IFixit 'teardown' expert wishes Apple would open up a bit more
IFixit, the online electronics part reseller, relies mostly on the enthusiastic attention and dollars from fanatics of all things Apple. But the San Luis Obispo startup isn't exactly keen on some of the hardware giant's business philosophies.
Apple has been frequently dinged in the news for its "closed" nature with the App Store. The company doesn't publish clear outlines for what violates its approval standards, and for sometimes unexplained reasons, completed software can be shut off from iPhone and iPad digital shoppers.
That aside, Apple has been locking down another side of its business. Its hardware is becoming increasingly difficult to disassemble. The innards are being packed ever-tighter, and screws have been chucked out in many models in favor of "unibody" metal casing.
"Their products are well made, and they tend to last for a while," said IFixit co-founder Kyle Wiens.
But when they break down, IFixit hopes people come to its website for the inexpensive parts it gets from China and the free do-it-yourself repair guides. Apple, on the other hand, wants customers going to its retail stores for technical support, with either a manufacturer-sold warranty or cash in hand.
Part of IFixit's mission is to open Apple followers' eyes, "to get the idea out there that the iPad is not a black box," he said. "We want to allow people to take ownership in their things."
There are lots of computer and gadget manufacturers that IFixit could target. But none is valued as highly on the stock market or in the hearts of many tech enthusiasts as Apple.
"The Mac is a little bit of a religion," Wiens said.
"On the one hand, Apple creates a tremendous market for us," he added, noting the company's "close-minded attitude." But, he continued, "we wish they would wake up."
-- Mark Milian
Photo, top: Miroslav Djuric, center, cracks open an iPad 3G. Photo, bottom: An iFixIt worker shoots photos of one half of the disassembled iPad. Credit: Mark Milian / Los Angeles Times