It seems that Apple is once again at the forefront of trying to keep us from tampering with out gadgets. Though the practice is clearly an anti-consumer one, it’s unclear exactly what motivation Apple has in this case. Much like past cases, such as locking down the battery in the Mid-2009 Macbook Pro with special screws, and locking down the entire external casing of certain models of Macbook Air with the same, Apple is now using a special screw on the iPhone 4. According to iFixit, this screw is fairly unique, and is known as “pentalobular” due to its unique shape. Apparently even phones being brought in for repair are subject to having their screws replaced without the owner’s knowledge or approval.
While I can understand these types of practices froman engineering standpoint (it may save Apple lots of time and resources in fixing problems that users have caused by tampering with things they don’t understand inside the device), the consumer advocate inside of me bellows out in primal rage over this attempt from Apple to cripple the users’ ability to repair their own devices and/or trap them into taking their device to Apple and spend extra tome and cash on Apple’s own service and parts.
This time, however, iFixit has come strongly and swiftly to the aid of consumers who may wish to install a customized back panel to their iPhone, replace their own battery, or otherwise repair and modify their iPhones in “unauthorized” and warranty-violating ways with their “iPhone Liberation Kit.” The kit includes a special screwdriver used to remove the specialized screws, two 00 philips screws to replace them with, and a 00 philips screwdriver to screw the new replacements in.
I for one applaud iFixit for their courage and their insistence on righting a wrong, even if they do make a few bucks in the process! Furthermore, their spokeswoman is pretty when she’s bashing on Apple! To read iFixit’s statement on the new kit, or to purchase your very own iPhone Liberation Kit for just $10, visit iFixit.com.