Friday, November 11, 2016

Repairability 1/10

Unforeseen consequences of adoption decisions really can reach far into the future. - Tom Hollingsworth
My work computer is a 15” Mid-2012 MacBook Pro Retina display - it was released 4.5 years ago, about one week before I joined my current company. As part of my initial onboarding process they asked me what computer I wanted, and I asked for the brand new MBPr completely maxed out. Now it’s getting close to five years and I am still running the new computer.
When macOS Sierra was released, I was *SUPER* excited that I would be able to unlock my computers with my Apple Watch. I installed the betas, and did the the dance to upgrade from two-step verification to two-factor verification (don’t ask) and then on my person MacBook Air, the “Unlock with Apple Watch” check box appeared, but not so on my work MacBook Pro. Then, there is was on Apple’s website, not supported until the 2013 MBPr.
I waited with patience along with my fellow fanboys to see Apple release new MBPr and they did! That TouchBar looks pretty cool, but worked asked me a hard question - “Do you want this computer? You’re going to be using it for the next five years.” Sadly, there isn’t enough of a jump that I think this is the computer I need for the next five years. I passed.
I was sad that I couldn’t unlock with my watch, but then I read a story that the REASON it doesn’t work is because unlock with Apple Watch requires the 802.11AC so it can use the timestamp field of time of flight calculation. My MBPr only has 802.11 N. But a new Airport Extreme (Broadcomm) chip is like, $35. So what would happen if I upgraded my internal BCM4331 module with a newer BCM4360 that came with the Mid-2015 MBPr?

The answer? Totally worked. Unlocking with Apple Watch!
One of the things I've found interesting as I often read about the lack of upgradability of these computers is that I have done a TON of upgrading of various MacBook laptops owned by myself and family members.