Apple’s 21.5-inch iMac has been making the rounds, and has already been torn down by both iFixit and Japanese-language site Kodawarisan. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), as Ars Technica notes, the teardown reveals Apple’s continued efforts to prevent users from upgrading or repairing the device on their own.
Among the main dissapointing discoveries is that the SSD is absolutely not upgradable at all in the entry-level model – in fact, there’s not even a connector for it! The high-end 21.5-inch model ordered with a 1TB Fusion Drive or the 768GB SSD package does have the connector (differences between the entry-level and high-end models shown above) – but as with the Retina MacBook Pro, third-party upgrade options are few and far between. The only option that currently exists is an expensive 512GB upgrade from OWC for $579.
Also worth noting is that while the RAM is technically possible to upgrade, it requires major surgery. As iFixit notes:
Bad news: You have to unglue your screen and remove the logic board in order to do so. […] This is just barely less-terrible than having soldered RAM that’s completely non-removable.
Apple seems determined to make their latest Macs as difficult to upgrade as possible – likely in order to push consumers to order highly overpriced upgrades directly from Apple. Good for them, but awful for consumers.
Long story short, if you purchase a 21.5-inch iMac, you’d better hope you never have any desire to upgrade the RAM or storage. Ever. Thus Saith the Apple Elders.