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iFixit's Kyle Wiens On the War On DIY Electronics

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the insert-car-analogy-here dept.

Hardware Hacking 760

pigrabbitbear writes with an excerpt from an article at Motherboard: "Anyone planning on buying a new iPad should know what they're getting themselves into by now. In recent years, Apple and other hardware manufacturers have made it liquid-crystal clear that they're not fond of the idea that customers can tear open and fix products without the help of licensed repair specialists. Even if it's as easy as ordering a part online and following a few instructions gleaned from a Google search, hardware companies generally seem to prefer we keep the hood closed. It should not be surprising, then, that the latest version of Apple's much-desired tablet has one 'killer' feature that's finally getting the attention it deserves: A design that stops you from getting inside of it."

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don't buy the fucking thing then (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409609)

everyone knows what apple is all about by now.

Re:don't buy the fucking thing then (5, Insightful)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409997)

Why is this modded down? For once, Anonymous Coward is perfectly correct. Don't buy their products. We already know that Apple is about walled gardens and taking control from the user.

Read Apple's Rebuttal here... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409613)

FROST BANK OF PIST

Fix the headline (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409629)

To my eyes, the headline reads as if this Kyle Wiens is on war against DIY camp, as opposed to being against this "war" on DIY.

Re:Fix the headline (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409743)

Did they fix the headline, or do we have differing interpretations? It seems fine here.

Re:Fix the headline (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409805)

I don't think it changed, but reading the headline again tells me my bitching was misplaced.

My bad, lamer. As Gilda Radner said, never mind.

Stops us getting inside? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409631)

A design that stops you from getting inside of it

Is this the same new iPad where there was a photo story of some guys who make tools for geeks demonstrating their gear by systematically taking one apart, all on-line within about ten seconds of the product launch?

There even seem to be references to this in TFA...

Re:Stops us getting inside? (4, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409681)

I think the problem is that even if you're careful and know what you're doing, there's still a decent change of randomly breaking the glass. According to the video in the story, iFixit originally gave the iPad 2 a score of 4 out of 10 for repairability. However they downgraded it to a 2 out of 10, which is the score they also gave the new iPad, because of the number of failed repairs over the last year.

Re:Stops us getting inside? (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409833)

There even seem to be references to this in TFA...

And right at the top of the teardown there was a little disclaimer:

"Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

Also notably absent were any reassembly instructions. One way DIY for very expensive toys is unlikely to become popular, and you might even say it's discouraging...

Whitney Houstons daughter engaged to brother (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409635)

The late singer's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was recently photographed in Atlanta holding hands with and kissing Nick Gordon, a young man whom Houston took in when he was 12 years old. A source now tells Us Weekly that 19-year-old Bobbi Kristina and Nick are engaged and living together in one of her mother's Atlanta properties.

"The situation is beyond sad," the source says. "Whitney never formally adopted Nick, but he lived with her and Bobbi Kristina from the age of 12 and they were raised like brother and sister. Nick came from a really bad background."

She's pretty hot. Go on, tell me you wouldn't hit that.

So they are unrelated sanguinally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409653)

Remind me again, what is the "problem"?

Re:So they are unrelated sanguinally. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409851)

That you are a cock-sucking faggot. That is the problem.

Oh, and you're a nigger. Can't forget that.

Re:So they are unrelated sanguinally. (2, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409879)

You know, if your dad catches you using his computer to type this kind of racist trash, he's probably going to kick you out and then you'll finally have to get a job. I know, you're almost at 40 and figured if you could just keep cruising you could go straight from your parents' basement into a retirement home.

Ah well, there's always the underpass, and that strange homeless guy that keeps calling you "Shirley" and going at it to something in his pocket whenever you come back from the 7-11 with a Slurpee. It may seem strange now, but he's as close to security as you're ever going to get again.

Apple / Macintosh's ideal of a closed system (3, Insightful)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409637)

Even when I was 14 years old, back in the 80's, I knew that Apple's closed system was no good. Yes, at the time, they had better hardware, software, and such, but it wasn't easily upgradeable, not without spending twice more for a part than what you could put in an IBM compatible. And, look what happened, Wintel machines won. More and better innovation came from the hardware manufacturers that had to compete with each other for user's dollars.

Only software suffered because Microsoft had that locked up. Here Apple won the day for a long time because they did have the more creative designers. Now that we have competition in the OS field, we are starting to see better ideas flourish and rise to the top. We are starting to see better designed software interfaces that allow the user to feel at ease with their computing device.

Re:Apple / Macintosh's ideal of a closed system (3, Insightful)

rockout (1039072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409673)

Your analogy falls apart in recent years though, when you look at the popularity of the iPad and iPhone. Still closed systems, but more "open" options still can't touch them, sales-wise. Probably because these devices aren't just for geeks anymore, and back in the day, a greater % of the PC-owning public was geeks that wanted to tinker with their systems. Now, the vast majority of people buying tablets and smartphones just want it to work - much like when you buy a car; only a small % of people are customizing it with their own after-market parts.

Re:Apple / Macintosh's ideal of a closed system (1)

matt-fu (96262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409759)

Your analogy falls apart in recent years though, when you look at the popularity of the iPad and iPhone. Still closed systems, but more "open" options still can't touch them, sales-wise. Probably because these devices aren't just for geeks anymore, and back in the day, a greater % of the PC-owning public was geeks that wanted to tinker with their systems. Now, the vast majority of people buying tablets and smartphones just want it to work - much like when you buy a car; only a small % of people are customizing it with their own after-market parts.

I would submit that the ratio hasn't changed much. There are plenty of people who are willing to follow some online instructions (they have it so easy, these days) to fix issues and plenty of others who love the idea of rooting and putting different OS images onto their devices. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of these people couldn't puzzle through IRQ conflicts or work a soldering iron if they had to, but something step by step demystifies it to a considerable degree.

The Wintel stuff suffered from the same Apple dominance but eventually came around when some clear front runners emerged, either in the form of strong word of mouth and catalog advertising (Gateway 2k) or in the form of big box electronics retailers pushing a few brands (Best Buy et al). I'd say that there is one other thing that Wintel had going for it which may be a factor going forward: The lack of Steve Jobs at the helm of Apple.

The next few years should be very interesting in the world of tablets.

Re:Apple / Macintosh's ideal of a closed system (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409799)

Your analogy falls apart in recent years though, when you look at the popularity of the iPad and iPhone. Still closed systems, but more "open" options still can't touch them, sales-wise.

Right....

"Mobile operating systems:
Gartner's Q3 2011 unit numbers total 115 million, with Google's Android shipping on 60 million smartphones, Nokia's Symbian on 19 million and Apple's iOS on 17 million.[32"
"Predictions for 2012: (Gartner): 630 million units; Android 49% / iOS 19% / BlackBerry 13% / Windows 11% / Symbian 5% / Other 3%.[37] (Taiwan/Market Intelligence Center): Android 40% / iOS 19% / Windows 17% / Other 24%.[38] (IDC) 582 million units total.[39]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems [wikipedia.org]

"Apple's iOS gained 1.4 percent market share between October of 2011 and January of 2012. That put Apple in second place, behind Google's Android which grew its U.S. market share 2.3 percentage points in the same period."
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/03/08/ios_android_increase_smartphone_market_share_while_all_others_lose_ground.html [appleinsider.com]

"According to the latest number by IDC, Android gained significant market share in 2011 and is expected to gradually increase its dominance in the tablet sector over the next few years. IDC predicts that Android tablets will overtake iOS by 2015,"
http://androidandme.com/2012/03/tablets-2/android-tablet-market-share-to-eclipse-ios-by-2015/ [androidandme.com]

Re:Apple / Macintosh's ideal of a closed system (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409845)

Excuse me, but as an Apple user I find your use of factual information to rebut an Apple Superiority Claim as downright offensive.

I totally refuse to accept your reality, and insert my own.

Re:Apple / Macintosh's ideal of a closed system (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409953)

Look how long it took Apple's computer hardware business to decline after it's boom in the early 80s, and before the iPod shot it up again. The OP never said that closed hardware would never have a boom - he said in the long term, open hardware out-competes it. It's impossible to apply his predictions to the smartphone (and especially the tablet) space, as its a market still in its infancy.

Re:Apple / Macintosh's ideal of a closed system (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409887)

Erh... I hope you're kidding. The first Apple was the epitome of hack-it-yourself. Hell, it was pretty much worthless if you didn't have a good idea of electronics!

regrets (2, Funny)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409889)

There will probably be two biggish regrets in my life when I'm 80 years old : All the women I should've tried harder to fuck. Maybe not having kids sooner. And that I spend a decade using Apple laptops. I should've stuck with Linux for laptop machines!

This takes me back ... (4, Interesting)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409641)

I remember my first PC had a seal over the case, with the words "warranty void if broken". Back in those days I used to hesitate. After a while I didn't (I got my confident and it was my money).

Same rules these days - it's the consumers bucks. If Apple (or anyone) wants to say "you had someone open this who wasn't us - goodbye" that's up to them. And that person can then take it down the road to the guy who's not so fussy.

Re:This takes me back ... (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409695)

The problem is these products are often leased more than purchased. The consumer foolishly signs a 2 year agreement with an escape cost of several hundred dollars. In that time if there's been any tinkering and the phone breaks for any other reason the consumer is out up to a thousand dollars.

Re:This takes me back ... (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410027)

They're only out the cost of an unsubsidied replacement. Just because your device breaks doesn't mean you have to terminate your cellular plan. Buy another device.

follow my lead (4, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409645)

Don't buy anything with a locked bootloader (that can't be unlocked)

Don't buy anything that requires a non-standard data cable, such as micro USB.

Don't buy anything you can't change your own battery in using much more than a screw driver.

My EVO passes the test, so does my netbook and all the Bluetooth (not Logitech proprietary wireless USB) peripherals.

Re:follow my lead (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409709)

microUSB is so widely used now i would consider it a standard...

Re:follow my lead (4, Informative)

Kotoku (1531373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409823)

I think he was using micro USB as an example of a standard, in comparison to the apple dock connector.

Re:follow my lead (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409847)

microUSB is so widely used now i would consider it a standard...

Actually, microusb is a standard in the EU to cut down on electronic waste.

Even Apple is grudgingly complying with a dock-microusb adapter:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/10/apples-iphone-micro-usb-adapter-complies-with-eu-charger-standards.ars [arstechnica.com]

Re:follow my lead (2, Informative)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409717)

The majority of Apple consumers don't care. They don't even want the product to last a long time as there will be a new product to buy years before the battery starts to go bad. They would much rather throw the product into landfill than be seen without the latest gadget (or they let Apple throw it into the landfill for them so they can remain obvlivious while still wearing their Think Green tee shirts).

Re:follow my lead (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409817)

The majority of Apple consumers don't care.

The majority of consumers don't care. Period.

Re:follow my lead (1)

silverhalide (584408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410015)

Broken original iPhones with cracked screens sell on eBay for $15-20. Original iPads still sell for over $100. Original iPhones sell for $80+.

How many do you honestly think are going in the landfill?

Re:follow my lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409777)

Wasn't there a European law passed last year that said that consumer electronics had to have user replaceable batteries?

Re:follow my lead (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409791)

It fails the "not as good as the apple alternative" test, though. As does everything in the phone/tablet market.

Re:follow my lead (1, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409875)

I used to have an iPhone, company issued of course.

My iPhone had a smaller screen, was less capable with Bluetooth, required a special cable to charge, wouldn't charge in every USB charger and would bitch if I tried to use an unapproved 5v source and was also lacking an HDMI port.

Apple fails at being user friendly.

Re:follow my lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409857)

Don't buy anything that requires a non-standard data cable, such as micro USB.

Micro USB is non-standard? It's now the ITU-approved standard [itu.int] for mobile phone power, replacing the horrible range of proprietary plugs that preceded it. It's royalty-free, as far as I can tell. What do you suggest as an alternative, and how is it superior?

Re:follow my lead (-1, Flamebait)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409893)

A comma, understand it.

Re:follow my lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409957)

> non-standard data cable, such as micro USB.
RUBBISH! How in the word can you possibly think it's not a standard?

From the wikipedia page:
The Micro-USB connector was announced by the USB-IF on 4 January 2007.[28] The Universal Serial Bus Micro-USB Cables and Connectors Specification details the mechanical characteristics of Micro-A plugs, Micro-AB receptacles, and Micro-B plugs and receptacles,[30]

As of 30 January 2009 Micro-USB has been accepted and is being used by almost all cell phone manufacturers as the standard charging port (including Hewlett-Packard, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Research In Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson) in most of the world.

Re:follow my lead (-1, Troll)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409979)

You may want to read up on how a comma is used, as well as read some of the replies before your own.

Re:follow my lead (1)

silverhalide (584408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409969)

Cool! How's that new version of Android running for you?

Re:follow my lead (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410001)

I've been waiting for Cyanogen to come out with an ICS, but I appear to be waiting a long time. I've considered switching to another build, but meh, Gingerbread is working fine and I haven't had a day I've felt like tinkering with it in a while.

Re:follow my lead (1)

erikvcl (43470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409977)

Don't buy anything with a locked bootloader (that can't be unlocked)

Don't buy anything that requires a non-standard data cable, such as micro USB.

Don't buy anything you can't change your own battery in using much more than a screw driver.

My EVO passes the test, so does my netbook and all the Bluetooth (not Logitech proprietary wireless USB) peripherals.

Micro-USB is a standard that replaces the now-deprecated mini-USB. Micro-USB is a far more durable connector.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_usb#Mini_and_Micro_connectors [wikipedia.org]

Re:follow my lead (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409981)

Pretty sure micro USB is a standard. Did you miss out a negation in that sentence?

Re:follow my lead (-1, Flamebait)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410009)

I did use a comma.

Perhaps I should lower my skills to suite you and the rest?

Re:follow my lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39410081)

Your only skill here is denial.

Re:follow my lead (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39410083)

I did use a comma.

Perhaps I should lower my skills to suite you and the rest?

It would suit us just fine if you were to raise your grammar skills.

Don't you just hate it when you fuck up a grammar Nazi post?

Re:follow my lead (2)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410039)

Don't buy anything...

You know, like anything else, it depends on what you are going to use the item for, and how long you expect it to last. Do you only buy refillable pens? Probably not, you probably go and buy some cheap bic pens (or take them home from work)
I don't like the idea of not changing the battery on my iphone, but if I had a 2 year contract, Id end up getting a new phone in two years. That is pretty much what I did when the battery died on my laptop, I bought a new laptop. Batteries are expensive, and laptops are cheap. Especially considering how much the tech changed in a few years.
And for most consumers... They don't care. They just want something that works.

Re:follow my lead (2)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410101)

Batteries for laptops don't have to be expensive. I can get a 9-cell lithium ion laptop battery for most hp laptops on amazon for about $30-$40 which is FAR FAR less then buying a new laptop.

That is one advantage of a trivially user replaceable battery, you end up with a competitive market for those batteries and it drives the prices down including from the original company.

Re:follow my lead (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410105)

Actually I buy exclusively Pilot G-2 pens, I go out of my way to get the short ones when possible so they fit in my jeans pocket without breaking. They are technically refillable, but they do tend to crack after being carried for months while working so I do discard them when they finally run dry, more likely I lose them before then. I buy a new box every two years or so, they hold up incredibly well and I'm not that bad about losing them. Unless it's a receipt to sign where someone handed me a cheap one for temporary use or a specialty situation like my Thomas and Betts Nylon marking pen they're all I use.

My factory Evo battery stopped working well after 10 months of use, yes it was premature but I do tend to work in less than ideal environments and everything electronic that stays on my person tends to suffer for it. My EVo is nearly two years old and I've only had the screen replaced once.

I like quality. I spend extra for quality. Don't think I have fancy and expensive mixed up with quality, sometimes the best item is the cheapest but least flashy, sometimes the best is the most expensive, but normally the best quality item is a bit more than average but not on the stupid side of expensive. I cook in cast iron, my belts are real leather, and my watch is a Casio I've beat the hell out of for six years. Yes, I drive stick shifts exclusively.

I like things to last, but I don't hold on to them past the point of being stupid to hang onto them. One of the most reliable computers I ever owned with an AMD K6 233 on a board with an Intel chipset. Despite being rock solid and reliable for years I finally tossed it due to being beyond reasonable to continue using. This is why my still perfectly functioning Toshiba laptop with an Nvidia chip but is heavy and out of date is taking a back seat to my netbook. These items served their purpose well but it was time to go. I consider the fact they're still working perfectly upon retirement a good thing, not a side note.

Re:follow my lead (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410049)

Your bluetooth peripherals have unlocked bootloaders?
My motorola phone had a locked bootloader, nothing rageagainstthecage didn't fix though.

"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (4, Insightful)

rockout (1039072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409649)

Thing is, 95% of consumers don't really care about repairing their own electronics, if not more. The remaining handful of people that choose not to buy an iPad because of its inaccessibility re:DIY repairs aren't going to make enough of a difference to make any manufacturer change their ways, even assuming ALL of them refuse to buy iPads.

If you look at it objectively, Apple, or anyone else, is pretty much just giving people what they want. It doesn't seem like this 'killer' feature is designed to keep people from accessing the insides of the iPad; after all, what percentage of iPad 1 owners were tinkering around with the insides of it? An insignificant amount, from the perspective of the company selling millions of the thing.

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (1)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409707)

And the 5 percent that do care care because they have just dropped and broken their shiny. Now they have to deal with the "It's warranty has been voided" spiel before they get the thing repaired. Of course this is done to encourage the consumer to buy shiny 2.0 (or 1.0s or whatever)

Given that accidents do happen there are going to be a lot of infuriated people without options if their friendly geek can't fix their shiny on the cheap and Apple won't. Each dropped Shiny will equal a lack of sales to that individual + bad word of mouth for 5 years.

It is a given that 95% don't care now. When 50% don't care Apple will have a problem.

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (3, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409729)

I tend to agree--with one caveat.

Many of the people who buy these things are also short-sighted. They love their iPad/iPhone/Droid RAZR because it's thin and lightweight and sexy and cool. Of course, then the battery goes and..."$100 TO REPLACE A #@&*! BATTERY?!"

About the same time, the next generation comes out and they say, "Gosh, this looks like a good excuse to get rid of my antique iPad/iPhone/Droid RAZR and pick up the new hotness..." whereas if they had a battery that was conveniently replaceable, people who probably do that instead of even considering it...

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410065)

Buy the looks of the teardown, requiring a heat gun to melt the glue that holds the glass front panel on I don't think $100 would cover a battery replacement.

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409731)

false dichotomy is false. just like walled gardens, you don't HAVE to have one or the other, and that is the problem. with a simple disclaimer, apple is in the clear.

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (4, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409741)

"Giving people what the want" sounds like a phrase recycled from tobacco companies.

It is true that most people don't want to DIY anything. The snag comes because what used to be an extremely common situation is now considered something that only approved technicians can do: replace the battery. Replacing a battery should not require complex tricks or the possibility of breaking a device and yet so many naive people are taking for granted that batteries are no longer replaceable because they have no desire to hang onto a product longer than a year or two.

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409797)

While you're right on about the 1% of iPad owners tearing the device apart to repair, you might be missing another problem: resell ability. Apple products are notorious for retaining their resell value, but if it becomes too hard and too expensive to fix issues, then consumers are going to start demanding lower prices or Apple can watch its precious resell brand value evaporate. This typically doesn't matter for most of Apple's products except in their iPhone and iPad products. Clunking down $1500-3000 and having to pay a repair bill of $100 isn't that big of a deal to Apple's target market; however, for those that plopped $50-500 for their iPhones or iPads will find that $100 repair bill a little harder to swallow. A repair shouldn't costs 20% of the purchase price. If you bought a new Camry for $20,000 and you had to come up with $4,000 to repair it, you'd think twice about the purchase; the same idea works here but on a smaller scale.

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409901)

A long time ago my then-wife bought a luggable CD player/radio from Radio Shack for $99 or thereabouts. One day after the one-year warranty expired, the CD failed. We talked to Radio Shack about getting it fixed. They told us that it would cost $100 to have them look at it and decide if it could be fixed - and then we would be on the hook for the actual repair as well, with a minimum cost of $35 for the repair. So we would either be out $100 and still have a broken machine, or out $135 with a repaired machine.

We gave it to Goodwill - the radio stlil worked.

Re:"It's up to consumers to make a choice" (4, Insightful)

greenbird (859670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410047)

Thing is, 95% of consumers don't really care about repairing their own electronics,

It's not about people repairing there own electronics. It's about being forced to go to the manufacturer if you need even minor repairs or maintenance. Think how much an oil change in your car would cost if you were required to only go to the dealer or your warranty was voided.

It's all about size (0)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409679)

Making it easy for things to come apart and be put back together takes space. The bigger the space budget, the more repairable and upgradable things have been. This has always been the case. This is why laptops have been more hassle than desktops, and why the iPad, which is shoved in there VERY tightly, is even worse.

So really, you figure out what's important to you. Is it more important to have a device you can easily repair, or is it more important that it be thin and light? With tablets, few people vote for heavy and repairable since they've been available for years in the Windows Tablet Edition space.

Re:It's all about size (2, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409939)

Red Herring.

You can have difficult to repair due to space constraints, and that's justifiable. Active denial systems and booby traps are a whole separate issue.

The later model Mac Books that are sealed actually have very easy to replace cells, there's nothing about them that would make a cordless phone style cell replacement (yes land line cordless), out of the question. It's protectionism 100%

Re:It's all about size (4, Insightful)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410053)

Making it easy for things to come apart and be put back together takes space. The bigger the space budget, the more repairable and upgradable things have been. This has always been the case. This is why laptops have been more hassle than desktops, and why the iPad, which is shoved in there VERY tightly, is even worse.

So really, you figure out what's important to you. Is it more important to have a device you can easily repair, or is it more important that it be thin and light? With tablets, few people vote for heavy and repairable since they've been available for years in the Windows Tablet Edition space.

You were modded insightful, but you're wrong. One example in the smartphone realm is the HTC Sensation. It is slightly larger than the iPhone because it houses a 4.3in screen making it far more useable for my imperfect eyesight. However it is as thin, and if you drop it on concrete from ear height, nothing happens. I tested it. It has user replaceable battery, screen, and anything else you could reasonably want to replace without a soldering iron. HTC was very ingenious in the Sensation design, because unlike many manufacturers that either glue shut the entire device or use a flimsy backplate for the battery, the Sensation's entire casing comes off in one piece at the press of a tab. Solid, functional, slim.

Another smartphone example is the Nokia N9, and its cousin the Nokia Lumia 800. The casing is a single polycarbonate piece that wraps around the internals. On the surface it only has two flaps that cover the SIM and microUSB. Yet you take out two screws under the flaps and everything slides out, making it accessible. And it's as small as the iPhone.

In terms of laptops, the Sony Vaio SZ, the Acer Aspire 3820TG, and a whole bunch of others were MUCH faster than equivalent MacBooks, while still being fully user serviceable. I've taken dozens of laptops apart, replaced components inside including the motherboard, and NONE were as difficult to access as Apple products.

I can't comment on tablets from personal experience, but I have looked at a Samsung a friend has. Intel Core i5, 4Gb RAM, microSSD, plenty of ports, 5+h battery life running Windows 7 and it's marginally thicker but about the same size as the iPad. Again, user accessible as far as I could tell.

Face it, Apple CHOOSES to make their products the way they are. They even went as far as to invent a completely new screw type just to prevent people fro accessing their Macbooks. Sony used to be as bad, but a declining market share smartened them up a bit. Watching the iFixit video you can see the screen is glued all around, which may make sense. But why not put a few screws on the back so the back plate can detach, making battery replacement easy? Not swappable on a daily basis, just once every couple of years.

Stop making excuses for a company that is worth more than half a trillion dollars. They DO think different(ly), as they've gotten screwing their customers down to an art form. And their customers love it.

3M customers made a choice on "DIY electronics" (1, Redundant)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409697)

This past weekend between Friday and Sunday, Apple sold 3 million new iPad units [theverge.com] (aka the iPad 3). Looks like customers made the decision of buying an integrated system over a DIY system. And honestly, who cares? Apple has gone to great lengths to produce a device that efficiently crams electronics and a battery into something that's 0.37" thick. Why would I want to mess around with that?

Not a war (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409699)

I guess I'm not really sure how this is a war on DIY electronics. DIY repair maybe, but is there honestly anything going on in modern electronics that is worth opening the case up for? (Salvaging some components maybe) I can't see more than a couple dozen people that would get anything from opening a case and seeing all the epoxy blobs and random components.

Re:Not a war (0)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409713)

Wasn't logged in, unfortunate!

Re:Not a war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409933)

mostly the battery or large components like the screen

Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one day (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409701)

Rather then complaining about how difficult it is to strip one down and reassemble it.

Even Apple can't tear down and reassemble an iPad 2 or iPad 3. There is no magical service manual for doing so. If a device is found to be defective, it gets replaced. Internally, they get torn down and a lot of parts are recycled- but this procedure is ONE WAY ONLY. These devices were built with the assumption that they would NEVER be opened up.

The reason for this, contrary to iFixit's belief- is not to screw the user over.

The truth is that the tolerances inside these devices is so astoundingly tight, that there simply isn't room for clamps, latches, and screws (which require threaded posts on the other side- this always takes up more space then the screwhead does). In order to produce a device as sturdy as the iPad 2 and iPad 3, they *had* to use industrial adhesive over a large surface area to literally fuse the thing together. Screws wouldn't cut it. Clamps make for a rickety squeaky device when you torque it between two hands. And the iPad 2/iPad 3 chassis isn't like the iPad 1, which was thick and sturdy enough to survive that sort of mechanical abuse by itself (in other words, the iPad 2 & 3 design depend on everything being fused together- otherwise, the pieces by themselves lack the structural integrity required to withstand daily use).

Apple makes money by selling slim, sleek, and sexy hardware. iFixit is blaming them for not producing thick, heavy, and over-engineered equipment instead that is easily serviceable and modular. The only time frame I'm aware of where iFixit's views were societally acceptable was around 1995-1998, where we saw pieces of equipment like the IBM Thinkpad 760XD (still own one of those- it's an awesome laptop). Chunky as hell, weighs as much as a tank (and is otherwise built like one), totally modular, everything is user serviceable. Compare that to a modern day Apple laptop though, and it looks like it was manufactured on a different planet.

TLDR; iFixit is stuck in the past because their business model depends on it. Boo hoo.

-AC (because I work for the aforementioned company as a tech during the day)

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (1, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409909)

The Kindle Fire is easy to open. The device is easy to slip out of the case by gently prying around the edges. There's no need for Apple to glue the ipad together. They could have done the same thing as the Fire.

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (0)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409945)

I smell a shill.

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (4, Interesting)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409949)

The next step (already in the R&D phase at various places in Silly Valley from what I read a year or so ago) is to print the whole thing on a web press, from the back to the front like a big electronic newspaper. All of the individual components have been successfully done this way - even most of the 'chips'. Once we get to that point, the cost of manufacturing may be so low that it's pointless to fix even if it were possible - it would be one solid unit like pages of newsprint glued together. Just grind it up, separate the materials, reconstitute and reprint a new one.

I wouldn't be surprised if this were already possible for a lower performance device.

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (4, Interesting)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409999)

Mod parent the fuck up. People like sleek, "sexy" designs. This comes at a price. Swapping hard drives on a MacBook Air is going to be far more difficult than on a Mac Pro.

That said, ease of service comes and goes with Apple products. Ever try to get at the hard drive of an iBook? I gave up after about forty screws. Try it on a "classic" MacBook. Three captive screws and a pull tab. Easy as pie. I just replaced the top case on said MacBook when the keyboard died. I'm not happy that the keyboard/trackpad/case are all one piece (plastic welded together), but it was actually a pretty easy repair (and the iFixit guide got a number of key details wrong).

On the plus side I now have fifteen extra upper cases...

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39410041)

FALSE.... in the Ipad3 exists room more than sufficient to put screws and clamps or latches and make it very serviceable whiteout losing any structural strength or integrity. Some manufactures like Apple don't like that the people repair their equipment, they prefer that wen somethings breaks it's replaced for a new one.

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (2)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410059)

For a car analogy: I used to like working on cars. They were simple. Shoot I could physically climb in next to an engine. There was so much room in there. We used to complain about some compact cars because the spark plugs were virtually inaccessible. Now you look at the engine compartment and the engine is almost one solid chunk. There is little empty space, it is filled with hoses and wires and other devices. Not to mention the electronics and computers involved.
I'm not saying it isn't fun anymore. It just isn't as easy and simple, and requires too many specialized tools.

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410129)

I think you still point out the other side of the issue. Look how FEW parts are actually in there. If the stuff is well-tested then little can really go wrong. When you plan to make twenty million of something, and make it reliable all those little pieces add up.

The main problem is one or long term resource management. The original iPad already has been kicked from the new iPhoto app... When iPad has the same processor as iphone4 and can easily caputre pictures with something like an eye-fi card in your camera. For all the thousands of watts of energy it takes to make this stuff, two years is a little insulting... So Apple is being generous for original owners and will let them slide for another whole year. So what? use a crippled device? Or throw it away? I understand that 90% of the mass of an iPad is glass, battery, and aluminum... Very recyclable. I also know from working in a steel company that 60% of the cost of making a steel part from recycling to machining is ENERGY COST for furnaces, machines, treatments, machining, and a factory to work in.

Places like iFixit make good money keeping devices functional and out of a landfill for another year or three after Apple would want to sell you a new one. The same goes for Linux... Keeping unsupported things working. That companies are starting to use "copyright" to essentially send stuff to the landfill so you face to buy new is the real problem here. We need some exceptions to copyright tha when a company stops supporting a device with upgrades they have to issue a patch to "unlock" the device so modders and repair shops can legally fix them.

Re:Maybe iFixit should try building an iPad 2 one (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410131)

It's actually somewhat ironic, because if the device was that easy to work on, then iFixit wouldn't have a purpose either. So I guess what they're wanting is consumer electronics not specifically designed for an end user to service, but easy enough that an end user does have a chance of repairing them with good enough instructions.

This just in! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409727)

Most compact consumer level electronic not meant to be serviced by the end user, of which only 0.0001% have the actual skill and know-how to fix in the first place!
 
News at 11.
 
Aside from a replaceable battery and memory cards, there isn't a thing I would trust users to touch in any tablet made in the last 5 years. Since iPad supports neither of these I guess the entire point is that there is no real point at all. Most end users can't be bothered to put their own memory in a PC let alone do anything that involves a soldering iron. Maybe Apple was wise to keep the consumer away from such dickering.
 
And no, I don't own an iPad. I would take one for free but I have no intentions of buying one. I just think that the endless tirade about end users not being free to fuck with their gadgets is getting a bit old. You want something to try your hand at building some circuits? Buy an Arduino. You want a compact piece of hardware that can reasonably take the place of 90% of end users needs? Buy a tablet. If you're one of the 1 in 100,000 who ever gets beyond these two concepts? You already know where to go and what to do.

Re:This just in! (2)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409913)

If you're one of the 1 in 100,000 who ever gets beyond these two concepts? You already know where to go and what to do.

Damn right. If you're going to build circuits that go into handheld devices, you'll have to design chips for a semiconductor manufacturer.

Been there. Done that. Took the retirement package.

Re:This just in! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410067)

If you're one of the 1 in 100,000 who ever gets beyond these two concepts? You already know where to go and what to do.

What I miss from my misspent youth is electronic component stores. Radio Shack hardly carries any parts these days unless you wanna go catalog, and to get a couple parts (tunable coils, for instance), you have to buy a cheap 'Flavor Radio' and parts it out. As far as consumer grade computer electronics, there's still Tiger Direct and New Egg. But that's about it.

Kinda sucks, being at the end of an era...

eh (4, Interesting)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409737)

I understand the appeal of fixing your own stuff, being able to take things apart and figure out how they work, and making them work better, but there's some things that are just not suitable for that kind of thing. Like, you don't hear people bitching that the transistors aren't replaceable on their CPU. As other components miniaturize, it's just too difficult to effect field repairs. They become too small and too delicate and tolerances are too tight.

Re:eh (2)

Spodi (2259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409993)

Yeah, because replacing memory, disks, batteries, etc is just like trying to replace a transistor on a modern CPU...

It is one thing to not "help" the consumer in replacing components by not designing for that. But once you start designing your device to intentionally make it more difficult to repair and modify, it is a whole different game.

Re:eh (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410013)

You just need better equipment. Can you imagine a '50s tube set repair guy trying to fix SMD boards with a soldering gun? No, he would have considered them unrepairable, but SMD rework stations are relatively inexpensive today. As the technology advances, so must the tools.

Re:eh (1)

Macman408 (1308925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410103)

The same thing happened with cars; out with the carburetor, in with the fuel injectors. Computers in the ignition, brakes, radio, speedometer... Repairing a car isn't like it used to be; and certainly for some things, it's just "replace module X". Similarly, for computers, you won't meet many people who will debug individual components on a motherboard, or swap controllers on a hard drive. If a module breaks, you replace it. Shrink everything down, and it all becomes a single module. Back in the day, your computer might've had separate chips for the disk controllers, memory controller, FPU, cache, CPU... These days, it's all in one. The same thing is true for tablets; there's no room for connectors, sockets, screws, snaps, etc. Glue holds it all together, and components are permanently soldered on to save the space of a plug.

Fixing electronics will probably continue to take more complex tools and more practiced technique, just as mechanics (at least, ones that are doing more than following steps in a service manual) now need to understand a lot more about many different systems.

If Apple was doing this just to screw people over, they probably could've picked a better adhesive that didn't soften with heat, or at the very least, didn't start softening until the heat destroyed the surrounding electronics. Or they could've used ultrasonic welding or some other method to hold it shut permanently.

FUD (0, Troll)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409753)

From the original video it looks like taking apart and repairing the new iPad is pretty much the same as the iPad 2.

But don't let that stop you from writing a scaremongering blog rant that links together FBI practices, human rights abuse, and environmental issues in electronics manufacturing,

Well, that settles that. (0)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409767)

I'll never, ever buy an Apple product, if that's the way of things. I am an experienced electronics tech, I've been working on my own vehicles since I was a teenager, and I regularly build or repair things myself. If it's going to cost so damned much as Apple products do and they're going to damn near seal the thing in a block of epoxy to keep me out of it, then screw them and their shit.

Re:Well, that settles that. (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409835)

Oh, please. Do you seriously think that any other brand of portable electronics are going to be any different? These things are built out of a very small number of highly-integrated surface-mount chips that you can't buy _anywhere_. Maybe ASICs, maybe multicore DSPs with OEM-specific on-chip features (some of them safely tucked away behind security fuses blown through JTAG). It's been like that for 20 years. No serviceable parts inside, period. The world of application-specific semiconductors left the hobbyist behind a long, long time ago.

Re:Well, that settles that. (1)

sfm (195458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409915)

Oh, and don't forget a battery. The MOST likely part to fail in the lifetime of the device. Might be nice to squeeze a couple of more years out of it by replacing the battery (but not at the Apple repair shop which will charge you $149.95 for the service

Re:Well, that settles that. (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410035)

OK, I will grant that. A battery that cannot be replaced without breaking the case is just dumb.

The Sad Truth... (3, Insightful)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409807)

...is that Apple just knows its market. The average consumer is perfectly happy to purchase and use devices they cannot service themselves. This is true of their cars, their phones, their televisions, their refrigerators and their washers (just to name a few) - why would they argue over a tablet they cannot service themselves?

Personally, I have no desire to own any Apple product of any kind, precisely because of this kind of crap. However, I frequently recommend their products to my less technologically-inclined friends. Not because there's anything particularly wonderful about the products, but because they are simple to use.

Re:The Sad Truth... (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39410011)

Same. It's almost a bonus for me that they're not user-repairable, because when they break they can't bring them to me and ask me to fix it for them - they know it has to go back to Apple!

It's all about making a solid product (1, Interesting)

taskiss (94652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409825)

I've had things like RAZR flip phones that were held together with screws and after a while they get really loose feeling. My work laptop, a 3 yr old Dell, creaks like a haunted house when I pick it up with the display open. Not my Apple equipment. My 5 yr old MacBook Pro sems as solid today as it was when I bought it. My iPhone seems to be made from a single slab of glass wrapped with a metal band. My iPad 2 is the same way - solid feeling.

Used to be, back when the phone company was broken up, cheap home phone makers were bolting big slugs of metal in the base of their stuff to make it feel solid. Solid is good - ever slam a car door? Cheap cars have doors that rattle. Good ones don't.

People value stuff that stays solid. As long as I can get my stuff fixed, I don't care if it's me that's doing the fixing or someone else. I used to fix my own cars, now I take them in. I can't fix the ECU and have no desire to buy the equipment necessary to be able to do so.

Re:It's all about making a solid product (4, Interesting)

William Ager (1157031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409881)

You can always make anecdotes about hardware durability. My 4-year-old Macbook Pro runs hot because of clogged fans that would require lengthy disassembly to clean, and is falling apart at seams that were presumably glued together.

Unless you're compiling statistics on these things on a large scale, anecdotes aren't useful.

Crazy lady (1)

firefrei (2569069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409853)

Doesn't she know that she's now dependent on Neuropozyne for the rest of her life?

Electronics are like first spouses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409895)

Electronics are like first spouses - it's just easier replace them rather than spending a lot of effort on repairs that are doomed to fail.

One reason I've bought Thinkpads vs iDevices (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409897)

Holy Wars aside, teardowns are that much easier and getting parts/docs doesn't require you to be an authorized shop at any stage of the product's support.

Not only are they maintenance friendly from the start, there's documentation(Hardware Maintenance Manual) for replacing every component. On top of that, parts are generally available to all, even if they're in or out of warranty. Thanks to that, there are plenty of modifications that can be done (e.g. cross-model combinations of parts within the T40-43 series and within the T60/T61 series) to avoid design flaws (such as Nvidia's Bumpgate and GPU soldering flaws) or add uncommon/unlisted features (such as better displays).

I just spent last week ESD testing electronics (1, Interesting)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409929)

I wouldn't want Joe Sixpack screaming at me for a replacement after dismantling his 500$ + toy on the living-room carpet following a 5 picture teardown and a couple paragraphs on google written by kids who got a similar device on flebay for 40$ and replaced the glass.

The opposite with the mac mini (3, Interesting)

dindi (78034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409955)

Interesting to mention this while the Mac Mini went the opposite direction. You needed a "special tool" (spatula) for the previous models (and literally "crack" them open - if you heard the sound you know), and since they got all aluminum you don't even need a screwdriver to upgrade memory.

And to all the commenters complaining about how big of a pain it is to upgrade an Apple product: you are comparing desktop PCs to compact machines and laptops. My Macbook pro was easy to take apart, my macbook (older white) was a little harder. I had to change a cooling fan on the latter and unlike my Toshiba, it survived the procedure, and without a scratch... still my media player...

Funny how people complain about "closed systems" too recently. These are the people who do not understand, that you can develop whatever the hell you want for your devices... the distribution is Apple's..... most of my smaller problems can be solved by "web apps" - controlling my appliances, cameras, lights alarms etc .... jqtouch or icefaces take you far-far without writing native code ... unless you need a real app...

Just my 2c. I really have a feeling the people criticizing haven't owned a recent-day mac or iWhatever.

Missing the True Reason (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409959)

The real reason that consumer electronics are so difficult to repair has nothing to do with corporate conspiracy. Electronic design has shifted over the past generation from using large and discrete components to being almost exclusively dependent on integrated circuits and highly miniaturized surface mount devices. Twenty years ago perhaps, a hobbyist could get out a volmeter and soldering iron to trace a circuit problem to an individual transistor within, say, a pre-amp or filter assembly, and then easily replace the defective part within minutes. Now the entire assembly, formerly involving dozens of components, has been replaced by a single and often very tiny IC chip. In addition, any resistors or capacitors in modern circuits, once large enough for anyone to easily manipulate, have now been reduced to the size of grains of salt and are nearly impossible to extract and replace. In fact, the rule is that it is now much cheaper to simply dispose of defective circuitry than it is to attempt any kind or repair.

Replacing a battery, touch pad, or screen may still be within the realm of possibility, but broken electronics are better just destroyed and replaced with new.

Not DIY electronics, DIY repairs (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39409967)

First, this is hardly new, the culture of replacement vs. repair is nothing new. A "licensed technician" is in most cases someone who has access to the service manual and the replacement gear, and this is done so that this whole branch of "services" are outsourced, as they are not a significant income source for the manufacturer.

Second, nothing stops you from doing DIY electronics -- I assemble circuits all the time, some I interface with purchased gear. Frankly, most of the time I use purchased gear for a UI, and have my circuit do whatever job must be done without many frills except the communication unit and some command protocol.

If Apple (and, btw, practically all other mass electronic device manufacturers) must be pressed about something, it is about allowing communication with the device and easily deploying own software.

In this respect, Android does a moderately decent job for USB, Apple and various android devices are roughly equivalent WRT bluetooth, and I suspect, while I haven't bothered to check, that if necessary one can probably learn the Apple connector interface and use that too.

Recycling legislation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39409983)

Wasn't the EU working on guidelines and legislation to make sure cars, computers, appliances, etc disassemble easily for the End-of-Life recycling process?

Anybody got links, pls?

This doesn't mean Apple still couldn't make things an expensive and unpleasant chore to repair. But it might make it much more awkward for them. And personally I'd enjoy seeing them catch some flack about this from their pretty large green-leaning user-base.

Reward manufacturers going the other way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39410079)

I've been a happy consumer of HP's elitebook laptops [wikipedia.org] for some time now. They have far better build-quality (Mil-spec) than Macbook Pros, are certified to run linux, can be ordered without Windows, and are extremely easy to open up to swap components out, as well as being far better value.

And now I see that they are bringing out an all-in-one desktop machine [hp.com] specifically designed to be easy to customise, totally tool-free.

Having a preference for the OS is the only objective reason to go Mac. Everything else is hype inflated by their astronomical advertising budget.

advancing the art vs ease of access and repair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39410117)

I dunno guys, I think this is a tired argument.
Cars aren't easy to repair anymore... radios aren't... tv's aren't....
WTF can 90% of DIY folks even do with an iPad torn down? Replace the battery... maybe solder on a new clock and a switch to overclock something?

So... okay you did that, what now?

You can't really *do* anything cool anymore with such specialized tech.
There's plenty of good kit out there... go play with that.

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