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Apple's new iPad Air earns low repairability score from iFixit

By Shawn Knight · 41 replies
Nov 1, 2013
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  1. Better keep your fingers crossed that your new iPad Air doesn’t break because if it does, it’ll be tough to repair it on your own. Teardown specialist iFixit got their hands on the new slim tablet, tore into it with...

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  2. kuroiei

    kuroiei TS Enthusiast Posts: 93   +31

    Ah, the times when repair = replacement. How rich and resourceful we are nowadays. To be honest - for me, a tinkerer and "let-me-have-some-fun-with-it-guy" it's kind of sad, that new equipment is tough to repair. But on the other hand - that's what we get for miniaturization, I guess.
  3. coppersloane

    coppersloane TS Enthusiast Posts: 108   +33

    Only Apple computer I ever owned, a MacBook, I smashed with a hammer. Why? Because after I spilled a bit of my drink on it and realized I couldn't just pop the keys off and do a clean up, the Apple store told me I'd have to send it in for repairs, which would take 10 business days. Given that I had a deadline soon, I was pissed. Swore off Apple products since that debacle and I don't regret removing myself from their closed ecosystem.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431

    I'm surprised Apple just doesn't fess up and divulge that it isn't designed to be repaired......, EVER! You throw it away, or pawn it off on an unsuspecting relative or "friend" after a year or so, then buy yourself the new model.

    Although, "fess up", doesn't really sound like Apple's style, does it?
    9Nails likes this.
  5. CraigJ

    CraigJ TS Rookie

    Repairability = externally accessible fasteners, more complex structures (or simpler), etc. Repairability by amateurs will generally result in a bulkier and heavier device, all other things being equal. It's a trade off. Personally I don't have time or the inclination to try and repair an iPad or a cell phone, on the other hand I did completely disassemble my 2013 Mac Mini and add two new hard drives.

    The bottom line is that iFixit gets irritated because they make money selling tools and kits...
  6. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I wonder if the only way to manufacture slim devices. It seems like any slim tech uses tons of glue.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431

    This is a bunch of fanboi BS. Apple products were never designed for consumer servicing. The Mac Mini has to be pried apart by wedging putty knives between the case and the chassis. They've even tried to make most of their parts proprietary, so they can sell replacements at 2x (or so), the prevailing rates for PC replacement parts. "Universal Plug and Play" really cramped their style.

    With PCs in standard cases PC, I typically yank HDDs out and lay them on the floor of another PC, just to transfer data. I hadn't felt the slightest inclination to post about it until now , since it's a rather unremarkable accomplishment. Five minutes or so at the most, with no warranties voided . But then, "I just changed two HDDs in a Mac Mini", became a "shout it to the hills" affair. Since everything is getting a qualification attached, let me say I fully realize I can't fit a PC in my pocket.

    My suggestion to you is this, go take your iPhone or iPad apart and put it back together using tools you purchased someplace other than iFixit, before you start screaming about bias or ulterior motive.

    It's really this simple, the price tag goes up on throwaway electronics every year, and Apple products are certainly no exception.

    Oh, and read post# 4 in this thread.
    highlander84 likes this.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    Anyone interested in DIY repair ability, knows not to buy Apple iProducts. It has been this way for a decade, if not longer.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431


    Now I'm picturing something like the carousel scene from "Logan's Run", except it's iPhones and iPads floating up to their doom, while all the fanbois, (& fangurls), are collectively shouting "renew, renew, renew"!!
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    Look at your comments. Now think about them. The bottom line is you aren't going to have a repairable tablet. To make a repairable tablet it will have to be thick and heavy, there is simply not a way to make ones as light and thin as they currently are, and have them repairable. Was there not just an article about how terrible the latest Surface tablet is to repair?

    This is not Apple's fault, its not Microsofts' fault, it is everyone that drives the market for lighter and better (so.. us).

    To the guy that smashed his mac with a hammer after spilling something on it - dude... you didn't think things through.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431

    Dude, you understand of course, that it's fashionable to be pissed off at your drug dealer.....:oops:
  12. I bought a tablet, and wanted to repair it instantly. It was working, but I just wanted to repair it! I couldn't do it, there was so much glue! So I threw it out of the window! Now I don't buy tablets, I only buy old clocks. I can repair them again and again, and they still don't work! It's such an eternal joy. Much better than a tablet that works without repairing.
    St1ckM4n and Jos like this.
  13. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,823   +630

    Why is it every time a new Apple product come outs there's a review of its repair-ability and its always best to just throw away the stupid thing because it won't ever look like it did before if you even get it back together. Oh wait, because it's Apple... Right. So what's the problem? It's simple, don't buy Apple products if you plan on servicing your own hardware.
  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    At least the comments are similar on both sides, but the Apple bashers here are absent in these articles:

    Surface Pro Gets Worst Possible Reparability Rating from iFixit:

    Surface Pro 2 Repairability Marred by Gobs of Adhesive and Over 90 Screws:

    Actually in the SP2 article..
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    And your point?

    Read all my comments, and you know where I stand. I would rather have a device that will not fall apart, than have easy repair ability. If the device just has to be confined to a small form factor, it is evident the device will not have easy repair ability. And my comment above was not bash the device, it was a bash the dumbbutts who think they are going to get easy repair ability in an iProduct (and if it makes you feel better add Surface to the list). I'm not sure why you added my comment to your defense for Apple. Just don't make the mistake of suggesting I'm an Apple basher for the sake of being one. Because if that was true I'd have three times the post count I do. I understand you like Apple. That is quite evident because you seem to spend all your forum time defending Apples name.

    Deep down, I'd rather not have either of these devices, so you can't label me as bashing one over the other. I'm bashing them both. And with all my comments against Windows 8, that should be outstanding evidence. At least there are screws in the Surface Pro 2, but give it a few more years as they train there builders how to use glue. Meantime I will spend my money on something a little more substantial with repair ability some what easier (without win8).
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    There wasn't really any point, you just were the only person that posted in both threads.

    You will end up waiting forever if you think that eventually there will be small devices that are self repairable.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    So true!
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431

    There is a core logic which with to approach this topic. You can't possibly build one of these devices by hand, why would you expect it to be easily repairable by hand?

    The fact is, even a desktop has limited repair-ability, which is why it's a modular device. "I fixed my desktop", translates to, "I popped in a new HDD, to replace one that failed". You certainly aren't going to be replacing the heads, or even doing a component replacement on the circuit board. So bottom line is, you could characterize a desktop as, "throw away devices", also. You just throw them away, but it a piecemeal manner.

    But when you're dealing with a phone or tablet, all the parts are integrated, the storage memory is soldered to the board, there is no "HDD", or "RAM" to replace, it's a single part, with a screen plugged into it.

    So, if you're not going solder a replacement chip into a desktop board, what level of delusionality, does it take to think you're going to fix your own phone?

    So, "iFixit" is simply pandering to pseudo intellectuals who haven't come to grips with the fact that virtually all electronic devices today, are throwaways. If they're not, "a throwaway", then they're designed to be thrown away module by module.

    Apple got bashed in this thread, as per our protocol, but who on earth thinks a Samsung "Galaxy" would fare any better in in iFixit's repair-ability test?

    One of the few things that truly are repairable these days, in the traditional sense, are musical instrument amplifiers .And, (wink, wink), the selling point there is this; many of the "best" ones, are built with out PC boards (!) using point to point wiring. Just like they did things in 1947!
  19. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    Gee I wonder how mechanics would love to just replace the whole car. Instead they replace components that are pre-assembled. Thats right pre-assembled parts, instead of actually fixing the faulty part.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431

    Good analogous comeback Cliff,! Now, why don't you try driving your cell phone to work, and stop trying to make apples to imbeciles comparisons?
  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    Practice what you preach!
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431

    I do. When you consider the "car's brain", (the onboard computer), is typically swapped out, and not repaired by a line mechanic.Certain vehicle specific fanatical cult members, may replace the board's capacitors after a certain number of years.

    And even that isn't a comparable analog, since the packing density of those circuits isn't anywhere near the packing density of anybody's cell phone.

    Besides, with the exception of Ferrari, and possibly a few others), the damned car itself is built largely by robots.

    Where the makers stand is, advertise lease first (!), then purchase. So in general, the length of the leases and "cash due at signing", is designed to milk the maximum money out of the Lessee, before repairs are even required! (Then they auction off the car, and it's the next sucker's problem).

    Now, packing density is the prime issue, and so is the number of modules involved. A cell phone has 2 major parts., One board, which basically holds all the components to outfit a home computer, and the "monitor and "keyboard" are the other.

    Now, I've been here for a bit over six years, and have "built" a number desktops. But, I'm the first person to admit that the term, "built" is really self aggrandizing. The term should be "assembled", which truth to tell, is within the capability of any semi-skilled worker on a Chinese assembly line.

    What's the big f***ing deal about screwing a few circuit modules, into a standardized, has to fit by law, cheap a** plastic and tin case?

    With electronics bench repairs costing perhaps $75.00 an hour, would you really take a $14.95 DVD burner in for repairs? No, it's a throwaway.

    Today, peoples addiction to listening to themselves talk, and inflicting that yapping on everybody they can possibly find stupid enough to tolerate it, is a full blown epidemic.

    And while this was becoming pandemic, phone makers have upped the "use once and throw away" ante, up to almost 600 bucks.

    Nobody got the memo? That's because nobody had their mouth shut long enough to hear it.

    And BTW, I wouldn't suggest taking your car to have the trans-axle replaced, to the same 90 pound Asian woman, whose fingers are tiny enough to solder, and/or glue your damned iPhone together.

    That kind of work still requires some brawn, and in no way, are the techniques involved anywhere near similar.

    BTW, I was in the auto and truck business for more than a decade, and during that time, I earned the right to call your analog preposterous.
  23. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    You are the one taking my analogy as comparing functionality, when in fact it was comparing repair ability. You are the worst member on this forum, taking what people say and twisting it into something they didn't mean just to do it.
  24. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,875   +1,206

    You know, these iFixit articles always annoyed me and I never really realized why. But I think your post nails it. Tablets and smartphones were never meant to be repaired anymore than iFixit should be expected to take the chipset off a motherboard and 'fix' it. And yet we have some strange expectation for these gadgets to repairable. I get it, of course. If you spend $600 or more on something you want it to be fixable. Maybe someday.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,759   +2,431

    Most concession speeches engender a bit more humility, and much less vituperation. :oops: But, I suppose its the best I'm going to get from you. How does it feel to be relegated to being , "the second nastiest person in this forum"?:p

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