In line with its infamous philosophy of maintaining absolute control over its products, sources said U.S. Apple stores are replacing screws on iPhone 4s brought for servicing with tamper-proof screws to prevent anyone else from opening the device.
Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, a prominent Apple repair and parts supplier, said the purpose of the new screws is to keep people out of the iPhone and prevent them from replacing the battery. He said he noticed in November that screws were being switched.
"If you took your car in for service and they welded your hood shut, you wouldn't be very happy"," he said, comparing it to shutting owners out of their iPhones.
If true, apart from the control this gives Apple and its service agents to charge and make money, it seems a crazy idea that you can't replace the battery yourself.
I've got a smartphone where the back comes off by simply sliding it. I can then slot in a fully charged replacement in a few seconds. It's great if you cannot get to recharge the device for a while. And, if the battery fails, I just buy a replacement and slot it in.
Same thing for MP3 players, too. Many have no easy way to repelace the battery.
I understand in Europe there is supposed to be some some consumer law coming that requires batteries in such devices be "easily accessible" and "user replaceable" thereby extending the usable life of such devices.
This is a move to reduce waste as much as it is a consumer protection initiative.