Other World Computing, the de facto after market iMac upgrade retailer and servicer, is reporting they are unable to replace the main hard disk in the recently released iMacs.
This sucks. A lot.
Apple has become increasingly unfriendly toward the do-it-yourself community over the years. While the iMac and other all-in-one devices aren't inherently designed to be tinkered with, I always held solace in the fact I could replace my hard drive if it ever died. I could add ram. Maybe even sneak in a SSD in the extra drive bay (which you can still do). However, these dreams with the new iMacs are crushed.
Before, Apple limited the ability to change hard drives by using its own specific thermal sensor cable connected to drives that featured internal temperature sensing. Drives could be replaced, but users were relegated to replacing Seagate drives with larger Seagate drives and Western Digital drives with larger WD drives etc.
However, according to OWC, Apple has moved from a common 4-pin SATA power connector to a 7-pin configuration with hard drive temperature being controlled by a combination of the cable and Apple's proprietary firmware on the drive itself.
From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).
Despite this tomfoolery the iMacs can still take advantage of OWC's Turnkey Upgrade Program. Users will only be able to add an additional SSD in open drive bay within the 27" iMac's casing. Still, for users to be forced to take a 27" iMac to an Apple Store or accredited service provider all because a hard drive fails, is overly restrictive.
Hard drives fail. I've had three fail on me. I replaced them. Even if it is a pain to do, I'd at least like the option to be able to upgrade or fix my system without Lord Jobs' approval.
Hopefully a workaround is figured out soon.