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Hardware Hacking Apple Build 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 Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:20PM (#39409609)

    everyone knows what apple is all about by now.

    • by Squiddie (1942230) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:21PM (#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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Black Parrot (19622)

        We already know that Apple is about walled gardens and taking control from the user.

        So sad. I remember my astonishment upon buying my Apple ][ and seeing the user's guide encourage me to pop the top off and have a look. How different from all the stereo components I had been buying!

        But now they're the worst of all... marketing and user lock-in have utterly triumphed over everything else.

        And *nothing* annoys me more than their "Sent from my iFad" appended to e-mail messages. So long, commercial-free e-mail.

        • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@noSPAM.carpanet.net> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:21AM (#39410321) Homepage

          ][ Forever motherfuckers! Still sore about the total lack of an upgrade path.... and with it the complete abandonment of that early geeky coolness. You could bring those up with no disk at all, start writting basic, drop into the built in assembler. Maybe it wasn't that useful like that, but boy did it ever get my curiosity going as a kid.

          Loved Apple of the 80s.

          • by justforgetme (1814588) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:53AM (#39410703) Homepage

            Now think of how much bone idleness stands between that and:

            FBI’s Joint Regional Intelligence Center heavily implies this [tinkering being suspicious behavior], suggesting that individuals engaged in certain technical activities should be regarded as “suspicious” and specifically mentioning people who "download or transfer files with ‘how-to’ content, such as [] information about timers, electronics, or remote transmitters/receivers.”

            Well done modern society, you made your visionaries and future inventors criminals in order to help the establishment to even more money.

          • by macs4all (973270) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:09AM (#39410753)

            ][ Forever motherfuckers! Still sore about the total lack of an upgrade path.... and with it the complete abandonment of that early geeky coolness. You could bring those up with no disk at all, start writting basic, drop into the built in assembler. Maybe it wasn't that useful like that, but boy did it ever get my curiosity going as a kid.

            Loved Apple of the 80s.

            Actually, IIRC, Woz's Integer BASIC and mini-assembler (along with his Sweet 16 (the 6502 Dream Machine) and the Apple Floating-Point Routines) disappeared as early as the Apple ][+ [apple2history.org]. . That's why I used to call the ][+ the "][ minus"...

            Actually, I was quite the Apple 1/][/6502 geek in those days. Wrote (among many other things) for the Apple ][, a "program switcher", a virtual-memory "overlay" system for Applesoft BASIC programs (that let you seamlessly and easily write Applesoft programs that were WAY too big to fit in 48K (it actually leveraged the ONERRORGOTO, along with the magical "Ampersand" vector to evaluate what the "error" was (what "missing" BASIC code line was attempting to be referenced) and then used direct disk-sector reads to "swap in" a section of BASIC from disk, while preserving the variable "heap". As long as you didn't do something stupid like break "segments" in the middle of a FOR-NEXT loop, it worked a TREAT!), and an in-situ 13 to 16-sector DOS 3.2 -> 3.3 floppy reformatter. I also produced several variants of Randy Wiggington's most-excellent TED II Editor/Assembler (speaking of Sweet 16. TED II's Editor was written in Sweet 16) that not only assembled to and from disk (it was the only way to assemble DOS 3.3 from source!), but also cross-assembled to 6801, 6809 and even 8048 and 8085 targets.

            Good times. Good times...

        • 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 jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:47AM (#39410667) Homepage Journal

          So long, commercial-free e-mail.

          Oh man, you're going to flip out when I tell you about this thing we call spam.

        • by justforgetme (1814588) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:48AM (#39410683) Homepage

          The problem is that the apple2 came from a company that shared Woz' philosophy and the iPad came from a company that shares Jobs' philosophy.. Same trademark different companies.

        • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @10:38AM (#39413181)
          Unfortunately Apple learned a valuable lesson from those years... when consumers have easy access to modify their systems, they end up blaming the company when their own mods go awry in ways they don't understand. I used to field reports that pretty much came down to that... 'but I used a standard harddrive, it should work find!' 'but I used an off the self monitor! your stuff sucks!'. Not only is it frustrating but it ends up with people giving you a bad image to their friends since they tend to leave off the part about how THEY modified and broke it.. nope, it becomes the manufacturer's fault for not accepting any random 3rd party component that they never tested...
      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:06AM (#39410255)

        Exactly right. 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. So I can easily buy a bigger battery (Seidio makes one with greater capacity in the same exact size for $50), and upgrade the storage with a standard microSD card, without having to go visit those arrogant jerks at the Apple store and pay a fortune.

        This article is really full of it. It looks at Apple, and then says the entire electronics industry is going that way. It couldn't be more wrong. Yes, Apple crap is made to be as non-repairable as possible, but all the competition is completely the opposite. All the Android and Windows phones I've seen have easily-replaced batteries. I haven't looked at tablets, but I imagine they're the same. Apple is in a category by itself, and its practices do not reflect the industry in general. The fact that a bunch of morons happily buy their junk doesn't mean the whole world is moving to unrepairable electronics, and they're not a monopoly so consumers do have plenty of choices.

        • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:13AM (#39410539)

          This article is really full of it. It looks at Apple, and then says the entire electronics industry is going that way. It couldn't be more wrong. Yes, Apple crap is made to be as non-repairable as possible, but all the competition is completely the opposite. All the Android and Windows phones I've seen have easily-replaced batteries. I haven't looked at tablets, but I imagine they're the same. Apple is in a category by itself, and its practices do not reflect the industry in general. The fact that a bunch of morons happily buy their junk doesn't mean the whole world is moving to unrepairable electronics, and they're not a monopoly so consumers do have plenty of choices.

          First, the reason why products are going adhesive sealed is not to impact user-repairability (I'd be surprised if anyone really cared) but because it's easier to assemble, and it looks a lot neater. And people care about looks.

          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.

          And you know why? It's because it's the only way to make a battery cover that doesn't take up huge amounts of volume with the latching mechanism. Short of going the Apple way, it's practically impossible. And the plastic has to be flimsy because it has to have elasticity so it doesn't break the first time you take it out of the box to put in the battery.

          Hell, Apple does have something to the whole sealed battery thing. Outside of business users, who has purchased a spare battery for their laptop or cellphone? I'd bet a good 99.5% of the population doesn't. As long as the battery doesn't completely crap out, if it still works by the end of the contract, most consumers go for a new phone on contract. And I'm sure half the people who complain about their phone getting crap battery life could fix it by replacing the battery. But they won't - they'd just get a new phone.

          Ditto with laptops - if the battery lasts 3 years, that's good enough. If the laptop still works, they'll just treat it as a computer without a battery. I know of a lot of people who run laptops with dead batteries. And no, they won't buy a replacement - even if they can buy it. Spending $50 to buy a battery for a computer now worth $50 on Craigslist?

          So Apple realized if people aren't willing to change batteries, might as well make the whole device nicer and use the volume for more battery.

          As for fixing, it's a niche. It's economically infeasible to repair technology these days, at least in North America. For example, you buy a TV for $1000. Three years down, it breaks and getting it fixed will probably cost you easily $500. Do you fix it, or buy a new brand new TV with gee-whiz-bangs? Ditto a computer - if the motherboard dies after 3 years, are you going to spend the $400 to fix it, or just buy a newer faster one for more?

          And anything under $200 or so is not worth fixing. That 20" monitor? It'll cost $200 for a tech to fix it out of warranty, so just buy a new one.

          Hell, some of the budget brand crap have horrendous warranties. Sure they'll fix it - just pack your 52" TV back in the box, and send it to our China repair warehouse. It has to get there in 30 days. Thus shipping alone would cost you couple hundred bucks to get a warranty repair.

          Repairing stuff is a hobby. Treat it as such and you'll be happy - you'll get tons of broken and "broken" stuff from friends, family and neighbours that you can fix up and enjoy.

          • 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 brentrad (1013501) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:12AM (#39410981)

            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.

            I hear this complaint about the battery cover feeling like it's going to break in the Galaxy Nexus all the time, but I've never actually heard anyone say theirs broke. It seems like a perfectly durable, flexible piece of plastic to me, I swap my battery all the time and it's a piece of cake once you figure out how to do it.

            Like you say, it's the only way to get a nice thin phone and still be able to swap the battery. Once the cover is on, it's a very solid and durable phone - I've lost count of the times I've dropped my Nexus and no damage whatsoever.

          • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:15AM (#39410989) Journal

            And you know why? It's because it's the only way to make a battery cover that doesn't take up huge amounts of volume with the latching mechanism. Short of going the Apple way, it's practically impossible. And the plastic has to be flimsy because it has to have elasticity so it doesn't break the first time you take it out of the box to put in the battery.

            I only mention this because it is impossible, but: The original Motorola Droid/Milestone uses a battery cover consisting of a very thin piece of neatly stamped aluminum, and the latch is both minimal and elegant.

            And before you write another novella about how flimsy it must be, please also allow me opine that I used the battery cover on this phone (with a bit of steel adhered to it) as a magnetic dash mount for years in my work truck. Accordingly, the battery cover has about 30,000 miles worth of holding the whole rest of the phone to the dashboard.

            It doesn't seem to have suffered from this use in any way that I can observe.

            Just sayin'.

          • "Ditto with laptops - if the battery lasts 3 years, that's good enough. If the laptop still works, they'll just treat it as a computer without a battery. I know of a lot of people who run laptops with dead batteries. And no, they won't buy a replacement - even if they can buy it. Spending $50 to buy a battery for a computer now worth $50 on Craigslist?"

            Have you seen what a decent 3 year old laptop costs used these days? MacBook Pros or Thinkpads from 3 years ago still fetch a few hundred € or $... bein

      • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:10AM (#39410265)

        And what does it matter? Is my refrigerator a walled garden because it's hard to get into and fix? Is my dishwasher a walled garden? How about my car? My car now has a fancy computer that needs a special adapter and software to interface, is that a walled garden?

        My girlfriend and I have identical phones. I spent the weekend rooting hers and updating it past where the carrier did. I spent the other part of my weekend trying to figure out how to convert rle images to png and back, unpacking the boot package abootimg and trying to mount /sd-ext and move /data to it.

        She hated what I did. She wanted it to 'just work'. No customizing, nothing. Sprint did a good enough job for her to be happy with it. She doesn't want root, or walpapers or anything fancy, she just wants a phone that works. She'd be perfectly happy with the iPhone (but Sprint didn't have it when she switched.)

        My aunt, a doctor, loves her iPhone. She hasn't done anything but the most basic customization to it. SHE DOESN'T CARE. If it breaks, she buys a new one or pays to fix the old one. She walks into an Apple store and the transaction is done. She doesn't want to try and take her phone apart. She doesn't care how it was assembled. She doesn't care about walled gardens or who has 'ultimate' control. She wants her e-mail and a web browser in her pocket that syncs with her Mac. Apple gives her that.

        Not everyone in the world is a computer nerd. There's a reason Dell, Apple, etc make a profit. You sneer at everyone that 'over pays' when it's obvious you just need an AM-3 socket motherboard and AM-3 socket AMD, matching fan and you could easily have a computer than is much cheaper. But people don't want to spend time building a computer, they want facebook, gmail and porn. If you came up with a device that did that, cost $100 and the end user had to sign away their rights to vote in the next election you couldn't keep the thing on the shelf.

        If you want open sourced everything, go get the openmoko.

        • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:46AM (#39410421)

          "How about my car? My car now has a fancy computer that needs a special adapter and software to interface, is that a walled garden?"

          Your car matters when you pay to have it repaired, though "computers" are a plus in general. However not all auto computer functions are required to be disclosed, so a generic code reader won't always solve your problem.

          Auto makers would love to "wall off" independent mechanics as well as DIYers:

          http://www.righttorepair.org/main/Default.aspx [righttorepair.org]

          IAAM. (I Am A Mechanic.)

        • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:53AM (#39410457)

          And what does it matter? Is my refrigerator a walled garden because it's hard to get into and fix? Is my dishwasher a walled garden? How about my car?

          You think a refrigerator or washing machine is hard to fix?

          Hand in you man card right now.

          In the last six months I've replaced a leaky hose on a washer, Re-fixed the compressor on a fridge (it was making that shaking sound all night because it had come loose) and lets not get started on my car. In the last six months I've replaced an actuator in the right rear door (central locking stopped working on the rear RH door), replaced my left wing mirror casing (thanks to some douchebag trying to pass me on the left at 60 and that's a right hand drive and KPH, I live in Oz) and replaced the clutch. The engine my have "no user serviceable parts inside" but the engine is not the entire car and the only reason I dont touch the engine is because I dont know that much about their internal workings.

          If you think whitegoods or cars are walled gardens, you clearly dont know much about either of them or walled gardens.

          This is the problem people are trying to point out, so much could be repaired but people treat it as disposable, creating waste and wasting money.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:58AM (#39410487)

          My car now has a fancy computer that needs a special adapter and software to interface, is that a walled garden?

          It is, and that's a problem. If your dishwasher is obfuscated to make it harder for third-party mechanics to fix it, that's a problem. If your washing machine refuses to work if it contains socks from a non-partner clothing manufacturer, that's a problem. Any time a device you own acts in a way to benefit its manufacturer at your expense, that's a problem which wouldn't occur in an ideal free-market, but may require legislation to prevent in the real world.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by khoonirobo (1316521)

          I think the reason a lot of people which get outraged by such practices (nerds as you call them) are outraged not because we expect everybody to be able to do these things. In most cases, even we don't have the time and or energy to all these things and hire a professional. But we get outraged because it becomes difficult or impossible for these things to happen.

          The point is, it's not necessary that everybody should fix their dishwasher. But it should be possible to do so, if somebody is so inclined. For th

      • by epyT-R (613989) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:36AM (#39410379)

        anonymous coward only talks about half the equation.. it is a passive-aggressive reactionary tactic typically presented as the only 'moral' solution. the question it doesn't answer is what does one do when it's all locked down (as is the trend nowadays)? being painted into a corner is inevitable where one is forced into something one doesn't really want, but needs, to accomplish something else timely/conveniently. unfortunately, that something else is now less pleasant than it used to be because of its newfound dependency on user-hostile technology masquerading as convenience. Since the amount of activities computing affects are legion and growing every day, there could be a point where where one's whole LIFE is a list of things one is/was forced into but doesn't really want because of designed-in hostility to one's rights/personal sovereignty.

        In fact, society at large is going down this passive-aggressive path when it comes to rights and it is a big problem if one cares for personal liberty, not just politically, but also in terms of what one may do with his property and existence. the only way to break this is constant, active effort to work around/break the locking put in place by corporates/governments who want to build artificial scarcity into their markets/societies at the expense of those who are footing the bill so they can charge/tax more money/power.

    • by macs4all (973270) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:24AM (#39410593)
      The new iPad uses EXACTLY the same construction techniques as the iPad 2 and the original iPad. So why all the vitriol?

      Two words: Page Hits.

      I watched iFixIt's teardown of the new iPad. Even though getting inside was EXACTLY the same as getting inside the iPad2, iFixit saw fit to not only give the new iPad a "2 out of 10" score on "repairability"; but, IN AN UNPRECEDENTED MOVE, also "downgraded" the iPad 2 to the same score (former score was 4 out of 10). This is asinine.

      Once you get past the use of industrial adhesives for the front glass (and actually including the use of adhesives), the iPads have relatively standard consumer-electronics construction techniques. Yes, the battery is also staked-down; but as you can see from the iFixit video, they were able to pull it free from the bottom "pan". It isn't like it was a one-piece-molded-in assembly, or even worse, a "potted" assembly. In fact, if you look at the pan, they only use a couple small puddles of glue (why waste money). Just enough to keep the battery from rattling-around. Certainly not enough to keep ANYONE from removing it. And obviously, that glue is meant to stay pliable (like silicone rubber adhesives), so it won't even deform the bottom pan when it is removed. Yeah, Apple sure wants to keep a reasonable repair tech (or dedicated hobbyist) from replacing that battery...

      Please.

      So, speaking as a former electronic bench-tech, and later, a designer of several industrial products that, since around 1992, have employed industrial-adhesives to solve assembly problems where basically no "fastener" would work (and, just like with the iPad, and with my industrial (DC motor-control) product designs, you will see adhesives used often in display-portions of a product's "packaging"), I submit that if having to use a hair dryer and some guitar picks is too much for you, then you really are too lame to be working inside of the device, anyway.

      Many, many, many consumer and industrial packaging designs employ the use of industrial adhesives. In fact, you'd be amazed at how many things are "glued together". At least Apple used a thermoplastic (rather than thermosetting) glue. Any other design would have called for fugly fastener "wells" on the backside of the device.

      A device that, aside from the (massively-custom) battery (which will likely last longer than the average person keeps that generation of the product, anyway), there truly are "no user-serviceable parts inside".

      Not one person in 1,000 reading my words has the skill nor equipment necessary to do component-level repair on anything as densely-populated as your average smartphone or tablet; and for those who want to attempt "module-level" repair, then the iPad (all generations) is no harder to get into than thousands of other devices you come in contact with every single day.

      Do you whine because you can't (for all practical purposes) replace the keypad on your remote control? (I'm sure SOMEONE does; but...). Do you complain because you can't effectively repair your DVD burner? Does it burn you to realize that the display portion of your modern, thin, laptop most likely employs the same industrial adhesives as are used on the iPad?

      So again, why does Apple get singled-out for using the exact-same assembly techniques as the rest of the consumer-electronics industry?

      As I said above: Page Hits.

      Now, watch as some fucktard on slashdot dismisses all this logical argument, simply because of my username. You guys are really pathetic sometimes... Grow up, will ya?!?
      • by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:29AM (#39410857)

        Mod Parent Up !

        If you were to lazy to read everything the points are:
        - the new iPad opens exactly the same as the previous two ones. iFixit re-edited their old guides where they said how easy they can service iPads;
        - Apple uses glues that allow opening, they could have used permanent glues for the same price;
        - Once you unglue the screen, the rest is easily serviceable.

        My guess that iFixit just searches for a reason to hike up the price for servicing iPads. And to serve ads to and track (9 tracking scripts on that page!) /.-ers who are RTFA.

      • Isn't this the same bunch of clowns that declared the End Of the World As We Know It because Apple started using tri-wing screws? (Ones for which they just happened to sell overpriced drivers?) Even though at the time you could buy tri-wing drivers from any number of other tool outfits for a buck or two?

  • 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...

    • by Dan East (318230) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:32PM (#39409681) Homepage Journal

      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.

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <[aussie_bob] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:56PM (#39409833) Journal

      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...

  • by Machtyn (759119) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:23PM (#39409637) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by rockout (1039072) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:30PM (#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.
      • 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]

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:00PM (#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.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            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.

            Unfortunately the current version of iReality does not permit the insert operation.

            We suggest you use iNdenial until Apple release an update with that functionality.

      • 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.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          We have no idea if "open hardware" was the reason for success over Apple. Expensive hardware was a very serious problem. The effectiveness of IBM in pushing the Microsoft/Intel/Western Digital standard was a serious problem. Apple was plenty successful up until the early 1990s. Most of the resistance to Apple still comes from cost concerns.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      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 (Score:3, Funny)

      by Weezul (52464)

      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!

      • Re:regrets (Score:4, Funny)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:07AM (#39410257)

        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!

        Yes, that always has the women lining up for a chance to have your babies.

  • by Kittenman (971447) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:25PM (#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.

  • 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.

    • Re:follow my lead (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:35PM (#39409709)
      microUSB is so widely used now i would consider it a standard...
    • by chrismcb (983081)

      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

      • 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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pecosdave (536896) * on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:40PM (#39410105) Homepage Journal

        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.

  • by rockout (1039072) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:26PM (#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.

    • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:38PM (#39409729) Journal

      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...

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:40PM (#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.

    • by greenbird (859670) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:28PM (#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.

  • 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)

    • 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.

    • by Alex Zepeda (10955) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:22PM (#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...

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      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 j
  • eh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:39PM (#39409737) Homepage
    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.
  • The Sad Truth... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:52PM (#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.

  • by dindi (78034) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:15PM (#39409955) Homepage

    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.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:57PM (#39410207) Homepage

    It's a great time to build electronics. Digi-Key and Mouser will sell you a huge range of parts and get them to you overnight. Lots of places will make your PC boards for $50-$75 for a small board. Oscilloscopes are cheaper than they used to be. DVMs are really cheap.There are whole ecosystems like the Arduno, with free, user-friendly tools. Even most of the micro controller vendors now offer free compilers. There are useful web sites, IRC channels, and hacker spaces. You can afford to dedicate a PC or a phone to controlling or displaying out from whatever you're building.

    None of that existed 20 years ago. I had to struggle to convince Hamilton-Avnet to let me buy from them, and they required a credit check. Having a PC board made meant drawing it in AutoCAD, having litho films made by one shop, and getting them to another shop to make the board. It wasn't cheap. A C compiler for the 68HC11 microcontroller cost thousands of dollars. Getting an RF link to a mobile device was a huge headache.

    So quit whining that you're having trouble opening the box on portable devices built to be extremely thin, and actually learn how to build your own stuff.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:04AM (#39410243) Homepage Journal
    If you gnaw on it enough.

    I got my room mate a Generation 1 Ipod for Christmas what seems like an eternity ago. A considerable time later its screen stopped working. So I gnawed on it a bit until I got it open, and reseated the ribbon cable that went to the LCD. That fixed for quite a while.

    I don't mind using an angle grinder, to prove a point. Though in that case I just had to move some stickers around until I found a screw. People might ask you why your ipad has duct tape all around the edges, but by God I'll get that fucker apart.

    I'm sure they just don't want you voiding your warranty though, poking your stubby fingers around in there and getting dorito dust all over its vital circuits. Then duct taping it up and trying to pass it off to a genius as "No it's always been like that."

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