Thursday, January 20, 2011

Apple Wants To Keep You Out Of Your iPhones

Apple is literally 'putting the screws' to iPhone 4 do-it-yourselfers with a new rare "pentalobe" screw set.

Most users may not even notice the difference in screw sets on their devices. But then again most users never tear apart their devices to see the inner workings. For us geeks however tearing apart a new toy is common place.

For you Apple fans the job of cracking open that new iPhone might soon get a little tougher. Apple has begun replacing common Phillps head screws with a rare "pentalobe" screw head that has no readily available (at least on the cheap)  screwdrivers that can remove it. Not only are the new screw shipping on the newest iPhones but now it appears as though Apple has a policy in place to replace any Phillips head screws with the new pentalobe screws whenever an iPhone 4 is taken in for service.

News of these new screw heads began making headlines today following a report by iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens. Wiens recalls his ventures to Japan to be one of the first people to get their hands on the new iphone 4 for one of the websites noted teardowns. Wiens noted, "I saw something odd about the Japanese phones: they had different screws on the bottom!"

image via

Wiens writes, "Apple chose this fastener specifically because it was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive. Shame on them." He also noted that the screws are only used on the exterior of the device, merely to make it difficult for end users to get inside. "Otherwise," Wiens said, "Apple would use it throughout each device."

In other words, Apple is rearing it's ugly tyrannical head again and doesn’t want you to be able to modify your phone in any way nor do they want you to fix any potential issues without the company’s explicit permission and oversight (and of course a nominal service fee).

The new screw heads should be nothing new to Apple fans. They've turned up on several Apple devices including the new MacBook Air and some of the older MacBook Pros. The screws were used to cover the SSD slot and batteries in those cases. According to reports Apple charges $29 for the pentalobe screwdriver however (and this seems like shameless promotion) iFixit sells a kit for $10!

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