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  • Apple Rumored to be Testing New Asymmetric Screw


    A recent rumor has been spotted on Reddit indicating that Apple may be in the works of getting asymmetric screws for their devices to keep users out. Citing Cult of Mac, the rumor comes from a leaked e-mail that supposedly came from Apple's design department in Cupertino, CA. The screw, pictured above, has a completely bizarre head pattern that will render most, if not all, known screwdrivers useless in attempting to remove the screw by the end user.

    Apple is known for trying to minimize the amount of user access to the internals of their devices. Apple switched from Phillips screws to Pentalobe screws on some of their devices to help with keeping people out (images by iFixit):



    Why would Apple be trying so hard to keep people out of their devices? – Keeping people out of their devices means less accidents are likely to happen and this means Apple won’t have to replace as many devices. Other explanations go as far as claiming that the company just likes to control everything, leaving to the user to cope with this control.

    For the average Apple device user, it probably won’t make much difference what kind of screw the company decides to go with. Apple sells a whole lot more mobile devices than computers and there really isn't much room in Apple's mobile devices to make modifications.

    Apple's newer computers on the other hand, are switching from removable hardware to permanent hardware. The MacBook Air has custom storage, which can't be upgraded by the end user. The MacBook Pro with retina display has custom memory and custom storage, which cannot be upgraded or replaced by industry-standard hardware, so being able to open the device wouldn't offer much freedom to the end user in terms of non-mobile devices either.

    Although there wouldn’t be any existing screwdrivers made for this particular kind of screw, it seems like a long shot trying to use it in their devices, as third party companies will likely develop third party accessories capable of removing the screws and make these tools available to the public.

    Sources: Cult of Mac
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Rumored to be Testing New Asymmetric Screw started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. iRevival's Avatar
      iRevival -
      I don't see the point. If they do release their new devices with these screws there will be tools to remove them within a month. Also, judging from the picture, I could use several different screwdrivers to remove that screw lol.
    1. Orby's Avatar
      Orby -
      I just can't see the point in Apple making a super-special screw that's asymmetric and supposedly be incredibly difficult to remove... and yet still be mass-produced and easily accessible by Apple.

      Those two goals are totally incompatible--in order for the device to be accessible to Apple, it will by definition be accessible to customers with the same (or improvised) tools.

      I just hope Apple doesn't take things to an extreme and start gluing the iPhones together like they glue other iDevices.
    1. Kioes's Avatar
      Kioes -
      So your girlfriends easy? nice to know hahaha

      And, someone would develop a screwdriver or one will leak out of apple for develpment of them anyway, so oh well.
    1. cpotoso's Avatar
      cpotoso -
      Quote Originally Posted by ramicio View Post
      Like I said, if this is an Apple design, it will likely be patented and it will be illegal for anyone to make the bits. China will also enforce such idiocy for Apple because they will likely pay off China to do so.
      You do not know a thing about the law, do you? It is explicitly legal to copy things to allow interoperability and other compatibility issues. Hence, if you make a device that is meant to open the iphone, it is legal to copy.
    1. Caspercronz's Avatar
      Caspercronz -
      if that image is right it shows 2 groves parallel to each other just enough to get a Flathead screwdriver in i think
    1. iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
      iLoveWindows&iPhone -
      I love Apple, and their products.....But god I HATE stuff like this! I hate the (Apple) philosophy that the customer is to stupid to open the device that they own, or do anything to their phone for that matter which Apple doesn't approve. It sucks, it really does.

      If technology continues down this path....I see a BORING, bleak future ahead for any kind of modders, tweakers, creators, etc. We will be able to do what is ALLOWED....nothing more.

      Just relax Apple!! We love you, we aren't going anywhere, we will pay whatever amount of money you put on the price tag....Alls we ask is that you let us own what we buy...completely.
    1. bonum83's Avatar
      bonum83 -
      Quote Originally Posted by LearningMan View Post
      I wish them the best of luck in developing a screw someone can't develop a way to turn. Sounds like somebody at Apple need to get a real job.
      Um... Designing for apple isn't a real job? Damn.. What do you do for a living?? Blog???
    1. RyoSaeba's Avatar
      RyoSaeba -
      The only thing that'll potentially keep user's out is fill the thing with superglue once it's assembled and glue the whole damn thing down. Or simply replace those 2 screws with rivets.

      I don't think it's a problem with modding your device. It is people who tries to mod something, then breaks something, then tries to get it fix under warranty. Or what if the user replaces the headphone jack, but didn't do a good job and somehow short circuit the battery and it burns a hold in their pants? Then they'll sue apple for millions for something the user did. And yes, you can still sue them if a device is out of warranty. These are the main problems I can think of.
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      Wow..so much for modding haha! ModMyi going under after this screw is introduced? :]
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      Quote Originally Posted by cpotoso View Post
      You do not know a thing about the law, do you? It is explicitly legal to copy things to allow interoperability and other compatibility issues. Hence, if you make a device that is meant to open the iphone, it is legal to copy.
      Ah, no, it is not 'explicitly legal to copy things to allow interoperability and other compatibility issues'.

      Where did you study law?

      You can copy things in the public domain. You can copy things you are licensed to copy. If you want to make something with a USB connection, you pay the USB-IF $2000 and get a vendor ID. Just because something is ubiquitous doesn't mean it's free to use.

      Having said that, I would agree with Kyle Wiens at iFixit that the threads don't look right and the pattern on the head looks way too complicated to support the torque needed without slipping and grinding. They could create a new head, but that doesn't look practical. If Apple were to do something like this (and it wouldn't surprise me), unlicensed tools will be found.
    1. daviedave's Avatar
      daviedave -
      Mods need to relax

      Quote Originally Posted by imnothardcore View Post
      Mod edit

      ...

      bits will be made no china company will give a crap. Do you understand how much bootleg stuff comes out of china? from clothing to beats headphones to just about anything else you can imagine. It cant and wont be stopped by anyone or any amount of money ever. Who would Apple even pay the chinese government?.. Im sure they would care to enforce something so stupid ... spoiler alert: NO
    1. ramicio's Avatar
      ramicio -
      Quote Originally Posted by imnothardcore View Post
      Mod edit
      bits will be made no china company will give a crap. Do you understand how much bootleg stuff comes out of china? from clothing to beats headphones to just about anything else you can imagine. It cant and wont be stopped by anyone or any amount of money ever. Who would Apple even pay the chinese government?.. Im sure they would care to enforce something so stupid ... spoiler alert: NO
      WTF is mod edit?

      I don't understand law? Of course I do. I don't like it, but I know how it works in all of its greyness. I follow the common sense path and would probably be called all sorts of things ranging from a criminal to a pirate. As long as I don't hurt someone or their property, I should be allowed to do whatever the hell I want in this world. I "steal" music, movies, and TV shows. I evade taxes (financial slavery) as much as possible. When I finally feel like my life is in direct danger from this oppressive new world order I will likely buy a gun "illegally" and not register it or ask permission for my right to own and carry a weapon.

      Yes, the Chinese government does enforce such things. They are just as insane about customs as the US is. They don't come down on your basic bootleg stuff because they aren't paid off to do so. Bootleg stuff is also not a literal copy. Screw heads are VERY protected by patents, and globally. Apple is a large part of China's economy so they will indeed come down on people with their hammer and sickle.

      As for another retard talking to me about not knowing the law. This has nothing to do with interoperability and whatever other crap you spoke of. The design of the bit would be patented and a company could not make and sell them without Apple's permission (royalties). It's why OSes don't come with a lot of media features and the OS companies end up making their own codecs. Microsoft has WMA and WMV/VC1. Apple chose to pay royalties to MPEG for h.264 and AAC. They still have their own container and their own lossless audio format.

      Just look at how they took down that person who made that illuminated apple.
    1. RyoSaeba's Avatar
      RyoSaeba -
      Just use this and be done with it.

      Attachment 605646