"...iFixit is even offering an iPhone 4 Liberation Kit, which itís 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.