By Ed Oswald | Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm
Apple has been notoriously antagonistic towards do-it-yourselfers, preferring their customers have their equipment serviced through the company’s official channels. The Cupertino company may have found another way to foil these handy folks: using rare, hard-to-find screws.
Called “pentabular” screws, their pattern looks similar to a Torx screw, yet different. The best way to describe it probably is flower-shaped. Drivers for these screws aren’t readily available–making it more difficult to perform DIY repairs.
Pentalobe screws are nothing new for Apple: they first appeared on 2009 MacBook Pros to secure the battery, and are currently used to attach the case to the chassis of the MacBook Air. Kyle Wiens at iFixIt, who was first to publicize this issue, accuses Apple of doing this “because [the screw] was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive. Shame on them.”
He says the screwhead is new, and up until recently the only company with the right tools to remove them was Apple itself. Which would mean you’dl be visiting Apple for any repair, no matter what it is. Cracked screen? No more saving money by getting the parts from a third party.
In true capitalist style, iFixit has used their post to sell an “iPhone Liberation Kit,” which includes a pentalobe screwdriver and two phillips screws to replace their harder-to-remove cousins. It costs $9.99.
Is Apple within its rights to keep do-it-yourselfers out of its devices? I’d say yes. While I guess you could make the argument that its improper for the company to do so with its computers (which would essentially force obsolescence), with phones the devices were never meant to be upgraded.
What are your thoughts. Is this a screw job on Apple’s part?