For those attempting to regain control over their own hardware, Weins said, the solution is to get rid of Apple’s “pesky screws” and replace them with the regular Phillips screws used in previous iPhone models.
iFixit is even offering an iPhone 4 Liberation Kit, which it’s selling for less than $10. It includes an improvised Pentalobe driver, two replacement Phillips screws, and a regular #00 Phillips screwdriver.
I know engineers like their toys and I respect the fact that they want the freedom to explore and even fix their gear. Yet the truth is, devices like the iPhone or iPad or even any other complex consumer electronics device aren't really designed to handle the wear and tear of the the general public mucking around with their internals. If you ask me, it's asking for problems. These are highly complex, integrated, and mostly closed devices. It's not like the old days of loading up your desktop or laptop systems with add-ons boards or other configurable components to extend functionality. What would be the likely reason for engineers or even non-engineers to open up their iPhones in the first place?
Beth, sometimes small things break and can be eaisly fixed, even in devices like cell phones. I have an example from an older BlackBerry. It had the old trackball. RIM has switched to a low resolution camera. I went to a local fixit shop and they wanted $50 to replace it. That included $5 for the part and $45 for the labor. Well, since I had already taken it out and cleaned it a couple of times, I just wanted the part. I knew how to put it back together. The guy at the shop said they were not authorized to sell them to the public, just to install it. I walked out. I ended up ordering one for about $2.50, with $2.50 shipping and handling. It only took a couple of days and I was up and running. I think that there are lots of examples of things that can be fixed by a savvy consumer. The fact is, you buy the device, you own it, so you should be able to work on, if you so choose.
Well said Naperlou! If I own a device, I should be able to do anything to it as long as it is not illegal, or I do not harm anyone; and the damn company has already stated the typical: "Warranty void if opened".
The example of the Ipod needing to be sent back to the manufacturer for an extremely simple battery renewal tells it all: "Why let the captive consumer change his worn out battery, if WE can keep on robbing him by making it difficult to exchange, and then charging an outrageous amount to change it at the factory?" The reason is pure and simple GREED. It's the same with the damn screws... only to *crew the consumer.
These "design" practices go against the consumer, the environment (many perfectly good devices are trown in the garbage because the battery lost capacity or any other simple fault that could be perfectly and efficiently repaired at a reasonable charge; not only by the manufacturer, but by selected franshises or repairing-recycling centers) and against the culture and common sense.
The stupid culture of the 'throw-away and buy a new one' is producing thuosands of tons of electronic garbage, consuming scarce precious materials and teaching the public to be a brainless apathic couch potato that is easily herded into an eternal device buying and "upgrading" that usually leaves the consumer unsatisfied and craving for newer and newer gizmos... Which could be great for the manufacturer, but is not sustainable in the long term. Besides, Apple truly represents what is wrong with the american enterprise nowaday: Even when Apple stock is climbing and climbing, in reality its products are made in other countries, by non american workers, and their installations and workforce in america is mostly sales and administrative, not fabrication or even design. Most design in an Apple product was only conceived by Apple, but the materialization of those great conceptual "designs" was made in other countries like Japan, Germany and (assembly only) in China. So, instead of myopically applauding the success of Apple, lets take a discerning view of it.
And congratulations for being a savvy consumer and fixing your old Blackberry, that's the spirit of a true engineer. A truly decided individual can always find the way to open the device (like grinding the special screw heads with a Dremel, and later replacing them with slot head ones -Micromark.com has a Micro Screw Assortment (10 Sizes, 100 Each) package at less than 20 bucks, enough for many years of tinkering-).
Isn't it ironic that Apple and other computer/digital hardware manufacturers who try to protect their products from the light of day are themselves responsible for providing the means to find the tools for disassembly? Surfing the Internet for answers is a very empowering tool for the consumer.
I enjoy taking apart Happy Meal toys to see how they work -- sometimes the mechanisms are quite ingenious -- but they are mostly held together using triangle-head screws. Fortunately, the tip of a needle-nose plier works reasonably well as a driver for these screws.
My guess is that Apple made a business decision here to sacrifice that segment of the market that (1) insists on tearing the product apart and (2) is too dumb to find a proper screwdriver to do it with. On balance, this was probably not a bad decision.
Isn't this a hallmark of Apple design? They don't want consumers messing with their hardware and they do this deliberately, as I understand it. So, if you're a tinkerer, as many engineers are, maybe Apple shouldn't be the brand of choice.
I think I have to agree with you, Chuck. People can complain all they want about the closed nature of Apple devices and even Apple software. While they've come a long way since the days when everything was built and designed in-house and totally closed, there's no way they're going to make it easy for folks to monkey around with what they see as perfection in design. That whole sentiment emanated from Steve Jobs--that Apple knows best what customers want better than customers do and that Apple designs rein king. It's almost part of their "club-like" brand strategy, and perhaps the soaring stock price ($500 a share and growing) and market valuation prove out that sentiment. In any event, I think Apple is more than willing to take the hit and likely enourage the fix-it-yourselfers to join another "club."
Oddly, Apple has been quite a success in spite of its long-held anti-tinker policy. Likewise with its proprietary systems. I was shocked when my son said he had to throw away his iPod when the battery died. Wow. I remember getting the early Apple to talk to a PC by using a modem. Only through telecommunications could you get them to talk. There were no connectors to make it happen. That's very Apple.
Rob, your son could have done a google search for "ipod battery replacement" and had the ipod back and functional in about a week for ~$40.
With all the debate here about access into Apple products and who owns a product that is bought, I've seen nothing regarding proprietary technology or intellectual property rights. Sure, when you buy an Apple whatever, you get the hardware, software, firmware, cloudware... You own the hardware, but you are only licensed to USE the software. You're welcome to tinker by writing your own code and apps., but Apple is not obligated to publishtheir system specs. to facilitate your tinkering. If you're sooooo upset at Apple's "arrogance" (that they have done all the tinkering for you and don't want to give you a chance to tinker with their product design) then don't buy Apple products.
I don't recall the article mentioning anything about the code just taking a device a part, but if you're going to go that direction there is no reason that a person couldn't just remove the Apple software and install open source software if they choose. It is their device not Apple's once it's purchased. It's not like a credit card which many people assume is their credit card, banks allow customers to use a credit card and can take away those rights to the credit card anytime they like and without any reason, Apple can't take your phone from you once you've bought it, they don't even want the thing back.
I also didn't see where anyone wanted Apple specs, what i fond interesting is that most work around fixes to problems with hardware and software often come from end users and not engineers and software programmers.
Ironically if any of the founders of Apple, Microsoft and many other companies had not been able to tinker, or buy kits to build electronic projects their companies wouldn't exist today.
This could be viewed two ways. On the one hand, it might be beneficial, as it would create a deterrent for 'Alphabet Agencies' and others to tamper with. On the other, it limits home users from modifying their own property or repairing it on their own.
As a kid, I tried to take everything apart. I would be upset when I would come to toy or a watch or radio that had something that was held together with something other than a flat head or phillips head screw. I was convinced that these items were anti-tamper screws that were designed to keep me out of these items. It was many years later when I joined manufacturing that I realized that Torx and square drivers were designed for manufacturing methods and to apply high torque with great bit engagement. Apple may have just used a new scew for their design that just happens to help with keeping out of their product. Or maybe not.
I love, love, love the iPhone 4 Liberation Kit. With all of the recent news about 3D Printing, I expect the birth of a large market for tools in addition to replacement parts. I agree there may have been an engineering reason to switch to the new fasteners, but the rapid availability of appropriate tools will either smooth out the transition or frustrate the anti-DIYers...
Moody Tools, Inc. manufacture the required tools. A search on "Moody 5 Star Torx" will yield several suppliers who will sell them for less than $9 each. I wasn't sure which of the 4 sizes I would need so I bought one each of the 4 sizes I found. I have no assocaition with Moody except as a customer.
I agree with the meme expressed here that if you're not smart enough to deal with these screws, you shouldn't be mucking around attempting repairs anyway. I don't think that was the point though in the original criticism of Apple. It's more that they have a culture of making things difficult.
I switched form a Windows PC to a Mac several years and would not go back. Sadly, the Apple mouse is uncleanable and unrepairable because the company has glued the two halves. No screws or clips of any kind. The small track ball on the top gets clogged with dust and lint, so instead of paying $50 for a new mouse, I split the case and cleaned out the small mechanism. It takes a magnifier and a steady hand. The mouse has tape on the sides so I can clean it again. It's no longer a Mac mouse, it's a Mickey Mouse mouse.
What problem ? The only people readily able to get inside to do repairs and mods will be those savvy enough to overcome this very small problem. If you couldn't do that, you shouldn't be thinking about getting inside anyway. A bit like Heinlein's idea of making people solve an equation before being allowed to vote.
By the time an Apple device is ruined enough for little Timmy or Tina to do a kid's wrecking dismantling job, this driver will probably be readily available. The Torx with centre hole drivers came out pretty quickly, though I still haven't noticed the five-sided Allen-type key used on municipal playgrounds (UK).
One could attack Apple for many, many things, but this is frankly pathetic. overcoming these hurdles is part of the fun to a dedicated bodge artist.
Your exactly correct. Only those savy enough to acquire a pentelobe screwdriver whould even begin to have enough smarts to understand what's going on inside their iDevice. Apple needs to keep the idiots out of the product's guts.
Really!?, I'm pretty sure when I or you buy anything it belongs to you or I, and not Apple, they don't repair it for free since it's not their property anymore once a consumer buy it, the consumer owns it an can do whatever they want to it.
I guess car manufacturers should do the same, but they don't because once a car is bought and leaves the lot it belongs to the person who bought the car, and yes you can purchase warranty repair so that Apple and others will fix "YOUR" phone, just like you can purchase a warranty repair for a "YOUR" car or you can work on "YOUR" car yourself and be responsible if it's repaired incorrectly.
Apple doesn't own "YOUR" phone once "YOU" buy it, now do they?
The only idiots are the ones who are seriously trying to say that a person can't open, tinker or repair something "THEY" bought and now own. Get real!
I guess when you buy a house you shouldn't tinker with anything in it, and the person or company that owned the home should be the only ones who do any repairs, but they won't because it's "YOUR" home and "YOU" the home owner are responsible for doing any repairs, which you can choose to do "YOURSELF" or pay some else to do them for "YOU".
Why, because it's your property and you bought, if you lose it Apple isn't going to give another one for free unless "YOU" purchased insurance on the phone and even then depending on the carrier it may not be a new phone, and "YOU" may have to pay a deductible first.
Regarding owning your own home, and being able to make changes,
1. Certain modifications require building approvals and construction licenses from the city, county, or state.
2. Certain modifications (electrical, HVAC, plumbing, gas lines) require the work be done by licensed professionals and inspected after the work to certify compliance.
3. Zoning restrictions can prohibit certain types of animals, control easements, and limit construction within property boundaries.
Sure, an individual can ignore any of these, but then they are subject to penalties, and attempting resale of the property may be difficult if the potential owner requests property inspection and the home is found out of code or in violation of easements and restrictions.
Give me a break, a lot of people make modifications to their homes without getting a permit, and they only get in trouble if as in my state a building inspector happens to drive by their property. Really how would a building inspector know I divided a large room into two or made my bathroom larger?
My mother owns a house and when she went to have a new addition put onto the house, the existing addition was not on file with the building department the person who owned the house built two additions onto the house and never registered them with the building department if the previous owners had applied for a permit the additions plans would have been on file.
The house had not been modified since the 60s and to the best of my knowledge the previous home owners were not fined anything for making the improvements, because if they had there would have been a record.
As I stated, the irony is that Steve Jobs, Steve Wosniak and Bill Gates were all tinkerers, and owe a great deal of success to their respective companies for being able to do things like take a part electronic devices or look at code to see how these devices worked.
The very thing they hypocritically don't want others to do now, the world hates hypocrites, then again if you're a hypocrite I guess you don't. I find it interesting how these companies talk about these guys as being innovative when they start out, and then these guys get a closed world mentality.
Google is another company that used open source software to build it's company and it's only been recently that they've opened up or given back to the open source community the very community they were able to obtain free open source code to build their empire.
Without those people who tinker and take things a part, you stifle innovation.
A lot of bugs that pop up in Apple products as well as many products by other manufacturers are pointed out by hacks tinkering around with products they purchased from those companies.
My statement about codes and compliance relate to the statement from another poster that implied that a person can make any change whatsoever to their home because they own it legally, which disregards the facts that there are codes, regulations, and laws that relate to what can or cannot be done to one's property.
FCC regulations state that the federal government regulates devices connected to infrastructure and requires the "owner, operator, or provider" to ensure compliance.
I was not commenting on Apple, but on the poster's assertion upon which he was basing a position.
We need to bring back the study of rhetoric, discourse, and debate in our educational system.
After buying a house from the prevous owner, I noticed some problems. On more than one occasion, I invited the building inspector out. He looked at my situations and said that he was not the building inspector when my house was built. He told me that I could do the needed improvements myself with no permit required.
In Indiana, homeowners can do things like replacing their breaker panels without a license. You can get a permit and do it yourself. It still has to pass inspection. I even got a permit to repair my own septic system. The government still has to be in charge of my seatbelt useage. Pete O.
Apple certainly isn't preventing you from tampering with your iDevice. Pentalobe drivers are readily available on-line. Apple is merely hindering unsophisticated users from damaging the product. I have degrees in both electronics and physics. I wouldn't ever consider opening up my iPhone. Not only would it void the warrenty, but chances are slim I would ever be able to reassemble it properly since I don't know what special methods were used to assemble it in the first place. I would consider myself to be an idiot to even consider trying it.
Let me know how fixing your iDevise yourself works for you, and how smart it was to do it.
Who is Apple to say who can open something they've paid their hard earned money.
I've seen people throw their phones in anger, and Apple nor any other manufacturer doesn't care, and they won't repair the device for free since it wasn't designed to be operated in such a manner., since throwing a phone is not a normal operation of the device.
Where I live there is a radio consumer advocate that does a segment once or twice a year called "Crap I bought" and they have hundreds of people take things to have them crushed that are still in properly working order and Apple products have been among some of the things people have taken to have crushed or destroyed along with PCs, and Macs.
These people could donate the items to charity but choose to destroy them because they belong to them, and they can do whatever they want to them. If someone tinkers with something and it stops working that's their problem not Apple's. Apple isn't going to fix anything that has been tampered with by someone unauthorized to take it a part or fix it.
I don't know of any other company that repairs things people take a part that they bought. It belongs to the person who bought it, and they can do whatever they want with it. they don't have to have a degree. it's their property.
If I throw my phone at someone's window and break the window, who is responsible for breaking the window? Me!, they're going to say I threw "MY" phone through their window, and I'll have to pay to replace the window, the manufacturer of the phone will never be mentioned.
FYI, I've repaired everything I've owned if it needed repair and it worked out just fine for me. I learned how to do it from tinkering with variuos devices.
How do you think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates learned the things they knew? neither one of them had college degrees but they did tinker with devices they bought.
One again... Apple doesn't prevent anyone from opening their phone. You can pick up a pentalobe driver on-line from multiple places for about $3. I keep a set right along with my torx, and phillips sets. Apple only says that if you open it, they won't pay to fix it since they can't tell who is responsible for the damage.
BTW, my iPhone 4 slipped out of my shirt pocket and into the toilet. The glass broke so it got soaked internally. I took it into the Apple store and let them know how careful I usually am with their products and how devastated I am that this happened. They replaced it for free. If you'd rather try to fix it yourself, go for it.
Did you read the article? if Apple didn't want people opening up devices, then they would just use regular screws that most people would already have in their tool box, would they not?
Yeah that right use a screw that isn't included in a standard or even extended tool set, as the article states it's a screw that is not used by a lot of manufacturers or the general public and it's done with intent to keep people from opening up something "THEY" bought and own.
Putting those types of screws on the device says a lot and Apple doesn't have to say anything about not opeing the device, their actions speak volumes.
I've worked with electronics since I was a kid, and I've also never dropped anything in a toilet or sink, I don't know how or why a phone would end up in the toilet, aparently it happens to enough people why i don't know that a company has come into existance that will water proof these individuals electronic mobile devices.
Maybe Apple should tell these people not to use the phone around a toilet, then again it's not Apple's problem if you or anyone else choose to use your phone while around a toilet, sink or spill water on any electronic device seiing as how in my opinion most people should have the common sense to know electronics and liquids don't mix. I guess Apple will start making their products water proof like some manufacturers have started to do now..
I'm no apologist of Apple and dislike most of their products. Seriously, how many percent of consumers have the ability to replace an internal battery properly or any desire to tinker with the innards? Keep in mind the devices must meet FCC/CE emissions requirements over the product life. Consumer product design has to also consider liability exposure- what if millions of consumers are able to install "gray market" batteries and there are a few fires in houses and airliners ? Or, an infant chokes on a small part that fell out of an incorrectly re-assembled unit? Not far-fetched at all, again keep in mind the consumer base is largely non-engineers and includes toddlers.
As others state, engineers being thwarted by an unusual fastener is laughable. Another perspective- if you figure out how to remove the screws, you've earned access to the inner sanctum of the product. :)
The general consumer is not who they're trying to keep out, and opening up the device isn't going to change anything that has to do with FCC regualtions, as long as it's not causing interference to public airwaves, or emergency bands the device is fine. People still operate pirate radio stations which do interfere with licensed radio stations.
I don't think an infant is going to un-screw a device, infants put things in their mouths all the time it's what they do, and they're more likely to pick up something from putting something like a phone in their mouth considering how many things an adult comes into contact with in a given day germs picked up elsewhaere are more of a problem to a child playing with their parents phone or elcetronic device than the screws holding it together.
If 3D printing really ever takes off no one will be able to fix anything or even tinker with anything since the components are printed and sealed within the finished printed product.
It's not engineers it's future engineers who take things a part just like I did when i was young just like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Almost every securiy flaw wheter it be hardware or software related were discovered by people who either took something a prt or hacked the software. If some of these hacks hadn't happened there are security flaws that Apple and others would not have discovered.
@ncourtney- Reassembling a device with the cover loose, a shield missing, or a gasket not placed correctly can cause EMI violations. Agencies require sustained compliance over life of the product. Of course an infant won't unscrew a unit...a phone in front of me right now has switch buttons captured between the front and back covers. If the cover was loose the buttons could fall out and be a small-part hazard.
Never underestimate the mis-use that consumer products receive. Many of the "stupid" warnings on a ladder resulted from actual lawsuits. Consumers (and their lawyers) expect absolute product safety despite extreme misuse and abuse. The logical design solution is to go overboard to prohibit tampering.
@kenish - Exactly when was the last time your television, radio experienced this EMI interference from someone walking around with a loose cover or someone in their home workshop or basement having removed a cover? Let me guess never.
You can reach for the far extreme of things that might happen, and rarely if ever do, what if is a powerful statement but can encompass a lot of different things that might or might not happen.
Companies put warnings on things to protect themselves from liability not t protect the consumer and if the consumer has read warning that is clearly visible then it's like anything else in life you take your chances doing anything. that includes removing a cover or doing anything else to something you own.
It's not like Apple and others don't take their competitors devices a part to see what's on the inside, and I'm going to assume they bought the products to take them a part to do a break down of the components inside how else would some of these company know what to look for when a patent is violated?
The only reason people knew what was inside the iPhone when it was first release is because people took them a part and were able to figure out a BOM on that device and what it cost Apple to make the device.
I can't figure out why anyone would care if someone wants to take something they own a part, they're not taking a part something you own and they're not causing you any interference in spite of the far fetched notion that this would happen, seeing as how i seen people using all types of electronic devices that have cases taped together or the number of people who use their iPhones with cracked displays just fine.
If I recall correctly it was just last year that an error on Apple's part, as they used the default user name and password for the smart battery system, allowing potential hackers to rewrite the firmware. and possibly modify the battery's internal parameters that might lead to a dead battery, or in the worst case scenario, an explosion. This was discovered by a hack who tinkers around with his Apple products.
Hah. My wife dropped her 3GS in the toilet. Because I was exceeding jealous of her phone I decided to fix it for myself. I pulled it completly apart. Replaced the battery. Scrubbed off the electrochemical corrosion. Got everything working except the camera. The phone is still working fine 12 months later.
Good story on fixing the phone, Leigh. My daughter forgot to take her iPod out of her pocket and it went through the washer and dryer. After that it didn't work. Somebody suggested putting it in the freezer. We did. The next day it was fine. I don't know what principles were involved in that solution.
No Rob, the air in the fridge is a very dry. This is because much of the moisture condenses on the evaporator, then the air warms up as it circulates, hence RH drops. Ambent humidity here at the moment is 99%, RH in fridge 32%.
It is ideal for drying stuff.
Presuming distilled water has displaced whatever H2O was in the phone, (esp if salt water) then no residue will remain - odds fairly good phone will function. I tried this with a Moto abt 15 years ago, (dunked in fresh water) & phone came back. Only damage was from a rinse in metho which damaged the screen.
Most important thing though is to get battery out ASAP. Which is where Apple is the problem, for iPhone users, with those Torx.
As a dedicated "bodge artist"; I avoid Apple devices preferring more open sourced products. The issue comes in however when family or friends ask me to repair little Timmy, or Tina's iPlop. Although replacement components are readily available from many online sources it would be nice to not have a requirement of buying a new 5 sided torx for a one off repair; in my opinion, it's just unnecessary cost which only benefits the tool maker / seller.
The 5 sided pentagon drive screws used in UK municipal playgrounds are exclusive to Wicksteed Leisure, and spare fixings and keys can be obtained from them. This is an anti-vandal safety measure and is not intended to give Wicksteed a monopoly on maintenance.
I concur with fatmanonabicycle. Love when people who trump "free" cry when someone or company "freely" tries to prevent others from easily diseminating their product.
In a free market you don't necessarily have to be mr. nice guy to everyone that wants to use your product in a "their" way. That's why there are many manufacturers of these devices; one company cannot, nor should, try to appease everyone. Nor should they be "forced" to have to create open products; if that's that important to you then you go make products anyone can take apart.
We all have pet peaves about Apple no doubt, but you probably can't blame the 5-pont screws on them. The 60GB Toshiba drive in front of me now (from a crushed 2005 Apple iPod I should add) has 5-point screws and it's many years older than the iPhone 4s. Yes. Looks almost like a toque, but lacking 1 point -- and I don't have a driver either. By the way, Amazon has a driver for 0.99.
As is often the case, I am a bit on the fence here. On the one hand, I would like to point out that the screws may have been used for better assemblibility (hope that is a word) rather than as a 'anti-intrusion device'. Phillips screws are ok for assembly but hardly the optimum for a high production rate environment.
On the other hand, I do hate to see special hardware used which makes it difficult for me to get into something. As an example, I have a Lionel model train controller which 'broke' (probably because a fuse blew inside the assembly). This is a little $90 box - too expensive to throw away, too inexpensive to get fixed. Should be easy for a moderately competent engineer (I hope I fit in that category) to fix but .... guess what - they used some type of anti-tamper screws!! Darn them!
If I could find the particular screwdriver needed (I couldn't) it would have me $8 to $16. A pretty steep price for a maybe fix. In this case, someone on the internet (thank goodness for the web!) said he had modified an old screwdriver to do the job. So I grabbed an old screw driver, eyeballed the screw head (buried inside the controller), ground and tried and ground and tried until I got them out. And, no, they won't go back in!
Odd hardware can be very aggravating (or even the lack of hardware as in the sealed mouse casing). But it probably makes sense from a production standpoint. Just makes us
Seems like it. Particularly amusing are the responses from those who post their childhood disassembly triumphs as their motivation for becoming an engineer. And now that they are one (presumably), they've been thwarted by a simple screw which is easily remedied as many capable engineers on this forum have pointed out. For those complaining about their lack of ability, thanks for the laughs and may you one day find a job where taking things apart = engineer.
If special HW keeps a person out then I say that they probably shouldn't be allowed in because if they were capable, then the special HW wouldn't keep them out. However, that capability may also be their downfall if they aren't knowledgable enough to know what to do after they gain access, like some of the people I knew who thought that they could fix that failing HD, in the days when HDs were physically large and one didn't need microscopes for everything. Live and learn.
I was ready to stop my iPhone fastener comments until I looked at the comments again and saw the 2012-02-14 4:40:05 PM post by jeffbiss.
How would he like his car hood similarly bolted shut with fasteners requiring new or hard-to-find tools that were as much trouble to acquire as the 'Pentalobular screw' bits or driver bits for other oddball fasteners?
How would he like being forced to have his car towed to the dealer or have that dealer come to him just because he needed something as simple as a jump start, but the car maker didn't deem him 'capable' of performing such a complex task?
If the owner of one of those handheld devices wants to attempt a repair on it, he should not be restricted by the duplicitous tactics of companies that seem to feel that they are the divine arbiter of everyone's & anyone's capabilities.
It's time to shelve that ultra-anal overprotectiveness and get on with living normal lives, unfettered by contrived annoyances.
You're just too much dude! The problem isn't that certain hardware is used, it's that you don't have the right tool to remove them. There's no conspiracy as far as I can tell. I bet that the vast majority of people who would take their thingy apart would end up finding nothing to repair.
So here's my challenge to you: provide us a parts list of repair parts that the ordinary person can buy and install. I'm also willing to bet that most people couldn't remove and install SMDs without destroying something. These things are not cars, nor are their innards machined parts.
The hard-to-remove screws aren't to keep 'most' people out, they are intended to keep virtually everyoneout. Those manufacturers wouldn't care if it were Story Musgrave trying to repair his unit; they just don't want him inside.
And as soon as those hard-to-find screwdriver bits aren't so hard to find, the manufacturers will come out with another screw head type from their bag of duplicity.
As for enumerating the serviceable components inside, unless Apple has changed something in its licensing, the entire iPhone andthe components inside, every one of them, belong to the owner who might want to attempta repair. No permission required.
Defense of any such overprotectionism belongs in the cow pastures with what I refer to as trans-tertiary detritus.
I did note that jeffbiss tried to almost completely sidestep the car comparison. Cars which, at least on myplanet, have electronics, electrical system, mechanicals and an engine diagnostic jack which does not require FCC certification to use.
Do you suppose that the car manufacturers should change that jack type, or eliminate it completely, because some people capable of popping the hood aren't deemed capable (by the manufacturer) of using the code scanner?
If Bob Pease were still with us, this screw fiasco might well have inspired him to write a What's All This Screwjob Stuff? column.
Get the right drivers! That's all it takes to remove the screws. Any tech worth his salt knows that.
Getting permission has nothing to do with it, skill and experience does. As I've stated in prior posts, are you going to find and program a proprietary chip? Are they going to sell you the programmed proprietary chip that failed?
I didn't sidestep you car thing, I ignored it. The same thing applies to them, if they use hardware then make sure that you have the correct drivers.
What santimonious drivel. Simple answers are often best, don't buy CRapple stuff, don't hire people like you.
The attitude is what gets me.
Apple knows what is best for you. They may sell you stuff, but you are not REALLY capable of knowing what software you want, music you might want, or certainly repairing anything. The blatent attempts to patent the obvious, and even things first described by others. Apple knows all and owns all! (except for the parts known and owned by Disney of course)
Then there are those like you who encourage and justify such behavior. Really, what does programming proprietary chips have to do with any of this? People repair things with proprietary parts all the time. Sometimes with new third party parts and sometimes with salvage parts for dead devices. (ever seen a perfectly good phone with a broken display?)
"get the right drivers" ! Did you READ the article? Isn't the use of non-standard screws that drivers were not available for one of the points of the article? Didn't another poster mention their belief that now that the tool IS available CRapple would change to something else?
Get the right drivers! It's that simple! The fact is that a company will do what it wants to do for its reasons. One of those reasons may be to use nonstandard hardware to keep unqualified people from working on their product even when the it's been purchased and owned by the consumer. So, you know what? A qualified person will get the proper driver!
As a person who works on stuff all the time, I get the correct tools for the job as determined by whatever the manufacturer used.
And someone couldn't make their own driver? There was an era when machining was king. In fact all one needs for this is a vice, a file, and a piece of rod of near the right diameter. Search for watchmaker sites and be amazed at the skills.
But the truth is most owners have no interest to fix their own, open it to see what's inside, but not do anything beyond ruining it by mistake. These screws save the owners from themselves.
This is not saving people from themselves. An iPod is not a breaker panel/load center that untrained people should not attempt to work inside. It is a piece of consumer electronics with GRAS voltages inside. If the consumer breaks it further by his exploration inside the case, that's squarely on them.
To even THINK about trying to defend the use of those relatively non-standard screws (which are obviously intended to keep the owners out) is ridiculous, and I can almost picture those defenders genuflecting as they praise the manufacturers and their use of those screws.
Those oddball screws are NOT on display cases of rare pieces of art that should be protected from the public by similar tamper-proof screws. They are on equipment that is purchased and OWNED by individuals, and non-standard, harder-to-find drivers should not be necessary.
If the manufacturers were forced to give a logical reason for using those screws, their only honest reply could be, 'Because we can', and that is a pathetic state of affairs: that the manufacturers can have that attitude, and that the consumers would tolerate it.
I'm not defending Apple, just saying that one of their reasons for using non-standard hardware is to help ensure that an untrained person not be able to readily take the device apart. As was posted elsewhere, the required driver can be bought, so it isn't like a person can't do it regardless of what Apple wants.
Besides, opening these things allows the owner to do what? Now I have not opened an Apple iWTF but I bet that there's little to nothing to fix. They aren't like a stereo or CD player of years ago. They are comprised of proproetary chips and even if not proprietary are difficult to work with, and special spec'ed components. I bet you can think of no one in your circle of friends who would be able to "work" on one of these. Take a look at the iPod Nano and tell me what you'd fix.
Like my initial post implied, I'd be able to open one regardless of what the manufacturer intended, and I have, only to find that I'm f'd and couldn't fix a GD thing. Even when I could fix something, like an LED monitor, I had no schematic and they wouldn't give me one as the manufacturer was driven by liability concerns from an owner getting hurt while working on their product with a schematic that they supplied. So, I shot off a letter to the CEO stating precisely what you posted, and voila, they repaired it for free!
So, go ahead and defeat the will of the manufacturer and learn that the problem isn't that they used non-standard HW, but that there's nothing you can fix anyway.
You just said: "I bet that there's little to nothing to fix... only to find that I'm f'd and couldn't fix a GD thing... there's nothing you can fix anyway... Etc Etc Etc.
Well, obviously you haven't take any advantage of the web, since you can easily find a lot of fixes for varied problems from VERY helpful people that constantly publish fixes to defective designs from Apple and a lot of "prestigious" companies all the time in their personal websites. Just GOOGLE "how to fix an Apple Ipod Touch" to find it returns over 385,000,000 results in 0.18 seconds (my search returned the following statement in the spanish language Google site: "Aproximadamente 381,000,000 resultados (0.18 segundos)"
If you believe any your statements, you are beyond hope... no offense.
Look, I have fixed not one, but several defective personal electronics , where not a single one problem was caused by me improperly handling the damn thing, but by truly defective design from the geniuses at the manufacturer. Take my old (2005) Creative Zen Micro MP3 player to start with; it has a defective design that causes the USB connector to detach from the main board... well, a good intentioned, clever, and obviously not timorous user, tired of trying to solve this problem trough the terribly lousy "support service" of 'Creative', decided to disassemble the device against the paper seal placed inside, and produced an excellent tutorial on how to properly resolder the faulty factory job. Next, take my Dell Laptop that has a badly designed charging jack that overheats to the point of burning a hole (no less!) in the Motherboard, and then tells the poor consumer that they don't bother with repairing their fault, they only sell complete motherboards for 484.95 USD!!! Well another goodguy took the pain to assemble another tutorial on how to fix this defective design, complete with very clear photos and references to businesses that sell the under 5 dollar replacement jack, including shipping! Other things that people with enough self confidence and a little dexterity have achieved can be found across the web, for persons like me that HATE throwing away perfectly repairable devices.
On the very same example you cited about "non-repairability" of the Ipod Nano, the Google search cites many repairs possible, from "freezes", take-apart repair guides, Upgrades... THERE IS EVEN a store selling Ipod parts (IPodParts.com) for God's sake, Don't tell us there are no repairs possible!
It does take some dexterity, intelligence and patience, but the proof is there.
My hat is off to the people that shows how-to's at their websites, most of them for free!. They deserve all the recognition for their positive attitude and time. They have demostrated thay they CAN teach the designers a thing or two.
When that FPGA or other custom chip fails let me know how that repair goes. Of course you could insist on ordering a new one, maybe you'll be able to find a supplier of the base chip. Now program it. Let me know how it goes when you try to find that special-order part that they had designed to fit the custom designed space.
I know what you're trying to say, I've been there. We had a Bose stereo that started to fail. After a while it would start buzzing and then build until it swamped the music. I figured out how to open it and connected my scope to it and found that noise was generated somewhere. There's no schematic and Bose wasn't interested in supporting a guy trying to fix an unsupported product. So, where was the noise generated and why? Which of the special chips in the circuit was I going to not be able to repair because there's no source?
Sure, some repairs can be performed by a person with a certain skill set, but in many cases, it's hopeless. So, while it would be nice to fix your device because there's not much you can do. Maybe, like me, you can take your DVD player apart and find a replacement belt for the drive. Let me know how many of your friends can do it. Maybe, like me, you can replace a broken gear or make a new ove from scratch. Let me know how many of your friends can do that.
Here's a great experiment for you. When I put my first computer together, I could replace most of the chips on the huge Mylex motherboard. Now you can access those easy, right out of the case. Now, buy a random nonfunctional motherboard and without a schematic or parts list, fix it and post it on youtube.
Jeff: If the noise is being generated inside the circuit, it could well be a lifted or intermmitent ground, or a broken circuit trace that is letting a positive feedback loop to develop. If the noise is like "buzzing", try to identify if it is a 60 Hz hum(or the 120 Hz harmonic), and it is probably power-supply related, like an open filter capacitor. Other thing to look at are the selector switches used to selec the tuner or the CD or other input. Quality of hardware used by most assemblers nowadays has suffered because all are trying to use the tiniest components developed for portables, and those switches are uncappable of properly handling the current level, or at least for a long time... There are some sites specificallly devoted to repair and diagnosis of audio equipment, and you could be pleasantly surprised to find some information pertaining to your exact(or very similar) model in the web. Trying to find a repair for my Harman-Kardon CD player-recorder, I found that quite a few people had observed the same exact fault I was experiencing, which points to the low-low quality of design and production of present day products. These honor the concept of using it for a little while and then throw it away, to purchase another model.
We sold it on ebay to someone who wanted it for the display. I tried to hunt down the source of the noise, but because of what appeared to be proprietary chips, it was not your usual discrete design, but failed. I'm sure that there's a Bose tech out there who could identify the source, but he wasn't anywhere to be found online when I needed him. Besides the hardware that we had is now obsolete and they wanted too much to upgrade. Why upgrade for something that failed after 10 years when my friend still has 1970s Marantz from high school?
Besides, while the sound was adequate, the price was far too high for what it was. Bose suffers from precisely what you talk about, in my opinion. So, I got a 1980s Marantz as the replacement. It's a nice discrete design.
I agree with Amclaussen and I routinely repair nonrepareable items. Of course the management at Apple decided to make it quite a bit less convenient for folks to repair the stuff. Just because I don't have every tool for every security fastener certainly does not mean that I am unqualified. It means that I have not come across that particular fastener before. Sme companies would weld the case shut if they could do it cheaply enough. A lot of organizations target product failure to coccur just about a week after it becomes obsolete. I read that in one of the design magazines a few years back.
I also agree that Bose is a master of advertizing, which they have to be because their stuff is way overpriced. I also have a Marantz, a 2235, purchased in the mid 70s. Unfortunately a bias control diode has failed and I have not yet gotten around to replacing the diode. But the failure was fairly easy to diagnose, and the package is a size that can be serviced without a microscope. I also have been given a much newer Marantz receiver that seems to have a failed processor. It is possible that I wont be able to fix that one.
For general information, the failure mode in many DVD players is a dirty laser lens, which gives an identical diagnosis as a failed laser system, but all it usually needs is a witping with a clean tissue, plus, possibly, a drop of solvent. That gets half of them playing again, the others will actually need some real repair work to make them play again.
I completely agree with your post. I have fixed an iPhone after successfully accessing the wealth of "how-to" information (mostly on Youtube) and purchasing the very inexpensive parts and tools. I will say you'd better have small hands and big dexterity (and/or a lot of patience) to manipulate tiny ribbon cables, connecters, etc. I'm guessing the rapidly shrinking world of electronics will soon render home repair an impossibility - the iPod Nano is just the beginning! :)
ChasChas - I agree 100% - add a warranty seal but make it easy to open.
Recently, my kids dropped our Nintendo Wii, and the disk was stuck in the drive. The unit is out of warranty....so I had nothing to lose. However, I found that it uses special screws that have a triangular driver. A little googling and I found and ordered a screwdriver made specifically for Wii for a few bucks. The only "pain" was waiting a week for the special screwdriver...but then I was able to fix the Wii easily.
Apple is pretty good at what they do - but they are also an arrogant, closed, overly expensive brand....an extension of Steve Job's personality. How soon people forget the fiascos with iPods with non-removable batteries, iPhones with disfunctional antennas, etc. Another example of Apple's arrogance was when they led an industry consortium to create the 1394 (Firewire) interface as a universal industry-standard open spec. Then, a few years later Steve Jobs tried to sue everyone that used the interface, saying that it was an Apple "proprietary" standard. This was total BS, of course, and Apple lost their case.
1, They limit casual access, as a Perntalobe driver is required, $3 from Amazon for a cheap one, perhaps $10 for a quality one form various vendors.
2. Pentalobe, like the larger sized 6 lobed Torx, is far more condusive to high volume assembly than the Phillips due to the lack of camout on driving, that occurs w/ a Phillips.
At these small sizes 5 (or even 4) lobes may be more practical from a screw manufacturing and driver strength point of view than 6. Certainly it is easier to open then the original i-Pods w/ their sleek smooth fastenerless case backs -- for with an opening tool is also available.
A tool-less removeable battery cover could have been provided as well, but this come at the price of bulk, and the market does not want bulk.
Mildly sneaky -- sure; sinister and dastardly or evil incarnate -- that's a stretch.
Over the years, I have worked on everything from steam locomotives to aircraft to computers. A lot of book learning was responsible for my education. Knowing who to ask for advice and who to totally ignore had a lot to do with it. The best education that I got was from taking stuff apart and putting it back together. I remember back when all my audio equipment came with schematics. The implication was that if it failed, you were supposed to fix it and on occasion, I did. These days, opening a piece of equipment will void the warrenty unless it's ham radio equipment.
Changing a flat tire is something many people would only attempt if it was a matter of life or death. We are not even allowed to choose what kind of light bulbs we want to use. I wonder if so many jobs are going overseas because that's where all the Yankee ingenuity is. My advice is to get dirty and get an education even if the big comapnies try to stop you.
Excellent post Pete, I couldn't say it better. A great deal of the lamentable state of the american industry, economy, education and (previsibly); future is just because of the lost ingenuity and the lost capabilities of the old "DIY" community no longer present in the recent generations of young people; it is deeper than it seems.
Like you, I also learned a lot from taking things apart. As I remember, about 20-30% of the devices I tinkered with in my infancy were disabled permanently by my then uneducated incursions before teen age, but I kept improving, and most importantly, lost any remaining fears about attempting repairs.
At age 18 the old car that my father passed to me, failed to start precisely on an important event day. I tried and tried for hours to no avail, until it was dark and too late to go anyway, so I completely disassembled, cleaned and adjusted the carburetor for the first time and finally, around 12 o'clock, the car started and ran fine, and I decided to take a full plunge into auto mechanics. Soon I was able to fix most problems and people looked for me in order to help them know what type of problem their car had. In high School, I hadn't enough money to buy a decent audio system. So, I decided to go to the public library and studied many books on speaker systems design, and ended assembling medium-high quality speakers and installing home audio, so that I had plenty of money to pay for my (many) hobbies during my university years. Today I'm an advocate of the DIY movement, in spite of disappearing goods and materials for the DIY. I still have and enjoy a damn good stereo based on highly modified Kits bought from the David Hafler and Heathkit long defunct companies, with triamplified speakers and homemade cabinets, that put to shame neighbors systems costing 10 to 15 times more. BTW, those great former companies always included full schematics on the instructions, which helped understand the design philosophy in addition to being able to repair them.
But most importantly, all that hobbies gave me an edge in becoming a good engineer, gave me pride and self confidence, and a knack to tackle technical problems that baffle many of my less hands-on colleages, which respect me and frequently ask for my help; which is one of the most pleasant compliments one can have. "Get dirty and get an education" that's good advice indeed.
No need to complain about Apple mechanical design choices. If I don't like the fasteners or anything else about some Apple product, it is my right and choice not to purchase it. I think Apple is arrogant for their design choice here, but I'm an engineer and don't accept that I can't fix something that is broken in most cases. It irritates me to have to buy a special tool, even if it is cheap. Its their product. If I want to make one sorta like it with philliips screws, I can gather up about a half a gazillion dollars, set up a Foxconn like deal in the US where pay is decent and conditions are fair, and go for it.
This argument of who owns what portion of the product when the consumer purchases the product reminds me of the arguments made by printer companies over toner cartridges. The printer manufacturers argued in courts that the customer who purchased the printer really only owns the use of the toner in the cartridge, but it is not their product to choose to have it remanufactured. I think the printer manufacturers were quite successful at squeezing out lots of remanufacturing competitors with arguments like that. Apple is poised to protect their market share in a similar way.
Just a short comment on " The screw that Apple is using is similar to a Torx -- except that the points have a rounder shape, and the screw has five points instead of six."
The Torx screw has six rounded lobes (unlike the Allen head that has six flat lobes, actually an hexagon ).
Thus the difference of the Apple screws is five vs. six lobes not the roundness of the lobes. Another difference that may exist (I don't know) is that their mean diameter may be half way between the standard Torx diameters.
By the way for the "I gotta open this rascal " DIYs: For small Torx or Pentalobes screws, a jeweler's flat screw driver of the proper width is sufficient to turn them. Grinding the flat screw driver to the proper width is all it takes for the tightest of the very small screws. For larger bolts it is a different story..
Go Android !... Apple will do what Apple did in the 1980s that led to their first episode of demise; they will be come so incredibly exclusive and expensive that the Android Market will overcome them with it's many, many open opportuniites and selections.
HARPO-54: This is exactly what I have done. I replaced my "aging" mobile phone some months ago and of course had a multitude of brand names from which to choose. I did go Android. My oldest granddaughter had an Apple laptop some years ago, purchased prior to her freshman year at the university. There is only ONE authorized repair depot for Apple products in our city-- they know that consequently charging outrageous prices for their work and parts. That was my lesson learned. The cost for repairs to her"machine" was approximately one-half the purchase price. Last year the laptop died. This time, we go PC version and she made that decision.
Not too long ago, I was replacing my car's headlight gear motors and found that a Phillips bit with 3/8 drive would be perfect to have. I simply drove to my neiborhood auto parts store and bought a set. I would never buy a car that used mounting/fastening hardware that was not readily available. Likewise, I will not buy any Apple products that incorporate tactics such as the one mentioned.
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