On top of that, when non-removable batteries fail, they usually take down the whole device with them beyond repair, while a properly placed removable battery at the edge (back) of the device would less likely do damage the device.
Yes, all those issues could be addressed by making Apple laptops thicker and heavier, and there's a large contingent on HN that wants exactly that. But ... there's an even larger contingent outside the techi-verse that loves thin and light laptops.
Dell XPS 13 is both, thinner and lighter than Macbook Air, yet its battery replacement process is rated as "very easy" by ifixit. The same applies to Dell XPS 15 vs Macbook Pro.
The 2018 MacBook Air battery isn't quite so neat and rectangular: https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/HvCgVPqVQtVI5K5X.h...
And you can see here how it fits into all of the available space in the computer: https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/QUm4KjJyARQaSorr.h...
Switching this computer to using a simple battery like the Dell XPS 13 is using means sacrificing a significant amount of battery capacity.
Also note the 2019 Air they've got has a smaller battery again (49.9Whr).
The battery life gains in Macbook Air might come from the different series of processors used, rather than from the battery itself:
> The MacBook Air has Core i5 and i7 processor options, but they're part of Intel's "Y" series of CPUs, intended for thin laptops. They generate less heat and use less power, so you get longer battery life. The flip side is they're not as fast as a standard laptop with a "U" series processor.
Just looking at the ifixit.com page linked above, the XPS looks very well-designed and easy to work on too, with just 8 screws holding the back panel on, while still being just as thin as a Macbook. It seems like Apple stuff is simply designed specifically to be hard to repair.
And, as this recall was about the MacBook pro, there is much more space for battery placement than in the smaller devices.
Here I just put something rough together to demonstrate that it can be done even with the thin devices if the motivations were in the right place: https://www.ypson.com/hn/battery-thin-device.png
Took me a few minutes, surely this can be done given the budgets and great engineers available in the employ of the major companies.
Take a look at the inside of the current Macbook Pro: https://i.imgur.com/pTZjbuZ.jpg
That's a "battery" that's actually six separate batteries, fit around and underneath the structural components of the touchpad.
Make it a single piece that can be neatly removed like your would-be concept image and you cut battery life in half. Customers would revolt, and far more noticeably than over mere keyboard problems.
Any battery requires a certain amount of puncture resistance. When a battery is embedded into a device and irremovable, the casing of the device itself counts as part of that puncture resistance. If the battery is removable, the battery module itself must be puncture resistant and you're wasting significant internal volume with hard casing around the removable battery module which does not need to exist.
Personally, I am not against thin devices and non removable batteries, it should be done in tandem as the technology will be aligned with this approach without compromising the user experience and ability to replace consumable components.
According to other comments further up the thread this is incorrect, as the XPS has proven it can be both a single battery, with more capacity, and be thinner, even faster.
(Interestingly, this used to be the norm. Back in the day, the smallest thinkpads were also the most expensive. If you cared about money, you'd carry around something much larger and clunkier. It wasn't until the advent of the netbook that "small" also meant "cheap")
If you don't think a laptop being as small and thin as possible is important and worth paying for, then you will be very disappointed with the current crop of macbooks.
(As an aside, I find it kinda weird to see people with these macbooks that are absolutely optimized for portability using them as desktop replacements. Like... maybe part of that was that for a long time apple sold really ancient hardware for their desktops, and maybe these people just really loved OS-X? But... this goes to your point... the fact that so many people use macbooks as desktop replacements does indicate that maybe there's a market for a more desktop-y macbook, maybe one with active cooling and a replaceable battery? But it's also possible that those users are willing to pay a cost in terms of longevity and in terms of expandability in exchange for their desktop replacement simply being more portable for the few times they do actually move it.)
Either way, I like my macbook even though I'd be seriously annoyed if I was limited to that much compute power for my main usage, and I'd go insane if I had to use the keyboard/trackpad for serious work.
But for me? I think the cost is totally reasonable for something I can put in almost any of my bags; something that adds almost no perceptible weight. I had a sony viao P series for a while; it was similar.
I mean, my other personal laptop is a thinkpad X220, which is exactly the sort of thing you would like; it's pretty easy to swap out all the parts, including the battery. It is actively cooled (and aside from the battery and hard drive, the fan seems to be one of the common bits to break.) - it's also not powerful enough for comfortable full-time use, imo, but it stands up well to the mac book in that regard, and it has a keyboard that is almost good enough to use all day. (I mean, I'm not switching it out for my kinesis for serious work, but as far as laptop keyboards go, it's pretty good)
All you’ve done is drawn a few rectangles and added some labels to them. It doesn’t prove anything is possible. It’s not even detailed enough to be concept art let alone a technical design. You could just have easily drawn the same thing with circles and labelled it “worlds first fusion powered laptop” for all the technical merit that diagram had.
If Apple built this machine like how you are saying it would get half the battery life (keep in mind that this is a max performance model with battery life as low as 3 hours when used at max off charger) or would be much heavier and thicker and people. would. not. buy. it. It's a compromise whereas you make the repair (which hopefully should never happen) harder while making the daily use of the laptop entirely different.
Instead of putting in the effort to engineer removable batteries, maybe Apple could instead put in the effort to engineer batteries that don’t blow up.
If I am away from home and on the way back, upon checking in at the airport I am told I cannot bring the laptop, how would you supposed I would handle the situation? Throw it in a trash bin (I don't mind the encrypted data) but is this a solution, instead of simply discarding the battery instead? (in this particular case where there is a recall for a certain laptop).