Oh my, oh dear. Apple fans and iPhone junkies, I have some bad news for you. That innovative, fun company we’ve all been throwing money at for the past few years has recently made some very evil moves that directly affect YOU.
1. Planned Failure sticks it to your wallet.
Yesterday, iFixit posted a discussion of Apple’s continued use of lithium-ion batteries. They work great, for a while. Then they lose their juice and need to be replaced, after about one year.
Until the iPhone, you could buy your own battery for $20 or so, and replace it. Now, you can’t do it yourself. You have to pay Apple $85.95 and let them erase your iPhone’s memory… or else buy a new iPhone.
“Imagine if rather than shipping inkjet printers with replaceable ink cartridges, HP forced you to buy a new printer every 400 pages. Or if Ford told you to buy a new car after 40,000 miles rather than replacing the brake pads! We would never tolerate such wasteful engineering—and yet somehow Apple has suckered us all into an involuntary annual upgrade cycle.” – Kyle @ iFixit
The current iPod Shuffle is almost impossible to repair, and it costs more to have Apple replace the battery than it does to buy a new Shuffle.
Want to attempt to replace the battery yourself? IFixit will sell you the tools, but even that’s expensive. And soon, those tools will be obsolete. Read on:
2. Putting the screws to you and you and you
In a move that iFixit calls “diabolical,” Apple is replacing the screws on iPhones and Macbooks with the “Evil Proprietary Tamper Proof Five Point Screw.” Also known as the “pentalobe.”
“This screw head is new to us. In fact, there isn’t a single reputable supplier that sells exactly the same screwdrivers Apple’s technicians use—which is Apple’s point. They picked an obscure head that no one would have.” – Kyle @ iFixit
According to iFixit, these screws are only being used on the outer shell; inside, it’s good ol’ Phillips. That means their only purpose is to keep you out of your hardware. Worse, if your iPhone is non-pentalobe, Apple will replace the screws after you take it in for repairs.
Treehugger analyzes this move in The Pentalobe Screw, and Apple’s War Against Self-Repair. Author Lloyd Alter compares this to another screw story—the square Robertson screw, which failed because its inventor and Henry Ford both wanted to own the rights to it. In the end, nobody won.
Same goes with Apple: iFixit is already offering $10 drivers for the Evil Pentalobe. The only result of this move will be to anger and alienate users.
But hey, at least they’re not poisoning and killing people—oh wait.
3. Dirty touch
Two days ago, 36 Chinese environmental groups sued Apple. Why? “Failing to address concerns over pollution and worker health issues” in its supplier factories.
The groups have been working to better human and environmental conditions at tech factories all over China. When notified of workplace issues, companies like HP, BT, Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone, Samsung, Toshiba, Sharp and Hitachi all responded and made changes. Apple, however, was “evasive” and did not respond.
One of the issues was the poisoning of 49 workers at a factory that makes touch screens. You know, for your iPad. Apple never responded to the incident, even though the workers were left with “debilitating illnesses.”
When Chinese factories are suing you over worker health issues, you’ve got a problem. Add to that the immense amount of e-waste Apple is producing by making products that are intended to die young. That e-waste goes right back to China, where child lead poisoning rates are through the roof.
Suddenly, that iPhone doesn’t look so slick.
I am writing this on an Apple computer, and it works great. But unless things change and quick, I don’t think I’ll be buying Apple again.
How ’bout you?