rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Apple is out to screw you

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Apple Computers, already well known for crushing end user freedom on their devices, has hit a new low.

According to this blog post on iFixit.com, Apple has begun replacing the standard "Phillips" screws on the cases of new iPhone 4's sold in the U.S. with "Pentalobe" screws.   They've apparently already done this to iPhones sold in many parts of the world.

As well, if you happen to take your iPhone to an Apple dealer for repair, you will find that Apple techs are replacing the standard Phillips screws with these "Pentalobe" screws.   Similar screws are also being used on the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.

Do you happen to have a Pentalobe screw driver handy?   No?   Neither does anyone else except for maybe the folks at your local Apple store.

Now you might just be petrified of opening up your iPhone to fix a problem yourself.   That's okay.

But many folks are "do it yourselfers" (DIY'ers) or might be particularly skilled with electronics and want to hack their hardware.    Afterall, it's your device and you should be able to do whatever you want to do with it as long as it isn't dangerous or likely to injure someone.

But increasingly, manufacturers of electronic gadgets are looking for ways to restrict what you can and can't do with your devices.   You are no longer the owner of a device, but instead a tenant.

I come from a very different tradition when it comes to electronic devices.   I've been a licensed ham radio operator for over two decades.   When I purchase a ham radio transceiver (transmitter/receiver), it comes not only with an instruction manual, but with a detailed schematic diagram of every single component used in the device.

The manufacturer expects that I might some day want to do a modification to my radio, do a repair on my own or that I might want to get a particularly skilled friend to do something for me.   They wouldn't dare try to lock me out of my radio's innards.

But with Apple and many other device makers, it's a different story.

Fortunately the folks at iFixit have come up with a work around and sell an "iPhone Liberation Kit" for ten bucks on their site.   It allows you to remove the "Pentalobe" screws and put back the good old-fashioned "Phillips" screws.

Despite this problem, the folks at iFixit like their Apple devices.   Me, I'll take a pass.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.