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Apple Shipped Me a 79-Pound iPhone Repair Kit to Fix a 1.1-Ounce Battery (theverge.com)
507 points by kryptiskt 38 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 544 comments



Apple can’t win here. If they had sent the sleek, easy to carry tools this author asked for, the author would complain about the pathetic tools they are providing.

Really disappointed in The Verge on this article. Could have been a cool piece about the specific tech that Apple provides, but instead it’s framed so disingenuously that I come away not feeling particularly good about right to repair in general. It no longer sounds to me like people trying to get access to their own devices. It sounds like people taking potshots at BigCo because big co bad.

By the way. The tools this guy used are common, dead-common in China. Go to any repair mall in Shenzhen and you’ll see hundreds of these.

Does he actually want to repair his phone? It doesn’t seem like it.


I view this differently. This article is documenting a process people are surely curious about. But the costly deposit and multiple heavy pelican cases of supplies show just how deep the hole Apple has dug for themselves really is. Apple is so anti-repair they have no provisions for a reasonable at home process. You must realize that a $1200 deposit alone means this process is out of reach of many people.

Meanwhile I recently pulled all my old smartphones from a storage bin and the rear cover pops right off, revealing a battery which comes out with no effort. There’s even an affordance for your finger nail to catch the edge of the rectangular cell. Obviously newer phones are waterproof and arguably more durable, but Apple has gone so far towards a factory sealed design as to require absurd equipment to do a proper job.

What this all makes me wonder is: what would this all be like if Apple had never dismissed user replaceable batteries? If they had just as many years of engineering behind a removable back cover as they do with high resolution screens and custom processors? How many billions have they spent on this and that improvement, and what would the phone look like today if some of that had gone to making a phone not destined for the landfill?

To me, the size and cost of their DIY repair kit is a monument to how far from repair Apple has strayed. Fortunately I suspect that if they stick with user serviceable batteries, the process will be a whole lot simpler once they’ve really put some engineering effort in to it.


It's a trade-off. I am someone who repairs my own stuff. I've repaired my fridge, my dishwasher, my oven, my microwave, my garage door openers, my 1998 Jeep Cherokee, and on and on. 99% of people do NOT do this.

I've replaced the batteries in multiple first generation iPhone SEs.

I'll never replace a battery again in an iPhone, nor do I ever desire too. The phones have become too hard to open, but in return, Apple offers battery replacement for a reasonable charge and a modern iPhone is nearly water proof, more durable, more compact, and with better battery life than ever.

For a portable device like a phone, I'm happy with the trade-off, and I think the market shows that most consumers are too. The trade-off for a laptop is less clear to me, but nor is replacing the battery in a Macbook as hard as replacing it in an iPhone.

The things that really drive me crazy though are devices that don't need to be sealed that are. Homepods, Sonos speakers, previous generation Apple chargers with hardwired cords, those sorts of things.

I just had to order an entire new Vitamix S-series blade base for $75 that I could repair myself if they’d sell me just the rubber seals and a couple bearings — And I probably don’t even need the bearings from them since they look like standard 8mmx22mmx7mm skate wheel bearings, but who knows, maybe theirs are food safe.

https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us/shop/s-series-blade-base

($75 is probably even a fair price. It’s just the principle of the matter.)

Anyway, I feel about this article as wfhordie does. It's not just descriptive of the process, which would be fine. It's filled with snark, and doesn't acknowledge the trade-offs in manufacturing a more easy to repair device. Engineering is always trafe-offs. Shame on The Verge.


Playing devil’s advocate for just a second, I really appreciate that my Homepod & Sonos are sealed. It allows for longer device longevity when placed in high humidity environments (bathrooms, tropical areas, etc.).

Definitely a trade-off game with all hardware devices & Apple (and others) are not blameless when it comes to engineering things to be purposefully difficult. However, I think we often underestimate the sheer number of environmental constraints an international hardware retailer with near universal demographic appeal has to account for in designs.

Agree on everything else. The article gets a thumbs down.


I had this Vitamix frustration with v-moda. I had a couple missing screws on a headset. They were totally unwilling to send a couple screws from the USA to New Zealand in an envelope (even at my own expense), instead insisting on the whole headset being shipped back to them, halfway across the world, at their expense. There is such a horror of simple parts being made available for home repairs.


I don't think it's all that hard to make a replaceable battery and have the phone be waterproof or small. My Go Pro has a replaceable battery and it's waterproof. Googling there are plenty of waterproof phones with replaceable battery.


Sorry for my french but this is all a bit of bullshit. I have some old sport watch that I open with a cent coin, it is completely waterproof as it was 10 years ago (so seals work), its whole sealing part is tiny and doesn't interfere with design/size/weight/price. If one wanted to manufacture top of the class phone with removable battery, it would be entirely possible.

But since we all know revenue is not anymore primarily function of units sold, but services continuously sold on top of those devices. Taking huge commission on every app sold, proprietary/brand stuff like cables (even if they fray worse than 1$ ebay ones), cases, buds, anything.

Apple used to be pioneer of this bad behavior, but now most manufacturers jumped on that wagon since apparently people kept buying their products anyway. I used to just pop back lid on my Samsung S2 to change sim card or add memory card, now with S22 that's a pipe dream.

I wouldn't call it a trade-off. I would call it what it is - customers are not pissed off enough to affect sales in negative way. So let's do it and milk them more. One step/slot/port/3.5mm jack at a time.


If you can open up your watch with a coin then obviously the design is affected by this being something you can do. Saying that it doesn't interfere with design, size, weight, or price is disingenuous. Of course it does. It might influence those things positively or negatively, but it absolutely is affected.

If you have to put in a mechanism to easily remove a battery from a phone then how wouldn't that affect literally all of those factors? What sort of properties would this entail and what would be suitably easy to remove? That answer is different depending on the person. Some people perhaps just want the back to slide off, which would probably require a plastic back. You could add a hinged door, but that would certainly add to its thickness and affect the design. You'd also need to have a way to interface the battery to the phone. Phones that had easily replaceable batteries had contacts built into the phone and the battery that were sufficiently large as to make it nearly impossible for someone to fuck up the installation of a new one. This obviously added weight and thickness to the phone.

I'd love to hear how you'd engineer it to be just like a phone without an easily removable battery without affecting the criteria you listed.


I get what you’re saying but I think a 10 year old sport watch and a modern iPhone aren’t really comparable.

Unless you’ve turned off the “sent from my Casio” footer.


I'm out of touch with 99 percent of people do. Can they really afford to call the repairman for every minor appliance issue? Or do they just live with it until replacement?


Labor is very expensive, more than parts.

For something like a washing machine that costs $750 and has an expected lifetime of 10 years, it's hard decision of when to repair vs when to replace.

Say my washer is already 6 years old, it breaks, and labor + parts to fix it would be $250. I might decide to give up and buy a brand new one instead.


Which means it ends up in the landfill.

I wish there were more repair cafes that might takebin items like that.


You have a storage bin holding old smartphones with readily replaceable batteries.

That suggests to me that readily replaceable batteries isn't anywhere near the entire story in terms of keeping phones out the landfill (or in your case, a storage bin).


The lack of user replaceable batteries is one symptom of a larger problem, yes. And the symptom being discussed today.


Part of the issue with old smartphones and batteries is that every battery is a snowflake so eventually nobody is willing to produce the replacement battery anymore.

Contrast this to car batteries where the form factor is specified within certain limits.

This is, unfortunately, a point where the law probably has to step in and say "battery replacements must be available for 20 years" which would make it unpalatable to be a snowflake anymore. At that point, the suppliers would get together and agree on a "standard" battery form factor.


You are correct. without datasheets, you have no way to even approach reprogramming a computer system. Those datasheets, schemata, and documentation are some of the closest, most tightly held trade secrets in the tech world.

Increasingly, the world has gotten away from "sell thing to owner to own" to "sell hook for revenue extraction from User". part of which has also increasingly been "be the unofficial or unnoticed arm of power by keeping inconvenient things hard to acquire as determined by the parties in power". Say... industrial equipment without backdoors.

Until I can load my own firmware/microcode, it ain't mine yet. I'd love to have a cobbled together group of heterogenous computing devices just for the novelty.


And that’s the reason to continue to grow the FLOSS / Open Hardware ecosystem.

You don’t have to program or fix stuff yourself. But you should be able to hire your local shop to do it for you at reasonable expense and to keep your old, but good, stuff running as long as you like.

While flip phones are disposable are their price point, that’s not true for hardware like smart phones or beyond. We need better, sustainable solutions.


Smartphone software being pure garbage along with the games Qualcomm and the network operators play make up the rest of the story.


They don't force you into the tools, the deposit or anything else - they offer you parts at the same prices they offer to third-party service providers and Apple stores. They even offer you credit for returning the old parts. If have your own iFixit kit, the only thing you're on the hook for is parts cost.

Access to the tools for what is likely at-cost shipping prices seems like an above-and-beyond thing to me that the right to repair folks weren't even asking for.


Considering that batteries still only last about a day and Apple led this shift to non-user-swappable batteries they still deserve some blame for landfill culture. Most of their efforts around repair appear to be the minimum anyone motivated by new sales would do once faced with looming regulation.

Even if at cost the extreme sophistication and complexity of such tools reinforces the point that these devices aren't really built for repair. They're built for eye appeal first and foremost.


> Considering that batteries still only last about a day and Apple led this shift to non-user-swappable batteries they still deserve some blame for landfill culture.

Sure, but it seems like this makes phones thinner and lighter and consumers want that. It "sucks" that Apple gave them that option and they went for it, but I don't consider this to be inherently malicious.

> Even if at cost the extreme sophistication and complexity of such tools reinforces the point that these devices aren't really built for repair. They're built for eye appeal first and foremost.

…these are the tools that Apple uses to repair your phone?


> Sure, but it seems like this makes phones thinner and lighter and consumers want that

Or Apple devices are also a tech fashion statement, so their loyal consumers will put up with everything Apple changes. iPhones could show off their sleek design if they weren't designed to need a case. People definitely wanted bigger screens and batteries for years, and Apple was very reluctant until the iPhone 10. I'm sure many iPhone users miss the fingerprint reader, but they won't get it, and they will still buy the next model because the slight and gratuitous design differences make it obvious you're using an old iPhone.


>Or Apple devices are also a tech fashion statement, so their loyal consumers will put up with everything Apple changes.

This argument is tired; it doesn't explain why every other manufacturer on the planet has also gone down this route. It's just an argument that helps nerds feel good (those other guys aren't real techies, like me, they only care about fashion).


Leading fashion brands have network effects and it can create something like Stockholm syndrome to those who buy into it. Other manufacturers often follow leading brands for prestige, or because people become accustomed, not always because the direction is objectively better when accounting for costs to future generations.


No, it's because Apple phones have margin. They make money. Their competitors desperately want to make money.

They make their money selling phones wholesale into retailing supply chains. One of the rules of those supply chains is that the OEM eats the costs of early returns.

So they removed every widget that they possibly could and then glued everything down so that it could not possibly come loose, be dropped, wedged etc. during the warranty period.

Battery doors, headphone jacks, you name it. All gone.

End customers don't seem to care. Phones with swappable batteries, headphone jacks, etc. exist. They don't sell well in high margin markets.


Why are there so many imitation Louis Vuitton bags? If Apple makes a fashion phone with an hourglass shape, and they make money, others will copy it. just as Apple copied bigger screens and batteries, but labeled it as "Pro" or "Max" so following a trend felt new.


Intent is less important when we're burning the world for blue bubbles, cheaper waterproofing, and a few millimeters thinner.

If iphones had to be priced with externalities included (via regulation) I suspect they'd get user replaceable batteries shortly there after.


I suspect that of all the things burning the world, it's mostly oil and cars. iPhones are unusually useful, but they're not unusually resource intensive.


Just because something is worse doesn't mean we should ignore the problems of the first.


If you've ever heard someone talk about frying fish, and how they have bigger ones that need frying, they're probably speaking metaphorically.


Some things are mutually exclusive. User serviceable phones and more sustainable transportation are not.


> Considering that batteries still only last about a day and Apple led this shift to non-user-swappable batteries they still deserve some blame for landfill culture.

I disagree. I think you're conflating home user repairability with longevity of the device. Just because the user can't repair it at home doesn't mean it goes in the garbage. More realistically a broken phone will be traded in, Apple will repair it, and it will be sold refurbished. Apple phones hold their value very well, and there is a booming second-hand market, even including officially by Apple.

I wouldn't be surprised if the average lifetime of an Apple phone exceeded that of even a "repair friendly" Android phone. I'd love to see data on that either way, but until we have it, you can't say whether the design of Apple phones contributes to landfill culture or not.


Apple is in a class of their own in some ways, so until they offer a repairable one I don't think a fair comparison can be made.


I always say the same, people wants 2022 tech with the simplicity of 1980s tech. You’re holding more computing power in your pocket than the one that brought apollo to the moon and yet want servicing it to be as simple as undoing 4 screws.


Yes, I want that. I don't really see how increased computational power should make a device impossible to hold together with 4 screws.


Absolutely!

My 1980's tech is repairable, and a fair amount of it is still in active, productive use.

These phones and computers can be made more serviceable. Doing that will reduce profits and that is why it is not being done.

And so we have plenty of people who can figure out how to service the tech anyway! I am one of those types of people and have always explored fixing it no matter what.

(I do not do phones, though I have fixed tablets and computers)

There are always some of us with these skills. Humans are pretty great that way. We are considerably more diverse and capable as an species than we may appreciate.

And what happens?

Of course that lowers profit too!

Now we have right to repair as a thing to be settled because some of us are a bit too greedy for others of us to tolerate.

And regarding phones, my preferred phone is falling out of support. It had a headphone jack and performance is right there, sans a faster than 60hz display, which is no bother. Grew up with 60. Love it, but I digress.

I need to be careful with this phone, and that is fine. Keeps me from doing too much crap on it and that helps me be more productive and less tied to the thing. No worries yet.

Now, I have two of these. One has a cracked glass and a battery not long for this world. When I want, I hook it up to keyboard, mouse and display and it works great! Perfectly fine Android PC. I may start building some software for it too.

But, as it is right now, email, remote conferencing, Libre Office, Microsoft if needed, CAD, STL file, bitmap create, edit, Web, and, and...

I forget what the CPU is, but this old, glass cracked phone runs a Snapdragon fast enough to beat some Chromebooks I have gotten hold of.

Definitely worth winning Right To Repair. The up and coming generations are going to face a lot of challenges, and being economically challenged is, sadly, among the set of challenges.

My generation was similar, Gen-X. I grew up in fairly severe poverty. Fortunately, was not my entire childhood, but it was more than half. Made an impact, and the primary one was whether to spend to solve or repair to solve problems, and there is a ton of perfectly great tech laying around today.

It is crazy to be figuring out how we best avoid using it!

My 1980's tech is an Apple 2 computer. I still use it regularly. Mostly games, Nox Archaist released recently being top of the list. (If passers by enjoy "Ultima" style gaming, you can buy this title right off GOG and or Steam and play in emulation.)

But, yes I use it as a spiffy calculator, generating datasets of various kinds, terminal to embedded devices and when I get off my arse and finish my test and measure card, it will be a great bench computer just as it was back then.

Finally, as RMS has said about software freedoms, it is not important that people use those freedoms to the max. Many won't, and that is OK.

This is all about the people who will, or better --who have to for whatever reason.

It just needs to be possible.


> Apple is so anti-repair they have no provisions for a reasonable at home process.

Just because they don't prioritize their designs for at home repair, doesn't mean they're anti-repair. Clearly they're not anti-repair if they're voluntarily making their tooling available for repairs.

I can't really blame them for prioritizing design over repairability. At least for now, repairability doesn't sell a lot of phones -- the number of people who want to repair their own phone is so small, and I say that as someone who has repaired a couple iPhones in the past.


> show just how deep the hole Apple has dug for themselves really is

I guess it shows this hole to the public, but Apple's know this the whole time. They scale out in-store iPhone repair to 500 stores around the world where they have low-paid retail workers performing the repairs.


And it's a great service, too. You pay $50 and wait a few minutes. You get a new, genuine OEM battery with a warranty that extends the life of your phone indefinitely.

The right-to-repair people have just lost contact with reality. This is the way people want it to work. It is a great product experience.


Right-to-repair in no way prevents or hampers Apple's ability to offer that service. If people want the current state, they can continue to pay for it. Right to repair offers strictly more options and choice, it doesn't remove anything


It removes the ability of the manufacturer to make a phone that is the size and weight people prefer and has the features they want. Billions of people want a waterproof phone and I doubt you could even fill a bus with people who really give a damn whether or not the battery is replaceable in the field.


No it doesn't. Requiring Apple to sell or allow 3rd party replacement parts as well as providing repair documentation does not in any way prevent them from making the phone they currently are.

You're confusing (perhaps intentionally) right to repair with the EU's proposal to mandate easily swappable batteries. They are not the same thing.


You can sell the parts and manual, sure. But making it easy for a layman with non specialized tools? That is a tall order against cost, weight and waterproofing.


Being easy isn't a primary goal. Simply being possible at all is the goal: https://www.repair.org/policy


The goal is to make sure things are possible

When they are, there will be plenty of people capable of making it easy. There always are.


I hate how we have collectively forgotten that there were waterproof phones long before this nonsense from Apple(and others, to be fair). Bah, we even had waterproof phones with removable battery doors. But of course, now somehow humanity forgot how to make those and the only way is gluing everything together.


For buyers of new devices that may be true. Yet I've sold plenty of phones I had bought second hand (after years of my own use), and those with user swappable batteries are far more likely to be reused without great expense. More so if they also have an SDcard slot to minimize wear on the soldered storage.

As phone features plateau we should strive to make them last longer and avoid unnecessarily consuming tons of new material every year. (IIRC a single iphone consumes like 0.5 tons of materials to go from the ground to the pocket.)


The facts aren't really on your side of the argument. The glued-together Apple phones are the ones least likely to be in the trash. They are still shipping the latest software on phones from 2015. By contrast, removable-battery phones are all garbage practically as soon as you open the box. The Samsung XCover is only 2 years old, might not even get Android 12, and definitely will never get anything after Android 12.


> By contrast, removable-battery phones are all garbage practically as soon as you open the box. The Samsung XCover is only 2 years old, might not even get Android 12, and definitely will never get anything after Android 12.

That isn't a property intrinsic to removable-battery phones; An Apple phone with a removable battery would be the best in terms of software and battery longevity, both of which are factors which serve to prolong the life of the phone.


Imagine a world in which iphones still had user swappable batteries. They would almost certainly retain their appeal and fewer would end up in landfills.

The fact that they've become a luxury brand is a compounding factor you cannot dismiss. You're comparing apples to oranges.


I have had batteries replaced by random repair shops for 40 euros before. If I could have done it for 20 in parts how does that change the calculus compared to a new phone?


Phones are more likely to end up in landfills when batteries and basic repairs aren't user serviceable. The calculus should include externalities like the cost in resources for new phone vs only a new battery.


Ars technical has a story running on the topic of "lost" limited natural resources.

It speaks right to how landfill mining is likely to be a thing in a less distant future than many of us are likely to expect.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/05/new-study-estimates-...


Waterproof or governmental pressure?

Hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but tracking devices dont work so well if the person being tracked can completely disable them when they wish.


You can fill that bus any time, any day.

In the US, roughly half the population works for less money than it costs them to exist and show up for work! How they view the world is very different than the roughly quarter of the population doing well enough to see these discussions lack relevance to them and how they live and work.

There are shared responsibilities. Nothing gets designed, used and fixed in a vacuum. Ignoring how we fix things insures our design and manufacturing work raises the cost and difficulty of repair and repurpose.


If by replaceable you include easily-changeable so one doesnt have to be tethered to a wall or portable charger, you could fill stadiums with business users easily.


>You pay $50 and wait a few minutes.

I would have no problem if this was true. But it is not. $49 only for non-Face ID Model. $69 for FaceID, or pretty much all current iPhone lineup except iPhone SE. You also have to wait 30 min to hours depending on store. Not few minutes unless you are the only one doing Battery Swap which is highly unlikely given how they are always fully booked.

Depending on which part of the world you are in, your prospective on the Battery swap pricing differ greatly on a $10 Battery part.


iFixit is charging $39 for an iPhone mini battery, or $25 for an iPhone SE battery. Paying $25-30 for half an hour of labor—on a $400-1200 device—every two years sounds… totally fine to me?


>iFixit is charging $39 for an iPhone mini battery

It is absolutely fine in US. When iPhone Battery Replacement parts isn't even a listed item on Amazon but only Replacement Kits. ( Likely due to whatever agreement they had with Apple ) And Labour cost are high. One may even borderline call Apple's pricing cheap in the US. And why Apple could claim in court they made no profits in their after sales repairing services .

If you live within the Valeriepieris circle, have retail access to slightly higher than BOM of battery. Things might look a little different.

Hopefully we will have Battery improvements in the next 10 years so most of these discussions will become non-issues.


Not when that labour is only required because of Apple's (and other manufacturers', but Apple was the first and worst to do this) malicious design in the first place.


Apple used to have removable batteries. Even when Steve Jobs came back to Apple, batteries were removable. Once Lithium-Ion batteries that can hold 70% of a charge after 1000 cycles appeared, Apple got rid of the user-swappable batteries. It’s not malicious, it’s a disagreement on what is acceptable.


> It’s not malicious, it’s a disagreement on what is acceptable.

They figured they could get away with removing it, so they did. In exchange the user got… what exactly? Absolutely nothing.

> Once Lithium-Ion batteries that can hold 70% of a charge after 1000 cycles appeared, Apple got rid of the user-swappable batteries.

That's still an absolutely pathetic lifetime compared to the rest of the device.

And that also bears out in practice, anecdotally battery life is by far the #1 reason that people buy new phones, especially in the last few years.


Anecdotally speaking I've never known anyone to get rid of an iPhone because of battery life. Ever. I've known people to replace iPhones because of cracked screens, no longer getting iOS updates, running out of storage, or simply wanting some new feature but I've never known anyone to replace an iPhone because of the battery. They're simply too cheap and easy to replace. Honestly, call and make your appointment at iFixIt or the Apple Store, drop your phone off, come back an hour later and the battery is replaced - for under $50.


Remember when you could just buy a battery off the shelf, pop out the old battery, and pop in the new one? Without waiting for service or finding a brand store that's at best hours away? And without having to worry about whether the manufacturer has deemed your phone too legacy to allow you to replace the battery anymore?


Not to mention a battery swap means having basically immediate power replenishment on demand.

I work around this with battery cases. Everytime I do that when there are onlookers, at least one of them want to know all about it.

Demand for this is pretty high, given my experiences doing an equivalent thing where people see it happen.

And there is also the important matter of making sure the device is off and not doing something a user might not want to have done.

Sure, an ad-hoc Faraday Cage is not that much trouble, but many do not understand how or even it being possible.


No they haven't!

The experience is great from what I understand.

But there are other ways, and this is not at all about taking options away from people.

Nothing about this is exclusive. That great experience can compete with many others and should.

And it is a big world of repair out there. It all goes well beyond Apple and a few others making things painful.


They have not. You're being disingenuous. After all, battery replacements became a big deal after Apple started OTA updating and throttling performance to hide the battery degradation instead of being up front about the need for eventual replacement.


The nearest Apple Store is hours away, this is definitely not convenient and how I want things to work.


How can you have a user accessible door to remove the battery while still being at least somewhat thin and water resistant?

I’m sure there are ways but I would probably significantly increase the BOM costs. For example some kind of waterproof battery that connects to a waterproof jack.

That will you the battery but cracked screens and stuff? Those pretty much have to be a pain in the ass to keep the cost, weight and watertight-ness up to spec.


> How can you have a user accessible door to remove the battery while still being at least somewhat thin and water resistant?

Don't know what you mean by "somewhat thin", but as far as I'm concerned, maybe they could ask Samsung.

My Galaxy S5 had a removable battery door, removable battery, and was water resistant (I'd use it as a GPS on a motorbike, even under heavy rain). It also had a headphone jack, which also didn't seem to be an issue for its water resistance.

It was less than a mm thicker than my iPhone 7 and barely thicker than a 13 mini.

Dimensions from Wikipedia:

GS7 : 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

iphone 7 : 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

iphone 13 mini : 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65 mm

I prefer the iPhone 7 for the overall smaller size, but I think that's a different issue. I never found the GS7 "thick", just "big", because it was too tall and wide and would sometimes be uncomfortable in my jeans pocket (and I'm a guy).


Well, "somewhat thin" is subjective so that is no real barrier. Water resistant? I would think you make the phone in two halves, and it splits in the middle. This way both halves can be sturdy enough that a few screws and a silicone seal are enough to keep the water out. Maybe two halves is the wrong idea, but you can still make a stiff back shell that engages in a row of clips along the side that are tapered so as it catches it presses against a silicone seal. Then just a few screws to hold it in place.

Anyway, Apple has solved a million engineering problems. I bet if they cared as much about user serviceable parts as they do about putting LIDAR in their face scanner, we'd see all kinds of clever solutions. Seriously the idea that Apple, one of the most capable engineering and manufacturing companies to ever have existed, could not elegantly solve this problem is a bit far fetched to me. I think the only reason people cannot conceive of it is that we haven't seen it.


First, it is just a little less thin, and second we make watches that handle water just fine.

Another alternative would be to make the devices fail more reasonably when wet. Just drying the thing out could work better than it currently does.

But yes! Your point is valid. We won't get the absolute pinnacle of volume and performance that way.

To that, I say we can surely find a better balance than the mess we have today, and that could start by making damn sure we permit and perhaps encourage as much innovation on the repair / repurpose side of things as we do on design and manufacture.


It's not rocket science. Most wristwatches are splash proof, many are waterproof and they're still thinner than iPhones. Tight sealing has been figured out long time ago, even for rectangular shapes.


The times I needed my phone to have more power vastly outnumber the times I needed my phone to be waterproof...possibly by a factor of 1,000,000 to 1


There have been constant complaints that Apple doesn’t make its repair and maintenance equipment and parts available for others to use. Now that they do, it turns out they use extremely high quality professional tools to do near-factory quality work. So fine, here you are, you can get all the exact same stuff Apple uses. You win.


Great! (I agree)

Having seen that set of tools, others can and should be cost reducing them and or innovating how to do things without them, or with less expensive gear.


I guess I could go either way on this. It seems possible apple is being genuine and they just optimized for a sleek design and repairability wasn't a concern because they didn't need to support at home repairs before. This could just be the first iteration of supporting repairability and maybe they will make design decisions to make it easier in the future. Or.. They could be dragging their feet and they are trying to make it as laborious and tedious as possible to avoid needing to put too much effort into supporting at home repairs. I guess they could also just be trying to open up a new market and sell fancy iPhone repair products.


> Obviously newer phones are waterproof and arguably more durable, but Apple has gone so far towards a factory sealed design as to require absurd equipment to do a proper job.

I'm not too familiar with the matter but wouldn't other manufacturers' waterproof phones have a similar construction to enable said waterproofness?


Probably wouldn’t be that hard either to waterproof and seal everything, then have waterproof batteries and battery connectors that were splash-resistant with recommended removal + drying for a day if they do get wet.


I ran an iOS sales and repairs service for years, eventually stopping around the iPhone X era. I had decent third-party tools, but despite being careful, I'd still break peoples' devices on rare occasion and have to eat the cost.

The adhesive they use to bind the screen to the body has gotten consistently tougher over the years, to the point where there really isn't a reliable way for someone to do it correctly on their first try without specialized tech like this. You WILL underestimate the amount of heat required and either crack your screen or break your tool when trying to pry them apart. It's incredibly frustrating and delicate work if you're just using a heat gun and a screwdriver.

If they shipped him a "warming sock" and some kludgers like iFixit used to do, I'm sure a quarter of the people who attempt the repair would end up breaking their device and the whole program would be a failure.

Unless they ditch the adhesive and return to the iPhone 4/4S design of a back-cover which slides off easily, I actually think the 70lbs of equipment might be their best path forward.


> The adhesive they use to bind the screen to the body has gotten consistently tougher over the years... Unless they ditch the adhesive...

We talk about this adhesive as if it's easily replaced with some screws, but I wonder if that's really true anymore. I can imagine that as devices and their tolerances get smaller that simply screwing something together might actually make the device a lot more delicate. Do you know if this is the case here?


The reality is that with the way devices are designed to be IP rated and as compact as possible, your only option is these fancy PSA adhesives.

There is a direct disagreement between what a consumer wants in their device and making it easy to repair, especially since most people don't expect to repair the device they are buying.


Uhh are we all kind of forgetting the Samsung S5?

A phone with ip67 rating, a microsd card slot, headphone jack and removable battery?

Yea I am calling nonsense on this being an engineering limitation.


I have an xCover FieldPro from Samsung because it is one of two devices they make that are waterproof with a removable battery. It is marketed as a device for first responders and is built with field use in mind. It even comes with a spare battery.

I decided after my S4 Active battery died and I broke the screen trying to replace it that I wouldn't buy a phone without a removable battery. Not easy to find anymore. I did have to sacrifice Qi charging. But the xCover phones have pogo pin charging docks that suited my nightstand charging needs.


I've got a Samsung Xcover pro. It has an easily removable back plate and a replaceable battery and is IP-68 rated. My old Casio was in the same vein. Maybe you couldn't get it quite as thin, but they did away with the easily removable battery long before they started trying to waterproof it.


The S5 was thinner than the contemporary iPhone and within 1mm of the 13 Pro Max


Like 50 years of wrist watches kinda calls BS on that. Mass produced, low cost, waterproof devices with easily removable batteries used to be the norm. We as a species certainly haven't forgotten how to do that, these adhesives are far from necessary.

They exist not for IP rating, but to make the device appear to not have any screws. Both for aesthetic reasons and to keep people out reasons.


An Omega Seamaster weighs anywhere between 100 and 200 grams, depending on the model. Extrapolating that to the size of a phone, you'd have to lug around a 1kg brick. Now, I'm not a fan of the trend of thinness and lightness above all, I'd prefer a slightly beefier phone but one that weighs a kilo is ridiculous.


Why do you go immediately for an Omega Seamaster? There are a thousand other waterproof watches out there with removable batteries that don't weigh near as much as a dive watch. It's rated for 300 meters. I don't think anyone is expecting a phone to be thin and light and waterproof under 300 meters of water.


Because it's well known enough. 200g is the heavier end, sure, but 100g seems pretty light for a wristwatch anyway. The Seiko 5 is one of the lightest watches at about 70 grams, and that thing is tiny. That's to say, the Seamaster isn't really much more heavier than others, unless you're going for some mickey mouse watches.


The adhesive makes the phone waterproof.

I recently replaced my gf's iPhone screen and all I really needed was a hairdryer to heat up the adhesive, a suction cup to pull it off, and a screwdriver. I guess with these tools it'd be safer, but it worked well regardless.


> The adhesive makes the phone waterproof.

So would a rubber o-ring.


Given a relatively high and sufficiently uniform clamping pressure on the entire o-ring. Which then requires high-stiffness parts (bulky, heavy, high material usage) or a lot of fasteners (take up space, potentially add to the oh-so-hated bezel width depending on how they have to be implemented).


Actually, no, this is not necessary for 1atm water resistance. See: the Samsung Galaxy S5 that was made out of ABS plastic, and had an easily removable battery with 0 fasteners. It was IP67 rated.


O-rings are known to fail.


O-rings are the standard seal technology in waterproof watches, and also in scuba diving equipment where lives literally depend on them. They are actually extraordinarily reliable.


But at the same time, a diver is trained to look for leaks as part of their pre-divw checklist, and oring replacements are fairly common. On my last liveaboard, the crew replaced probably good 1-2 dozen tank orings over the course of a week. One of my LP hose orings had frayed as well and needed to be replaced.

It might be the standard, but it's not exactly the best experience either.


The o-rings that require regular attention are the ones that handle high-pressure air. Run-of-the-mill waterproofing o-rings, like the ones used to seal dive watches and dive computers, are fire-and-forget. And yes, dive watches and dive computer have beefier housings than iPhones, but iPhones don't need to be waterproof to 150m.

(I am a certified scuba diver.)


Dive computers with replaceable batteries 100% have user-serviceable o-rings that need lubing and eventual replacement. My Shearwater came with both grease and 2 replacement o-rings.

HP hoses and o-rings also can and do fail, and, once again, divers are trained to look for signs like the rubber bubbling. There is also not really a difference between the o-rings used in HP and LP hoses and equipment outside the size, and I gave examples of LP hoses failing.

These all require regular maintenance and replacement, and, once again, divers are trained and should be checking their equipment regularly.

But that's all beside the point, which is that your claim is that "[o-rings] are extraordinarily reliable". Except they are not, they require replacing all the time. They may be industry standard, but they are fall from infallible.


Scuba equipment is most often used in saltwater and is subjected to increased pressure while underwater. The conditions scuba equipment is subjected to vs what waterproof cell phones are rated for are very different.


> need lubing and eventual replacement

Yes. Every couple of years. After being subjected to a lot of pressure cycling.

If you do nothing but take it into the shower or a swimming pool the o-rings will last longer than the batteries.


Chlorine isn't friendly to o-rings, but I'm not sure where someone would put their phone while in a pool anyways. Mine comes in the tub with me for soaks for sure though.


Do o-rings have a dramatically high failure rate that I don't know about? It can dry rot or otherwise break down, but as a seal on the back of a phone, I've found them 100% reliable.


I assume they're referring to the Challenger explosion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Challenger_disas...), although it's a pretty poor comparison.


Adhesives are also known to fail. They almost certainly have a higher failure rate even.


I've repaired / modded non-iphones that bind display / covers with adhesive. Both broke them in various ways the process and saved them later.

Using screwdrivers to pry will very likely crack the screen and if that's the only tool available, one ought to wait on repairs the right tools are available. Using a screwdriver would otherwise introduce scratches / chips in the areas you'd insert / slide it through. One has to use a material that's softer than the contact material and non-abrasive. It also requires a lot of patience, but it pays off. I don't really know if that's knowledge someone can get in under 30 minutes of internet research, but if it is, I don't expect that onus to fall on a manufacturer.


Yeah, I will pay more for a device that is designed to be repaired.


... and when there's enough of you for this to represent an actual, realistic target market you will then find someone who will sell you one.

Personally, my perspective on this is that it's a lot like the kind of complaining that gets a lot of play in the motoring press about the disappearance of the manual transmission (like Car and Driver's "Save the Manuals" thing). Lots of people will claim they would like the choice, but virtually no-one actually buys them when they're available on mainstream models.


If it was, say $40 more or even $100 and was marketed as being repairable, I bet a lot of people would buy it. They would after all be actually likely to get that money back over the lifetime of the phone, and it’s much more environmentally friendly.

This isn’t a case of “market doesn’t want it”, this is a case of Apple don’t want to offer that choice because they make money off of the repairs.


> If it was, say $40 more or even $100 and was marketed as being repairable, I bet a lot of people would buy it.

Not all the costs are denominated in dollars.

You want a small phone with little wasted volume and waterproofness, you're using adhesive everywhere. There's not room for O-ring seals and flanges and fittings.

My phone being small makes it more practical.

My phone being waterproof makes it less likely to need repair.


My old Samsung Galaxy S4 was water proof and had a removable battery. At least, it was waterproof enough to be able to answer a call in the shower, if need be. I never fully submerged the phone, but casual exposure to water was absolutely fine. Oh, and it had O-rings around the edge of the battery cover. It was a pretty great phone. Its downfall was being too thin. It didn't fit great in my pocket and it ended up getting bent when I sat down. Didn't break the phone, but was enough to leave aermanent bend in the phone about 3/4 of an inch from the top and a little bit of delamination in the one corner. Even with the bend, I kept the phone for quite a while before it finally met its demise falling out of a coat pocket onto asphalt exiting a car.


Galaxy S4: 136.60 x 69.80 x 7.90mm -- 75.3 cm^3 -- 68 cm^2 screen, volume to screen area ratio 1.10 cm.

IP67, 1m 30 minutes (AKA don't really immerse this-- even if you drop it in a puddle it may not be OK).

iPhone 13 Mini: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65mm -- 64.6 cm^3 -- 72 cm^2 screen, volume to screen area ratio 0.9 cm.

IP68, maximum depth 6m 30 minutes (AKA brief immersion in depths of less than a couple meters is OK).

There's a reason why all these adhesives are used everywhere.


There are bezels on the top and bottom because the S4 came out in 2013, not because of the waterproofing method.

IP67 is enough for me, and I will happily trade .3mm of thickness for a removable battery.

Not that we should assume that IP68 has to be sacrificed. There aren't a lot of comparison points on that specific attribute. A Galaxy Xcover Pro is bulky but that's because it's much more ruggedized in general.


> There are bezels on the top and bottom because the S4 came out in 2013, not because of the waterproofing method.

There are bezels on the top and bottom because older phones were less volume efficient than they are today-- something that is enabled by the use of adhesive.

> IP67 is enough for me, and I will happily trade .3mm of thickness for a removable battery.

OK, but, I believe the penalty would be significantly more than .3mm, and most people won't.


> There are bezels on the top and bottom because older phones were less volume efficient than they are today-- something that is enabled by the use of adhesive.

Adhesive on the front of the phone, where the screen is, is just fine as far as battery removability is concerned. Are you sure that's a real factor in this comparison?

> I believe the penalty would be significantly more than .3mm

Well I'm trying to use the example you gave...

> and most people won't.

Citation needed. I've never seen anyone mention sub-millimeter differences in choosing one phone over another.


> Adhesive on the front of the phone, where the screen is, is just fine as far as battery removability is concerned. Are you sure that's a real factor in this comparison?

Adhesive all over the place helps remove volume. So does using annoying connector types, and putting together the parts of the phone in crazy jenga-like assemblies.

The reason why phones are less serviceable today is because they are packed tight. This packed-tight characteristic is harder to manufacture, but much harder to service. The reason why it is there is because the designers of the phone think it is necessary to make a phone that is desirable to the market.

> Well I'm trying to use the example you gave...

OK, so look at total volume vs. screen area, because I think this is really actually the important metric. In less volume, we got basically the same volume of battery and a bigger screen. The metric swung by 20%.

> Citation needed. I've never seen anyone mention sub-millimeter differences in choosing one phone over another.

Phones with replaceable batteries didn't do very well versus their competition, which is a pretty good hint that the ease of replacing batteries was not the primary buying factor. Phone size-- both thinness and total volume-- and screen size-- are unquestionably important buying factors.


I can’t see how Apple can make a net profit on the repair itself at $69 for modern phones, so the profit motive/outcome must come from tilting people towards replacing a phone with a trade-in credit.

There is a sliver of the market who would rather replace their own battery on a 30 month old phone.

There is a gigantic wedge of the market who looks forward to their battery dying so they can get the swankiest new phone for just $39/month.


The repair is not $69. That one is purely for battery replacement in an otherwise-intact phone.

Screen replacements are more expensive, but the worst is actually damage that's neither the screen nor the battery - for example just a scratch on the housing or a cracked back glass are actually the most expensive options (even though said housing on eBay is around 20 bucks).

Similarly, water damage can usually be fixed by just cleaning the board and replacing a few mainboard components - that's something Apple will outright not do (good luck if you have valuable data on the device), and yet there's clearly a business there as both Louis Rossmann and Jessa Jones (from iPad Rehab) have been able to build profitable businesses on it.


> I can’t see how Apple can make a net profit on the repair itself at $69 for modern phones, so the profit motive/outcome must come from tilting people towards replacing a phone with a trade-in credit.

Apple could probably sell the devices at a loss and still make money overall on App Store commissions.


From the layperson’s perspective they already are repairable. Apple offers repair programs at a somewhat reasonable cost already. I doubt the average person will care if they themselves can repair it at home.


>this is a case of Apple don’t want to offer that choice because they make money off of the repairs.

Apple is on record saying they lose money on repair services. Or do you think they're just lying about that too?


Apple can say many things, that doesn't make them true. Of course they loose potential money on repairs if they can get customers to buy a new phone instead, that's how consumer electronics make Money.


A think a right to repair badge on products that promises schematics, parts, etc for a modest premium, would be a key selling feature for many important consumer purchases for a small but influential group of consumers.

Cars, appliances, tech, it’s all the same and some people are happy with replacing everything every couple years on obsolescence schedules, but some people hate it and want good quality stuff that works and lasts for a fair price.


So actually we live in the best world possible[1] with the best technology possible. If it were possible to make a better iPHone, someone would have made it, but the fact that it doesn't exist means its either not possible or not good to have a removable battery on an iphone.

[1] according to this book i read in highschool, it was called Candide


No; we live in the world of engineering and business compromises where wishes are not, in fact, horses.


>No

You aren't disagreeing with me. The claim is that we live in the best world possible, not the best world imaginable. The compromises you mention are necessary due to the underlying reality of resource scarcity. We may act to change our environment in many ways but can not violate the laws of the universe.


Manufacturer self-interest is not a law of the universe. Manufacturers do what's best for them, and not for some idealized free market. Often,they fail to do what's best for the org in the long term because they comprise humans who mostly care about the short term (bonuses, careers and such).

"If better was possible, it would already exist" can be filed under Capitalism Fantasy because it ignores all confounding factors. It also fails to explain why curremt consumer products are getting worse (for the consumer, but more profitable for the producer e.g. TVs, washing machines, fridges)


This expansion just makes the claim into a truism with no useful information. It's the same shape as a No True Scotsman reply.


It is possible and multiple such phones exist on the market today. But there's a lot more people who want to complain about the iPhone battery than people who want to buy a Nokia 1.3.


This is a largely a U.S. specific thing. In Europe, manual transmission is still commonly available.

If you want a high-end-ish car with a manual in the US, there’s the Golf R.


That's somewhat a quirk of your displacement taxes resulting in tiny engines.

When the choice is between a CVT or automatic that has to be dragged kicking and screaming into the upper RPM ranges (because how else are you gonna get acceptable performance out of a tiny engine) and a clutch pedal many people choose the clutch pedal.


You might just as well argue the opposite: American gas and car prices don't factor in the huge externalities of a badly engineered gas guzzler (and I don't think they are priced in in the EU either). So you get around in things that are far too heavy and need huge engines. Granted, the real solution would be to get rid of most personal vehicles with engines, but you can just look at the displacement of F1 cars to know you are arguing in bad faith.


>You might just as well argue the opposite: American gas and car prices don't >Oh FFS quit with the trope slinging.factor in the huge externalities

It takes a special kind of insanity to argue in favor of displacement taxes. The environment doesn't care how wide your pistons are or how far they move. It cares about the fuel burned. If you wanna tax the externality tax fuel.

>of a badly engineered gas guzzler

Because Toyota and Mercedes are so good at it? Ha.

If there's one thing the Americans are very good at it's getting big engines to consume less fuel than you'd expect from their size.

Regardless, your typical sedans, hatches and crossovers are available on both sides of the pond and gets the same fuel economy on both sides because fuel economy is dominated by the weight of the vehicle and aerodynamics.

> but you can just look at the displacement of F1 cars to know you are arguing in bad faith.

What's the operating RPM of an F1 engine? You're the one arguing in bad faith here.

Imagine you're cruising down the road ad 1200rpm (because fuel economy) and you want to step on it for whatever reason. With a CVT you get to sit there waiting while it slowly revs its way there. With an automatic you get to sit there a second and a half waiting while the computer decides that yes, you do actually mean to be flooring it and then shifts for you. With a manual you shifted before you even stomped the skinny pedal. Smaller displacement engines with less low end grunt exacerbate this hence the European preference for the 3rd pedal.


It is somewhat funny how you argue that American engines are quite economical for their size. So you agree that in comparison to small engines they are less fuel efficient? Also just looking at how many European and Japanese cars are sold in the US vs the other way around is pretty telling.

That said I agree that taxing fuel over car taxes would likely be a good thing, however I think there is also the view of taxing car ownership because they take up space in particular in cities.


I don't think you understand how fuel economy works. It's dominated by the size of the thing you have to move and how big of a hole you need to punch in the air to do it.

After you've applied all the tricks to get a big engine minimize fuel consumption as it cruises down the road the fuel economy basically reflects the operator's propensity to use the skinny pedal. Of course, if you have the power you use the power so that does help the small engine. Look at all the small turbo engines they're putting in trucks and vans these days. They don't put down substantially better fuel economy numbers than the bigger NA engines in the same platforms.

Contrast with manufacturers who haven't learned to apply "all the tricks" yet, their big engines still drink fuel like it's 2019. Look at the fuel economy of Toyota's 4-6L v8s and compare to GMs 4-6L v8s in similiar vehicles.

> Also just looking at how many European and Japanese cars are sold in the US vs the other way around is pretty telling.

I hate to piss on your "euope good murka bad" circle jerk but when you go up the org chart you'll find that plenty of stuff that gets sold globally comes from GM and FCA (I'm sorry, Stellantis, lol sounds like a blood pressure drug) and is just badged as appropriate per locale. Both the big guys and the smaller OEMs do their best to sell boring sedans, crossovers, minivans and midsize SUVs globally though specific models from specific brands or configurations (e.g. can't buy a city van with a manual in USA) will get withheld from specific markets due to stiff competition (e.g. hard to sell an Explorer in Germany) or consumer preference (few wagons in USA). Each region also gets some stuff that is specific to it. In Europe they have their tiny commuter cars. 'Murka gets big SUVs and pickups. Australia gets a bunch of big sedans and big sedans that identify as pickups. South America gets the "greatest hits" from whatever the last generation of vehicles was. Equatorial Asia gets all manner of basic cars and SUVs that are made extra-inexpensive for that market.


Because you are playing with the clutch, it keeps you busy. And the total time it takes to shift feels shorter this way.

CVT are by definition using the best RPM possible from the engine for maximum power and efficiency.

Modern automatics are also quite fast.

Anyways the future is electric without gears.


It's not that it "feels shorter". It's that 9x/10 you've anticipated wanting the lower gear and are already in it.

I agree about electric, but I expect 2/3 speed gearboxes for the same reason your drill had multiple speeds.


Yep, I used to be a manual fanatic, but I realized it's only 'fun' when the engine is slightly underpowered. On a typical modern car sold in USA you'd practically have to take it to a racetrack.


I can testify that a manual transmission is still fun when the engine is adequately power or beyond.


Manual transmissions are less fun when most of the time spent in the car is in gridlock during the twice-daily commute.


I had a 6 cylinder VW and the feeling was more 'any gear is fine', so I lost interest. Also grew up driving manuals so never had a problem commuting, its advantageous sometimes to take it out of gear in stop-n-go traffic.


A stick on unpaved hill and mountain roads is still fun too.


If I look at the stats regarding manual car in Europe, most customer will select the automatic one. Even for high end sports car (most will have better shift performance with a robotic shifter, and will correctly bleep on downshift)


Europe is just lagging the U.S. ... if you look at the take rates for transmissions, more automatics than manuals are now sold in the U.K, and mainland Europe is not far behind.


Those rates are skewed by electric and hybrid cars though. Diesel and petrol cars are still majority manual in the UK.


The irony being that it's the other way around for trucks, where most Europeans have automatic transmission systems while quite a few US ones run on manual.


> ... and when there's enough of you for this to represent an actual, realistic target market you will then find someone who will sell you one.

Probably not, considering the very high cost of entry in the target market, it is unlikely to be offset by the marginal amount of additional money people are ready to invest into such devices. Markets don't produce goods out of nothing. Especially if that person specifically wants an iphone for whatever (objective or subjective) reason, the market cannot deliver that.


the iPhone Mini was a testament to that Apple themselves will respond to a certain amount of market demand, however its inability to sell well (with reportedly under 4% of total iPhone sales) is probably going to be a lesson for Apple to heavily consider whether or not extra SKUs are really worth it.


The mini iPhones seem in an odd position between SE and "normal". As far as I know, the SE models have always been quite popular.


They're keeping the same number of SKUs, but they just want a cheap(er) but bigger phone. They're looking at how many Pro Maxes they sold in China and thinking "We could make a lot more money making a big model that was slightly cheaper."


Yeah, but my understanding is that the manual issue is compounded by the fuel efficiency gains in newer automatic transmissions using these 8-speed designs, with minimum efficiency rules meaning it's impossible to match in a manual. I've noticed that in the handful of models still offering manual, often the manual is not offered with the top performance engine.

This seems to be happening in Europe as well where historically over 80% of cars have been sold with manual transmissions.


The other issue (at least in the US) is that automatic cars can be programmed to “game” the fuel economy tests by having shorter gears and shifting early, etc. The automatic winds up being faster and reporting better fuel economy, but the manual would perform the same if it had more similar gearing. (I heard recently that first gear is like 60% shorter in the automatic version of one of the BMW M series cars than the manual version.) Combined with engine auto stopping in automatics, etc., and it’s not really an equivalent comparison anymore.


Automatic transmissions now have 8, 9 or 10 gears which means that engines can spend more time in efficient parts of their range; I don't think people would put up with a manual transmission with that many gears. Newer automatic transmissions also have better control of lock-up, so that you're spending less time with torque-converter losses.


> I don't think people would put up with a manual transmission with that many gears

…other than truck drivers!

maniacal laughter as the clutch is released into 18th gear


I would definitely buy a manual if I could. Just more fun to drive. I think Honda civic’s lowest model might still have one. Not sure of anything else.


If “fun” is the primary advantage (I know there are others) then it’s no wonder there’s fewer manuals in the US, at least. I think for many people, myself included, a car is a tool. I don’t need it to be fun. I need it to be reliable, easy to use, and as efficient as possible.

For some cars are a hobby, but for many people they’re most another tool in our lives.


Manuals have an advantage in some situations (off roading, transmission doesn’t overheat, better performance with skill, repairability) and autos have theirs (easy, better fuel economy)

If I commuted to an office every day I’d get an auto (actually these days an EV), but working in the bush/backroads? Manual


Yeah if I still lived in Seattle area and drove to work I’d want an automatic.

As it is I don’t deal with traffic so a manual is a more fun “tool” to drive.


All those points, except for repairability, are arguable for modern gearboxes such as DSG.


Modern autos still have the overheating issue? Not an issue on road, becomes an issue offroad when your really pushing the vehicle


Looking at what cars people buy, fun and prestige seem huge contributers to purchasing decision. Otherwise there is really no way to explain how SUVs are the best selling cars and how a significant portion of buyers opts for way overpowered cars.


Well, and fun on a windy country road is a heck of a lot less fun commuting in stop and go traffic.


Even in a stop-and-go traffic jam, a manual transmission will be the least of your worries.


As someone who just owned a manual Mini Cooper for about 18 years, I recommend that. The manual combined with the way the Mini is designed, with the wheels pushed way out to the corners, firm suspension and incredibly responsive steering, is a real joy. It's a feeling of complete control of the car and constant awareness of exactly where all four corners of the car are. So easy to parallel park these older Minis, too, before they kept making them larger and larger.

Hard to find this in any current cars, especially affordable ones.


Corolla comes in a hatchback with a manual.


I did my part and bought a manual VW. The problem was reselling it. Nobody wanted it.


Pretty much every compact/subcompact still has a manual option.

If you want a crossover I think the only new one that still has a manual is the Crosstrek.


Golf R


We’ll car companies are making it harder and harder to buy manuals so of course it’s disappearing. Can’t speak to American brands but the Toyota 4Runner stopped making a manual trim 20 years ago and the Tacoma while it has one, only 5% of them produced are manual on limited trims making it really hard for people who want one to actually get it without a lot of effort. How much is it people don’t want it/never learned/car companies reducing trim numbers and cost pushing automatics?


Even with performance car enthusiast models, like say the BMW M4, the take rate for the manual is super low.

This article ... https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/save-manuals-give-... ... is from 2015, but says that the M4 couple was 83:17 in favor of the automatic gearbox; and I doubt things have gotten better since then.

Automatic gearboxes (whether torque converters, CVT or dual-clutch) have just gotten much better to the point where they're better for both performance and fuel economy.

Manual transmissions are much, much harder to integrate with any kind of hybrid system, stop-start system, power-off coasting etc. which help with fuel economy too.


That stat is for America, not Europe, where the stats are reversed: https://blog.getmyparking.com/2020/01/20/why-does-europe-pre...

But you are right in that as cars electrify manuals will be less and less common. Not to mention emission regulations are pushing manufacturers to only produce autos

Manuals are still better in some rare situations imho like off-roading where just not having to worry about trans temps is a win


> Manual transmissions are much, much harder to integrate with any kind of hybrid system, stop-start system, power-off coasting etc. which help with fuel economy too.

Not necessarily disagreeing, but just wanted to say that it certainly is possible. I rented a manual Renault (don't remember the model) a couple of years ago and was surprised how it had a stop-start system power off when coasting system.


Bullshit.

This is a conscious business decision to not accomodate.

Wanna know how I know? (Besides experience in tech)

Sewing machines.

Millions of ladies with sewing machines out there, and harried husbands/partners/neighborhood mechanics/machinists out there that fix the bloody things. Yet, as a fixer thereof, you'll find the older machines are jealously guarded and highly sought after for reliability, stability through heavy loads, and servicibility.

And yet... All you have is plastic pieces of crap that warp and miss stitches under load, increasing usage of integrated circuit boards and plastic gearing.

A corporation will not optimize for the utility to end user and QoSL (Quality of Service Life). They will optimize for future sales and cheaper production. Literally converging on the worst product people will still pay for.

Stop making platitudes that "Oh the economy would accommodate you if only there were more of you!"

It is grade A, concentrated, unadulterated, Bull. Fucking. Shit. The business world will wring every last cent they can out of the buyer, while spending the absolute minimum required to "solve" the problem they set out to fix, and arguably, don't.

I am Quality Inspector number effing 7. I get into knock down, drag out brawls with management on the crap they expect me to put my seal of approval on for the sake of being there to be sneered at by the by the end user.

Enough is e-frigging-nough.

Since you brought up automotive. Same damn thing. Can you get cars with open-source, well documented software running on the ECM and BCM? No. Is CANBUS free and open? Nope. Are engine compartments built for anything else than the ability to be assembled by automaton? Nope.

Farm tractors and Ag equipment. Same bloody thing. This is all according to plan, because it's the default, and capital decides what the most profitable default is going to be.


This reminds me of the people who laughed at the iPhone because the Blackberry had a real keyboard and was the true professional device. Saying you'll pay for something that probably doesn't have many people behind it is not really going to move mountains. Most people care about this sort of stuff for about a minute when their phone breaks which is something like once every few years max.


Me too, the problem is that for such a thing to exist at scale we have to make the simply awful protoypes that people keep coming up with financially successful. Which means paying as much or more as you would for a cutting edge flagship for a janky mess that uses technology that's several generations behind and hope that it supports our carrier.


You have to admit that requiring 79 lbs of equipment, a 1200$ deposit, and so much effort just to swap a friggin’ battery is a tad overkill and exactly what is wrong with the current state of self repairs. Never mind the DRM on the battery so that the phone won’t recognize even a genuine battery as genuine without involving the 3PL to marry the parts together…

It shouldn’t be so complicated. If it makes the phone one mm thicker but you can swap the battery easily without requiring all this equipment, why aren’t we there yet?

I can (with a bit of a stretch) understand why they would not accept just any OEM part, but making extra difficult to even use an Apple bruine battery with the rest of the Apple hardware, that’s also very unnecessarily self repair hostile.


> You have to admit that requiring 79 lbs of equipment, a 1200$ deposit, and so much effort just to swap a friggin’ battery is a tad overkill

You know people were swapping batteries long before this was available, right? And that you don’t have to rent the official factory tools?

Apple did a great thing by providing this option at a loss to themselves. The fact that people are rushing to criticize the move suggests more that people like to find reasons to complain about everything.

It’s surreal to read HN threads where people are floating ideas about making laws to prevent companies from designing better hardware products just because they want to replace batteries with a screwdriver. I guarantee if you put a screwdriver-repairable phone and a modern iPhone in front of average consumers, 99% or more would choose the modern iPhone without a second question. The obsession with easy battery replacement seems limited to a very narrow set of people while the rest of the population has moved on to appreciate the benefits of modern sealed phones such as impressive resistance to water damage.


Not having easily replaceable batteries (and pardon me but I don’t consider requiring 79 lbs of equipment and a 1200$ deposit “easy”) in modern phones is akin to selling cars with the tires welded on.

It is ridiculous, consumer hostile, and wasteful.

Batteries are consumable, they should not be a reason to throw the phone away once they stopped working.

You don’t throw your house away when the garbage bag is full or when the tap starts leaking. These are things you’re expected to replace and it can easily be done with simple tools.

Phones shouldn’t be any different when it comes to their parts, especially consumable ones.


Whoa whoa hold on. You can pay Apple to replace your battery. That’s been true for years. I’ve done it with multiple phones. We just had Apple replace the battery in my wife’s iPhone SE (the original version) and it’s working great.

The metaphorical tires are not welded on; you can keep an old phone going with a new battery.

But just like tires, if you insist on doing the work yourself, you’re going to need some special equipment.


> But just like tires, if you insist on doing the work yourself, you’re going to need some special equipment.

That is not a constant of the universe, and is entirely dependent on the design. A long time ago, I had a Palm Treo 650. The removable back cover didn't require any tools to remove, after which the battery could be popped out. I could carry spare batteries with me and swap them out as needed.

Does this change the design constraints? Yes. But pretending that it's outright impossible ignores the decisions that were made during design.


And if you dropped a Treo the battery cover stood a 100% chance of popping off and the battery would land 100 meters away in a bush or down a sewer grate. Terrible misfeature.


but the screen wasn't cracked though...


I did not claim it’s a constant of the universe or outright impossible. This thread is about working on iPhones.


You absolutely do not need any special equipment to change a wheel. In fact, the only equipment you need comes with the car, a jack and a wrench, and a spare wheel (or at least they used to). Sure, you need to buy the tires, but you also need to buy the battery.


The tool to mount a tire onto a wheel costs between $50 and $2500 dollars and is very large. The alternative - a spare wheel - is a kludge! Cars carry around an entire tire and wheel all the time in a special compartment because you can't expect people to mount tires themselves. Or modern cars spec run flat tires which come with a host of their own tradeoffs.


Which one inflates the new tires, the jack or the wrench?


The tire shop who mounted the tires on the wheels, or a simple bike pump.


But I thought changing the wheels was a simple process you could do at home with the tools provided with the car?

A bike pump and a tire shop aren't provided with the car. Hell, most don't come with jacks or a wrench either. Some won't even include a spare tire/wheel nowadays.


Repairs can be pretty easy when you pay someone else in a shop to do the hard part for you.

In my case, replacing my iPhone battery required no tools at all after I paid the Apple shop to mount the new battery in the phone.


money can be exchanged for goods and services?? you tell me this now??


Personally I've needed lots of batteries replaced and lost 1 phone to water damage. It's not at all clear to me that hermetic phone designs are the right tradeoff from a utilitarian perspective. On the other hand, if utilitarian phones sold better somebody would be making them.

Tires have obvious engineering constraints that presumably led to the current approach. Maybe a bit of path dependence as well. It's completely incomparable.


> The metaphorical tires are not welded on; you can keep an old phone going with a new battery.

The metaphorical tires are DRM'd on by a company that has been actively trying to prevent third party repair shops from being able to work on your car.

The doubt of Apple's intentions here is not happening in a vacuum, but against their consistent and ongoing efforts to make self-repair unnecessarily difficult.


When we’re talking about “right to repair,” we need to distinguish between:

a) the use of DRM to prevent repairs

b) the physical challenge of working on complex things

c) planned obsolescence via consumables

The big problem with Apple and many companies is a), and I support efforts to make that illegal.

Problem b) is unavoidable for complex things. And there are design trade-offs that deliver benefits for costs, for example thin waterproof smartphones have hard-to-replace batteries. I’m not a fan of trying to use the law to force one set of design decisions on everyone.

Problem c) is an issue for some Apple products like EarPods. But not for iPhones, as I point out above.


Problem B may not be completely unavoidable but it also isn't a valid excuse for deliberately anti-repair design choices. Some things are indeed tradeoffs in terma s of repairabilty vs. features or costs, but some design decisions have little to no effect on features / cost but a large effect on repairability or durabilty.

Now, you can't always legally separate which tradeoffs are which, but I do think there is real value to finding ways to incentivize companies that make durable, repairable products. Those products produce a lot of value for society but manufactures can have a hard time recouping much of that value in the sale price, leading to bad incentives.


It honestly seems perfectly reasonable to authenticate a battery which is among the most dangerous component of a device I regularly hold in my hand and up to my head. A fully charged iPhone battery probably has enough energy to blow body parts off.


There is absolutely no evidence about Apple's "intentions" or "efforts" here, despite constant hectoring and bad-faith, zero-evidence arguments from people like you.

"Unnecessarily" difficult? Whatever. What you really mean is that Apple has been optimizing for durability, water-resistance, and smaller size, and people like you don't like those choices, so you are having a tantrum. Those choices, of necessity, mean that repairs are going to be a bit of a pain.


If car manufacturers changed the design of their cars so that you no longer could change them with just a lug wrench and jack, I'm pretty sure a lot of people would complain.

This is what happened with cell phones.


This analogy only supports Apple's method? Car shops have a lift for easy access to the car and machines for balancing your tires. Very expensive equipment that almost no one has, which also goes for the tools for replacing an iPhone battery.

Also Apple is not "consumer hostile", come on. That's a ridiculous accusation.


Anyone can mount a wheel. Clearly the author is talking about a hypothetical vehicle where the wheel has been welded to the axle assembly.

Actually replacing the tire on a wheel has practical engineering constraints that leave it best suited for shops. Even changing bicycle tires is non trivial and the performance and durability demands there are negligible in comparison.


That's subjective. I don't think the procedure to replace the battery with the tools provided by Apple is complicated.


There is an easy option: have Apple or a repair shop replace the battery.

All your complaints are addressed in the light of that simple and well-known fact.


If my house was 90% garbage bag, I’m not sure. Houses get razed and rebuilt all the time, especially in Japan. They are not as modular as we’d like them to be, as I’m finding out in planning a kitchen renovation.


Around by us in a city in the UK i'm unaware of any house that has been knocked down and rebuilt except for situations where a large house is knocked down and replaced by flats. For someone to knock down their own house to re-use the plot for a new (single occupancy) house is just not how we do things here.

But saying that, we do tend to build houses with materials like bricks which are designed to last hundreds of years, and this is not necessarily how it's done elsewhere. We tend to renovate rather that demolish and rebuild. Our home for example is 110 years old, and is in a street of similar age houses. There are some missing ones down a neighbouring street, but I believe these were destroyed by bombing in WW2.


> Apple did a great thing by providing this option at a loss to themselves.

Apple is no saint. Right to repair became popular and it's getting law.

If it's at a loss, it's a consequence because they made repair hard.


Yup.

In this case, let the law prevent a certain outcome.

Let the market figure out how to cope.


Completely made up and false conundrum.

You can design devices that are easy to repair and still waterproof and sleek.

This is a made up target-conflict that is easily resolved by any trained industrial designer and engineer.


This assumption (that there are minimal tradeoffs when optimizing for repairability) has not been my experience in industrial design. Every single product has tradeoffs between size, weight, cost, ruggedness, ease of repair, etc.

I believe Apple didn't set out to make it difficult to repair, it was just a side effect of not caring one way or the other and optimizing for the other aspects.

Personally I buy products that are more repairable even when they're slightly less waterproof or sleek than what Apple offers. But I recognize that the vast majority of consumers do not share my preferences and Apple's products seem to do a fine job of catering to that market segment.

(That's not to say that there aren't valid reasons we might want to force companies to make products repairable just like we already force them to make products safe, just that if we do there will be design tradeoffs involved.)


> I believe Apple didn't set out to make it difficult to repair, it was just a side effect of not caring one way or the other and optimizing for the other aspects.

Apple's efforts with DRM and using IP law to restrict parts supply seem to clearly indicaye a desire and intent to limit the ability to self-repair. While there are legitimate trade-offs to make, it seems obvious to that Apple has made choices that unnecessarily reduced repairability.


Why should Apple allow people to use their trademarks in order to fool people into paying more for “genuine” components. Do you think Louis Rossman was going to tell his customers that, “I know this replacement battery has an Apple logo but I didn’t buy it from Apple.”


I'm not aware of any "fooling" happening, AFAIK, the batteries were genuine batteries and were for products that Apple no longer provided repair services for.

So, yes, Apple should absolutely allow repair shops to source genuine components for products they no longer support. Blocking this is uncontrovertably anti-consumer behavior that boosts Apple's profits while hurting their users and creating more e-waste.


They obviously were not genuine. If they were he would have bought them from Apple.


So if the market already produces that kind of phone (and I assume has good aspects in variables you didn’t mention like reliability, battery life, performance, production costs, etc…) why do we need to force Apple to produce the same? Can’t consumers just buy the phone on the market that already suits their wants?


We don't need to force them. Where did I say I want to force them?

I pointed out that the conundrum of repairability vs. quality is made up, or at least dramatically overstated.

There is currently only one company that I know of that focused on repairability in their phones (Fairphone) and they have a hard time competing on other factors due to the fact that they are tiny.

Now your are going to say that them being tiny means nobody wants repairability. Then I'm going to say that people do, but it's just one aspect and that the phone is lacking in others. Then you are going say that this means you can't build good repairable phones. To which I will say that you can but nobody but one small company is trying. At which point we will be stick in an endless loop.

Truth is, if Apple really wanted the could design their phones in such a way that you could open the back with a couple of screws go replace the battery, but they have no motivation to do so and instead prioritize other aspects. 99% of the industry does the same.


Screw choices are really important when it comes to reliability and production costs. Yes, they could make a couple of screws that the user could remove, but those screws also tend to come loose on their own…

I don’t really buy that apple’s engineers are incompetent, rather they are making a bunch of design decisions and trade offs that make their phones more appealing for consumers to want to buy. Yes, they could make other trade offs.


I never said they are incompetent.

These trade offs are far sampler than what they want people to believe. Apple has the budget and the talent to do it. They don't because they don't want to. //edit: also screws are not the only option, see Pixel 6 which doesn't have screws but still makes it easier to open up the phone.

That's fine and that's their right, but we should call it what it is, and not act like a screw is something impossible to design.


I was referring to

> This is a made up target-conflict that is easily resolved by any trained industrial designer and engineer.

It seems like your first comment was claiming that Apple could easily solve these issues without trade off.


Yes, I think they could. They have the best engineers in the world and incredible amounts of money. The regularly invent new manufacturing techniques to enable their new designs. They often invest heavily in their suppliers to enable them to make the parts they need.

If Apple wanted to they could make an iPhone that people love and has all the features they want and be much easier to repair then the current version.


Apple tried to make the MacBook Pro just a few millimeters thinner and gave us the disastrous, almost-universally-loathed butterfly keyboard. I feel like your view that Apple engineers have massive design margins they are choosing not to exploit is just not real.


Maybe your view that a massive design margins are needed is not real.

Literally the choice of glue can make a huge difference for ease of repair with no impact on the design.


> Can’t consumers just buy the phone on the market that already suits their wants?

It sounds straightforward but actually isn't. In a perfect world with unlimited resources and no dangers of pollution etc it would undoubtedly be a clear yes, but in reality the consequences of all sides have to be evaluated to decide this.


I’m actually suspicious that the phone doesn’t really exist, that some compromise was made by Apple or the other vendor to achieve their design goals. Saving people from themselves is reasonable given socialized environmental costs, but given that the battery makes up much of the phone these days (and Apple thankfully requires them to be returned for proper recycling), what we are trying to save are the higher value but less environmentally expensive components (eg screen, semiconductors).


This is a general argument against all most forms of environmental or safety regulations.

If you believe calls to conscience and market forces alone are insufficient for issues like eWaste then regulation like right to repair is a tool to consider as a society.


That wasn’t the point of parent comment. It was that you could have this all without making trade offs.


>You can design devices that are easy to repair and still waterproof and sleek.

[citation needed]


Lol. Yeah, right. "Any" trained industrial designer?

Why has fucking nobody ever built this fantasy product, then? Because NOBODY has. We've had to listen to 15 years of this whining and NOBODY to date seems to be able to do this supposedly-trivially-easy thing you are talking about.


Because they don't want to.

Also e.g. the Pixel 6 has an element in the display assembly that makes the repair easier + a glue that melts well.

Older iPhones were also easier to open, but their glue gets seems to get more aggressive each year.

The whole access via glued display construction can be fairly easy to work with when the display assembly is done right and they use a glue that melts well.

And sure, the even easier access design around screws is harder to do, but also possible. See the iPhone 6, which used screws and a much weaker glue.


Right. It’s the same here with hacker news people toting how proud they are of their website that only uses 2KB of JavaScript.

A lot of us ignore these people and happy produce websites that use jQuery and have 10MB of JavaScript and have iPhones that are hard to self repair, and live very happy and fulfilling lives.


Some things are still smarter than others.

Before the appearance of the iPhone, regular cellphones had always been consumer-friendly enough so that no maker would ever consider not having an instantly user-replacable battery.

Any further migration toward the anti-reuse/anti-recycling approach so strongly embraced in digital tech by companies like Microsoft would have been immediately rejected.

A battery without user access would be recognized as disposable electronics by design.

People knew that something like that would be a stupid phone, certainly not a smart one.

What made a smart phone smart at the time was its PC-compatibiliy, with regular removable user storage like memory sticks which you can pull out of the phone and plug into your PC to read & write directly. So there was functionally no limit to the internal storage to begin with. And advanced free PC software to owners so they could interface to the phone through its often-unique USB cable or alternatively by Bluetooth, or even earlier IR.

The phone couldn't actually be used as a hotspot itself, but it would get one PC on the internet and the PC could do the rest.

And that was everywhere you could get a simple cell signal, before data plans existed and for years while less-smart phones dependent on data plans were still waiting for the data roll-out nationwide to reach their neck of the woods.


What people want is a low cost third party shop to replace batteries


People have had that for years (including a sub-$100 device to copy the TrueTone ID for the screen and battery info for the battery).

Every small mall I can think of had a kiosk that would do it in an hour while you shopped. (Eastern MA, US.)

I’m just a consumer and have replaced 3 iPhone batteries myself and am doing a 4th later today.


Maybe you could create one, by failing to return the repair kit and forfeiting your $1200 deposit?


People can just buy a Fairphone if they want one with a detachable battery. It is however bulkier, heavier and not waterproof.


I guess it's only bulkier because it's made up of several user-replaceable components.

The Fairphone 2 is a lot smaller and lighter than the FP3, though. My boss has a FP2 and my FP3 is really quite a monster compared to his.

Regarding buying one: Only us Europeans can actually do that since it's not available anywhere else.


No they can't just buy a fair phone. I want one and they are not allowed in my country.


Swappable with the aid of a screwdriver != detachable


My fairphone battery is removable with no screwdrivers whatsoever.


Of course, I was obviously unclear. My point was it is also possible to design a phone which is waterproof, thin etc and also has a battery which is replaceable with a screwdriver. There is a wide margin between "field swappable battery" (which I do actually like, but accept it comes with some compromise) and glued shut like iPhones are. My (unpopular) comment was merely an attempt to point out the false dichotomy; you don't need to buy a FairPhone just to avoid this practice - my Unihertz Titan, an obscure Chinese phone with IP67 waterproofing, has four magnificently large philips-head screws up the edges.


>You know people were swapping batteries long before this was available, right?

Ah, yes. That's the way it's always been done, let's not rock the boat, shall we?

>And that you don’t have to rent the official factory tools?

Wouldn't it be nice if the official mfg'er was a bit more helpful for some subsets of it's customers, though?

>Apple did a great thing by providing this option at a loss to themselves.

Praise Apple, how generous of them! Their profits have really been struggling and they didn't have to take this loss, but they did. Stellar folk.


> It shouldn’t be so complicated. If it makes the phone one mm thicker but you can swap the battery easily without requiring all this equipment, why aren’t we there yet?

Because a non-replaceable battery is a great marketing tool. Dying battery (every three years or sooner) is a powerful force making a customer consider their options including buying a new phone. This alone makes companies design their products deliberately introducing friction to the repair process (even if it their own repair process). Marketing allure is just too tempting to pass by.


> Because a non-replaceable battery is a great marketing tool.

This is exactly why we need laws to prevent this kind of behavior. It’s against the greedy nature of companies and their desire to externalize social costs, the only way to stop this is by making it illegal.


This is a rather narrow view.

Nobody markets the difficulty of repair, they market waterproof phones, that survive being dropped in the sink or toilet or pool, or whatever.

When it comes time to buy a new battery, and the option is a $70 replacement service or 10x that for a new phone, will a $45 manual repair with a screwdriver really drive more people to replace the battery instead of buy a new phone?

The idea that these processes are all driven to make people buy new phones instead of replacing batteries doesn't make much sense to me. The numbers don't really show that.

And when we consider the value of being able to drop a phone in water and not have to replace it, that's pretty damn high and probably saves a ton of phones early compared to the people that were willing to do a $45 battery replacement but not a $70 replacement and instead opt for a new phone entirely.


It's not complicated.

- Go to an Apple Store and have them replace it for you. - Go to a third party repair store at your own risk - Do it yourself in the official Apple recommended way

I'm not sure what people want. It used to be easier until the iPhone 6S, starting from the iPhone 7 in 2017 Apple started gluing the screens to make them waterproof. That's the complicating part. I'm pretty sure 99% of the customers would rather have the phone to be waterproof then easier to repair.

Apple can't win here it seems.


> It shouldn’t be so complicated.

It's not - it's Apple's way of scaring people away from repair.

These tools most likely make it more convenient if you have to open hundreds of phones per day, but for a one-off repair you can get away with a hair dryer and cheap iFixit tools just fine.


Just as the Porsche/Mercedes/BMW service manual is not shy about defining a service procedure that uses the best available tools, I’d expect the Apple service process to spot themselves the best available tools as well.

Shade tree mechanics find a workaround in both cases. If you make a mistake with the shade tree tools, it’s on you, not the manufacturer, which feels fair enough to me.


>>Apple can’t win here

They could by providing open access to parts and tools to independent shops

The "Self Repair" seems to be designed to still be purposely hostile to repair while still "allowing" repair so they can claim they are satisfying the "letter of the law" when it comes to Right to Repair legalization that is going to be passed in many jurisdictions, they are getting out ahead of this right now.

Instead of just allowing a Repair shop to order up 10 Screens, and 10 batteries, owners have to register their repair, then "activate" the repair with Apple, all while using these expensive and time consuming tools that most people will simply not want to do.

IMO this is not Apple changing their tune on repairability, this is Apple being passive aggressive in the face of Right to Repair


At least some of these tools are name brand. For example, the torque screwdrivers are Wera Kraftform Micro ESD pre-set torque screwdrivers. Apple sells them cheaper than anyone else, as far as I can tell—which is quite curious. Surely if you ordered them in bulk you could beat Apple’s prices, but you can’t order a single set of the same screwdrivers for less than what Apple is charging. I’m also told this is the exact same brand Apple itself uses in their stores.

There’s an alternative, though: head to Home Depot and buy and adjustable torque screwdriver for $60. It’ll have the same 10% tolerance rating. It won’t be ESD-safe—but does it really need to be for a one-off home repair? You could find something even cheaper on AliExpress, I’m sure.

Curiously, this program seems like a great deal for repair shops: for a bit over a thousand dollars, they can get the same tooling that Apple’s own stores use. It makes no sense for a consumer to buy or rent these tools from Apple, but a repair shop? $1,200 is a bargain to say you’re using the exact same tooling as Apple.


>but does it really need to be for a one-off home repair?

Again: cue the "Apple provided me with second-class tools that are NOT the ones they used in store and I broke my iPhone" story.

Manufacturers can't possibly satisfy "right to repair" if every single person gets to decide how they want to do the repair, how much compromise they're prepared to take in terms of likely outcome and so on.


Apple can trivially comply with Right To Repair by just selling parts, documentation and any software needed to pair new parts.

They don't have to provide tools, just like car manufacturers don't provide tools when you buy parts.

This repair programme is purely a PR move to maliciously (attempt) to comply with Right to Repair and try to prevent actual regulation all while putting the spotlight on how complicated, dangerous and time-consuming repair to discourage people from ever trying it.


>Apple can trivially comply with Right To Repair by just selling parts, documentation and any software needed to pair new parts.

... which they do! It's $69.00 for the iPhone 13 mini battery or $70.99 for the kit which also includes a replacement display adhesive and a set of spare security screws. In both cases, you can get $24.15 credit when you return your old battery.

You don't have to get the toolkit; you can put together your own tools and do whatever crazy shit you want with a hairdryer or whatever.

Are you seriously saying that Apple's decision to both sell and rent (on what I'm pretty sure must be a loss-making basis) the tools that they themselves use for the repairs is ... malicious?


It's designed to make the process complicated and financially risky. That is the malicious part.


What? Let me get this clear: Apple provides no tools - you are OK with this. Apple provides optional tools, which are the ones they use - this "make[s] the process complicated and financially risky".

Is that what you are saying? Can you walk me through your logic because it's escaping me.

Objectively, it is a risky process to do without the right tools based on feedback from people who have actually done it on a regular basis; ref. the poster upthread here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31457776


My problem with this process is that it's a low-volume, just-in-time system where you have to order the part, do the repair and send back your old part in a limited timeframe otherwise you are overcharged, not to mention the final step of having Apple support pair the new part to your phone to disable the warnings.

It's unnecessarily annoying and admin-heavy. Compare that to just buying a handful of batteries and keeping them "just in case" so you can then do the repair in your own time as needed. I currently do that but have to use grey-market parts as Apple won't sell them to me without the aforementioned restrictions.


I mean, I don't even know what to say, how often do you think consumers are having to replace the batteries in their phones? The idea that people would keep stock on hand is just beyond absurd.

Returning cores for a price rebate is a totally standard industry practice. You apparently get 18 days to initiate the return and Apple gives you a free return label.


I'm not saying people should be keeping stock on-hand. I'm saying that their current system is clearly malicious compliance as all that admin also costs them more, so the only reason I can see is extra annoyance to make self-repair less attractive (and prevent third-party shops from using this program as a source of genuine parts).

> Returning cores for a price rebate is a totally standard industry practice.

Depends for what. A worn down (or outright destroyed, if you screwed up and couldn't get it out intact) battery has zero value beyond its raw materials, which are much less than the cost of shipping it back (the eco-friendly option here is to drop it off at a local recycler which will collect and ship them in bulk).


Browsing https://selfservicerepair.com/home, it seems to me they do more or less exactly that (the parts sometimes are bundled with mounting screws, the manuals assume you have professional tools, and you’ll have to call them to DRM ‘register’ your new part with the other hardware.

I can’t find the requirement to rent this set of tools on that site (disclaimer: I can’t fully emulate a sale, as the site asks for an IMEI, and I don’t have a device for which they sell parts)

So, from my browsing, renting the tools seems optional.


Did you even research the program? Apple’s SSR store will happily sell you the parts without the toolkit if you want to improvise and use the iFixIt method of repair. You are not required to buy or rent any tools when placing an order.


> Did you even research the program?

Yes, I did. I summarized my thoughts on it here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31458161

I still stand by my opinion that this is malicious compliance to prevent formal Right To Repair legislation - not necessarily about the tooling (indeed, optionally providing tooling is a good move) but the fact that besides the problems mentioned in the linked comment, the actual selection of parts is minimal, hopefully for the time being.


> Again: cue the "Apple provided me with second-class tools that are NOT the ones they used in store and I broke my iPhone" story.

Oh, I’m not complaining about the tools. If they didn’t have an ass-backwards policy that could be construed as preventing you from using the tools on anything other than an approved Apple product, I’d have a rental kit shipped to me and just pay the security deposit. Sure, I could buy the tools outright, but then I wouldn’t get the cool cases, and the policy still seems to imply the tools are only to be used for Apple products.

Again, this is great for repair shops. These are great tools at reasonable prices that are meant to last. But y’know what would be even better? Making a battery that you can replace with a fingernail.


this program seems like a great deal for repair shops

Which AFAICT is what Right to Repair is about anyway.


The problem is that Apple intentionally insists that this is the only way to do a repair to scare people away from it - and the media seems to be lapping it up pretty well and spreading it - I wish the article called out their BS right away.

If I had a full-time repair operation going, I'd probably get those tools too. But for a single repair, I can open one with a hair dryer and 20 bucks of iFixit tools faster than it takes to unpack all that kit.


> The problem is that Apple intentionally insists that this is the only way to do a repair to scare people away from it

As they should.

If Apple had instead shipped batteries with instructions for pure DIY repair, we’d be reading an article about “I tried to replace my iPhone battery but I destroyed my iPhone in the process”

And if Apple redesigned the iPhone to be bigger so it could have a separate battery compartment with screw and a big old gasket so users could swap batteries, we’d be reading an article titled “Apple ruins new iPhone design for a feature you don’t need”

Apple did a great thing with this program. That fact that journalists and HN commenters are getting worked up into a frenzy to complain about it is disappointing.

It’s also telling they many people here haven’t worked on car repairs in detail. It’s standard practice for manufacturers to cite specific manufacturer tools as required in the repair manual and want you to pay hundreds or thousands to buy them. And it’s standard practice for DIYers to improvise around it (at their own risk) or purchase cheaper aftermarket custom tools. It would be great news if they offered subsidized tool rental programs like Apple for the repairs.

This whole article and the rage around it is beyond silly.


> If Apple had instead shipped batteries with instructions for pure DIY repair, we’d be reading an article about “I tried to replace my iPhone battery but I destroyed my iPhone in the process”

Is that happening with cars? Because you can trivially walk up to any dealership and buy brake parts.

> It’s standard practice for manufacturers to cite specific manufacturer tools

Normal, cross-manufacturer tools (aka wrenches, sockets, etc) will get you 90% of the way there, and kludgy, one-off hacks with what you have on hand will usually get you the last 10%.

The main problem with regards to Apple and the right to repair is parts availability and intentional restrictions against repair such as part serialization where it still needs Apple to be in the loop to "pair" the part to the new device. Nobody was complaining about the lack of a specific machine to open their iPhone - that problem has been solved already long ago.


> Is that happening with cars? Because you can trivially walk up to any dealership and buy brake parts.

You can buy batteries for Apple phones and DIY the install, too.

This article is the equivalent of someone who doesn’t know anything about cars trying to replace their head gasket and then being shocked that it requires tools to do it and there’s an official procedure with manufacturer recommended adhesives and tools to do it.

If journalists started writing “I tried to rebuild my engine” articles they’d read more or less like this iPhone article.

Modern engineering is complex. Crucifying a company for offering to rent custom tools to work on products is insane. This is a great move by Apple. At this point, the criticisms seem to be more about finding anything to complain about than being productive.


>Crucifying a company for offering to rent custom tools to work on products is insane.

You said it yourself - there are plenty of off-brand options that are far more affordable and easier to obtain that would result in the same fix. So it's insane to me Apple would charge a $1200 deposit and ship shit in pelican cases. They're being willfully obtuse, and it's obvious.


To be fair, it shouldn't be Apple's responsibility to advertise third-party options that they have no way of testing or assuring the quality of.


Serializing parts is another issue, but the author of the original article hardly mentions it or cares. The article, for what it states, is unnecessarily naïve about basic logistics.


> Apple cracked down on unauthorized repairs by throwing warnings or even disabling features if you repair phones with non-“genuine” parts, though it walked some of that back after an outcry. And it put together a contract for indie repair shops that was reportedly so invasive, many refused to sign it.

From the article.


>Is that happening with cars? Because you can trivially walk up to any dealership and buy brake parts.

What is your point here? You can just buy the parts trivially from Apple too.


Not trivially - see my other comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31458161


Your complaint seems to center around the idea that you don’t want to eat a ~$25 core charge to have standing by on the shelf a replacement battery, which is a part that degrades over a period around 20x slower than ground shipping.

As a consumer, why not just order the battery when your battery is down to 80-85% health and it’s about to be convenient to spend a half-hour of quality time with your phone? As repair shop, Apple has already undercut your price to use official supply chain parts, so you’re likely already using the <6RANDOMCAPITALS> branded batteries and the $100 bootleg part programmer.


> As a consumer, why not just order the battery when your battery is down to 80-85% health and it’s about to be convenient to spend a half-hour of quality time with your phone? As repair shop, Apple has already undercut your price to use official supply chain parts, so you’re likely already using the <6CAPITALS> branded batteries and the $100 bootleg part programmer.

In my case self-repair is more about convenience than money. Bootleg parts/tools are still a better experience for me than shipping a phone to Apple for repair or making appointments to the Apple Store and then reinstalling the software on the new phone (twice, if you have to do it on a spare device to use in the interim).

Regarding batteries specifically, I agree, Apple's prices are unbeatable. In my case, my main use-case for self-repair is screens - the batteries are just a bonus because if I'm already in the phone I may as well put a new battery in there. The pricing on screens (including the "core charge") is much higher and makes self-repair more attractive.


> If Apple had instead shipped batteries with instructions for pure DIY repair, we’d be reading ...

Hypothetical. Also they could simply provide the option.

They already don't take any responsibility anyway.

If someone wants to get it done with a high chance of success they already take it to an Apple store, or ship it to Apple.

> This whole article and the rage around it is beyond silly.

Yes and no. The article is mostly just tongue in cheek, trying to capitalize on the cheap shock value of the 79 pounds of tools... but the point it implicitly makes is that "right to repair" is not about tools, it's about repairability, design, serviceability, etc. (Which I think is a bit dumb, because most people don't want this, they want cheap phones every few years. What would be much much much better is to price in the externalities of that. Which would give a fighting chance to a vendor that competes on low externality by serviceability.)


I think apple did win, and the author is manufacturing outrage. Apple loaned him a professional setup to repair his phone. That is completely in line with the Apple customer experience, and gives insight into why they resisted home repair so long.

Apple doesn’t take shortcuts on their hardware. They have a design/experience expectation. Flimsy tools, eyeballing alignment, cheap 3rd party replacement parts. These are all things that significantly increase the likely of degraded quality/experience after a layperson’s self repair.

I think there’s a healthy medium somewhere, but for now, apple expects home repair to done at the same level of service they would do. I’d rather error on the side of quality and robustness myself.


I completely disagree with you. I think the author is right - requiring people to put a $1200 deposit down to rent some tools and sending them 40kg of stuff just to replace the battery is insane and clearly done to discourage repairs, the fact that you have to call their specialists to validate the battery at the end is just a cherry on top of this rotten cake - it's just done to stave off legislators ruling that apple must make their hardware more repairable. It's a token effort at best.


If you read the article, the 40kg of equipment are clearly needed to do the repair.

So now you’re demanding Apple ships you a light bundle of small tools that do the same as that 40kg of tools or otherwise it’s just a “token effort”?

Or you want Apple to design a phone that you could safely repair using only a few small tools? That’s fine too. In that case I’ll just sit here waiting for all the bitching from HN about their new repairable iPhone that is prone to water damage, has shit battery life and creaks when you hold it.


> bitching from HN about their new repairable iPhone that is prone to water damage, has shit battery life and creaks when you hold it.

it's not like we did not have those already :D

bendgate! antennagate! (you're holding it wrong!) and so on.

it seems what repairability is about is using standard parts (screws, batteries), allowing people to buy parts, and allowing people to use the thing in a less than perfect way (eg. with an aftermarket standard part)

of course it's not just Apple that doesn't want this. nobody who is in the business of selling their own hardware wants this, because it would decrease their sales.

and as other comments pointed out right to repair is not repairability.


You can buy just the battery and supply your own equipment (or do it by hand).


Or they and other phone manufacturers could just stop building phones that are purposefully difficult to disassemble or repair.


Apple isn’t making these design choices to inhibit repairs.

The advanced sealing techniques are used for real benefits like water resistance and reduced size, which are a much bigger priority for the average consumer than being able to replace batteries at home.


Waterproof phones with replaceable batteries exist.


Not in the same size they don't.


Or consumers could stop buying phones that can’t be easily disassembled or repaired.


Modern smartphones have a lot of constraints to deal with and still meet consumer demand. People want large displays, all day battery life, no slow downs, fast wireless, and the phone needs to fit in a normal pocket. Oh and the phone should be durable against drops and immersion in water.

A large display, fast processor/GPU, and wireless are all battery hungry components. These require a large battery to not only supply enough amperage but have enough capacity to last more than a few minutes. Batteries heat up when charging and when discharging. Things that heat up need to expand. The electronic components also heat up with usage further complicating the thermals. Vents and fans are untenable in something held in one hand or put in a pocket. The total envelope of the phone is constrained by human hands and pockets.

The modern "sealed" smartphone design exists because it satisfies those constraints. Non-removable batteries can have much thinner outer packaging than removable ones. They don't need to resist drops and punctures and still get underwriting certification. Glued components don't tend to wiggle themselves loose after years of thermal exercise. Glue with more seamless casings increase water resistance and overall durability. Glue also allows for smaller contact surfaces than are possible with screws giving more volume to internal components.

A phone that is easy to disassemble will be much less durable than one that's sealed. In the common case where internal access is never required, the durable phone will be superior to the easy to disassemble one. User serviceable batteries need thicker more durable envelopes which means lower power density than fixed batteries.

Most consumers do not want the easily repaired phone. It's going to require a lot of performance and ergonomic trade offs over the sealed flagship phones. Even if people went for repairable phones en masse it's not like they would stay out of landfills.

Even if screws over glue halved the effort to replace a broken screen the component cost wouldn't change. So a repair might be a few tens percent cheaper to perform. Even passing the savings on to a customer, it's still likely someone with a broken screen or whatever phone-ending damage would just buy a new phone.


> People want large displays

That's not clear. "Larger display" is easy and obvious from a marketing standpoint. But it's not clear that buyers are benefiting from them.

I can, in fact, point to the Galaxy Tab S8 as an example. My wife wanted AMOLED for the display, but that forces the 12.4" display (or bigger) which my wife didn't really want.

Manufacturers like Samsung and Apple are delivering what is convenient for the manufacturers--what the consumer actually wants is a second level consideration.


> Manufacturers like Samsung and Apple are delivering what is convenient for the manufacturers--what the consumer actually wants is a second level consideration.

Apple and Samsung manufacture hundreds of millions of devices per quarter. They have to optimize for the manufacture of devices. They couldn't achieve their production volume without some manufacturing-friendly concessions. It is extremely difficult to manufacture hundreds of millions of complex things.

There's 31.5m seconds in a year. If it took one second to build an iPhone, Apple could only manufacture 31.5m of them. To meet the demand for hundreds of millions in a year Apple needs to build half a dozen per second. So shaving a half second off manufacturing time by using glue instead of screws is not just a consumer durability win but simply enables their production at the necessary rates.

But to suggest that manufacturing needs override consumer demands is just silly. There's no need to produce hundreds of millions of devices without consumer demand. I don't see how you can suggest Apple and Samsung produce only convenient to manufacture phones when both are offering incredibly complex devices. If they were only interested in devices that were convenient to manufacture they'd but the BOM by a third, source only the shittiest quality screens with huge defect rates, and allow the sloppiest fit and finish while still shipping something that didn't immediately fall apart or explode.

Both companies (and many other manufacturers) are shipping tens of millions of extremely high precision manufacture and high complexity devices festooned with gewgaws and features. There's nothing easy about their manufacture. They're selling features first and then figuring out how to manufacture them at scale.


Consumers don't know any better. Someone has to explain the problem to them first.


Ah, the old "let me tell you what you want" ... arrogant much?


More like "let me tell you what I want" lol


If only thing were that easy.


By the way. The tools this guy used are common, dead-common in China. Go to any repair mall in Shenzhen and you’ll see hundreds of these.

This is an issue with hobbyist electronics projects in the US. The US hobbyist market is still using 1970s packaging technology - 0.10 inch pin spacing, solderless proto boards, and through-hole parts. I designed a hobbyist board that was all surface mount. Smallest parts were 0.5mm pitch. Although a few people built it, I got a lot of complaints. Surface mount is beyond most American hobbyists. Even though 0.10 inch through-hole is obsolete commercially, and modern parts come in surface mount only.

That said, Apple's aesthetic inherently makes things hard to open. Glass on both sides and minimal bezel is what Apple fans pay for. It forces a heat and suction disassembly process, which requires proper tooling to do right.


This was quite a wakeup call for me too. I was always into hobby electronics but a couple of years ago I got into multicopters. A _lot_ of parts were these tiny SMDs. I remember having to figure out how to attach FETs and even (once) a little BGA microprocessor. It was a very steep learning curve and nobody else in the hobby scene here had really done anything with it, so it was a lot of trial and error. Industry has moved on, there are so many things now that are practically out of reach for hobbyists nowadays :/


nobody else in the hobby scene here had really done anything with it

Sparkfun has tutorials.[1]

There are surface mount practice kits, where you get a little board and a bunch of dud parts to practice on. It's not all that hard, but it takes practice. It takes a while to get skill with tweezers under a microscope. Cheap USB microscopes are very useful. Figure on ruining a few of those cheap practice kits.

It's not rocket science, but to do consistently good assembly you need the right tools and some reasonable hand tool skills.

[1] https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/category/2


Ah, no, I was more referencing my local community. We have a fairly vibrant electronics DIY community but the technical skill caps out at around SMD stuff. Thankfully though while the community is largely stuck in the 70s, we aren't actually stuck in the 70s and have the internet to try and figure things out.


We have a fairly vibrant electronics DIY community but the technical skill caps out at around SMD stuff.

I had that experience in the heyday of TechShop. Which I felt was embarrassing for Silicon Valley. Not enough people making stuff.


I especially liked the line mocking the instruction to have sand available if the battery catches on fire. That’s a good idea.


Yeah. Anyone who spends long enough at an RC car track will witness a battery fire. When I used to race it was ripe with people saving money by buying cheap chargers and batteries, charging things too fast, running motors that pulled too much current for the support hardware, and failing to balance cells. Thankfully sand will save you! The car is usually roasted though.


Did you even read the article? The author doesn't complaint about the tools other than the $1200 you will loose if you don't return them within 7 days. Your comment comes across as more disingenuous.


That box of tools reminds me of the engineering teardown of the Juicero: https://blog.bolt.io/juicero/


Its the verge, its a joke now. They have one article lately and its “tech company bad”.

They basically pander to people who want to think they know about tech but aren’t in tech and likely couldn’t make it in tech. Feels like a bunch of bitterness and copium. I just ignore them now but miss their old good tech coverage.


Totally agree. If Apple is paying to ship everything and the kitchen sink both ways, then cool! I have repaired of my iPhones for myself, friends, and family with the dinky $50 kits you can get on Amazon, and man I'd love to have the "one-armed bandit" shown in the article. (Imagine the look of horror on my dad's face when after sealing up his iPhone and testing it I said "Wow, I actually managed not to brick it this time!")

For better or worse, Apple clearly didn't design the iPhone with consumer repairability in mind. We can debate to what degree this is intentional evil vs. design/cost necessity, but at least its cool that they're shipping their repair workbench as bulk as it may be.


>Apple can’t win here

I would argue in their views they did. Apple did the calculation and understand people who actually want to repair their phone are not even a rounding error in their ~1.1B Active iPhone users. Showcasing their Professional Tools to the press, making it sound difficult is precisely how the public could justify the $69 Battery swap. And this article did precisely that.

Right to Repair folks might view this as bad press for Apple. I think Apple's PR knew exactly what they are getting into.


Sympathy for Apple or not, the issue is that this proposed solution by Apple obviously isn't scalable.

So if the solution the problem isn't scalable, is it really a solution?

And if Apple, a company renowned for their uncanny ability to identify novel, game-changing solutions to problems produces this as their 'solution' can you honestly say that they gave it their all on this one?

Apple can't win here if they don't try.


They’ll get to find out if it’s scalable with this iteration of their repair program. It’s quite likely that only a small fraction of people will be interested in self-service repair, but if that assumption turns out to be false Apple would have to design another iteration of the process to improve accessibility.


> Apple can’t win here.

This assumes iPhones just happen to be the way they are. The need of this extravagant display is because of how iPhones were engineered in the first place.

They were engineered to be hard to repair, that's the whole point.

Apple and any other company need to stop making products that are hard to repair, they need to be forced to do so otherwise they will most likely never do it willingly.


>They were engineered to be hard to repair, that's the whole point.

This doesn’t make sense for two reasons.

(1)Apple is on the hook to repair iPhones under AppleCare+ warranties. This means “engineering for hard to repair” goes against their own interests.

(2) The fellows in Shenzhen, Guangzho, Shanghai, and Hong Kong have no problem repairing all kinds of damage to iPhones for <$20 USD. So if Apple is designing these to be difficult to repair it they are doing a terrible job.


Furthermore, according to Apple technicians, these are the actual tools they have always used every day in Apple stores, but the author is framing it as though Apple went out of their way to make difficult tools for consumers - by giving them exactly what they were asking for, the actual tools.

The author complains that after renting the tools and buying the battery, it’s more expensive than having Apple do it. So? Is Apple supposed to ship $1200 in tools to you for free without a hold (incentivizing theft), or sell parts for cheaper than they sell them to their own stores (the prices are the same as to their stores and service providers)? Repairing anything is expensive if you don’t have the tools or don’t want to buy the tools and reuse them.

iFixIt should (frankly) denounce the article as it will almost certainly be used by Apple in a future court case to argue that Right To Repair activists are “extreme.”


> by giving them exactly what they were asking for, the actual tools.

When it comes to Apple devices, the "tools" that DIY repairmen want are the schematics, software to provision new parts (ideally there wouldn't be a need for this to begin with) and proprietary parts that can't be bought elsewhere.

When it comes to opening the phones, there's nothing particularly complex about this and third-parties have figured it out already, all the way down to the proprietary screwdrivers.


Right, but that’s not what the author of the article is complaining about. Instead, the author is complaining about the (shockingly reasonable and probably a loss leader) tool rental cost, complains about the part cost (even though it is the same cost service providers pay, and the author does not mention the ~$25 recycling refund to deliberately make it look worse than it is).

Apple is totally going to use this in a future court case to argue Right to Repair people will never be satisfied unless the tools fit in a pocket, had free shipping and returns, the part is 50% off, and there are no credit card holds on the tools. (The authors comparison to how car rentals don’t require a full value hold is absurd because a thing called Car Rental Insurance exists.) The author wouldn’t be happy with anything else.


I would have somewhat agree with you except for the point that you have to give apple freaking remote access to the phone because the replacement battery shows up as nongenuine. That right there tells me that apple is trying to make the process as painful as possible.


Completely agree

They got two suitcases of top of the line tools for iPhone repair. Make use of it


Of course they can win, by designing hardware with replaceable components. This is something my 20 year old Thinkpad has figured out, and many other user-friendly products before it.


Here’s the video showing how to disassemble a modern Thinkpad to replace the battery. You might notice that it looks a fair bit like the video to replace the battery on a modern phone: https://youtu.be/lpMGVM8lPTU&t=1m10s

(Also interesting that it doesn't appear that Lenovo even sells the battery [though several 3rd party suppliers do]: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/d/compatibilityfinder?accessory... )


Modern Thinkpads have succumbed to the same trend, sadly. My new X1 Carbon has soldered-on, non-replaceable RAM - gotta hate it.


Apple has a very easy way to win here. If they take repairability into account while designing phones, such that repairs can be made using commonly available tools, then this entire situation can be avoided. This is especially the case for parts that have predictable degradation over time, such as batteries.

If Apple backs itself into a corner, it doesn't get to complain about having no longer having reasonable options remaining.


If it was this simple, the other manufacturers would be doing this. But it is not this simple. If the device can open easily using basic tools, it can’t be thin, light and waterproof.

But anyway, I didn’t hear Apple ‘complaining about having no longer having reasonable options remaining’. I heard you complaining about Apple providing the tools and parts required to repair their phones.


For all the stupid things that apple does to their devices, they can surely find a way to remove a cover. The truth is that almost every phone manufacturer would rather your phone reach end of life so that you can take a mini loan for another one.


You sound like one of those people complaining about the Steve Jobs reality distortion field, while you are also demanding Apple distorts the fabric of reality so they can create devices that meet your demands. Because without that, you can’t build a device with an easy way to remove its cover, while also making it thin, light and waterproof (and cheap, preferably).

If ‘almost every manufacturer’ is in some kind of conspiracy of manufactured obsolescence, that implies there are ones that are not. So go buy one of their phones. But chances are they are heavy, bulky and not waterproof.


You lost me at reality distortion field honestly.


There’s also very little chance that those tools cost only $1200. If they were knockoffs from China then maybe, but just the two pelican cases can cost as much as that depending on the model


Uh these machines come straight from shenzhen


But they are not knockoffs.


Are they dead common for consumers? I wouldn’t be surprised that business owner tooling they needed to run, that’s outside the budget for most consumers


Yes, dead common for consumers, but consumers don’t really buy them because there are places that do the repairs so cheaply everywhere.


> Does he actually want to repair his phone? It doesn’t seem like it.

Does Apple really want to support right to repair?

Or is this some baked-in-irony workaround that lets them legally _say_ they allow anyone to repair their phones, while offering what is the least consumer centric service I have ever seen from a company of this caliber.

I think you missed the point of the article, which is to show how ridiculous this process is on the whole.


> Apple can’t win here.

They can, very easily. Just don't be hostile to your users when designing the phone. Look at Nokia circa 2005.


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