Apple MacBook Pro Model A1286 Declared Vintage - The End Of An Era

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 2.5 years since I wrote about my experience with Apple trying to get my Broken MacBook Pro Hinge fixed. Since that time, my Late 2008 MacBook Pro continued to work flawlessly, most of the time keeping up with the scientific programming I would do in R, Python or Julia.

Unfortunately, it seems near impossible (if not completely impossible) to get an OEM A1281 battery as a drop-in replacement. When I went to the Apple Store at Suburban Square, PA, the “Genius” that looked at my computer took 15-20 minutes to look on the Apple website (which I obviously did before arriving, so no value-add there), only to show me a battery in stock that didn’t fit my model of computer. Only after shaming him into looking up the actual part number, was he able to utter the phrase:

Oh, no, we don’t have those any more. Your model MacBook Pro was declared “Vintage”. No more original parts are available from Apple.

Of course it is. After getting home, I was able to find this service bulletin from Apple, which outlines which models are obsolete. Apparently, it’s a hard and fast rule that once five years from the end of manufacturing arrives, a model is declared vintage (unless local laws require longer service). So even though the only “problem” with my MacBook Pro is that I was only getting one hour of battery life per charge (or less if I’m compiling code), the computer is destined for a new life somewhere else.

“Vintage” For Me, Powerful For Thee

While I realize I could go the 3rd-party route and get a replacement battery, at some point, you can only spend so much money keeping older technology alive. Since I use computers pretty intensively, I ended up getting a “new” (used) 2011 MacBook Pro from a neighborhood listing that has decent life on the OEM battery. Surprisingly, I was able to get $360 for my Late-2008 MacBook Pro, being fully honest about the condition, issues and battery life. The older woman who I sold it to fully understood, but worked at a desk and didn’t care about the battery! She also said:

This is easily the most powerful computer I’ve ever owned.

Apple, like I said in my original post, you’ve got a customer for life. And while I’ve moved on to a newer machine, it’s beyond amazing to me that a 7-year old computer will continue to live on and work at a high level of performance. And with my 2011 MacBook Pro, I still have the option to upgrade the parts (though I don’t need to…SSD, 16GB of RAM and a quad-core i7 processor already!)

The Retina MacBook’s are nice, but very incremental. Here’s hoping the 2011 MacBook Pro lasts as long as my Late 2008 MacBook Pro did!

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