[CS-FSLUG] How Apple makes products difficult -- and expensive -- to repair

Tim Young Tim.Young at LightSys.org
Sat Nov 3 11:03:48 CDT 2012

Heh heh.  As a missionary, I have also pulled apart a lot of stuff to 
fix.  I am sure I am nowhere near as experienced in field repair as 
David McMullen is,  but I do know a bit about pulling things apart 
and fixing it.

I think the key to the complaint is that they are talking about 
"devices."  When I am pulling apart a cellphone or mp3 player, the 
more "device-like" they are, the more they are designed to be thrown 
away.  Most computers, on the other hand, are designed for longer 
lifetimes and more upgrade potential.

If you look at netbooks, you will find that a surprising number of 
them are non upgradable.  Usually the drive is removable in some 
manner or other, but lots of them have the RAM soldered into them. 
This is just one of the many issues I have with the current trend 
towards device-ifying the workplace.  The BYOD (Bring Your Own 
Device) philosophy that many organizations are stepping into, where 
people bring their own iPad, netbook, or whatever, and plug it into 
the corporate network, has so many issues with it.  I think it is a 
place that the workforce will go to for a bit, but hopefully quickly 
revert back from.

Anyway... Getting off the old soapbox...

It is not just Apple who does this.  Most "devices" are being made to 
be a lot less repairable, simply because it is often much more 
expensive overall to make them that way.  The vendors for many of 
these things would prefer that the device be replaced every year or 
so instead of remaining around for 5 or 6 years.  I have some 
household appliances that my grandfather left for me when he died. 
Some of these things are 25+ years old and are still going strong.

I can see both sides.  A 25-year old cellphone would be, what, the 
size of a shoe-box?  I helped someone upgrade their DSL connection 
from a 128k modem to a 1.5MB connection.  Yes, 128K.  The phone 
company was trying to figure out how to force the upgrade because 
they only had one techie who was old enough to know how to maintain 
the equipment needed to keep that old monster running.  The 
organization was spending over $120 a month for their connection, and 
upgrading them to 1.5 MB cost them $50 a month because it was using 
main-stream equipment  / functionality.

Anyway.  It is not just Apple.  Most vendors do it in one form or 
other, especially on the "devices".  :)

On 11/2/2012 8:32 PM, Fred A. Miller wrote:
> How Apple makes products difficult -- and expensive -- to repair 
> <http://ct.zdnet.com/clicks?t=1157373632-f09aff1f3240c763b781087d83996fa3-bf&brand=ZDNET&s=5>
> Gallery: In recent years, Apple has attracted a lot of criticism 
> for making devices that are difficult to repair, and complicated to 
> recycle. Let's take a look at why.
> <http://ct.zdnet.com/clicks?t=1157373633-f09aff1f3240c763b781087d83996fa3-bf&brand=ZDNET&s=5> 
> -- 
> Socialism is to communism as seduction is to rape. -- George Putnam.
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