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Apple’s diabolical plan to screw your iPhone (ifixit.com)
161 points by kgarten on Jan 20, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 86 comments

On things known and unknown:

Known: Those tiny Phillips screws are pretty, but they eat driver bits. Realistically, you need to buy a quality #00 to get them out without damage. $4 for a Wiha 96100 will do.[1]

Known: Customers lie when they bring a product in for service. Dropped "my precious" in a toilet? An impending repair bill can have devastating effects on some people's morals. Part of your iPhone cost is the three water sensors assembled into it. You payed for those just to prevent you from lying to Apple and fraudulently claiming a warranty replacement.

Unknown: How many customers go exploring in their device, compromise a seal or connection, then later incur a repair? A small number to be sure, but at Apple's scale, the extra cost of an uncommon screw is zero. (the bits for assembly probably outlast Phillips bits, it might even save a tiny bit of money)

Known: A quick googling shows you can buy the uncommon pentalobe driver for $9.95 from ScrewdriversWorld, about twice the cost of a Phillips. That doesn't seem terribly well hidden or really any kind of barrier to someone that wants to install a $500-$1100 SSD upgrade.

Unknown: There are a number of different 5 lobed screw patterns. I'm not positive that one I found above is the right one.

Known: iFixit[2] got a great PR boost. They have driven a small nerd herd to their site to buy $9.95 screwdriver sets and for this they call Apple "diabolical"? They should be sending them a fruit basket and a nice card!

[1] But you are a geek! Get the complete sets of the tiny ones including hex and Torx.

[2] Don't get me wrong, I love these guys. Ah the evenings I've spent with the iFixit site, an iBook with a bad inverter cable, my full set of Wiha screwdrivers, and 24 tiny glass bowls for the beautiful tiny screws of myriad designs from each step. The entire procedure is just slightly more complicated than replacing Spock's brain.

"You payed for those just to prevent you from lying to Apple and fraudulently claiming a warranty replacement."

You make it sound like Apple is an innocent little child. It swings both ways - for every "amoral" customer you get claiming a warranty replacement, you'll have another "moral" customer getting short shrift from Apple (or company X) in terms of legitimate warranties not being honoured in a timely fashion or not following up on promises. When it actually comes to needing support, a lot of people find that Apple's slick sell doesn't flow into support - you take your chances and sometimes it really sucks.

"$500-$1100 SSD upgrade"

That's quite a tarry brush you're carrying there. A nice 120GB 2.5" SSD is all of $250 Australian dollars ($220 on newegg). A 240GB 2.5" drive is indeed $500, but I couldn't find an $1100 drive (my local may just not stock them). Regardless, you're intentionally picking the worst possible case to make your point.

What about this situation: The bottom end mac pro comes with a 250GB drive (and you can't get a 500GB one). Upgrading to a 500GB drive costs less than $100 for the parts if you buy your own drive ($89 near me). Or 750GB/1TB for $115/$185? That's a decent upgrade for you computer, and it's not ridiculously expensive like you make out.

I don't have a problem with countermeasures like water sensors, but to defend them by saying things like "what's the problem with buying a special screwdriver since anyone who's going to do so is going to install the most expensive SSD they can possibly find!" is just straight out apologism.

>When it actually comes to needing support, a lot of people find that Apple's slick sell doesn't flow into support

What are you talking about? Apple support consistently scores near the top. Have you ever dealt with Dell?

I always splurge a little on Dell business support. Next day on-site fix with no (or very few) quibbles. Course, Apple kit breaks a lot less than Dell kit in my experience.

So I write a diatribe about selectively picking and choosing data points to spin your argument and you choose to reply by doing just that?

Given that your "selectively picking and choosing data points to spin your argument" was even worse ("a lot of people find..." what a nonsensical peace of spin!), that's pretty rich.

I actually think that Apple easily could make iPhone more waterproof and didn't - if you disassemble it (or just look at it) you'll see that there are not so many places that need to be waterproofed, yet is was not done and small accidental spillage still results in non-working iPhone. I recently had to use alcohol to clean and then dry a home button on the dipped iPhone, how hard was it to use a waterproof button assembly? Instead we have water sensors.

If they didn't include the water sensors, you'd still pay for the non-trivial resulting increased cost of service that Apple would take into account when pricing their product.

Someone should make a hard polymer mold kit to create your own custom drivers on the end of a Torx tip. This would be able to adapt to any screw companies could devise, and would probably be safer from stripping the screws than improvised drivers. It would also keep repair people from asking questions about changed screws. Most importantly, it would defeat companies' attempts to keep us out of our own property. These tips wouldn't be as durable, obviously, but the typical user only needs this sort of things a few times a year.

I'll try it, but I suspect that there won't be enough strength in the plastic. Torx are designed to be set with a lot more torque than "normal" screws, hence the name.

Someone should make the CNC milling instructions for the driver head, then open-source it under the GPL.

This has me wondering, Couldn't I jut use sugru to make any screwdriver head I wanted? Or, does it now dry hard enough?


Sugru wouldn't set hard enough, and you'd have to leave it in place overnight anyway. I'd go for Polymorph (called Shapelock in the US), which sets rigid in a couple of minutes.

How mushy is Sugru? Maybe a syringe and a tube, along with a hollow needle to defeat air bubbles. That plastic goop for fixing headlights that hardens under ultraviolet seems a likely candidate. You'd just want to make sure none of that seeped in past the screw.

I've done exactly this to moderate effect with "greenstuff" modeling epoxy. I use it in my other hobbies and had it on hand. It lacks the strength to really break multiple seals from some of the loctite's used in apple products. (related: http://www.amazon.com/Games-Workshop-Green-Stuff-Modelling/d...)

Usually a tough Allen wrench of similar size and some luck works on those oddball sized heads.

iFixit has awesome marketing and PR skills. Their teardowns are in all gadget blogs every time Apple comes out with a new product, they know how to jump on the right topics and they are even able to set topics (blogs already picked the story up). Not even any topic (some companies would be happy if they could do just that), topics which are directly relevant to their business.

Oh, and they are also an awesome company (that certainly helps, too).

The claims made are that Apple did this in part because they knew the screwdrivers would be hard to find and/or overpriced so people wouldnt be able to get in.

I kind of gathered the feeling there was going to be good hack to solve this, well, the article then goes on to try and sell me that very overpriced screwdriver

No thanks.

Meh. You can’t make everyone happy, some want to be contrarians just for the sake of contrarianism.

Nintendo hackers have been having to buy special screwdrivers for years, but they weren't completely unique like these. Still, they are unusual enough that they are commonly referred to as 'nintendo screws.'


You can also melt the end of a Bic biro and mold it to the shape - it's not ideal, but it worked for me.

I know this practice is not uncommon, but could someone explain the business case here? Surely it doesn't seriously keep 3rd party repair shops from working on the hardware? Is it to protect the aftermarket / 1st party replacement parts business, in that consumers can't order something on ebay and do the replacement themselves? Is this really a significant enough revenue stream to these companies to justify the abuse?

Apple probably doesn't see it as "abuse" when they use proprietary fasteners for components that cannot be unfastened without violating their warranty, nor are they likely to see it as "abuse" when they prevent unrelated third parties from selling Apple customers services that can only be performed by violating the warranty.

You see it as abuse, and I understand why, but from the perspective of a multi-billion-dollar business, this is not dissimilar from the people who think all non-GPL software is also abuse.

Fair enough, but what I was really wondering was what they get out of it. Obviously they have to go through some real hurdles in designing testing and revving the fasteners and manufacturing and distributing the tools. Why do they need to "prevent" people from voiding their warranties as opposed to just detecting it via marker paint or such?

From a support point of view (now that they run their own stores with people to repair stuff), it cuts down on the "I know what I'm doing" guy incidents. If you are competent enough to locate and buy the proper screwdrivers, you probably won't destroy anything. Everyone else will just take the thing in for repair.

I am currently at a college and our PC Techs tend to get some interesting problems with PC's brought in by people who tried to repair them. It is kinda ugly.

I'm a professional watchmaker, as well as a geek and hacker. This is entirely the reason Rolex uses a fluted case-back, instead of a keyed case-back. It prevents the average joe from opening it up and sticking his fingers in the delicate parts.

I would not consider this cheating, or an evil way to prevent people from hacking on the items they legally own. If anything, it protects consumers from getting into things that they most certainly do not know how to fix, and even more, they don't know when they actually break the item further. Hackers that can own up to their responsibility of opening an item and accidentally damaging it will always open up and play with the internals. No one cares about that, they care about the guy that thinks he can replace parts he doesn't even know exists.

Neat! What do you mean, "professional watchmaker"? Do you still "make" watches? Do you make components, or do you do full assemblies? What kind of watches?

Most of my work is repairs of higher end mechanical watches. I do manufacture parts, but it is to repair as well.

I've only "made" one watch from start to finish of which I still own. There really isn't much of a market for custom made watches. Plus all my tools are traditional hand tools so it can take a couple months to craft a single movement.

As I understand US law, warranty providers are required to honor the warranty even when unauthorized/improper repairs or modifications have been made unless they can show that the failure was caused by the improper repair.


violating their warranty

How can you "violate" a warranty. As most I think you can void it.

Casual language, where the user "violates" the terms of the warranty, then Apple "voids" the agreement. The user wants to breach the terms, but would still like the cover provided by the warranty. They don't set out to void the warranty as a goal, if Apple were to uphold their end, the user would be perfectly happy to keep it. So, the cause is the violation of terms, the result is voiding of the warranty. Ends up meaning the same thing.

I seriously doubt it's any of the above. Straight out of high school I worked at a light-aircraft manufacturing plant. Any time you came across a funky fastener, it was usually at the behest of a clever (or at least that's how they see it) engineer.

I don't mean that like it's a bad thing. If you've ever had to reach up behind an instrument panel and attempt to guide a #00 philips screw in to its destination, you'll quickly come to appreciate the ingenuity of these odd-ball fastener types.

Another common cause is automated assembly. Fasteners like torx screws work better with automated machinery because they don't suffer from cam-out.

What I'm getting at is that it was probably an engineering decision, not a device security decision.

What advantage is there for torx vs. this pentalobe screw?

I'm no engineer, but here's my guess:

At these tiny sizes torx bits end up with some very thin material at the tips of the star pattern. The pentalobe has one fewer tips and the curves are inverse, resulting in more meterial in the bit and less in the fastener head. That makes for a more durable tool at the expense of the fastener durability. These screws weren't intended for frequent removal though, so it's a good trade-off from a tooling perspective.

My guess is that you'll get less tool head wear with pentalobe, but torx are in more peoples' toolboxes.

It prevent John and Jane Doe from just picking up a common screwdriver of the types that people generally have lying around and opening the gadget. Techy types who know can hunt these things down, but it's to stop the casual users (ie: Apple's targeted market slice) from opening the units.

If they were a company that sold equipment to R&D labs only, they would have used common fasterners.

I think part of the reason has to do with the water sensors mentioned in another comment. In the case of accidental, non warrantee water damage, these screws would prevent someone from replacing the water sensors with new ones, or at least show the signs of tampering.

I know this may be off topic, but as I find many people find this practice acceptable from the comments, how would they feel if this was applied to other facets of goods.

Example if your car manufacturer wouldn't allow you to go under your hood to bring to any repair shop but had to bring it to the dealership, or other electronics, you would have to go bring it to where you purchased it to replace the batteries ?

Theres been many times I wish I could have an extra battery I could swap out on my iphone, under heavy usage and not being near a charger all day. Thats why the iphone isn't right for my needs now, because theres alternatives, but I can see how this become more of a common practice based on the success of apple.

"I know this may be off topic, but as I find many people find this practice acceptable from the comments, how would they feel if this was applied to other facets of goods."

I don't find this acceptable at all. The rationale seems to be that some people will open up a device, break something, then try to get it covered by the warranty. But trying to prevent people from fixing their own hardware because some take advantage of it is the same backwards approach the music industry takes with digital restriction management: treat your customers like criminals.

Ever tried to change a light in a modern car? For me it's just a reason to buy a car where I can change a light. It's also the reason why I don't buy an Apple PC. I want to upgrade the memory myself. Apple using custom screws: It's there product, so they decide. Apple changing the screws after a repair: That is a bad thing because maybe you bought the old Macbook because you could change the battery by yourself.

Sure, you could buy this kit to replace their "pentalobular" screws with Philips. Or you could just not buy hardware from a company that thinks you're too incompetent/untrustworthy to open the device you freaking own.

You can put value judgements on it like that, or you can express the exact same sentiment without emotion by saying "or, you could just not buy hermetically sealed products if you want to be able to tinker with your hardware", in which case even the Apple advocates will agree with you.

Some people actually don't care about this sort of thing. If the the computer is the only point in the workflow, sure it's like being able to open the hood and fix the work truck. It makes sense for a computer programmer to truly own the hardware.

If the computer is part of a workflow, it's more like needing to work on the transmission's internals, versus just dropping a new one in. Likewise, hearing people talk about the "right to work on it" seem odd and counterproductive, because it's simply not important.

Try telling a painter that he's wrong for not spending all of his free time learning how to fix and maintain a computer used to surf facebook and send an email or two.

Yes, this is exactly the market that makes sense for Apple. They are tremendous products for people willing to pay a premium not to have to deal with the nuts and bolts and desiring to concentrate only on the task at hand. The astonishing part is that through amazing PR and Marketing that they have also managed to convince self-described 'hackers' (this is ostensibly Hacker News) that Apple makes great products for them as well.

It's as if a bunch of car racing enthusiasts were gonzo about a Prius with a welded shut hood! In my experience, while some racing fans are content with keeping the hood shut, most racers are also good mechanics. Are there other examples of experts being so willing to accept that their tools are not customizable? I think of things like low-fi music and the Holga, but even there there is a lot of modding going on.

The obvious answer is probably that 'hacker' is an applied rather than base characteristic. Rather, one can be a software hacker without caring at all about the underlying hardware. But I'm dubious: while it's certainly possible to write good software while never looking at the layers below your preferred virtual machine, I have to think that you benefit from knowing how that layer really works. And that one, and that one.

But to know how an amd64-based system works, I don't need to open _this_ laptop (from Apple). I do know how hardware works, and it is important to know how string comparison works and why that would be slow, no matter how far up the abstraction you are.

But unless you're a hardware engineer, in which case you have custom hardware anyway, you don't need to open the computer and inspect the data lines from the CPU and RAM. Just know that they're there and how they work.

In fact the only time I've ever opened this MacBook was to upgrade the hard drive, which admittedly did require a Torx, but Torx really isn't that uncommon. Plus given the low number of people (and high likelihood that anyone replacing a hard drive will have Torx) needing to replace a hard drive and known resistance to camouts makes Torx a good choice for the tiny screws that hold a computer together.

You're absolutely right, and yet somehow I just don't want to buy a product that takes that attitude. My disillusion with Macintosh started when I learned that one needed a special 'Mac Cracker' tool to open up a Mac Plus. The easy solution for me is to avoid their products and choose something that doesn't offend my sensibilities.

I've repaired a couple Apple products in the last year. I resoldered an IC on a friend's MacBook to get get rid of a constant reboot problem, and swapped out a broken video card from my girlfriend's desktop Mac Pro. Both were reasonably straightforward repairs, although I'm not sure what they'll gain by making it harder. I'm OK with Torx, but don't see the benefit of moving to Pentalobular.

But I'm sure I can drill them out if I really need too. :)

But some kinds of denials between people carry with them such obvious implications of value judgments. Such as "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, because in his heart he dreams himself your master." Some people are similarly wary of any who would deny them access to their own property, reasonably thinking that perhaps such a denier, in their heart, dreams that such property is truly their own.

Nice "Sid Meier's: Alpha Centauri" video game quotation. I don't see how "Pravin Lal's" sentiment applies here. Apple is probably just doing this to improve the bottom line on warranties by preventing people who lack the knowhow/desire to open the case of their machines. If you really want to get it, you can still get in, you just have to try a bit harder and think about what it is you're doing and the implications thereof (vis the product's warranty). You definitely have access to your own property, you just have to buy the right tools, which according to other posts, are actually available from other suppliers.

Users competent enough to repair an iPhone but not competent enough to open one that is sealed with something other than a phillips head screw?

It's not really a matter of competency - when said screw cannot be opened by any available screw driver no amount of "competency" will let you safely open it. Competent and incompetent alike are affected (unless you think manufacturing custom screw driver heads should be a requirement for competency in repairing consumer electronics).

That's why it's diabolical!

I am not convinced this is the whole truth. Let's try and separate facts from opinion. Apple using these screws is a fact, "Apple chose this fastener specifically because it was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive", from what I can tell, is an opinion.

I could find two arguments for that being a fact in the article. The first one is that these screws are only used on the outside of the devices.

However, the screws on the outside likely also are the ones that are fastened with the most torque, and they also can the only ones connecting two particular materials.

So, it could also be that these are just the technically best choice for the application.

The second argument I could find is the claim "Apple occasionally refers to these as “Pentalobe security screws.”" however, Google didn't turn up anything for a search for 'pentalobe' on Apple.com.

Finally, Apple being Apple, these screws might even have been chosen because their color best matches the case, are the ones that could be painted white best, or to prevent cases where the alignment of visible lines with the edges of the display of a square or rectangular screw would occasionally be 'just not right'.

My opinion? Making stuff hard to open may have been an objective, but I am not convinced it was the or even the major reason for choosing these fasteners.

The source for "Pentalobe security screws" is Apple's internal service manual, which is not publicly available. The tamper-resistant goal is evident from the context. You'll either have to trust me on that or find an Apple authorized technician to verify from the manual.

As someone who doesn't own an Apple laptop, I think it's completely outrageous they don't let you in to the MacBook battery. Laptops are fussy, and have the worst possible circumstances to contend with, and sometimes they really really need you to pull the battery to fix them properly (ie. very cold boot). It's certainly happened on my higher-end Lenovo.

In addition to not owning an Apple laptop, you don't appear to have read much about Apple laptops. The MacBook Pro batteries are by design not removeable; among many other reasons, this allows them to be larger.

Apple literally advertises this as a major feature of the platform, so calling it "outrageous" is silly.

As someone that's owned 4 Apple laptops over the last 9 years I've never, ever had to remove the battery to 'fix' any of them. That includes the Macbook Air that got sat on hard while sitting open and the 12" Macbook Pro that got dropped from 2m onto concrete.

I had to, two times:

- when I exchanged the HDD for a SSD.

- when my keyboard didn't respond anymore and a strip was loose

It's just the fact that they don't let you open up your owned hardware, by deliberately placing other screws.

So you wouldn't be opening them anyway, in which case it makes no difference to you. But as an Apple shareholder, I fail to see any benefit to Apple expending resources trying to stop customers who do want access to their own hardware.

There are two problems I can see, one I think is minor and one I think is major.

The minor problem is, people open Apple hardware up, violate the warranty, break the product, put it back together again, and send it back to Apple; Apple has to expend resources already to prevent that from happening (in the same fashion as all consumer electronics companies have to expend effort to detect moisture damage).

The major problem is, third party companies will open up shop performing unauthorized repairs on Apple hardware. Apple can't vouch for any of that work, many of those companies may end up damaging Apple hardware and upsetting Apple users, and Apple has a clear business interest in making it less easy for random people to enter that market.

>...Apple has a clear business interest in making it less easy for random people to enter that market. I can see why Apple wants to do it, but wouldn't we think it wrong for Ford to seal their engine compartment with a security key that only Ford dealerships could open, preventing competing mechanics? Yes, in a frictionless economy consumers would factor this in to their purchase and not buy from Ford. But in the real world, this is a pretty easily correctable market failure (which can be traced back to the small number of competitors) which governments usually limit through competition laws.

This is a universally accepted practice in consumer electronics and not a universally accepted practice in automotives. Singling Apple out over it doesn't seem productive to me.

I have no beef particular with Apple (or Ford).

Sharp commentary, Thomas. One thing that sticks out to me is how Apple straightjackets their products. Apple corals the entire user experience down a narrow path. Power-users hate the constraint of this Apple straightjacket, but at the same time, new consumer-level customers -- grandma with her iPad and cousin Alice with her iPod touch -- benefit from the simplicity of the straightjacketed experience.

Once again, I'll point to Mac OS X as a counterexample to the theory that providing a good experience to normal users requires denying control to power users.

Those decisions are Apple's prerogatives. When they lock OS X down, I'll scream bloody murder right along with you for the bait-and-switch. But nobody bought an iPhone because they thought it'd be easy to tinker with.

Finding and buying a five-lobed screwdriver is "simple"?

Surely needing a special screwdriver won't stop someone who wants to set up a shop, at least in a first world country. It's going to be far more effective at stopping individuals from doing home repairs. The reason is the shop buys screwdrivers then uses them over and over so the price-per-use isn't very high, while the individual would buy them to use only once or twice so the price-per-use is higher.

The specific thing I was thinking of was that it would make it harder for people to open up businesses selling kits to replace parts of iPhones.

Oh I see. Yes.

There was sadly never a 12" Macbook Pro, but assuming you mean the Powerbook, and that it worked after a 2 meter drop, that's surprising & impressive.

You are correct! It was a PowerBook, wonderful little machine. It landed on the bottom rear corner, DVD drive broke, big dent, whole case buckled a bit but continued to work perfectly otherwise.

maybe because you have owned 4 laptops over the last 9 years.

If it bothers anyone that much I am guessing they would not buy it. That doesn't seem to be the case though.

The only people who care about this are tinkerers and hackers and those with an agenda. I find it odd that people will bitch so much about this, and yet spend hours/days/weeks/whatever digging into the internals of stuff and poking around where they weren't meant to be just for the fun of it. So Apple changed their screws, huh? Instead of bitching about it and trying to turn it into an evil conspiracy plot, how about putting those tinkerer/hacking skills to use finding elegant and creative ways around it if it's so important to you?

For typical repairs, Apple offers very good warranties and one of the best return/repair services I've ever seen. It's not like you're going to save yourself a ton of time and money ordering iffy parts off eBay and tearing into the hardware yourself. If you're not doing this stuff for fun, why are you wasting your time with it in the first place?

This isn't about them trying to take away your right to modify your own hardware. There's still nothing (and likely will never be anything) stopping you from taking a hammer to it, drilling out the screws, x-raying it, or whatever. I'm sure Apple doesn't care if you want to see what's inside something you own. What they do care about is people modifying or attempting repairs and then breaking it and then trying to convince Apple it was their fault. Or passing off a broken/modified device as a legit Apple product and causing customer confusion. Or perhaps these new screws simply work better in their machines, jam up less, can be screwed in faster, whatever.

It's not like you're going to save yourself a ton of time and money

I don't know how much money you have, but the price difference between replacing my failing iPhone 3G battery myself and having Apple do it was non-trivial, and the warranty did not cover it.

However it is definitely not for everyone, and I for one would just let people know to include the battery replacement charge as part of an ownership cost of the product.

(By the way doing this myself actually made me feel sorry for the people who have to do this all day long).

One word: "upgrade".

If you happen to need an 11.6" Macbook Air with a 250Gb SSD rather than the max-size 128Gb one that Apple will sell you, then you need to be able to crack the case without damaging it.


(I have every intention of upping my Airbook to 250Gb in a few months, and it'd be nice not to have to worry about gotchas like this.)

I do IT support for a small software house. If someone's hard drive dies, I can get a new one from a shop and get it installed, having them up and running, far faster than if I had to wait for /any/ brand-name support. We are not large enough to have spare PCs lying around in case of failure.

While I am a 'tinkerer', it is also my professional duty to perform actions like these. The Right Way is not to find a hacky "elegant and creative way around" this issue, but to have direct access.

"Or perhaps these new screws simply work better in their machines, jam up less, can be screwed in faster, whatever."

This is... optimistic...

You're on Hacker News complaining about people talking about tinkering (hacking) devices?

Yeh, people are gonna complain here - we're the people who like to break stuff open.

"Apple chose this fastener specifically because it was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive. Shame on them."

Now, I think that manufacturers should use open standard parts that are easy for end users to deal with, but they have every right to not honor warranty claims should you go dicking around.

BUT, "Shame on them?" Grow the fuck up.

They later toss in a remark that their mega-bit set can no longer open "Any consumer electrical device. Thanks a lot Apple!", which I assume is meant to be humorous... But it just seems to ring true. They seem bitter they can't get this open without another tiny screwdriver.

Is this kinda shitty? Well yeah. Was their reaction MASSIVELY out of proportion? Hell Yeah. Apple owe you shit all and are known for being unfriendly to those who like things modifiable. Don't fucking whinge about it, it's not like they TRICKED YOU into buying a phone with those screws.

If you're REALLY that unhappy, don't buy the fucking phone.


Their reaction is a blog post and a four-minute video. No matter what Apple does, a blog post and a four-minute video is probably not a "MASSIVELY" disproportionate response. Also, if you bought a phone with some ordinary Phillips screws, take it in for service, and the technician put in some other weird screws without telling you, they actually did sort of "TRICK YOU" into the weird screws.

I was talking more about the language and hyperbole used then the length and video.

Nevertheless, it might be "tricking" you, but do people REALLY buy from Apple expecting to not get a tightly closed product?

"Oh, I bought this raptor, but I didn't EXPECT him to eat your son, I'm SO sorry!"

iPhones with these screws are already in the US, I bought one in late December 2010 and it appears to have the five-point screws.

I'm surprised this hasn't been done before, but it is possible to patent something like a screw head, thereby preventing anyone from selling screwdrivers for it. Were I part of the evil Apple conspiracy, I would suggest that. Whoops, maybe I am.

Seriously though, it's not a right to dictate the type of screws used for devices you bought on the open market.

The Robertson (square-socket) screw was patented. Robertson's refusal to license the patents to Henry Ford is one reason it never became popular in the U.S. You can find find them in Canada, however:


They are now de rigeur in construction applications in the US - use a motor on a Phillips head, and no matter how careful you are, you'll strip your bit sooner or later. Square bits are way more durable, and don't destroy the screws as easily.

Silly Robertson.

It's unfortunate that they did not become popular in the U.S. as they work much better than the Phillips ones: if you pick the right size (3 are standard), the screwdriver never slips, unlike what can happen with the Phillips one.

Phillips was specifically designed to slip on high torque - precise torque tools where not wide-spread at the time and it was intended to prevent threading.

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