Greg's bite: Apple's strange screw conspiracy
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: Apple's strange screw conspiracy

By Greg Mills

I never cease to be amazed by the jaded reaction of the PC tech press to the neutral things Apple does. Mis-representing motives and incorrect conclusions that tend to cast a slightly evil cast on Apple sell high tech stories. It's like putting Jesus on the cover of a magazine with some outlandish story. The most recent trashing of Apple is over, of all things, the design of some unique tiny screws that hold iPhones together.

The variety of screw heads used in technology these days is amazing. First there was the flat screw head with one notch. Then there was the Philips head screw that revolutionized machine installation of screws in all sorts of applications. Having used drywall screws for countless applications far beyond drywall installation, I am of the opinion the inventor of the Philips screw head deserves the Noble prize for innovation in physics.  

As certainly as Moore's Law regarding microchip development is true, Murphy's law is totally proven beyond the possibility of randomness when, seeking a Philips head screw driver, you find 10 flathead screwdrivers first. The opposite is also true.  

Some people have more blind luck than I do perhaps, but everyone knows it requires an incredible assortment of screwdrivers to do things. Add torx, hex head and other odd screw heads to the mix and, like me, you're scrambling to find just the right tool to remove a pesky screw.  Even more insidious, there are numerous sizes of all the different flavors of screw heads.  Someone should put an exhibit together of all the screwdriver types known to man.

Jason D. O'Grady reports for "ZDNet" that Apple has since 2009 used a special screw head called a Pentalobe screw for evil purposes. You will notice that it looks like a five-leaf clover hole on the top of the screw. Which means a flathead, Philips, torx, hex or any other known screwdriver has no chance in heck of turning the darn screws out. You have to have a special screwdriver (which his company happens to sell in a kit used to jailbreak iPhones). To me that revelation is the lynch pin of the story. 


Instead of figuring Apple simply didn't want consumers opening the devices sealed with such odd fasteners, O'Grady has concocted a conspiracy theory that Apple intended to create obsolescence by restricting access to getting into some products to exchange batteries and the like. Never mind that there are warranty -- and even extended warranties -- available on all Apple products. The notion that the delicate innards of modern electronics are serviceable by the typical consumer is clearly nuts. Now it is time for a true and embarrassing confession.

I am an Extra Class Ham Radio operator, have fooled with electronics my whole life and have even had patents issued for a device I invented that has electrical components. Yet I recently ruined a MacBook Pro. I figured that I could replace a fan myself instead of paying someone to do it. My old faithful MacBook Pro was getting long in the tooth anyway, but it could have lasted a good bit longer had I not pried my way into it. It was long out of warranty so I figured what the heck, let's try to fix it myself. Hey, what could go wrong?

The left fan was making a horrible noise part of the time, and the poor old laptop couldn't sleep without waking up and the fan groaning in the middle of the night. I also had a red line running down the left side of the screen due to a display issue regarding a faulty graphics card. The laptop had also been baptized in coffee the second day I owned it. But for two years of hard use, it was a powerful computer, and I really liked it.  

I bought a pair of new fans on eBay and watched a video on how to do it. I bought the required screwdrivers. I waited until my wife was gone and dove in. Everything was going just fine until the tiny black plastic electrical connector for the wires that powered the left fan broke off the motherboard instead of disconnecting.  

I pried on it wrong, and it popped off. I figured I could just strip the tips and solder the wires to the board. That is when a drop of solder dripped off the hot soldering iron unnoticed and shorted out some components on the mother board. I didn't notice the splatter of melted solder until after I fired it up. Actually, it never got beyond ding, ding ding, black screen. Oops....  

I lasted two days writing articles on an iPad before I picked up a replacement MacBook Pro on sale at a local Apple distributor. The moral of the story is that those not actually trained to do so have no business opening Apple products. I would rather have waited until the new MacBook Pros came out this spring, but went ahead and bought one mid-cycle, and it wasn't a mistake.  The current hard body MacBook Pros are awesome.

If you try to find a snake under every rock, as O'Grady does, you will find one. But for my money, Apple has pretty good reasons to do most of what they do. I have resolved to submit my repairs to people who have already made their mistakes and are professional about working on my Apple products.  

Strange screws or not, I can't blame Apple for tying to keep me out of harm's way. I never told my wife exactly how my laptop went south. We will have our 20th anniversary soon. I hate to admit it, but she would have freaked out if she had caught me opening my laptop. I guess its a right brain, left brain sort of thing or just special hormones, but she is dead right about practical things, a lot of the time.  Don't open devices Apple wants to keep you out of.

Thats's Greg's Bite for today.

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Victorious Knight (Games)
Victorious Knight 1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.3 (iTunes) Description: New challenges awaits you! Experience fresh RPG experience with a unique combat mechanic, packed with high quality 3D... | Read more »
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game (Gam...
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Someone’s been spying on Gumball. What the what?! Two can play at that game! GO UNDERCOVERSneak past enemy... | Read more »
Runaway Toad (Games)
Runaway Toad 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It ain’t easy bein’ green! Tap, hold, and swipe to help Toad hop to safety in this gorgeous new action game from the creators of... | Read more »
PsyCard (Games)
PsyCard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: From the makers och Card City Nights, Progress To 100 and Ittle Dew PSYCARD is a minesweeper-like game set in a cozy cyberpunk... | Read more »
Sago Mini Robot Party (Education)
Sago Mini Robot Party 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: -- Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice -- | Read more »
How to get a high score in every level o...
Sky Charms is an adorable match three puzzler that provides a decent challenge thanks to its creative level design. It regularly presents something new, forcing you to think on your feet. [Read more] | Read more »
Apestorm: Full Bananas (Games)
Apestorm: Full Bananas 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ***Launch sale – limited time only!*** Fugitive Apes have taken to the skies in search of revenge after humans have... | Read more »
How to create bigger words in Spellspire
Words have power. At least they do in Spellspire,a game about blasting out magical attacks by making words out of a jumble of letters. And it's a lot of fun. But if you want to be the best, you're going to have to think tactically when you start... | Read more »
Steel Media and DeePoon have partnered f...
Virtual reality is the next big thing, and 148Apps's publisher,Steel Media, wants to know what the hottest upcoming games are. [Read more] | Read more »
Airline Director 2 - Tycoon Game (Games...
Airline Director 2 - Tycoon Game 1.2.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.2.1 (iTunes) Description: Airline Director 2 is a management game set in the challenging field of commercial aviation. As the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Aleratec Releases Mac Software Upgrade for 1...
California based Aleratec Inc., designer, developer and manufacturer of Portable Device Management (PDM) charge/sync products for mobile devices and professional-grade duplicators for hard disk... Read more
Sale! Amazon offers 27-inch iMac, 13-inch 2.9...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.2GHz 5K iMac and the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $300 off MSRP, each including free shipping, for a limited time: - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD 5K iMac (model MK462LL/A): $... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Take $200 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (model MF839LL/A) at Amazon. Shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1099.99 $200 off MSRP Act now if... Read more
Apple refurbished clearance 15-inch Retina Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1609, $390 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. They have refurbished 15... Read more
27-inch 5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off M...
B&H Photo has 27″ 5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2199 $100 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1849.99 $150... Read more
What Does The Refreshed 12-Inch MacBook Tell...
A lot of commentators are complaining that Apple’s update of the 12-Inch MacBook last week is a bit of a damp squib. I don’t know what they were expecting, since it would be very unlike Apple to do a... Read more
Free Wittify Keyboard Now Available On The Ap...
A team of Harvard Business School students have announced that the Wittify Keyboard, a new app utility for iOS devices, is now available on the Apple App Store. The Wittify keyboard and application... Read more
Apple Reports First Year-Over-Year Quarterly...
Apple on TUesday announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 second quarter ending March 26, 2016. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale fo...
Take $130-$150 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro at Amazon. Shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1169 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/256GB Retina MacBook... Read more

Jobs Board

Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - … (United Sta...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.