeeze".

The other possibility is that Apple is Scrooge McDucking the RAM cache in the T2 to be smaller than the ones used in the more expensive Macs. However, I suspect it's more likely that it is the same T2, just with a "save incrementally more power" mode for evening out read/write performance (which happens to segment the laptop products slightly more, also).

As long as the average latency is about the same, this speed drop shouldn't matter much to the vast majority of MacBook Air users. Tech sites will make a big deal about it, but real world, $100 less expensive will matter more.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... As long as the average latency is about the same, this speed drop shouldn't matter much to the vast majority of MacBook Air users. Tech sites will make a big deal about it, but real world, $100 less expensive will matter more.
The original issue was a suggestion that Apple's outrageous storage prices were somehow justified by the use of more expensive parts vs. high-quality, high-performance M.2 SSDs on the market at far lower prices. That argument seems to be contradicted by the facts, regardless of implementation details.

MacBook Air 128GB upgrade*: $200 @ $1.56/GB
Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB SSD: $218 @ $0.22/GB

Samsung's 970 EVO Plus comes with a five times longer warranty and about triple the speed at a seventh the cost per gigabyte....
Samsung said:
Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus
The 970 EVO Plus reaches sequential read/write speeds up to 3,500/3,300 MB/s ... Get up to 1,200 TBW with a 5-year limited warranty for lasting performance.
*Price to add 128 GB for 256GB total.
 


Here's a benchmark test of one of the first PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs. I found it interesting, because it is the only published benchmark of direct NVMe to NVMe copy I've found.
I've done a lot of recent reading about SSD transfer speeds. One of the factoids I filed in my grey matter but am not stopping to find again online was, paraphrasing: smaller SSDs are slower than larger ones, because their controllers have fewer cells over which to scatter data writes.

I don't know if that's factual, but it does correspond with performance comparisons I recall from the "buy Ric a Mac Mini" thread and is supported on the peformance by size chart in this review of the very fast WD Black SN750:
TechRadar said:
128GB NVMe drives seem to be in decreasing supply. Found one on Amazon that's currently available:
Amazon user reviews report benchmarks in the range of 2500 MB/s Read and 1570 MB/s Write. The peformance advantage of larger SSDs may be one reason there are not many smaller NVMe options. Another is what seems an astounding improvement in capability while prices just keep falling. The 3100 MB/s Read, 1600 MB/s Write Western Digital Black SN750 250GB NVMe SSD is currently $69.99 on Amazon (after Prime Day).

The $35 Mushkin 120GB drive is faster than the 1320 MB/s Read 1007 MB/s Write drive in the refreshed MacBook Air, and the WD SN750 is in a different class altogether.

One more operational observation about these speeds. When macOS "swaps out" [memory] to a drive, performance will suffer from the difference between RAM and even the fastest SSD. Dropping SSD speeds will likely have consequences in more than benchmarks.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
One of the factoids I filed in my grey matter but am not stopping to find again online was, paraphrasing: smaller SSDs are slower than larger ones, because their controllers have fewer cells over which to scatter data writes. I don't know if that's factual...
Yes, that's very true — most SSD products I've seen have been faster in their larger-capacity configurations than in the smaller-capacity ones. (And endurance - TBW - is also higher, which kind of makes sense, as you're spreading data over more chips.) In fact, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is unusual for speeding up the low-capacity model to approach the speed of the higher-capacity one.

This article may answer some of your questions:
Ars Technica said:
Solid-state revolution: in-depth on how SSDs really work

... The SSD's controller—a processor that provides the interface between the SSD and the computer and that handles all of the decisions about what gets written to which NAND chips and how—has multiple channels it can use to address its attached NAND chips. In a method similar to traditional multi-hard disk RAID, the SSD controller writes and reads data in stripes across the different NAND chips in the drive. In effect, the single solid-state drive is treated like a RAID array of NAND.

Briefly, RAID—which stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (anyone who says the "I" stands for "Independent" needs to learn about RAID 0 data recovery)—is a method long employed with hard disks to increase the availability of data (by putting data blocks on more than one disk) and the speed (by reading and writing from and to multiple disks at the same time). The most common form of RAID seen today in large storage scenarios is RAID 5, which combines striping—drawing a "stripe" of data across multiple disks—with some parity calculations. If a single disk in the RAID 5 array dies, everything on it can be recovered from the remaining disks in the array. For a more in-depth look at how RAID works and the different types of RAID, check out the classic Ars feature The Skinny on Raid.

At minimum, every SSD controller in every drive on the market today provides at least basic data striping with basic error correction, using that extra space in each page. Most controller manufacturers augment that with their own fancy proprietary striping schemes, which also typically include some level of parity-based data protection. Micron calls theirs RAIN, for Redundant Array of Independent NAND, which offers several different levels of striping and parity protection; LSI/SandForce calls its method RAISE, for "Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements," and provides enough data protection that the drive could continue operating even if an entire NAND chip goes bad.
 


But I can recall several cases where it was necessary to reseat RAM in its sockets in order to solve intermittent problems. ...
This is where analysis falls down due to lack of data. I occasionally wrote "reseated ram" on service records. These were scanned for chargeable items and then went into a black hole. Root cause analysis was essentially never done. Discussion of the service process often included the word "Voodoo". Similar discussions occurred around solving SCSI storage chain problems.

I suggest that manufacturing process costs, Jony thinness, and Trusted Computing Platform considerations were the primary business drivers that Tim recognized.
 


I appreciate the several reports provided here about the continued failings of Apple's keyboards. I need to replace my 8-year old 11" MacBook Air, in part because it has a lower screen resolution than current models, but really because I'm having to do more photo-development on the road. I used to carry the Air as a storage device of some sort.... (also for the standard text work, communication, etc.) Now I'm, regularly, having to deliver a finished product while on the move. The MacBook Air was never intended to do that sort of heavy lifting.

I've gone back and forth between a new MacBook Air and a 13" MacBook Pro, having decided that 15" too big and more $$ than I want to pay. So I guess at this point, my question breaks out like this: do we/you/anyone have any clue what and if Apple will do with its laptop line?

Balancing that is the fact that Apple is selling a 2016 refurb 13" MacBook Pro 16GB RAM only, with 1TB SSD, for $2k. So is the 2016 keyboard among the verboten ones?

I find myself having a bad flashback to the epic trudge of waiting 6 years for a Mac Pro replacement. I assume laptops are still central to Apple's image and bottom line, so they won't just let it wither, but...?

It is interesting to note all of the higher end refurbs are sporting 1TB SSDs. Rather odd that the drives are too expensive to put in standard on new machines but affordable when refurbished? (I refuse to believe that only 1TB models got sent back.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
On top of Apple's dysfunctional keyboards, we also have this little problem to deal with now:
Bloomberg said:
FAA Bans Recalled MacBook Pros From Flights
U.S. airline safety regulators banned select MacBook Pro laptops on flights after Apple Inc. recently said that some units had batteries that posed a fire risk.
And I'm wondering how this situation is handled: a MacBook Pro of the affected year and type but with a serial number that Apple says is OK. Do the airlines let that one go?

#applequality
 


On top of Apple's dysfunctional keyboards, we also have this little problem to deal with now:
And I'm wondering how this situation is handled: a MacBook Pro of the affected year and type but with a serial number that Apple says is OK. Do the airlines let that one go?
Or one where you've had the battery replaced?

And does anyone really think the TSA is going to be checking serial numbers?
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I am unfamiliar with the 2011 17" MacBook Pro, but I do have a 2011 15" MacBook Pro that eventually began having problems with the on-board graphics system. If the problem I had is similar to the problem you are having, it can be easily fixed by having the graphics chip replaced. I sent my computer to "rnrcomputer" in NY; there is at least one other business there that does that work also. Go to eBay/Advance Search/scroll down to "specific sellers" and you will find the listing for 17" MacBook Pro.
I just ran across this page while researching some other issues:
Tom's Guide said:
How To Fix MacBook Pro Graphics Card Issues
2011 saw a well-documented and widely criticized graphics card failure on the MacBook Pro. It affected almost all computers sold between Feb 2011 and Dec 2013. This issue made the malfunctioning computers show the same symptoms; namely, distorted videos or no video showing at all, or an unexpected system restart or reboot....

Known symptoms of a graphics card issue could include:
1. A frequently crashing system, scrambled video or distorted screen.​
2. No video display on the computer screen, even though the computer is plugged into a power socket and switched on.​
3. Unexpected booting or computer restart.​

... If for some reason you can’t visit an Apple store or dealer, follow the steps below to help resolve this issue.
#applequality
 



I suppose if you've had your battery replaced you should carry your completed work order with you.
I was at the local Apple Store today and asked about what proof a MacBook Pro user would need to get past security. The Genius replied that Apple is sharing the serial number database with the TSA. This means MacBook Pro owners should expect random scans of their laptop serial numbers while going through security at the airport, and laptops that are flagged as not having been repaired will not be allowed through.
 



I was at the local Apple Store today and asked about what proof a MacBook Pro user would need to get past security. The Genius replied that Apple is sharing the serial number database with the TSA. This means MacBook Pro owners should expect random scans of their laptop serial numbers while going through security at the airport, and laptops that are flagged as not having been repaired will not be allowed through.
Exactly what can they scan? My MacBook Pro doesn't have a barcode on it that I can see. Are they going to have us turn on the computer so they can check it (something TSA used to request, but I haven't had to for years)?

Guess we will have to wait for some people here on MacInTouch to fly somewhere with their MacBook Pro for the (probably differing) answers and experiences.
 


I was at the local Apple Store today and asked about what proof a MacBook Pro user would need to get past security. The Genius replied that Apple is sharing the serial number database with the TSA. This means MacBook Pro owners should expect random scans of their laptop serial numbers while going through security at the airport, and laptops that are flagged as not having been repaired will not be allowed through.
I'll believe that when I read news articles about people being refused boarding over having a laptop with a bad serial number. Until then, it's all still a rumor to me. I highly doubt the Apple geniuses are in a position to know about such a policy, even if it is true. And we've all read about cases where geniuses are clearly making stuff up out of whole cloth.
 


Exactly what can they scan? My MacBook Pro doesn't have a barcode on it that I can see. Are they going to have us turn on the computer so they can check it (something TSA used to request, but I haven't had to for years)?
Is there no serial number printed on the lower case? There is on my 2011 MacBook Air.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Is there no serial number printed on the lower case? There is on my 2011 MacBook Air.
I'd love to watch you or the TSA trying to find and read a serial number on the bottom of a space gray 2018 MacBook Pro.... (Jony Ive at his very best.) Even with a high-intensity light, I can't tell whether there are serial numbers or not in the microform text that adorns the bottoms of silver 2017 MacBook Air and 2015 MacBook Pro models.
 


I'd love to watch you or the TSA trying to find and read a serial number on the bottom of a space gray 2018 MacBook Pro.... (Jony Ive at his very best.) Even with a high-intensity light, I can't tell whether there are serial numbers or not in the microform text that adorns the bottoms of silver 2017 MacBook Air and 2015 MacBook Pro models.
Every time I have a reason to bring an Apple laptop into the Apple Store for diagnostics or repair, the genius either reads the serial number from the bottom case with their eyes (them kids have amazing vision!), or uses an iPad to zoom in and auto-identify the number, or occasionally uses a magnifying glass. But all Apple laptops have a serial number stamped on the bottom — it's miniscule, but it's there. Guessing the TSA will put in a massive order for Sherlock Holmes' style magnifying glasses.
 



Or one where you've had the battery replaced? And does anyone really think the TSA is going to be checking serial numbers?
I have a mid-2012 MacBook Pro, and the serial number is clearly etched on the bottom half of the case. It also shows the date of manufacture, so those travelers with devices not affected can be waved past the inspection. Even after having cataracts removed from both eyes and replaced with fixed focal length lenses, I can read the serial number wearing reading glasses. Also, the serial number is readily available on the About This Mac screen. Travelers in a hurry and/or those concerned with the time of others can simply have this screen open when they enter the line....
 


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