Jan 202011

If you want an indication of how obsessed the tech media is with Apple, take a look at some of the things they pick up as news. Apparently, Apple has been seeding a new type of screw, dubbed the “Pentalobe”, into its hardware, ostensibly to deter people from messing around with the guts of the iPhones and MacBook Airs. Keeping people from monkeying with Apple’s user experience is not exactly a new development, but it you look at how eagerly an iFixIt video bitching about the issue was picked up, you’d think it was. To give you a flavor for the latest scathing controversy, and to give into my temptation to send-up this retardery, I’ll excerpt a piece written by the Register with my comments. Trust me when I say it’s a par hole.

“And now, says Wiens (owner of iFixit), iPhones are getting (non-standard hardware) too – a “diabolical” move, he says, because pentalobe screwdrivers are few and far better (sic), though he has managed to source some and will sell you one, and a pair of replacement philips screws, for $10.”
Good to see that someone is making money on this diabolica.
Wait a minute…

“…pentalobe tools, which have been creeping into the Apple product line since 2009…but didn’t become widely used until the new Air debuted in 2010. Now the iPhone 4 has them, it seems highly likely that so will the upcoming iPad 2, and probably future Macs as well.”
So the screw’s been out there for 2 years. And they won’t come to Macs. Apple has Knowledge Base entries on how to upgrade various components in Mac. There’s a conspicuous lack of such documentation for iPhones.
“Wiens beef with this is that the use of obscure screws makes Apple’s machines less easy to repair. That, in turn, reduces the hardware’s longevity, ensuring that more machines will end up in landfill.”
Less easy for iFixit – who probably makes 20% less than Apple but still a metric shitload of money – to repair. And lack of access to screw that’s been available for 2 years (and one which Wiens will sell you for almost no outrageous markup) is what will put Apple products in landfills.
“In fact, Apple machines – Macs particularly – (which the screws are not in) are notoriously long-lived, with owners passing them on to friends and relatives after new models have been bought. But eventually they will be binned and recycling will be harder (unless they’re not used in Macs, which, again, they are not).”

“Botched upgrades can lead to costly technical support, but other firms seem less concerned with this risk. Most of Apple’s rivals don’t feel the need to block tinkering to such an extent – Wiens maintains Apple has adopted pentalobe specifically to stop its gadgets being opened.”
Or maybe it’s because Applecare is approximately a billion times more comprehensive than the bullshit warrantees that come with your Toshiba? Maybe Apple doesn’t want to be saddled with repairs that users – and iFixit – shouldn’t have been attempting in the first place? Maybe Apple should just tamper-protect their screw holes so that any attempt to unseat them will invalidate the warranty/Applecare coverage. How would that solution sit with your business model, iBitchIt?

“Apple clearly thinks its kit shouldn’t be opened or changed in any way that doesn’t involve its mediation. While it continues to think that way, there will be plenty of people, like Wiens and like the coders dedicated to ‘jailbreaking’ iOS, to opening its products – physically as well as metaphorically.”
You forgot the “making a metric shitload of money doing it” part. They always forget that part.

  2 Responses to “Slow News Day Screws Apple”

  1. I’m sorry: “metric shitload” is not in my nerd handbook. Can you express these amounts in the universal standards such as “Librarys of Congress” (LOC) or “VW Bugs” (circa 1972 or earlier)?

  2. Metric shitload = the number of “turds of standard length” (ST) required to circle the earth once when laid end-to-end.

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