Search My Blog

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Pentalobe Screw, And Apple's War Against Self-Repair : TreeHugger

The Pentalobe Screw, And Apple's War Against Self-Repair

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 01.21.11
Design & Architecture

pentalobe screw shape image
Image Credit iFixit

Consumerist tells us that Apple is switching to a special new screw called by some a Pentalobe, by iFixit an "Evil Proprietary Tamper Proof Five Point Screw" (or the EPTP5PS). It is designed to make it impossible for anyone but Apple to service your iPhone or computer. Consumerist also notes that if you take your iPhone in for repairs, they will replace all the screws with the EPTP5PS.

Now I love my mac and my ancient ipod, but I also love Matt Bremner and all the aftermarket repair people who provide fast and convenient service. So I will tell herein a cautionary tale about what happens when you get all proprietary about screws.

peter robinson image
Image credit Library and Archives Canada

In 1906 a travelling salesman, Peter Robinson of Milton, Ontario, Canada cut his hand when a slot screwdriver he was demonstrating slipped. He went off to the shop and came up with a screw with a square socket in it, that almost never slipped. He was modest about it, saying "This is considered by many as the biggest little invention of the twentieth century so far."

Bruce Ricketts wrote about it in Mysteries of Canada:

The Robertson socket head screw soared in popularity. Craftsmen favoured it because it was self-centring and could be driven with one hand. Industry came to rely on it for the way it reduced product damage and sped up production. The Fisher Body Company, which made wooden bodies in Canada for Ford cars, used four to six gross of Robertson screws in the bodywork of the Model T and eventually Robertson produced socket screws for metal for the metal bodied Model A.

But wait. If the square screw was superior, why do you not find them outside of Canada? Why, if Ford thought it was good enough for his Model A, was it not good enough for the rest of the world?

screw history image


iPhone 4 Liberation Kit @ $9.95

Product code: IF182-019-1

click image to zoom


Apple has decided only they have the right to repair your phone, and have installed special screws on the iPhone 4 to keep you locked out of your own device.

At iFixit we believe that we have the right:

  • To open and repair our things without voiding the warranty.
  • To devices that can be opened.
  • To choose our own repair technician.
  • To repair things in the privacy of our own homes.
  • To replace any and all consumables ourselves.
  • To hardware that doesn't require proprietary tools to repair.
  • To available, reasonably priced service parts.

This kit includes a special driver to remove Apple's proprietary Pentalobular screws, a new pair of Phillips #00 screws, and a #00 Phillips screwdriver to install them.

Go there and see Video at Bottom of Page...


No comments: