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Battery replacement costs looking high for Apple's Retina Macbooks

Much has been written about the lack of upgradability and reparability found in Apple's new Retina MacBook Pro. In fact, it's widely seen as Apple's least fixable laptop to date: Pentalobe screws stymie those who lack access to a fancy screwdriver and Apple's been on an adhesive drive throughout the insides of its latest laptop. The battery's glued down, the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, the display is fused together as a single unit (forcing one to replace the entire unit to fix any broken bits like, say, the iSight camera).

Fun times are in store if you're looking to upgrade your Retina MacBook Pro (good luck), and costly times await you if anything goes wrong with your system's components - especially the battery.

According to a sea of reports from yesterday, Apple's decision to stick the battery to the Retina MacBook Pro means that any kind of home-based repair or replacement is out the question. Users with fussy laptops will have to either ship them back to Apple itself or drop them off at an Apple Store for battery replacement: Apple will take 3 to 4 business days to replace the battery, whereas the retail store will be able to do it the day of your appointment.

And the cost? A reported $199 in the US, so around £130 here. If you've owned a MacBook in the past, you'll recognise that the new repair fee is all of 54 per cent greater than what you might have previously paid to get your MacBook's battery repaired.

"Once again, with another product announcement, Apple has presented the market with a choice. They have two professional laptops: one that is serviceable and upgradeable, and one that is not," writes iFixit's Kyle Wiens.

"They're not exactly equivalent products-one is less expensive and supports expandable storage, and the other has a cutting-edge display, fixed storage capacity, and a premium pricetag - but they don't have the same name just to cause confusion. Rather, Apple is asking users to define the future of the MacBook Pro."

Wiens argues that consumers, should they opt for the new Retina MacBook Pro in droves, will be giving Apple all the evidence it needs that enthusiasts prefer feature-packed products at the expense of inexpensive reparability and easy access. And, in doing so, Apple fans can expect Apple's closed systems philosophy to continue - one the company hasn't always had, given the flexibility of the earlier MacBook Pro models and other computers in Apple's product lines.

Apple's battery warranties - both the one-year and three-year versions - cover battery defects, but not the natural loss in capacity from a user charging the battery over, and over, and over.