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Apple Blasted for Tiny Torx Screws
2/13/2012

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The iPhone 4S is now available for three carriers: AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. The SIM card slot is shown.
The iPhone 4S is now available for three carriers: AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. The SIM card slot is shown.

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Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Asking for trouble
Beth Stackpole   2/13/2012 6:56:59 AM
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?

naperlou
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Blogger
Re: Asking for trouble
naperlou   2/13/2012 9:01:16 AM
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.

Just my opinion.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Happy Meal toys
Dave Palmer   2/13/2012 10:46:52 AM
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.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Apple hallmark
Charles Murray   2/13/2012 11:52:54 AM
NO RATINGS
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.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Apple hallmark
Beth Stackpole   2/13/2012 12:06:21 PM
NO RATINGS
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."

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Apple hallmark
Rob Spiegel   2/13/2012 2:30:58 PM
NO RATINGS
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. 

Tim
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Platinum
Anti tamper or manufacturing necessity
Tim   2/13/2012 7:41:48 PM
NO RATINGS
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.

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Un-cleanable Mac Mouse
Jon Titus   2/13/2012 8:22:26 PM
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.

williamlweaver
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Platinum
Re: Anti tamper or manufacturing necessity
williamlweaver   2/14/2012 8:40:19 AM
NO RATINGS
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...

fatmanonabicycle
User Rank
Silver
Apple Blasted for Tiny Torx Screws
fatmanonabicycle   2/14/2012 9:30:22 AM
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.

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