SANTA CLARA, Calif.,--During a teardown at this year’s DesignCon 2012 in Santa Clara, Calif., CEO of iFixit Kyle Weins blasted Apple for switching out its Phillips screws for new tamper-resistant screws.
Weins, who has written a hardware manifesto stating that users should be allowed to tinker with their own devices, called the move “diabolical”.
“This is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it,” he said, though iFixit has recently built a tool that can do the job.
“Apple chose this fastener specifically because it was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive,” he added.
The screw Apple is using is similar to a Torx—except that the points have a rounder shape, and it has five points instead of six.
Apple's service manuals refer to them as "Pentalobular" screws, which Weins admits is a fairly fitting description.
“This screw head clearly has one purpose: to keep you out,” he said.
In an attempt to regain control over one’s own hardware, Weins said the solution was 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 under $10 which includes an improvised Pentalobe driver, two replacement Phillips screws, and a regular #00 Phillips screwdriver.
For EE Times' full coverage of DesignCon, please visit here.
"...iFixit is even offering an iPhone 4 Liberation Kit, which it’s selling for under $10..." - and that's what the claims are all about
But they came late, Chinese distributors have being selling those for a long time (one can buy a 5-point screw driver for US$1.80 - with no delivery taxes, at DX)
To a normal consumer, I don't see any problem with a strange type of screw. Apple is not selling only a piece of hardware, it is selling the whole bag of service! So, if you want to tinker the device, go to their shop and get it replaced!
I believe one of the reasons to the popularity of PC is that people can build their own computer and, with little money, update it to suit the need. When I build a PC or when I need to modify a PC, I would like to use only 1 and better be a standard screwdriver to do the whole job.
I admire Apple "develops" a new kind of screw for its product which effectively create an opportunity to other companies.
"The original Nintendo Gameboy used a Philips-type screw, but with 3, not 4, points, we had to make a special tool to fit it in order to open it."
Ah, yes, the infamous TriWing. On one of our products we gave the user access to the battery compartment with latches or a Philips screw, but used a Tri-Wing to make sure he didn't inadvertantly open the higher voltages area. Tri-Wing bits were hard to get in 1994, but
come in the standard set of tamper-proof bits today. I've still got one or two in my desk from 1994.
It is called monopoly. Who will blame Apple though? If you make good products, people may not even need to open it if they want to use it. Then if they want to tinker, let it cost them something. Why? It is all about the IPR protection.
Regular Torx would be a better choice than Phillips, IMO--less tendency to "spin out".
The original Nintendo Gameboy used a Philips-type screw, but with 3, not 4, points, we had to make a special tool to fit it in order to open it.
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