Apple Puts The Screws To It’s Customers…. Seriously

Apple Fanobis are in a bit of a tizzy at the moment because the news has come out via iFixit that Apple has been quietly moving away from torx and phillips screws to something that will ensure that nobody but Apple can open up an iDevice:

Apple is switching to a new type of tamper-resistant screw. This is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it. This isn’t the first time they’ve used this type of screw—it first appeared in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro to prevent you from replacing the the battery—and Apple is using a similar screw on the outer case of the current MacBook Air.

So, what is this new screw? Here’s a description:

It’s 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 is a descriptive enough term.

Charming. So third party repair operations like iFixit and iRepair are about to get hosed. Not to mention those like myself who may want to upgrade RAM or a hard drive without going to visit the Temple Of Steve Jobs Apple store. Of course, the cynic in me notes that iFixit has a kit to allow the most fervent fanboi to open their iDevice:

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.

While iFixit has a point about Apple’s use of this screw, it kind of sounds self serving. But the bottom line is that Apple should make their products more serviceable and not less serviceable. That’s what is in the interests of their users.

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