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Hardware Hacking Iphone Apple Build Hardware

The Case of Apple's Mystery Screw 845

Posted by Soulskill
from the licensing-the-operation-of-the-circuitry-inside dept.
Pickens writes "Network World reports that in the past if you wanted to remove the outer case on your iPhone 4 to replace the battery or a broken screen, you could use a Phillips screwdriver to remove two tiny screws at the base of the phone and then simply slide off the back cover. But now Apple is replacing the outer screw with a mysterious tamper-resistant 'pentalobular' screw across its most popular product lines, making it harder for do-it-yourselfers to make repairs. What about existing products in the field? Pentalobular screws might find their way into them, too. 'Apple's latest policy will make your blood boil,' says Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit. 'If you take your iPhone 4 into Apple for any kind of service, they will sabotage it by replacing your Phillips screws with the new, tamper-resistant screws. We've spoken with the Apple Store geniuses tasked with carrying out this policy, and they are ashamed of the practice.' Of course, only Apple-authorized service technicians have Pentalobular screwdrivers and they're not allowed to resell them. 'Apple sees a huge profit potential,' says Wiens. 'A hundred dollars per year in incremental revenue on their installed base is a tremendous opportunity.'"
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The Case of Apple's Mystery Screw

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  • Yay! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:20AM (#34952798) Homepage

    Thanks, Apple! I love being told I'm a fucking idiot and shouldn't be allowed to open my PURCHASED device, should I choose to do so.

    Yes, that goes for all companies that use screwy screws like this.

    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mr_eX9 (800448) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:23AM (#34952858) Homepage

      I forgive them, because the word "pentalobular" is hilarious to say.

      I also don't own an iPhone, so it's all academic to me anyway. :D

      • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Haedrian (1676506) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:26AM (#34952944)

        *sings*
        Cellular, Modular, screws are Pentalobular.

        Bonus points to who gets the reference

        • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

          by onkelonkel (560274) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:29AM (#34952982)
          Interactive Audiular...BANANAPHONE
        • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

          by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:34AM (#34953124)
          It is the very model of the modern dollar generator.
          • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

            by localman57 (1340533) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:04PM (#34953702)
            Yup. Somewhere, a design engineer at Sony is getting his ass kicked for not thinking of using screws that require a screwdriver nearly nobody has.

            "Yeah, I know, you came up with memory-stick. But that was years ago. Look at this! This is state of the art non-standardization!".
            • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by mark72005 (1233572) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:20PM (#34953998)
              I think this is deplorable too, but:

              Isn't it really just a matter of (very little) time until ebay and many other websites are flooded with the new tool available for purchase?

              I mean, I don't think Apple can invent a geometric figure for a screwdriver point that no one else can manufacture.
              • by denzacar (181829) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:19PM (#34955136) Journal

                From TFA:

                http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/012011-the-case-of-apples-mystery.html [networkworld.com]

                This isn't the first time Apple has used screws to gain an advantage. Apple had been using 5-point Torx screws for its MacBook Pros, not standard 6-point Torx screws."We did a little bit of research and found out that this particular screw has been patented," Wiens says. "It is illegal to import screwdrivers that can open this screw into the U.S. unless you buy it through Apple's sales channels. Apple sells the screwdriver for $40." (Wiens doesn't know if the Pentalobular screws have been patented.)

                So I guess if you smuggle one of those penta(hahaha)lobular screwdrivers into USA you'll be an OUTLAAAW! [cheezburger.com]

          • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

            by Moryath (553296) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:04PM (#34953720)

            It's the "logical next step" in all the "break this sticker with a screw hidden underneath and void your warranty" crap.

            And of course, it's got 90% of the consumer population so fucking scared that they won't break that sticker even when they need to repair a device that's 5 years old and 4 years, 9 months out of the stupidly short 90-day warranty.

            It's the same kind of brainwashing crap you get with expiration dates on bottled water [fda.gov] (also found on non-expiring foods/spices such as honey and salt) and stupidly short expiration dates [medscape.com] on medicines.

            Pop Sci still runs a great "void your warranty [popsci.com]" column. I recommend reading it on a regular basis and learning to say "fuck it, void the warranty, I'm going to improve/repair my own fucking property" whenever possible!

            • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

              by ballpoint (192660) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:22PM (#34954028)

              The very first thing I do on newly acquired devices is to rob them of their virginity by breaking the seal. The sooner it's over and done, the better. It also seems to make them more resilient too.

            • and stupidly short expiration dates [medscape.com] on medicines

              First, that link requires registration. Yuck.

              Second, IIRC from Pharm School, expiration dates are legally mandated by the FDA to be when the active ingredient(s) degrade to 90% efficacy? Maybe I'm wrong on that one... or maybe it was just for prescription meds. But it's kind of important for dosing properly.

              • by Carnivore (103106)

                I don't know the reasons or the laws, but I do know that I had a prescription that was dispensed in the same bottle that was shipped to the pharmacy. The bottle had its own expiration date, while the prescription info sticker had another, much shorter one that was based on the date that I bought it. Perhaps this indicates the life of the product once the bottle has been opened, but it was not clear.

              • by GooberToo (74388)

                You are correct. The problem with this is that 90% potency is still potent enough its commonly used in second and third world countries. Which means, despite still being an effective medication, many people have been convinced to throw it out and replace it with new stock. Which means, in the US, LOTS of perfectly good medication is being wasted.

              • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Informative)

                by Moryath (553296) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:48PM (#34954512)

                First, that link requires registration. Yuck.

                I prescribe Bugmenot [bugmenot.com] to solve that.

                Second, IIRC from Pharm School, expiration dates are legally mandated by the FDA to be when the active ingredient(s) degrade to 90% efficacy?

                You're completely wrong.

                Alternate link to harvard [harvard.edu]:

                It turns out that the expiration date on a drug does stand for something, but probably not what you think it does. Since a law was passed in 1979, drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. This is the date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full potency and safety of the drug.

                Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

            • by guruevi (827432)

              Water actually goes 'bad' over long terms of time, it just starts tasting funky (I say that out of experience). Also it could be that the plastic breaks down over time (if placed in hostile environments like direct sunlight, heat or physical abuse of the container) and leaks into the water making it unsafe.

              Medicines have short expiration dates because people think it's safe to take medicine when it's just 'a little bit' expired while it might not have it's full strength anymore (which could be dangerous) an

            • by DarthVain (724186)

              Its more insidious however, as

              a) You can break the sticker anytime, all you need is your fingernail. You might not like the fact that you void your warranty, but at least you have that CHOICE. In many cases I as a consumer consider many "warranties" not really worth the paper they are written on, and thus at times am not "afraid" of the sticker. Now if you want to break the sticker, you physically can't. They are basically putting a lock on it, that if you try and circumvent you will likely break your devic

          • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:30PM (#34954186) Journal
            Worry not, us communist hobbyists are working on 3D-printing machines good enough to print wax molds that can be used to cast metal. Soon, your local hackerspace/fablab will be able to download these new screws when they come out and print them out.
      • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

        by jefe7777 (411081) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:51AM (#34953448) Journal

        first they pentalobed the iphone users
        and i didn't speak out, because i wasn't an iphone user... ;-)

      • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Andrewkov (140579) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:56AM (#34953538)

        They're called iScrews.

      • by Psmylie (169236) * on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:10PM (#34953844) Homepage

        With apologies to the folks of MST3k for shamelessly stealing one of their best ideas [youtube.com]:

        Tom: Hey, fellas, this sure is a screwey screw in this device, isn't it?
        Mike: It sure is!
        Crow: Yet despite all the goofyness of the thing, I just can't come up with a word that describes it
        Tom: Well I can
        Mike: You can?
        Tom: Why, sure!

        Tom: Oh, it's stupid-alubulal, annoya-nonpractical pentular lobular fun!

        Mike: Aggravata-maximal irrita-scam-ulal?

        Tom: Right-o, that's the one!

        Crow: Is it frustrate-orificcal, butt-in-your-face-ical screwya from morning 'til night?

        Tom: Well you're rip-off fantastical purloin-irascable Stevejobs-an-ass-hola right!

        All: It's a swindle-a-boobulal rip-you-off-obulal Toobular Pentalobular joy!
        An expososular-buttular humped without lubular fun for girl and boy!
        An Apple-fantastical scamu-lal job-ulal financial-al steal-it-all ball

        Crow: the most defraud-o-riffical

        Mike: Fleece-yer-customeral

        Crow: con-game-el-fuck-you-lar

        Tom: Jobs-u-big-crook-ular

        All: Screw job off them all!

    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nicholas22 (1945330) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:23AM (#34952862)
      To be brutally honest, you shouldn't have purchased an Apple device if you valued your freedoms THAT much... It is a well documented and thoroughly slashdotted subject this.
      • by mikkelm (1000451)

        It's true that you shouldn't buy Apple hardware if you desire products that accommodate you as a user, but it's pretty disingenuous to suggest that having the ability to open up ones own product for cleaning and repair is an unusual or unreasonable expectation.

        • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:05PM (#34953730) Homepage Journal

          I say this as an iPhone user, I'm not sure why it is commonly accepted that Apple provides this perfect user experience.

          Repeatedly my iPhone has been wiped when connecting to iTunes. I've lost save data on games, photos, videos, contact information, etc.

          I could in theory have contacts in groups, but there is no way in the interfact to add a contact to a group. I have to pay for a third party app to handle this for me.

          I can't do basic things like add new SMS tones.

          I tried importing contacts from a Yahoo account, a Gmail account, and Exchange. All failed. I can't edit my address book by typing at a computer. I have to very slowly type entries in via the phone.

          iTunes is one of the worst pieces of software I've ever used. I see UI problems galore.

          And the few times I've sat at a Mac to try and fix them for friends, Finder has driven me up a wall.

          Can we instead say that Apple provides an alternative for those who prefer it? I don't buy how Apple is perfect and a superior user experience.

          • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

            I have similar experiences with my iPhone (I trade in and out with an Android and a BB for development).

            All in all it's a nice device, but the whole "it just works" thing is purely marketing.

          • by Wovel (964431)

            I say this as an iPhone user, I'm not sure why it is commonly accepted that Apple provides this perfect user experience.

            Repeatedly my iPhone has been wiped when connecting to iTunes. I've lost save data on games, photos, videos, contact information, etc.

            I could in theory have contacts in groups, but there is no way in the interfact to add a contact to a group. I have to pay for a third party app to handle this for me.

            I can't do basic things like add new SMS tones.

            I tried importing contacts from a Yahoo account, a Gmail account, and Exchange. All failed. I can't edit my address book by typing at a computer. I have to very slowly type entries in via the phone.

            iTunes is one of the worst pieces of software I've ever used. I see UI problems galore.

            And the few times I've sat at a Mac to try and fix them for friends, Finder has driven me up a wall.

            Can we instead say that Apple provides an alternative for those who prefer it? I don't buy how Apple is perfect and a superior user experience.

            I have never had my phone wiped by connecting to iTunes and I have been using one for 4 years..I have imported contacts successfully imported contacts from every service you mentioned following absurdly simple on screen prompts.

            iTunes is not their best work, but is far superior to Windows Media 1-99 (whatever version we are up to now).

            Honestly your post looks like someone who was set in their ways and simply unwilling to do things differently. For most people without such a predisposition, they do provide

            • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by JPLemme (106723) on Friday January 21, 2011 @02:10PM (#34956070)
              Honestly your post looks like someone who was set in their ways and simply unwilling to do things differently.

              Would it be unsporting to point out that you responded to an anecdotal argument ("Repeatedly my iPhone has been wiped when connecting to iTunes") with an anecdotal argument ("I have never had my phone wiped by connecting to iTunes"). If you're going to accuse the GP of being unwilling to do things differently, you might want to try doing something differently.

              I have never owned an iPhone, and therefore conclude that Apple has never sold one. Did I do that right?
            • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Informative)

              by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Friday January 21, 2011 @02:37PM (#34956564) Journal

              iTunes is not their best work, but is far superior to Windows Media 1-99 (whatever version we are up to now).

              Except that I've never needed to use Windows Media Player to update ANYTHING on my Windows Mobile phone. In fact, I can simply drag and drop whatever I want, just like the phone is another memory device... Why do I need a special program to access my phone in the first place?

          • by nurb432 (527695)

            Odd, i have only had 2 problems with my apple products ( all the way back to the first ][ i bought, new ): 2 failed hard drives ( in 2 different machines ), which is hard to rationally blame on Apple.

            I have never had 'strange lockups', 'erasures', etc.. the stuff has 'just worked'.

            But yes, the practice of locking people out is annoying.

          • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:53PM (#34954622)

            You are simply rehashing well-rehearsed talking points, and I'm dubious your post is genuine.

            "Finder has driven you up a wall"? Seriously? When you sit down to fix a Mac, what does Finder have to do with anything?

            UI problems in iTunes is easy to say, but I prefer examples.

            Gmail was easier to setup than my old .mac account. Until there are widespread accounts of users experiencing Gmail sync issues, it's not really a problem.

            That is not to say I think Apple is "perfect", but their emphasis on "superior user experience" is they type of alternative that I prefer. Yes, I have lost info syncing with iTunes, but mostly because my iTunes is a mish-mash of 5 users stuff (obtained legally or not) with 4 phones in the house. It's easy to dismiss warnings about overwriting libraries and the such.

          • Apple products blow (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Kludge (13653) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:08PM (#34954952)

            I posted previously about the problems I had getting my father's iPad to work. What a headache.
            So then my brother and his wife visit me with their iPhones. They have some video that they want me to watch.

            So I first I try putting in an standard A/V plug to my TV. It works with my smart phone. Nope. No A/V on iPhone.

            So then I think, I'll just download the video to my computer over the USB connector. So I connect the iPhone to my computer. Nada. It does not appear as mass storage device or anything. What? I have to install iTunes to get data off it? And my computer has to be 1 of the only 5 computers to which this thing can ever connect? My brother only visits me once every five years!

            So then I think, I will have my brother upload the video to my web site. My brother brings up the browser and my web page on his iPhone. And guess what? The "choose file" button is greyed out! Something as basic as uploading a video file is not allowed.

            Any of the above work just fine on my smart phone. There is no way I would ever recommend anybody buy any kind of Apple product. What a headache.

      • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by skids (119237) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:47AM (#34953396) Homepage

        Or, you should make a point to buy a dremel before purchasing any apple products.

    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:44AM (#34953324)

      Don't be defensive and taking it personally. They don't REALLY think you're an idiot. They don't REALLY think you'll break your device.

      They just want to CHARGE you for 100% of device maintenance and support. It's $$$, not smarts.

      Making these things about skills and smarts is a disservice to ALL CONSUMERS b/c it gives CREDIBILITY to the company's bogus argument that this prevents unskilled consumers from causing damage and driving up support costs for everybody since #1 most consumers skilled or not will never open the device anyways and #2 of the ones who do, the % who open the device, break it, AND then try to get free support is VANISHINGLY SMALL in actual honesty.

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:21AM (#34952828)

    This screw design was patented in - 1974. Yeah keep that conspiracy going, boys. Especially when the screwdriver costs $2.35.

    • by nicholas22 (1945330) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:25AM (#34952918)
      How many other patented screw designs are not as popular as the Phillips? It doesn't matter that it was *patented* a long time ago. What matters is that it is a niche design, making it harder to use that the Phillips screw.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:37AM (#34953186) Journal

      This screw design was patented in - 1974. Yeah keep that conspiracy going, boys.

      I don't know what the screw design patent has to do with it, it's more the fact that the average household does not have a pentalobular screwdriver. I'm reminded of Tim Wu's proposition that there were two Apples [slashdot.org]: Steve Wozniak's and Steve Jobs'.

      There is no conspiracy, it's just another omen that we have moved so far away from Wozniak's Apple that we are seeing this in Jobs' Apple. There's no question who's been making the most money but the days of Apple encouraging the user and hobbyist to open up their products and tinker and learn are over. Wozniak's Apple is dead. This is no conspiracy. This is simply fact; the final screw in the hobbyist's ass is yet more unneeded evidence indicating this.

      • by jabuzz (182671) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:43AM (#34953310) Homepage

        The date of the patent is critical. Just imagine that there was a new screw head that was patented in say 2005, and Apple held that patent. They could then stop anyone else manufacturing and selling suitable screwdrivers them to the public.

        As it is, a quick Google will lead you to someone selling a suitable screwdriver as the patent has long since expired.

      • by danielsfca2 (696792) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:05PM (#34953728) Journal

        the average household does not have a pentalobular screwdriver... the days of Apple encouraging the user and hobbyist to open up their products and tinker and learn are over. Wozniak's Apple is dead. This is no conspiracy. This is simply fact; the final screw in the hobbyist's ass is yet more unneeded evidence indicating this.

        The average household? Seriously? The average household has never stocked ANY tiny screwdrivers, be they Phillips like the old screws, Torx, or this "new" one. The average household has a #2 Phillips, an old fashioned slotted screwdriver for stupid things like switchplates that still use them, and a hammer. Probably a few leftover allen wrenches from Ikea. Anything more exotic than that pretty much requires a trip to Radio Shack, or a $5 order from some website. Therefore, almost nothing has changed. In fact, I got a nice little screwdriver for FREE with the kit the times I changed batteries and screens and things. The average household doesn't disassemble electronics, not least because they would rather not void their warranty.

        Quit being so dramatic. "Wozniak's Apple," as you put it, existed in a world where computers cost a lot of money, were only purchased by skilled electronics experts or those planning to become experts, and needed to be modified to do pretty much anything. That world has been gone for more than 20 years. Today, computers (and tiny computers called "smartphones") are a mature technology, of which the target market is 99.9% made up of NON-experts, who don't take things apart and don't want to. The fact that it's been this long and you still expect there to be some kind of huge "enthusiast" contingent who are soldering things onto the boards of their Apple IIs, just ends up sounding naive.

        The market has gone towards simple, integrated, and (especially in portable devices like laptops and cell phones)--SMALL. You can't have those things and still be "tinker-friendly." Will a few people still take these devices apart to tinker and to perform some repairs (like the battery) more cheaply? You bet. I do it too.

        I think if Apple were trying to screw those people, they would seal the iPhone completely so that you had to break plastic to open it, and, coat the board in epoxy like they do with some consoles [xbox-scene.com].

    • by eltonito (910528)

      This reminds me of when automakers moved to Torx screws from Phillips screws. It was a conspiracy, people had to buy tools, the automakers were just trying to keep you from working on your own car, etc. It turns out that Torx is superior to Phillips for bit/socket durability and assembly line efficiency. There was no conspiracy, it was just better for certain applications.

      I suspect we will find out that the pentalobular socket has some advantage over a Phillips or even a Torx for smaller applications. S

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:23AM (#34952874)

    We're complaining about their choice of screws now?

  • Thieves (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orzetto (545509) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:25AM (#34952912)

    Apple technicians have been ordered to replace the Phillip screws with Pentalobular screws in every device they service, according to Wiens. Apparently, you won't get your Phillip screws back.

    Isn't that called theft?

    • Re:Thieves (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jayme0227 (1558821) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:46AM (#34953352) Journal

      Not if you agree to it in the service agreement they make you sign.

  • speed bumps (Score:3, Informative)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:27AM (#34952958)

    Apple likes speed bump security. They did it on the music system. THey create technical obstacles to casual piracy but don't worry about locking it down. I noticed in my imac and powerbook computers the clever use of different screw types for regions that should be easy for a user to access and ones that it would likely not be neccessary for a user to access or might contain fragile parts. very smart.

    I've also admites the way apple, unlike Dell and others, minimizes the number of screw types in use so I usually only need 2 tools to get in. this nice detail has become more consistent with each generation of mac.

    SO now we have a 5 sided screw. So it discourages casual opening but prevents absolutely no one from getting inside if they want to.

    • Re:speed bumps (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:34AM (#34953118) Journal
      When did you last open a Dell?

      They are, admittedly, ugly fuckers; but every desktop of theirs that I've dealt with in the past 4 or 5 years has been held together with a mixture of screwless plastic pieces(they've standardized on green as a visual code for "this plastic piece is an FRU) and hex-head phillips screws that can be removed with either a phillips or hex tool. Usually all the same length, too.

      Laptops tend to have some variation in length, and don't feature the convenient dual hex/phillips; but you can take the entire laptop to bits with a single phillips screwdriver, and each screw hole is labelled with the length of the screw that goes into it(ugly, yes, convenient, also yes...)

      Toshiba, on the other hand...
  • by ugen (93902) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:27AM (#34952960)

    How convenient that just by pure accident, the same site that posted the article has a screwdriver for sale that fits that darn impossible pentalobe screw :) Oh, what are the chances?

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:28AM (#34952976) Homepage
    1. Blacksmiths still exist. As do metal workshops. I live in Manhattan and have made simple tools. It is not that hard to create your own screwdriver - even of odd shapes.

    2. Yes, special screwdrivers will stop the casual tinker, but not a business man, or any other determined person. This is why most normal businesses do not use weird screws as security. The idea just pisses off your customers WITHOUT in anyway affecting competitors.

    3. Apple has always been a control freak of a company. Luckily, their are other products out there that are cheaper, just as well built, that encourage more tinkering (aka android).

  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:29AM (#34952998)
    The funny part is that if you read TFA, you'll notice that for $10, they offer to sell you a screwdriver to "fix" this problem.

    So go ahead, set your iPhone free with our iPhone 4 Liberation Kit! Rid your phone of those terrible Pentalobe screws forever. The $9.95 kit includes a Pentalobe driver, 2 replacement PHILLIPS screws, and a regular #00 Phillips screwdriver.

    I suppose they weren't selling all that many of these so they decided to go ahead and do some mud-raking to generate sales. You can even get one of these screwdrivers for less if you shop around. How about iFixit's diabolical plan to screw you out of a few dollars on tools?

    • Yes, they're caching in, and eff them. But why in the world is apple doing it in the first place? Just another dick-move brought to you by the company that currently hold 48 patents relating to "dick-moves".
  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff.gmail@com> on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:30AM (#34953010) Homepage Journal

    Right back at you.
    iPhone 4 Liberation Kit
    http://www.ifixit.com/iPhone-Parts/iPhone-4-Liberation-Kit/IF182-019 [ifixit.com]

  • by joe_cot (1011355) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:30AM (#34953016) Homepage
    A quick Google found a cheap and easy kit [ifixit.com] for removing and replacing these screws. You can probably get the screwdriver alone for less.

    My guess is that the point, like most roadblocks on customers, is to discourage casual hobbyists from messing with their devices. Everyone else can get around it pretty easily.
  • Don't buy Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nikomen (774068) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:30AM (#34953036)
    Just another reason to buy an Android phone and not an iPhone. Maybe I'll buy a PC laptop instead of that MacBook Pro I was thinking of buying in case they decide to pull crap like this on their other lines of products.
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:33AM (#34953094) Homepage Journal

    Apple has perfected the "closed world" model of computing.

    IME, and I'd be happy to be wrong, the only modern phone that isn't 100% vendor/carrier lockin bullshit is the Nexus, and only if you bought it right from Google.

    If putting my app on MY device is harder than copying a .jar file over USB, it's not my device, it's bullshit.

  • Sue Them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:34AM (#34953106)

    Take a picture of your laptop or device, carefully documenting the screws.
    Take it in for service
    Tell them not to change the screws
    If they change the screws, ask them to put the old ones back.
    Document change in screws
    Take it to your states AG, and start a criminal investigation.

      ITS YOUR COMPUTER, if they change it against your will, we have laws to protect you. It is illegal for them to do this without your permission.

    • Re:Sue Them (Score:4, Funny)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:48PM (#34955702) Homepage

      Take a picture of your laptop or device, carefully documenting the screws. Take it in for service Tell them not to change the screws If they change the screws, ask them to put the old ones back. Document change in screws Take it to your states AG, and start a criminal investigation.

      ITS YOUR COMPUTER, if they change it against your will, we have laws to protect you. It is illegal for them to do this without your permission.

      SCENE: Office of local Attorney General

      CAST: mlwmoohawk, Secretary

      DIALOG:

      mlwmoohawk: (Shaking, agitated) "They took my Phillips head screws out of my iPhone and replaced them with pentalobular torx!"
      Secretary: "What?"
      mlwmoohawk: (Shaking, agitated) "I demand an investigation! I want legal redress!"
      Secretary: "What?"
      mlwmoohawk: (Hands Secretary grossly normal appearing iPhone) Here! Look!
      Secretary: (Studies grossly normal appearing iPhone, turns it on successfully, plays 'Angry Birds") "Seems to work OK ..."
      mlwmoohawk: (Shaking, agitated) "You don't understand! The screws! They've been changed! It's different!"

      Secretary: (Edges away from mlwmoohawk, picks up phone to call security)

      I think MTV could start a series....

  • by karnal (22275) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:35AM (#34953146)
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:40AM (#34953234) Journal
    Once so called "smart screws" hit the market. The idea has been in the theory/laboratory stage for some years now: basically fasteners that, under electrical control, can move between their fastened and unfastened or extended/retracted states(assorted pizieo, MEMS, tiny motor, etc. principles of operation have been tried).

    Cool thing is, since you no longer have to be able to reach the head of the fastener with a driver, it becomes possible to do case and assembly designs that would be impossible with conventional fasteners. On the minus side, if the fasteners are no longer exposed, and under electrical control(via a simple bus in the chassis) you'll have to gain software control of the device just to open it(without extreme violence to the case. Obviously, nothing resists a good power tool for long...)
  • by 4iedBandit (133211) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:03PM (#34953686) Homepage

    Most people don't want to open their devices for any reason. This new screw doesn't affect anyone.

    People who really want to open their gizmos still can. Just get the tool or improvise. The pentalobe screw didn't even slow me down. Hell, I didn't even google it first. Christ, you all are a bunch of whiners. You think Apple should sell every phone with a personal attendant to crack the case open for you whenever you want? Turn in your geek cards all of you.

    You want to know the real story here? How iFixit managed to raise such a stink that yesterday when I finally went to google the screw type, the first 9 pages of results were all sites relating back to iFixit's article. And isn't it interesting that iFixit is also SELLING a pentalobe screwdriver? They just got a butt load of free publicity for their tool-kit thanks to all the salivating Apple haters out there.

    99% of the public doesn't care. They won't ever open any device they buy. Those of us who do want to open our devices can't be stopped. Ever. If the device is in my hands you can't stop me from doing anything I want with it. If you're afraid that Apple is trying to keep you out of your device even though you've never before tried to get in, go ahead and buy iFixit's toolkit just to feel warm and safe inside.

    Kudo's to iFixit. I hope they sell a ton of their kits. I still don't feel the need to have one.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:58PM (#34954724)

    If the comlaint is that this complicated screw is preventing users from servicing their own phones, then I suggest the following:

    Anyone smart enough to mess around with the internal electronic components of a cell phone better damned well be smart enough to know how to acquire and operate a $3.00 screwdriver.

    Or back in the real world, only the most seriously nerdy electronics hobbyists will ever open their cell phone and this is a complete non-issue.

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