Egg Freckles
Notes from my Newton

Thu Apr/5 Repairability Vs. Sturdiness

David Sparks:

Over the years, Apple Products have become increasingly less repairable. The latest teardown of the new iPad evidences this fact with photos of densely packed electronic components and copious amounts of glue. This led iFixit to give the new iPad a low repairability score.

I get that, but also don’t see it as big of a strike against the iPad as most people make it out to be. For years now, repairing these devices, even without the glue, has been no walk in the park. To make these devices small, they have to be dense, and things are locked together inside, so the contents don’t move around. This also leads to that sense of sturdiness you feel with an iPad in your hand.

I don’t believe a computer has to be less “sturdy” to be more “repairable”. The two do not go hand-in-hand. The 2008 MacBook Pro introduced the Unibody chassis which made it far more sturdy than its predecessors, while remaining just as repairable.

That being said I see what David is getting at: “The vast majority of us are not going to take a screwdriver to our iPads at any time, no matter how repairable it is.” … “we buy these devices to use them every day, not take them apart.”

Apple is trading repairability for experience. They are making their computers thinner, lighter, and smaller, but they are paying the price for those improvements in solder, glue, and proprietary components. With a few exceptions, Apple computers are getting more reliable with each new generation. As long as that trend continues consumers should continue buying Apple products.

Apple has an advantage over other computer companies when it comes to maintaining their computers. Their fleet of local Apple Stores and organized repair depots makes fixing issues fast for Apple consumers. That being said an expedited repair process doesn’t hold the same value for all people. Some customers prefer to perform repairs and upgrades themselves; often past the customary five to seven years Apple supports their own products. To those people I say “don’t buy Apple.” If you value repairability over experience Apple is no longer making a computer for you.