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Should We Be Able To Fix Our Technology?

Teardown specialists iFixit recently scored the new MacBook Pro at a new bnachmark low 1/10 for repairability, citing all sorts of design decisions which look like an active attempt to prevent the MBP from being repaired.

The MBP sports RAM soldered to the motherboard, a proprietry SSD and a battery glued to the shell of the laptop. Its a pretty unimpressive showing from a company that has been revelling in some sharp business practices recently.

The company has recently been fined £750k for mis-selling warranties through its Apple Stores in Italy. Its now being threatened with a 30-day forced closure of those same stores after failing to correct its process.

Its clear that Apple is seeking to reduce the serviceable life of its machines - after all its not uncommon to see older Mac machinery still being put to good use long after its PC brethren have been replaced and that's clearly seen as a lost sale at Cupertino. Make the machines unfixable and suddenly those old Mac users convert to new Mac sales.

Of course the main reason you see so many old Macs - and portable ones in particular - in use into old age is not anything to do with better longevity or performance. Its simply that replacing Apple hardware is costly and requires a solid decision making process. On the other hand PC laptops are commodity items that can be cheaply upgraded on much shorter cycles.

As someone who spent time taking failed PowerBook Duos and building one working machine from the parts of two or sometimes three donor machines, I know that there is a need for this to happen. By making this sort of repair difficult to impossible Apple is protecting itself at a cost (either in warranty or write-off charges) to its customers.

That's surely not an acceptable business plan into the future?


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