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Hardware Hacking Apple Technology

iFixit's Kyle Wiens On the War On DIY Electronics 760

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the insert-car-analogy-here dept.
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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iFixit's Kyle Wiens On the War On DIY Electronics

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  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:23PM (#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...

  • follow my lead (Score:5, Informative)

    by pecosdave (536896) * on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:25PM (#39409645) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:35PM (#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:follow my lead (Score:2, Informative)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:36PM (#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).

  • 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:follow my lead (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kotoku (1531373) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:54PM (#39409823) Journal
    I think he was using micro USB as an example of a standard, in comparison to the apple dock connector.
  • Re:follow my lead (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:00PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:58PM (#39410213) Journal

    Given that nearly everybody misunderstood your sentence, I think it is you who needs to understand what a comma does not do.

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

    "such as micro USB (sic)" modifies "cable" here, which means that the only correct way to interpret this sentence results in the inevitable conclusion that you consider micro-USB to be nonstandard. I think you meant:

    Don't buy anything that requires a data cable that is not based on a well-defined standard, such as micro-USB.

    Now, "such as micro-USB" modifies "standard", which means that you consider micro-USB to be a well-defined standard. Alternatively, I would accept:

    Always buy products with standard data cables, such as micro-USB.

    or

    Never buy products with nonstandard data cables; demand micro-USB.

    HTH.

  • by Squiddie (1942230) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:24AM (#39410331)
    If you have trouble fixing your dishwasher, or fridge, then you have problems. Those are easy and you can get manuals and schematics from the manufacturer most of the time. As for your car, yes that is a a walled garden. They do that on purpose. I don't care that others want their things to just work, but should I use the same things just because others are content to overpay? I don't think so. It's like telling me that I should not be angry that my car now cannot have oil changes at home because most people would prefer not to do it themselves. I don't care, and an iPad is a device I won't buy.
  • by epyT-R (613989) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:27AM (#39410597)

    just so you know, the 'sent from my iFap' message can be toggled.

  • by strikethree (811449) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:23AM (#39410821) Journal

    Want to know what I hate most about Samsung phones? Especially after buying a Gnex? The damn battery cover! Such a flimsy piece of plastic holding the battery in and threatening to break if you pop it on or off a bit too often. Sorry, but for a premium smartphone I demand something more than a flimsy piece of plastic cheaply clicked in.

    When I bought my Samsung Galaxy S (a year and half? two years ago?) I thought the same thing you did... but after all of this time, the cover still holds nicely and has not broken or anything. *shrug* The battery cover actually works just fine.

    In case you are curious, I was deep into custom ROMs and such until I finally stuck Cyanogen Mod on it. What that means is that I had to remove the battery hundreds if not thousands of times to reboot my phone when I screwed up installing a ROM.

  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:39AM (#39410893)

    You Apple bots are really something. LG Q4 2011 Results Finally Show Phone Division Profit [pocketnow.com]. I just thought I would check your links, and surprise surprise. You also failed to mention that Samsung sold more smartphones by itself than Apple, and made money doing it.

    Little wonder you posted as a coward.

  • by macs4all (973270) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @04:35AM (#39411289)

    macs4all, you didn't get the point. We want to be able to replace the battery. We don't think the product is obsolete. if the BEST TECH DESIGN company in the world can't design a way for us to change the battery more easily, the world is doomed. And it is doomed (maybe), for for different reasons. It makes no sense to make a device as powerful as an Ipad last only 3 years. The iPad 1 can still do amazing things that you cannot do on a computer (like play a piano, or paint to name just two out of a thousand things), but for many, their battries has started to fail.

    There's absolutely no way they couldn't have though of some other way to make it more serviceable.

    Replaceable batteries mean the battery has to have some sort of battery well, battery door and consumer-friendly connector. Every single one of those things adds size and weight to the product.

    The iPad's battery IS replaceable. It isn't molded into the case, or a potted assembly. But it is replaceable. There is absolutely no reason to go to the trouble and expense to make a consumer-replaceable battery that:

    1. Only has to be replaced once every several years.

    2. Is a insanely proprietary design. No going to the drugstore for this battery.

    3. Needs to be disposed of properly, so as not to create toxic waste. Again, we're talking about a pretty big battery here. How many "consumers" would take the time to make sure it doesn't just end up in the dustbin?

  • Re:follow my lead (Score:2, Informative)

    by pecosdave (536896) * on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:07AM (#39411389) Homepage Journal

    Considering I can't unplug it from iPeed and plug it into anything else than iCrud you are wrong about it being a standard connector.

    I on the other hand can take the phono plugs from a Nintendo device and plug them into an old Curtis Mathis and they freaking work without a single RCA device in the mix.

    Fail. Try again.

  • Re:follow my lead (Score:3, Informative)

    by pecosdave (536896) * on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:09AM (#39411391) Homepage Journal

    Here you go. [zdnet.com]

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:07AM (#39412359) Journal

    And Android has surpassed iOS according to the latest stats, so apparently consumers do give a shit about these things

    Those stats are somewhat misleading, because they include cheap Android phones that are eating the market segment that used to be filled with 'feature phones' and even some of the dumbphone market. All this really shows is that most users care about price. The cheapest iPhone I can buy here is £319 (3GS, 8GB). The cheapest Android phone I can buy new (according to a quick search on Amazon) is £45 (Samsung E2330), and you can get quite a reasonable one for about £150 - mine was £100, and is a couple of years old but still pretty reasonable.

    Obviously, a lot more people will buy a £45 phone than a £320 phone, irrespective of their relative features. That is a useful statistic if you are designing a web site for mobile users (and possibly if you want to write mobile apps, although presumably people who spend less on a phone are also less willing to spend money on software for it). It isn't a very useful statistic when comparing what features people are willing to pay extra for.

    If there were more £300+ Android phones being sold than £300+ Apple phones, then you'd have a point, but it seems that the people who are willing to pay a premium are still largely in the Apple camp. Whether this is because they prefer the UI, are more susceptible to marketing, or some other reason, I have no idea.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:07AM (#39412363)

    I just bought two HTC Sensation smartphones (one for wife), and replacing the battery in this this is dead-easy: just press in the little button on the bottom, peel back the case, and the battery comes right out, plus the SD card if you want to swap for a larger one. Those old arguments Apple had about having to make cases not-easily-openable to be thin are bullshit; these phones are just as slim as the iPhone4.

    HTC Sensation thickness: 11.3 mm (0.44 in) - weight 148g.
    iPhone 4 thickness: 9.3 mm (0.37 in) - weight 137g.

    The awkward facts don't agree with your rant.

  • by macs4all (973270) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:08PM (#39415253)

    Only 14 megahertz? The Commodore 64 can run at 20 megahertz using the same processor (65816) and has some awesome games running at the speed. It seems to me that an Apple IIgs should be able to accomplish similar speeds?

    Oh, how quickly we forget! (Or in your case, never knew).

    THE CRYSTAL FREQUENCY IS NOT THE CPU CLOCK FREQUENCY!

    I would have suspected that a slashdotter would understand that; but apparently not.

    The CPU in the C-64 ran at either 1 or 2 MHz (can't recall). Actually, IIRC, it ran at something like 980MHz. And it was NEVER a 65816 (the 16 bit variant of the 6502). The C-64 used a 6510, which was a custom 6502 variant that Commodore (which had a foundry) produced. The 6510 was a 6502 core with some features of the 6522 VIA tacked on (and which the C-64 didn't even use!)

    The Apple ]['s CPU ran at 1MHz (actually, something like 1.023 MHz, IIRC. The IIGS ran at twice that speed.

    The IIGS actually DID use the Western Design Center WDC65816, IIRC. It was essentially a 16 bit 65C02 core, with an expanded register set and expanded memory space. In fact, I have the 8-bit bus version (WDC65802) in my Apple ][+. It is still 16 bit internally, but handles its 16 bit instructions as "double byte" read/write cycles. The cool thing is that it is pin-compatible with the (NMOS) SY6502 used in the Apple ][ (until the IIGS). (Actually, the //c and perhaps the //e used the CMOS Rockwell R65C02. But I digress

    The 14MHz (actually 14.318181818) MHz comes from the fact that it is an even multiple of the NTSC video standard's frame rate, thus making the video clock chain easy to design. I believe that the C-64 used a more "integrated" video chip, but I imagine that the 20MHz was also related to video timing.

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