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The Case of Apple's Mystery Screw

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the licensing-the-operation-of-the-circuitry-inside dept.

Hardware Hacking 845

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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Yay! (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952798)

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! (5, Funny)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952858)

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! (5, Funny)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952944)

*sings*
Cellular, Modular, screws are Pentalobular.

Bonus points to who gets the reference

Re:Yay! (5, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952982)

Interactive Audiular...BANANAPHONE

Re:Yay! (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953124)

It is the very model of the modern dollar generator.

Re:Pentalobular! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953274)

Apple Inc...
Apple Inc...

First I bought an iPod for my songs, because CD's weren't good enough. But it was white and white was still not good enough. I bought it again in Black.

D'oh D'oh Apple Inc, maker of the iMachines, you've got us feeding at the trough again.

Then I bought an iPhone 'cause I needed calls, so I ditched the iPod on Ebay. But then my iPhone battery died too fast so I bought an iPad instead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tasNHKun_EY [youtube.com]

Posting as AC but you can guess.

Re:Yay! (-1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952988)

I'm guessing you didn't encounter *any* Latin at school/high school/college/university.

Re:Yay! (4, Informative)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953168)

Except, of course, that penta- is from the Greek; quint- would be the Latin.

Re:Yay! (5, Insightful)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Yay! (-1, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953092)

I haven't, and this is yet another example of why.

Re:Yay! (2)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953192)

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! (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952866)

Then someone will go into some detail about how you have to agree to have those screws there for them to do any service.

Nice way for them to try to spin it.

Re:Yay! (2)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953244)

Well, I suppose it goes like this:

You: Don't replace the old screws with the new ones.
Them: We can't do the service if we don't replace the screws.
You: Then I won't let you do the service.
Them: Ok. Next customer?

Re:Yay! (-1, Redundant)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953024)

Apple customers should already know that they are fucking idiots. At least by the time their credit card statement arrives.

Re:Yay! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953076)

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.

Hi.

well you are a fucking idiot. (lovin' it?) And I'd say you probably are someone who should not open it. Your so arrogant that you'd probably break something then try to claim it on a warrantee or say your apple caught fire or something. Then the price goes up for me on all future apples.

Oh wait! that's right. you don't even buy apple products. Your one of those self aggrandizing imbeciles that like to whine about them, sitting in mom's basement hoping for a Frist Post.

Does you mom write "living with a Nerd"?

Re:Yay! (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953224)

Look at it another way:

Thanks, Apple, for giving an enterprising metalworker a great side business of making tools that will fit your idiotic screws!

Re:Yay! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

A quick google search (5, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952828)

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

Re:A quick google search (0)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952876)

Especially when the screwdriver costs $2.35.

I'm guessing a lot of people would be grateful for a link, then.

Re:A quick google search (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952920)

type pentalobular screwdriver in google - how fucking hard can that be?

Re:A quick google search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952980)

You should be ashamed of yourself for using such filthy gutter language on this internet web forum.

Re:A quick google search (1, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953052)

I have sex in the missionary position too.

Re:A quick google search (5, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953098)

I can't believe you passed up the opportunity.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=pentalobular+screwdriver [lmgtfy.com]

And, in the spirit of actually being immediately helpful, The Register's [reghardware.com] article about this subject had a link [ifixit.com] to a kit with the appropriate screwdriver and replacement non-bondange-and-domination Phillips screws for an iPhone 4. Just don't take it to any Apple service outlet after that; as TFA points out, they'll undo your work and put those ridiculous screws back in.

Re:A quick google search (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953140)

Mods - please take parent down, thanks.

Re:A quick google search (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953290)

Thanks, your request to get my post modded down got me a +5. You really should have asked for them to mod me up.

Re:A quick google search (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953212)

Re:A quick google search (2)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953020)

Re:A quick google search (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953258)

The video on that page explains that iFixIt is not selling a pentalobular screwdriver with this kit, but a 5-point phillips. They warn that the 5-point is a stop-gap tool that may render the pentalobular screws unusable after removal. So, yeah, still waiting for that link to the $2.35 pentalobular driver.

Re:A quick google search (4, Interesting)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:A quick google search (1, Offtopic)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953268)

It doesn't matter that it was *patented* a long time ago.

<pedantic>Well, by your limited criteria, the Phillips screw design is itself a niche design [wikipedia.org] , since it appears to have been patented a long time ago (30s).</pedantic>

I guess what you're really asking is "how many different 'non-standard' 'security' fasteners are there on the market?"

Patent would be relevant only if it were recent enough to be enforceable, making licensing of the design a viable protection for the exclusivity of the tools to work with it. In other words, if Apple invented a novel fastener design that included a patented tool to work with it, and then never licensed the design of the tool to anyone. That way, the fastener could only be worked using an Apple branded tool, presumably kept securely in authorized service settings and used only by authorized service personnel. Which means that DIY becomes impossible without some theft or subterfuge.

Re:A quick google search (1, Informative)

colmore (56499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952924)

So explain the switch. If they aren't doing this to screw the aftermarket and do more costly repairs themselves, why the change?

Re:A quick google search (3, Informative)

swilde23 (874551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953068)

Where in his post does he claim that wasn't the reason for the switch. It appears to me that that he was just pointing out that this wasn't some new technology... it's just an uncommonly used one.

Re:A quick google search (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953296)

I can understand switching away from Phillips, since those suckers strip pretty badly even in larger sizes, and strip like it's their job in smaller ones; but switching to some totally oddball screw type, as opposed to one of the various fairly standardized strip-resistant heads already in use in electronics and elsewhere seems like a dick move.

Re:A quick google search (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953334)

Because there are no user serviceable parts inside a cell phone, silly! Most people will screw things up (so to speak) by opening the phone. If you're smart enough to actually work inside an iPhone, you're smart enough to buy the $2.35 screwdriver.

Re:A quick google search (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952948)

But it is so much more fun to complain.
But one does have to wonder why the change except to make it slightly harder for people to open up their iphones.

Re:A quick google search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953006)

Seriously, you think this is bad? You should see what the console hacking crowd has had to put up with. Nintendo had some of the weirdest damn "security screws" in the pre-Wii days.

You just need to mail-order a special driver, it's not the end of the world. Just keep the thing in the box next to your pinout-Torx and tri-wing drivers.

Re:A quick google search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953160)

This is actually a TORX bit, and yes has been around since the 70s and in Europe is used in all sorts of electronics as a deterrent to casual fiddling.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx

Wozniak's Apple Is Completely Dead (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953186)

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.

Re:Wozniak's Apple Is Completely Dead (3, Interesting)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953310)

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.

Pentalobe... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952838)

screwdriver bits coming out of China via eBay in 3...2...1...

Re:Pentalobe... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952868)

They are already available [sw-box.com] . Nothing to see here. In fact this was discussed on slashdot a couple months ago.

Re:Pentalobe... (2)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952880)

DMCA violation notice from Apple...

Re:Pentalobe... (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952954)

DMCA does not apply in China. Of course if it's copyrighted (which I doubt since Apple didn't invent it), you Americans would be fucked by your own laws. Well it wouldn't be the first time.

Re:Pentalobe... (1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952892)

Yeah, let's pay yet *more* money to Apple paraphernalia. No thanks.

Re:Pentalobe... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953116)

Uh, what? It appears to be a standard, although not particularly well known, screwdriver. You can buy them from companies that aren't Apple (and you can't buy them from Apple). Apple is not replacing all of their screws with their own design, they're just replacing them with something a bit unusual. They've done this before with Torx screws, and for good reason - it's really easy to mangle the heads of the tiny philips head ones if you're in a hurry. They're probably replacing the old screws so that their technicians won't have to keep switching screwdrivers if the device comes in for repair next time (and so that the owner won't mangle the head of the philips head screw and make it impossible to open).

Of all the things that Apple's done that you could get upset about, this one is pretty low down the list.

Re:Pentalobe... (5, Insightful)

KDEnut (1673932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952990)

Meh, I made one using my dremel and a spare hex shank from a driver set. If any DIY'er can't do THAT then they probably don't need to be inside their phone anyway.

Or be called a DIY'er, come to think of it.

Proprietary means (1, Troll)

mkawick (190367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952864)

- just another word for I want your money

Apple has become an evil empire. I still hold out hope for Google.

Re:Proprietary means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953048)

If "proprietary" is all it takes to be evil (which seems dubious to me), then Apple has been the devil for twenty years. I don't understand the surprised tone.

Apple bashing just reached a new low. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952874)

We're complaining about their choice of screws now?

Re:Apple bashing just reached a new low. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952966)

And you are complaining about people complaining about it, what's worse?

You know (-1)

colmore (56499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952898)

If Microsoft did this, there would probably be some sort of legal action.

Re:You know (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953090)

If Microsoft did this, somehow the screws would allow hackers to remotely take over your system. Five years from now a patch would be applied in the form of masking tape over the screw heads.

Re:You know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953108)

1999 just called. They want to borrow your tired argument because their copy just died.

Thieves (5, Insightful)

orzetto (545509) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (1)

Temkin (112574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953308)

I was thinking the exact same thing... My property... The only way they could pull this off legally is to hand me the old screws in a little plastic bag.

Re:Thieves (3, Insightful)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953352)

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

In before... (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952922)

Of course, only Apple-authorized service technicians have Pentalobular screwdrivers and they're not allowed to resell them.

In before someone simply makes one and sells it online.

It's just a screw, not a miracle of modern engineering.

Re:In before... (1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952956)

The point is they are harder to use. Why should you buy more screws? You already paid for the one it had bolted on, right?

Re:In before... (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953326)

The point is they are harder to use. Why should you buy more screws? You already paid for the one it had bolted on, right?

Meh. There's plenty of consumer electronics that come with non-standard screws and we hardly ever hear about how this hampers do it yourself repairs. The reality is: they don't, they just make it a little more annoying. I'm not exactly shy on tools here, but I've encountered plenty of screws I don't have the right screwdriver for and it's never stopped me before.

Yes, they do it to keep people out of their device and claim that you voided the warranty, but really now... When I open a consumer electronics device I'm clearly not expecting the manufacturer to give me any warranty anymore. Hell, if you break the seal on a device here the manufacturer is no longer required to give the legally guaranteed warranty. If there's something to be upset about it's that Apple skirts the warranty laws here quite a bit, without actually breaking them. That's personally kept me from buying any of the new fancy Apple products. If you're going to make consumer electronic devices, give a decent warranty period and not one that complies to your product lifecycle and charge a premium for your extended warranty.

Come on - there will be solutions very soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952930)

Doesn't matter what the bit looks like - a screwdriver is just a piece of metal. And reverse-engineering the design couldn't be simpler. If there's any real demand for opening Apple cases (and there is), expect these screwdrivers to show up for sale very soon.

Nintendo tried doing a similar thing with their NES and SNES game cases, but "gamebits" are not at all hard to find for anyone who wants them.

speed bumps (2, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953118)

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...

How convenient (2)

ugen (93902) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952968)

Changing screws won't keep determined /. users out. Still I think it's a dumb idea and though my AAPL stock is up, I'm glad I bought an Android phone.

Everyone Please Hold Hands (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952972)

and step gently into the Pentalobular while muttering "Jobs is my God"

Prediction... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953062)

while muttering "Jobs is my God"

Jobs will be dead from his cancer before the year is through, and no he won't be resurrected on the third day either.

Blacksmiths still exist (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952976)

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).

While annoying... (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952984)

When I google "torx 5 point" sans quotes i get a ton of results for suitable bits.

Does Apple have some special version that are incompatible with these?

One place where I'm happy about tamper proof screws is elevators... At least Kone seems to have their very own screw for this purpose.

Re:While annoying... (5, Informative)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953170)

When I google "torx 5 point" sans quotes i get a ton of results for suitable bits. Does Apple have some special version that are incompatible with these?

Yes. This is not a Torx 5-point. The points of the star have been rounded into "lobes". The "iPhone Liberation Kit" being sold by ifixit will open the screws but does not actually fit them precisely so it will ruin them on the way out. They are selling it so you can get the pentalobular screws out and replace them. I suspect the other $2.35 tool people are linking to is the same thing.

Re:While annoying... (1)

takev (214836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953226)

Yes, these are not torx, nor are they secure torx.

Make your own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952992)

It looks as if all you need are five pieces of piano wire, or guitar string, suitably fastened together to approximate this; maybe with a smaller diameter wire in the center of the bunch. I think a suitably dimensioned tube over these would hold everything together, at least as much as you would need to torque a small screw.

just drive down to Harbor Freight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952996)

Security bit tool set, $3 for the small one, $7 for the large one.

Problem solved.

Funny (5, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Same as Nintendo (1)

HelioWalton (1821492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953012)

Ehhh.. Nintendo has had funny screws on their systems for a while. I think everything past the NES and the GB have had funny screws (IE. Triwing screws, or ones requiring security bits). Luckily, screwdrivers or bits for swappable screwdrivers are very cheap (less than $3), and as others have noted above, so are these ones. Whatever. It prevents the morons who just open things because they can from opening them. It's not hard or expensive to get in to the device, you just have to actually WANT to get in, by paying a few bucks.

Re:Same as Nintendo (1)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953082)

Yeah, i remember buying a light kit for the GBA screen (which came without any lighting whatsoever), and i believe it came with a special screwdriver to open the GBA. Some weird triangular thingy, if memory serves me well.

Not a particularly effective road block (2, Informative)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953016)

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.

Re:Not a particularly effective road block (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953348)

A kit provided by the very company raising this hue and cry. That's not suspicious.

Don't buy Apple? (4, Insightful)

nikomen (774068) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Eh? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953044)

Weird. I've had a bit for that in my screwdriver for years. And anyone who *wanted* to open that screw could easily do so - you just need to attach to it in a way strong enough to withstand the torque needed. Any one of those magic "stripped-screwhead removal" tools would do it just by drilling a new top to it, and there are tools that will do it without damaging the screw. Then replace with Philips if you really wanted to.

If you work in console repair, or any sort of electronics repair, you've been able to open these for years.

It's official: Apple literally screwing us! (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953070)

Further proof that Apple is evil.
Actually, it's just a pentalobular screw. Many tool vendors already have these You just have to look a bit. If you have some patience, you can make one yourself.

What did you people expect? (2)

bmajik (96670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953094)

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 (4, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953304)

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.

When you take something in for repair, they'll make you sign a waiver that authorizes them to do whatever they feel is necessary to repair it. That includes replacing any parts they feel like with whatever similar parts they feel like.

That's a standard contract, whether you go to Apple or Worst Buy or the local independent computer shop. Worst Buy doesn't want to be sued if your broken Western Digital HD gets swapped out for a Seagate or vice versa.

But if you're a do-it-yourself kinda guy, you won't be taking it in to a shop for repair, anyway. Why do you care what parts they use?

Yes, but.. (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953144)

While its true you can buy screwdrivers to open them...

Why aren't they using Philips? What's the point? Why are they REPLACING the Philips?

Its clear that its an attempt to have less people open them. Its just like DRM. You just piss off some consumers, even though in the end you have no real effect.

There I said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953172)

Torx style bits rick the socks off phillips or flat. Why old style bits, bolts, and screws are still manufactured and sold is beyond me.

Apple Reality Check (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953176)

Apple is a publicly traded company and as such here's what's important to them.....

Making money for their stockholders.

That means using sweatshops make their products and doing things like heading down the dangerous path of closing off the Darwin source for development so that OSS geeks can't find a way to make OS X work on commodity boxes.

It also means doing the little things like changing the little screws so that they can continue to hold proprietary sway over their products for maximum revenue. Of course when Microsoft does anything proprietary, people scream about it.

The difference between the two is roughly this.....
Getting your money taken from you by a crack addict with a lead pipe in Atlantic City = Microsoft
Getting your money taken from you by a smooth hooker in Las Vegas = Apple


Apple is going to do what is best in their corporate interest.
Surprised? Don't be. It's business

CEO of iFixit says Apple is evil, he has cure (1)

flabordec (984984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953194)

The CEO of iFixit talks about how evil Apple is for changing the screws in their iPhone, but thankfully his company has a solution, a $10 USD "liberation kit" [ifixit.com] which liberates you from the evil hands of Apple by selling you a pentalobular screw driver for three times its normal cost. Gee, thanks!

Ifixit also offers a screwdriver (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953200)

A company called Ifixit.com [ifixit.com] sells an Iphone liberation kit that includes:

1. Replacement philips screws

2. A philips screwdriver for said screws

3. A second, non-approved, screwdriver that they claim will easily remove the penta-stupid screws. As it is not an official penta screwdriver, this makeshift screwdriver is likely to damage the penta screws (but NOT the iphone).

I have no connection with ifixit, and have not even purchased their stuff. I can not attest to their quality.

Just another way .... (1)

CuriousGeorge113 (47122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953202)

This is just another way to get screwed by Apple .....

or

Apple really screwed us over on this one ....

or how about

They sure are screwing it to their users, aren't they?

Should I continue .....

The shit is really going to hit the fan... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953234)

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...)

Re:The shit is really going to hit the fan... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953300)

Are such screws really going to show up any time soon in such small devices? Last I heard they were having trouble even getting them working on a more macro scale to permit their use in the automotive industry.

Cut a slot with a dremel, use a flathead driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34953246)

Take a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel, grind down the wheel to a small diameter, cut a slot in the screw, remove with a standard jeweller's flathead screw driver. Works great for stripped out Phillips screws too.

Not an issue (1)

Kashell (896893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953316)

But why not just use torx? It's far more common.

When they outlaw pentalobular screwdrivers... (1)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953344)

only outlaws will own pentalobular screwdrivers.

I'm sorry.

Missing tag (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953362)

This thread needs a bicentennialman tag.
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