[NTLK] FW: iFixit: Apple ¹ s Diabolical Plan to Screw Your iPhone

Lord Groundhog LordGroundhog at gmail.com
Sat Jan 22 12:53:56 EST 2011

~~~ On 2011/01/22 12:08, Jon Glass at jonglass at usa.net wrote ~~~

> On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM, Lord Groundhog
> <LordGroundhog at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Customers who liberate themselves from the need for expensive and
>> time-wasting submissions of equipment to Apple's repair programme for easy,
>> safe, routine maintenance tasks like changing an iPhone's battery or
>> removing dust curls from around a computer's fan?  Or is Steve becoming
>> paranoid about spies -- spies and WRECKERS who will sneak into brazillians
>> of Macs and Apple devices while they're still on the warehouse shelves to
>> saboutage them?  It just seems a bit over-the-top to me.
>> From the top, yes. But it can only be a matter of time, before
> resourceful people work around these (and it's already happened), and
> Apple has to know this--and they do. Also, it has to be obvious from
> the get-go, that those small companies who "compete" with Apple in
> repairing these devices will also have ways around this. Therefore, it
> cannot be seen to be a blanket attempt by Apple to make opening their
> equipment impossible. Nothing is impossible--sometimes only more
> difficult and/or expensive. I know when I bought a stumpy antenna for
> my Treo 650, it came with a tiny torx screwdriver to open my Palm. Any
> company now dealing with replacement batteries for the iPhone will
> likely have to provide them. Is this all so cruel and evil? Not
> hardly. Why do it then? Well, having seen people try, without any
> experience and knowledge, to crack their iPhone, but with disastrous
> effect, I can see why Apple would change these screws, and, in fact, I
> have been rather surprised since the day I got my iPhone to see
> Phillips head screws in there! Such screws scream "open me"--pad plan
> for something as small and internally fragile as the iPhone. Is Apple
> going too far? Only time alone will tell. Frankly, I think this has
> gotten far more negative press than it really deserves, and far more
> vitriol than necessary (IMO, _any_ vitriol is too much on this issue).
> Neal already mentioned the potential danger of the batteries, which
> alone--as a physical reminder to technicians handling these things,
> that behind these screws is a potential hazard of a certain king--may
> have been sufficient in Apple's collective mind as a
> justification--and the fact that it creates an extra roadblock to
> casual hacking is a bonus.
> I don't understand this desire--yeah, giddy eagerness--to attribute in
> everything Apple does, always the absolute worst of all possible
> explanations--including ones dreamed up by feverish minds of those
> whose hatred for all things Apple has caused brain fevers creating the
> worst of delusions.... Why are these always the first and loudest???
> What is extra ironic about this is that such people are those involved
> in working in an industry which is supposed to be one devoid of such
> shallow, human emotions (think Spock here)... Go figure...


Don't misunderstand me.  I love Apple products -- the actual products.  But
I really, really don't get this urge to make it harder and harder -- and
harder and harder -- for Apple customers to do simple maintenance tasks.

And I too have seen people open their devices with more enthusiasm than
sense:  I've ended up more than once trying to fix the mess.  All too often
I have to say sorry, but you've killed the patient.  But really, is it
Apple's job to stop people from being stupid?  As long as those stupid
people aren't making Apple pay for their stupidity (and that's the purpose
of those T&Cs in the warranty), it's their right to keep doing stupid
things.  And those people who know how to do repairs don't have to jump
through so many hoops to do them.

Opening electronic devices has always been risky -- remember when DIY
repairs on a TV carried the risk of accidentally touching the wrong places
and getting a capacitor jolt or a static jolt strong enough to stop a weak
heart?  And then there were all those delightful tubes (or 'valves' for the
Brits here) that could be accidentally unseated or damaged, wires that could
be messed with, and so on.  But Jobs of all people should remember that the
home computer revolution started with people doing stuff for themselves;
after all, the Apple started out in a garage, and was sold to the kind of
people who half expected to build complete systems out of components and
half-built units and so on.

For certain, there are people who shouldn't open anything more complicated
than a jar of pickled beetroot, and most of us have to recognize our limits.
Warnings of consequences and warranty violations are appropriate.  But
what's the mileage in finding ever more awkward ways of making a device more
and more impenetrable by the owner who's taken the time to gain knowledge
and experience?   Part of the pleasure of owning these devices -- at least
for some -- is caring for them.  (One reason why I still love my Pismos
above my later machines is that, despite its old tech, I can field strip it
and repair pretty much anything with a minimum of tools, hindered only by
time and access to parts where that's necessary.  It's the AK-47 of

As for your point about going straight to the worst of all possible
explanations, I take your point and I want to thank you for the correction.
I suppose my problem is that it's a bit of a struggle to know why they'd
switch to the obscure pentalobe screw.   I accept that we probably should
wait till they announce why or until someone asks them and they say why.
OTOH I doubt we'll get that any time soon.  I want to know what's wrong with
some variety of the venerable and time-tested Torx head, which I find
pleasing to the eye and for which tools abound.  The answer that leaps out
first is the apparent trend to make Apple devices more and more like sealed
units that we buy, hand back to Apple for repairs, and then -- almost
inevitably -- replace when they say our old one isn't worth repairing.
(This is something I once was told by a certain manufacturer's repair guy
about a high-end CRT display, and which was immediately contradicted by an
old-fashioned TV repairman who fixed it and charged me £30 -- about $50 at
the time.)  

I suppose we all have to make up our minds about the level of inconvenience
we'll put up with.  I keep buying from Apple for now because I like the gear
and I can get round the obstacles.  I've held off on buying products that I
can't open up.  And if they really do turn their stuff into locked-down
mystery boxes, I'll think about buying from less nannying companies.

Of course I might just have to take up a new hobby and start building my own
custom shells, cracking open the original Apple cases and transplanting the
guts into my shells.  I could call them "Apple Crates©".   B-)


~~~ ~~~ ~~~

³Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a Newton.²
            -- ref.:  Arthur C. Clarke

(With thanks to Chod Lang)

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