Apple Using Special New Screws So You Can't Open Your iPhone

from the screw-you dept

One of the interesting questions we've been looking at for years is whether or not a business is an enabler or a gatekeeper. Being in the gatekeeper business can work for a period of time, but it's often difficult to sustain. Apple is an interesting company in that it certainly has elements of both, enabling in some areas, but being a very strict gatekeeper in other areas. As if to reinforce this point, Apple is apparently changing the screws on iPhones to make them much harder to open. Apparently, it's come up with a "pentalobe" design:
Not only that, but if you bring in your iPhone for repairs, Apple will replace the old screws with these new pentalobe screws to keep you from... well... screwing around. The whole thing seems really incredibly pointless. First of all, those who really want to open the phones will figure out ways to do so. I would guess that it won't take long for tools that work on such screws to hit the market. All this really does is frustrate iPhone owners by making life difficult for them. What possible good does it serve to have a non-standard screw system?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2011 @ 4:36pm

    One reason why they are doing this:

    To detect phone tampering.

    Lets say you buy a phone and then open it up and mess with it, and you fry it. You take it back to the store and say it fried, they replace it under warranty.

    With these kind of screws, they can see tool marks and tell the phone has been opened and potentially tampered with, and investigate further.

    I wouldn't be shocked if they are doing it due to an increase in insurance claims on them or something as well. I know of a few people who have had older phones who wanted to trade up, and couldn't, so they purposely broke the phone in a way that wasn't obvious to collect the insurance on it.

    Ok, its a bit far fetched, but if there is a sudden increase in returns and stuff, doing something like this could be to make sure the returns are for legit problems.

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