After boarding a plane to Melbourne, Australia to be one of the first in the whole world to get their hands on an iPhone 5, the folks at iFixit have torn it apart and found that — surprise — the new iPhone seems to actually have been designed with easy repair in mind. Partially, at least.
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Apple’s increasing use of tamper-resistant screws is a form of planned obsolescence, says one critic.
As previously reported, Apple is using proprietary five-point security screws in the iPhone 4 and new MacBooks Airs. The special screws were first used in the 2009 MacBook Pro to stop users from replacing the battery.
The screws are unique to Apple and serve one purpose only: to keep users out.
The plan, says iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens, is to force customers to upgrade their gadgets sooner than necessary. They also make them reliant on Apple for expensive repairs and upgrades.
“It’s a form of planned obsolescence,” says Wiens. “General Motors invented planned obsolescence in the 1920s. Apple is doing the same thing.”
The new MacBook Air has the highest number of liquid contact indicators, or LCIs, of any Apple product yet… little stickers that tell a Genius if it’s okay to deny you service on your broken gadget because you dropped it in the drink.
LCIs have always been troubling, since they tend to trigger by humidity alone, making Apple gadgets a risky investment for those who live in the tropics. Apple’s actually been sued about false LCI reports, so the fact that the new Air had so many of them was particularly worrisome: it seemed like Apple was just chomping at the bit to deny you service on the notoriously hard-to-service Air.
However, things may not be as clearly conspiratorial as that.