iFixit won’t like this: iPhone 5 could sport tamper-resistant screws with asymmetric heads

By , Aug 9, 2012

The next iPhone won’t just screw developers with its taller, four-inch display and an increased resolution of 640-by-1136 pixels (though both iOS 6 and the SDK have been discovered to be scalable for taller displays) and accessory makers with a redesigned dock connector (unless Apple provides a 30-pin dock adapter), it could as well screw repair shops (pun intended) with a special screw design calling for asymmetric heads.

As if sealing the battery and allegedly using a new in-cell display technology wasn’t enough, now iPhone repair shops will have to obtain non-existent tools just to pry open the upcoming device

The above image was published by a user on Reddit (via BGR via @9to5mac).

It represents a rendering of the new screw design by a company that’s apparently working on it “for a certain fruit company”. The design is described as “totally asymmetric” and allegedly “no known tools are developed for it yet”.

It was impossible to glean additional information from the image, like the size of the screw. The next iPhone should be 7.6mm thick, 1.7mm thinner than the current iPhone 4/4S.

As Jeff observed, the 1.7mm difference may not seem much on paper, but it’s a substantially different experience when held in one’s hand. One way to feel a 7.6mm iPhone is to remove the back cover on your iPhone 4, which essentially slims it down close to 7.6mm, as seen above.

Apple allegedly shrank several components to fit inside a thinner case, which meant switching to in-cell display technology with a 0.1mm thinner glass, a 40 percent smaller SIM card tray and a brand new dock connector with a rounded appearance, MagSafe-like functionality and similar in size to the microUSB port.

One thing is certain: a bunch of repair shops and the likes of iFixit, which makes repair guides and performs teardown analysis, will hate Apple for this.

iFixit already observed that Google’s Nexus 7 handsomely beats the third-generation iPad on repairability. They also called the new MacBook Pro with Retina display one of the least repairable laptops they’ve ever encountered.

Perhaps that’s called progress?

A year and half ago, iFixit slammed Apple for switching to Pentalobular screws for the iPhone 4. Though a Pentalobular screw is similar to Torx, it has five points instead of six and the points have a rounder shape, prompting iFixit to call these “Evil Proprietary Tamper Proof Five Point Screw”.

Maybe Apple’s goal with the asymmetric iPhone 5 screws is similar, to once again attempt to prevent tampering using regular screwdrivers or allen keys and hopefully become the sole repair shop for iPhones?

Are you calling shenanigans on this one?

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  • Alec Vanek

    Maybe there won’t even be any screws at the bottom. That would make it really tough to open but people would still finds ways.

  • Outhig

    There will always be a way, I give it a few days :)

  • http://twitter.com/omgwutsthat Clark Wallace

    iFixit have already seen this and said they think the screw head would be too complex for any tool to remove successfully with the amount of torque going in to each turn.

    tl;dr – They think that screw is fake.

  • http://twitter.com/KraKsX KraKsX

    Pentalobular screw drivers are all over the place now, anyone can buy one for less then $1. so Apple switching it up again does not surprise me one bit. And by the look of the ‘New Screw’ I would guess these screw drivers once available, because they will be available, will not be able to be made cheap enough to hit that $1 price range, good for apple. And once a company makes it, good for me! Because ill spend a little bit more, to be again one of the few that has it. :) More repair for ME!

  • JerseyD

    If money can be made off it you can guarantee someone will release a tool built to remove these screws.

  • MAFYOSO

    Why does he have Condoms on his Fingers LMFAO

    • pegger1

      If he’s going to have it on each finger, he might as well have gloves.

    • JaeM1llz

      When handling glass or other fingerprint attracting surfaces, it is common to wear finger condoms. Although I agree with pregger, he may as well just wear full gloves.

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    Someone will take a cast of the screw even if its on a device and than make to tool to use.. Even if it screws the device it won’t matter the amount of cash they could make from the tool will cover the device and more so..

  • pegger1

    If it can be put together, it can be taken apart.

    • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

      I understand Apple’s thought behind this – they want “idiot tinkerers” like ME to not be able to get inside of their iPhone one day while slightly drunk and bored………. Any questions? LOL!

    • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

      I’m surprised they haven’t UHU-superglued it together yet.

  • http://twitter.com/IbrahimRIAlBora Ibrahim R.I.AlBoraey

    I’m sorry, but it looks awesome

  • 1337lolzorz

    It’s still a lot easier finding a solution to these screws than finding a jailbreak but you don’t see pod2g complaining like iFixit

  • http://twitter.com/sivkai Siv

    “design by a company that’s apparently working on it for a certain fruit company”.

    Blackberry?

    • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

      Blackberry is dead

    • http://twitter.com/iSaveBitches Bram

      and isn’t a company ;)

  • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

    iFixIt is rolling on the floor laughing saying BRING IT ON! Pretty sure they’ll figure out a way to duplicate the screw and create a driver within one day

  • http://www.facebook.com/itsugawa Jerwyn Feria

    haha. lets see how much people ends up putting philips screws into their new iPhone 5.

  • http://www.facebook.com/itsugawa Jerwyn Feria

    hmm i thought size of screens are measured by angle not width and length?

  • Benny Green

    ‘Perhaps that’s called progress’ No that’s called Apple not wanting anyone but themselves fixing their products and making more $ from it. It’s called typical Apple greed

  • rohta

    Wait for iPhone 5 Liberation Kit @ iFixit lol

  • JaeM1llz

    This is one of the handful of reasons I can’t stand Apple. They build their products to become obsolete and then make it increasingly difficult for end-users to do their own repairs, modifications and upgrades. I’m not buying that excuse that it allows them more freedom in the design process either. You can design sleek and stylish devices without making them impossible to take apart.