You can debate the so-called "Apple Tax" all you want and whether or not it actually exists (and, in fact, we did just that -- see here
), one thing we should all be able to agree on is that few other companies go the same lengths as Apple
in keeping its users from poking around inside its devices. Non-replaceable batteries are the norm, and while an aftermarket exists for your DIY repair gurus, opening an Apple device usually entails prying through glue and working with funky screw types. Well, things are about to get even trickier.
"Apple is switching to a new type of tamper-resistant screw," iFixIt.com explains. "This is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it."
For those that have never heard of iFixIt before, this site specializes in How-Tos and tools designed to help you tear into your digital devices, including Apple products. What sucks about this latest change is that if you invested in a tool-set specifically for repairing iPhones and the such, well, you're going to have to open up your wallet yet again.
According to iFixIt, "this isn't the first time [Apple] used this type of screw -- it first appeared in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro to prevent you from replacing the battery -- and Apple is using a similar screw on the outer case of the current MacBook Air." As iFixIt rightly gripes, "Apple chose the fastener specifically because it was new, gauranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive. Shame on them."
For those that care, the new screw is similar to a Torx, but with a rounder shape and five points instead of six. It's new to even iFixIt, who says it can't find a single reputable supplier that sells the same screwdrivers Apple's techs use.
If you absolutely must tear into your Apple device, or simply want the option of doing so, iFixIt said it found a driver that works with the new 5-point "Pentalobe" fasteners, as Apple calls them, though it's not recommended for repeated use. Instead, iFixIt recommends using it just long enough to replace the Pentalobes with a standard screw, which you can find in the iPhone 4 Liberation Kit
($10, including driver).