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Apple is frequently taken to task for its design choices, many of which revolve around the battery. For years, the naysayers were irritated that Apple's iPods and iPhones, for example, didn't have user-replaceable batteries. Worse yet, you couldn't swap in a new battery while on the go if you ran out of juice. Then Apple took away the removable batteries in its MacBook line, favoring instead to glue them inside to the cool, new unibody aluminum frames. And each time Apple squishes a product to an insane new level of thinness, we lose some tinkering option or ability.
I am neither smart enough nor stupid enough to attempt to repair my Mac myself, so I take it to the Apple Store. Everything that iFixit complains about are advantages for me. For example, I don't want to replace my battery, and I don't even need to, because it will last the life of the computer. If I drop it, the nonexistent cover won't pop off, the battery won't fall out, and no little tab will get bent so I can't put it back together. I don't want it to be easy to open my Mac. In fact, I'd like it to be impossible.
Long ago, in the Altair days, a soldering iron was an indispensable computer accessory. Computers were easy to fix, but it was also easy to botch the repair, too. Computers have gone the same path as cars. The Model T was so repairable that you had to be an amateur mechanic to drive one. Cars of the 1950s were easy for enthusiasts to repair. Today most repairs are impossible for the average person.
Computers are appliances these days. Speaking of appliances, has iFixit torn down a blender or a toaster to see how "repairable" it is by the owner? Would the owner even care about their findings?
I'm sorry, iFixit, but yesterday's gadgets are today's appliances. Yes, you can't tinker with the innards of a computer as easily as in the days of the S-100 bus. Macs are very repairable. Just take them to the Apple Store. They just aren't very tinkerable.
Am I upset that I can't botch a repair to my Mac? Am I upset that iFixit can't fix Macs any more?
Answer to this - iPod Classic. Mine finally died. The battery is, in theory, replaceable, but the connector you need to jimmy to attach it is a) odd, b) hard to get to seat right, and, I found out, bloody damned easy to break. Result = I bought a new iPod Classic, and the old one is sitting where I left it, battery-less, until/unless I can bloody one day figure out a way to reattach a new clip thing to it, so I can install the replacement battery I bought for it.
Sorry, but, some of us don't want to bloody pay several hundred for a hand held device, which doesn't have a life time warranty of any sort, and/or worse, thousands. Now... If it was, say, a Kindle, I could, if still under warranty, or the problem was a defect, or clear failure, not user error, a) have them send me a new one, b) have them actually activate it, giving immediate access to everything I bought, c) If it was PDF, or other "free" formats, I wouldn't need to have the damn thing tell me, "Sorry, this computer doesn't contain that profile, you are SOL!", with my own content (like from CDs), and d) they only charge me for the replacement *if* I don't send back the broken one.
Not everyone has a bloody Apple store near them. And, for those of us that don't.. this sort of nonsense, especially the absurd, "That profile isn't one this computer, so you can't sync this device.", BS, is not acceptable (old comp had a failure, so a) I haven't yet gotten everything off it, and b) they don't give you a way to transfer profiles). I can only imagine, from this article, how many things might be worse, if it was a full computer, not just an MP3 player.
Reliable is possible, without making things unrepairable. Maybe not without them being expensive too, but then, they charge more than any other company on the damn market as it is, so.. I don't see where the problem is there...
Thanks for sharing. Great point about the toaster -- except then I thought that toasters are pretty cheap and relatively easy to recycle or dispose of without any nasty chemicals. What about a washing machine? I might attempt to repair one myself if there was enough information available for my particular model, but I doubt there is. So, how about a microwave? I don't cross my legs when I use one, but no way I'd try to crack open the case to fix a microwave.
Cost and value, though, come into play with my decision making. I hate to throw away a perfectly usable device, particularly one that's great for playing music in the garage. My old iPhone 3G? I snap that puppy into a Magellan GPS case/battery and attach it to my motorcycle to use the GPS maps and speedometer. One of these days I might crack it open to replace the battery. Why? I'm not willing to shell out for a dedicated GPS unit for my bike.
A close friend just broke the glass on the back of her iPhone 4S . . . she doesn't want to take or send it in to have it repaired professionally. Fortunately for this one, it's a common enough problem that there are solutions available. I appreciate this fact and so many people posting solutions for it online.
I want my products to be durable first and foremost and last for a really long time. And then I also want to be able to extend their usefulness through upgrades or repair. I'm a needy consumer, I know it. But it all comes back to your Model T metaphor: should I buy a relatively new pickup that I can't repair myself . . . or an old dirt-simple Ford that's a noisy, gas-guzzling rattletrap that I can fix in a dark garage?
I tend to invest in things that I believe will last and then take care of them. Speaking of which, I've got 8 years and hundreds of miles on my Vasque hiking boots . . . and the only repair I could actually do myself on those is new laces.