One of the great things about the new 15″ unibody Macbook Pro is the ease at which you can get to the battery, RAM, and hard drive. You simply flip a latch on the underside of the computer and a panel opens up giving you access to everything. In previous generations, the hard drive was not considered a user-replaceable part, and was a pain in the ass to access (for those who dared).
As I mentioned in the last post, the battery on the new 17″ model is not considered user-replacebale, so that left me wondering how easy it was to get to the RAM and hard drive, because the panel on the bottom doesn’t exist on the 17″ model.
I don’t yet have a definitive answer, but it looks like you can get to the RAM and hard drive relatively easily by simply taking out the screws on the bottom of the machine, and removing the whole bottom case.
Apple has posted a video about the new battery in the 17″ model, and why it isn’t user-replacable. It basically comes down to space. You can make the battery bigger if you don’t have to worry about the average user being able to take it out. In that video, they show the bottom of the machine with the cover off, and it appears as though the hard drive would be easily accessible. I hope that’s the case, because Apple just doesn’t offer large enough options on hard drives in their notebooks, at least not for me.
For those interested, it has also been confirmed by Gizmodo that the battery can be replaced at any Apple Store for $179. That’s a bit steep, but supposedly the new batteries last 5 years, so the average user may never have to get a new one.
UPDATE (1/08/2009): I’ve confirmed with Apple that the hard drive (and RAM) are considered user-replacable. You simply remove the screws on the bottom, like I thought.